Relationships and the Engineering Lifecycle
By Susan Smith
An emphasis on relationships has changed the focus of Intergraph Process, Power & Offshore over the past couple of years. The relationships the company has with its customers are more of a partnership than just a customer-vendor relationship, in that the customer shares its domain knowledge with Intergraph, which they can then use to make improvements in their products. The company also pursues alliance relationships of various types with complementary software vendors to help complete the lifecycle coverage of solutions.
"Many times we have a relationship with a customer that becomes a mutually-beneficial development agreement. For example, the client and Intergraph will agree that we’re going to add specific functionality to a product based on their specs or build a new product, and they agree to either pay for part of the development and then they get the resulting product at a lower cost," explains Ben Eazzetta, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Intergraph Process, Power & Offshore. "Or, they don’t pay for development but make an agreement to progress product adoption inside their company. With Chiyoda Corporation of Japan, we showed them a path of adoption for SmartPlant Foundation as a basis for implementing The Engineering Framework, our integration architecture. What they’ve agreed to do is provide development input to us and help us with some of the requirements about the direction in which the products need to go and when we should implement certain functionality so we can better meet their needs over the next few years. So they’ve got an initial application for SmartPlant Foundation/The Engineering Framework and we’re going to grow its usage to replace some of their legacy systems using their intellectual property and industry knowledge contained in their iPLANT21 system."
Intergraph is completing development of The Engineering Framework, an integration architecture which started as a result of their strategic alliance with AspenTech and then extended to a relationship with Dow Chemical Company, a major plant owner operator. Many clients wanted to see this technology adapted to engineering, procurement and construction contractors (EPCs). "Chiyoda is solely an EPC company, so what they will do is take that same development that we’re doing with Dow and stretch it even further to better meet the needs of the EPC community." Chiyoda is the first full blue-chip EPC to adopt Intergraph’s technology with plans for implementing The Engineering Framework.
What companies do well with this type of relationship? "Specifically, we try to find companies that participate in the engineering lifecycle -- from conceptual design all the way through to detail design, construction, operations and maintenance, commissioning, decommissioning," Eazzetta said. "We structure relationships around products such as those that create and help maintain lifecycle data for the owner operator, i.e., INtools for instrumentation and SmartPlant P&ID for intelligent piping and instrumentation diagrams. These are very strong owner tools, so they help clients manage and productively apply that engineering data in operations throughout the life of a plant."
|Ben Eazzetta, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Intergraph Process, Power & Offshore|
Other related applications such as SmartPlant Electrical, are of value to companies doing detailed electrical design. Intergraph has formed alliances with companies providing electrical design analysis tools, such as OTI’s and EDSA’s distribution analysis packages. "We’ve integrated these tools with SmartPlant Electrical so that users can analyze and optimize their electrical designs using industry-leading software. And in so doing we have added some co-marketing, which is another kind of relationship we have with complementary solution providers," said Eazzetta. "Another Intergraph alliance company, ARES Corporation, has a product called PRISM for project management. We are integrating MARIAN with that product, doing co-marketing and executing a reseller agreement with them globally."
Intergraph seeks and cultivates alliance partners who are market leaders whose products help round out the Intergraph portfolio of lifecyle software and those who want to sell their product into another company’s channel. The relationships run the gamut from cooperative API development to licensing/distribution and integration and co-marketing.
People and products from former alliance partners, such as debis Systemhaus (MARIAN), and Pelican Forge (Support Modeler), are now part of the Intergraph organization through successful acquisitions (which also included INtools), carried out during the past several years.
But among Intergraph’s own products is the SmartPlant line Рa brand identifying the entire suite of datacentric "intelligent" and integrated products. About five years ago Intergraph embarked on rearchitecting their whole product suite so that all applications would be datacentric. Without this change, there was no way the company would be able to meet the challenges set forth by their customers for interoperability. These products include SmartPlant 3D and SmartPlant Offshore, the newest members of the portfolio, as well as SmartPlant Foundation, SmartPlant P&ID, SmartPlant Electrical, SmartPlant Review, SmartPlant Markup, and of course SmartSketch. Very closely aligned with SmartPlant are INtools and the MARIAN materials and procurement package as well as IntelliShip.
The Engineering Framework (TEF), to be released later this year, is the integration architecture for the sharing and re-use of plant information throughout the plant lifecycle. It replaces point-to-point and centralized integration --with distributed, data-warehoused integration -- the ideal environment for engineering data management, management of work processes and change across applications, global data access and collaboration, and reuse of data.
A press release last year announced a partnership agreement between DNV Software and Intergraph. "In this case, DNV Software sells software to the shipbuilding industry and their parent Det Norske Veritas does certification of ships, so basically any ship that is built has to be certified by a classification organization such as DNV," according to Eazzetta. "DNV Software develops applications for heavy structural design and analysis for commercial ships and marine petroleum structures and they also create all the rules engines needed to certify the ships."
The relationship with DNV involves Intergraph licensing their advanced 3D technology, so that DNV can build applications on top of this platform. "In addition, we’ve licensed SmartPlant Foundation that allows them to do change management inside their own apps. And they have the right to use our technology and resell it but are not competing with us. DNV Software will resell to the global shipbuilding industry, except for the U. S. military. Our two companies are also are carrying out co-marketing activities."
Eazzetta explained that DNV already sells software to 75-80% of the shipbuilding market. IntelliShip will be in pilot release in late 2003 through an Early Adopter Program and commercially released in 2004. In the interim, Intergraph continues to work with the GRAD consortium, comprised of three large shipbuilders who help with the completion of the application. "Because we don’t have a direct sales channel into shipbuilding, DNV is the exclusive reseller of our new IntelliShip product for the world. They’re going to build applications on top of our technology, we’re going to integrate our applications with theirs, and they’re going to sell our shipbuilding product." The relationship with DNV Software was born as a result of Intergraph’s quest for the best way to take the new technology to market.
At the recent Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, the two companies jointly unveiled their combined lifecycle solution for conceptual design, analysis, detail design and construction, fabrication and operations and maintenance of floating production storage and offloading ( FPSO) vessels.
What does the Future look like?
"This year you’re going to see a lot of MARIAN, SmartPlant Foundation, and SmartPlant P&ID activity," predicted Eazzetta. "SmartPlant 3D’s first release is later this year through a special Early Adopter Program." The company also will continue to add alliance partners and consider more acquisitions of technology and companies.
After the debut of The Engineering Framework in late 2003, each application released from that point on will be integrated with that framework. Aspen Zyqad, SmartPlant P&ID, SmartPlant 3D and INtools are already integrated via special TEF Adapters. Eazzetta added, "Basically you’ll be able to plug and play with our applications within the Framework and eventually we’re going to be providing third parties the API to be able to do that, too."
|Intergraph and DNV Software recently jointly unveiled their combined lifecycle solution for conceptual design, analysis, detail design and construction, fabrication and operations and maintenance of floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels|
|The Engineering Framework is the integration architecture for the sharing and re-use of plant information throughout the plant lifecycle|