Advanced analytics for competitive advantage

Jigar Bhansali, Vice President Presales, Asia Pacific and Japan, Software AG, talks about his company’s advanced analytics and what it can do with production and supply chain data, for organisations.

EITN: Can you briefly share what Software AG does.

Jigar: Software AG is a company focusing on integration & API management, IoT & analytics and business transformation, creating a fluid flow of data between people, departments, systems, and devices, improving operational excellence, resilience, and profitability for customers around the world. We support deployments on premises, in the cloud as SaaS and in hybrid architectures.

EITN: What is the Trendminer software and how does it work?

Jigar: TrendMiner is a self-service industrial analytics platform that allows operational stakeholders, such as process engineers, maintenance engineers and control room personnel analyze time-series data. TrendMiner uses google like search and pattern recognition to see what happened during production, how often it happened and helps find root causes why certain operational behavior happened.

(Analyze). Based on the analysis, best performing production periods or batch runs can be combined into an envelope/fingerprint to monitor operational performance

(Monitor). At deviation, a notification can be sent to the appropriate people and the event can be logged for future reference. Data from external systems, such as a maintenance management system or laboratory information management system can be used as contextual data and further help optimize operational performance

(Contextualize). Last step is predicting future behavior TrendMiner allows to predict expected evolution of the process by rapidly checking similar behavior in the past

(Predict). Also, predictive maintenance is possible using TrendMiner. All analysis work, events captured from monitors etc. can be shown in a Production cockpit, created with TrendMiner

(Visualize), for analytics driven decision making.

EITN: What is an IoT Stack? You gave the example of Cumulocity IoT- what does it do and how does it help predict and improve product quality?

Jigar: An IoT technology stack (often shortened to IoT stack) is a group of the fundamental technologies involved in IoT projects. These include device connectivity, device management, data management, analytics, visualisation and integration. They are essentially the technical capabilities required to connect and manage heterogenous things, form insights from their data and incorporate this data into an enterprise’s wider suite of IT and operational systems to deliver the business benefits.

Cumulocity IoT simplifies industrial equipment connections, where it allows users to orchestrate IoT into hybrid app workflows, quickly connect hybrid applications, easily configure integrations to update and synchronise data between applications using dozens of pre-built connectors and predefined recipes to get the job done fast.

As an example, with Cumulocity IoT, the predictive maintenance benefits for a connected industrial pump are delivered through regularly securely connecting to the device to determine its operational status; predicting performance and failures based on a combination of historical knowledge, domain expert insight and real-time updates; and providing proactive alerts to schedule a technician to field service system based probability for each main component.

EITN: Can we have an example of how advanced analytics in the hands of production experts, helps companies turn supply chain and production data into competitive advantage?

Jigar: In the realm of SAP, supply chain encompasses a wide range of business processes, from supplier performance monitoring to customer demand planning, within manufacturing industries. For TrendMiner we first focus on improving batch production, where users can use the sensor generated time-series data to improve yield, increase quality, reduce energy consumption, increase equipment reliability and plant safety.

An example is how Trendminer helped CP Kelco’s production facilities gain deeper insight into operational performances, helping them reach their process improvement objective of over $1MM in annual savings and support on capital engineering projects.

EITN: Please give example of operational experts in process. What are their roles in a particular organisation? Are they relevant only for manufacturing industries?

Jigar: Operational experts include roles such as process engineers, where common responsibilities and focus can vary depending on the company, industry, and also the individual’s field of expertise. Process engineering is a crucial function for any industry that manufactures consumer products, processes raw materials, or utilises advanced production technologies to create a product.

Roles can range from Process Production Engineers, where they focus on streamlining and improving existing manufacturing processes, to Lean Engineers where they focus reducing waste, improving manufacturing processes. Other roles also include Process Automation Engineers, where they are responsible for developing and maintaining systems for manufacturing processes. They use computers heavily for advanced design, ideation and simulation programs.

New and novel processes are developed without interrupting manufacturing, allowing for constant and continuous improvement.  Process Engineers also work with data to analyse systems and process performance to ensure production is proceeding properly – and identify areas of improvement.

EITN: What is the role of SAP S/4HANA in enabling Trendminer solutions for organisations, and helping organisations glean value?

Jigar: SAP S/4Hana is a platform TrendMiner can work on top of, given the time-series data stored within the SAP database. It also allows us to be hosted in the cloud, but more importantly we use data in the system as contextual information, such as maintenance events and laboratory information. This contextual data helps to better analyze operational performance. On the other hand, when TrendMiner sets monitors we can send triggers to SAP for follow up, such as preventive maintenance requests.

EITN: Is Trendminer a new solution? If not, what is new that is being announced in the 18th March 2021 press release from Singapore?

Jigar: TrendMiner is not new at all. As an application and organization, we are over 10 years in the market but have been acquired by Software AG 2 years ago. The SAP partnership, announced on the 18th is a next step in the evolution of market adoption of our solution.

EITN: What is the technical and business roadmap for Trendminer in this region of APAC?

Jigar: Technically our roadmap for Trendminer remains the same for all global markets. TrendMiner is already well used in the APAC region by global operating customers in the chemical, oil & gas, food processing, metals & mining and other industries. From a business point of view, we are focussing on expanding our footprint in the APAC region.