AspenTech: 38 years of technology and digitalization experience

AspenTech: 38 years of technology and digitalization experience

/ News & Interviews / Tuesday, 31 December 2019 07:37

Industries today are looking to update operations in order to offer the best services possible. This is why they go through a journey of digital transformation and choose AspenTech to tackle the most complex process manufacturing challenges, create value and improve profitability.

In an exclusive interview with Energy Review MENA, Antonio Pietri, President and Chief Executive Officer of AspenTech elaborates more on the company’s latest solutions and how it helps customers in their digital transformation journeys.

The company recently launched Aspen Enterprise Insight. Can you explain to us how this solution works and what are its benefits?

Aspen Enterprise Insight is really the release of a product that followed the acquisition of Sabisu, a company based in the UK, in June this year. We rebranded it recently and called it Aspen Enterprise Insight. It is very important to us in the sense that we have a large installed base of our products and solutions, our customers are demanding greater capabilities around visualizing data at an enterprise level, doing analytics on that data, and also developing applications that create more value from the data. So Aspen Enterprise Insight provides both the visualization of all that data and information but also workflow management. So, the ability to collaborate across functions and the ability to alert for events, are both available in this very unique product. It brings both visualization and workflow management capabilities. In addition, it sits on top of all of our solutions; it’s a SaaS application and it's really one of our first steps as a company into providing SaaS-based solutions.

Besides Aspen Enterprise Insight, what are the solutions you offer to help energy and oil and gas companies in their digital transformation journey?

We have three suites of technologies that address engineering and design, operations optimization, and reliability management. Each of the suites have many products; our products represent the industry standard in asset optimization, helping companies in the energy and chemical industry, among others, to drive profitability faster and more efficiently than ever before.

In operations, we have a set of solutions, starting with refinery planning. About 70-75 percent of refineries in the world use our refinery planning tool; for scheduling but also for advanced process control. Dynamic optimization is a new solution, real-time data management…etc.

And then on the reliability side is our latest offering which is about 2-3 years old where we’re leveraging AI and machine learning, multivariate analytics to really be able to predict and prescribe equipment failure or detect process degradation. This is the area where we are seeing a lot of interest from our customers as an extension of our solutions because it is now bringing AI and machine learning capabilities into our set of offerings and it's all about value creation. We estimate that our customers create about 50 billion dollars in value every year, and we’re very proud of that.

Can you highlight to us the main topics you tackled in your panel at ADIPEC this year?

The panel itself is about digitalization. Two main points: first, Aspen Technology has been in the digitalization business for our entire history - 38 years - because  big data happened in the process industries when all these assets were upgraded from analogue and numeric systems to digital systems, big data happened and then there was an earlier generation of entrepreneurs that looked at the opportunity to leverage that data to create value so solutions like advanced process control, refinery planning, even modelling and simulation they all leverage that data to create value.

Now, we’re into a second generation of digital capabilities through AI, Cloud and high-performance computing. We’re leveraging our expertise that we’ve built over the last 38 years in the process industries with applications to create more value beyond that 50 billion dollars. As a matter of fact, we believe that by embedding AI in our existing products and creating a new set of AI capabilities, there's another 200 to 250 billion dollars of value to be created in this industry.

The second point is at the moment there's an intersection of digitalization in these technologies that can be an opportunity but also very disruptive to any company. So at AspenTech, we’ve decided that this is an opportunity to embrace the capabilities equally for oil companies and chemical companies.

In the context of the macro challenges they are facing, the energy and chemical industries have been great contributors to the improvement of the standard of living around the world but at the same time today, you’ve got sustainability challenges, climate change, and plastic waste, and these companies are faced with their own business models being challenged despite all the contribution that they're making. So they're looking at digital capabilities to help in the transformation of their businesses to remain competitive but also to break into new business models that they are going to have over the next 5, 10, or 20 years in a fight to remain viable businesses.

In brief, these are the two main points: value opportunity from digitalization and leveraging digitalization as a set of capabilities to help in the transformation of their own businesses.

How do you overcome the challenges you face across the industry?

Digitalization is certainly part of it. We think there's another 200 to 250 billion dollars of value to be created from driving greater insight from the data, but also these companies are going to have to find ways to address their own businesses. You see oil companies moving from being pure oil companies to gas and petrochemicals because ultimately as more and more people are moving into the middle class, they start consuming more plastics and everything that we buy. In addition, chemical companies have to figure out ways to recycle all that plastic that they produce so this is why they have to leverage technologies and think of their business models in ways that they haven't thought before in order to enable this transition.

Technology has always been at the center of this industry. If you look at it at the oil and chemicals industries, they are probably the two industries that leverage the most technology because they are very complex industries, very complex and dangerous assets to operate. If something goes wrong, you can have an accident or people can get injured or die. So they've always relied on technology to create safer work environment and now even more sustainable work environment.

How important was your presence at ADIPEC this year?

This region has always been important for us. More than 90% of AspenTech’s revenue is out of the energy and chemicals industries, but now with the intersection of digitalization and some of the macro trends that are happening, it became even more important to be present in the region and as well at ADIPEC this year.

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