Green plants: well what colour would you expect them to be?

If you’ll excuse the rather feeble pun in the title (nice picture though!), I wanted to note something that has caught my attention-namely the speed at which the IT industry systems vendor debate is moving on from green data centers to end to end green plant management. Air-conditioning is so wasteful and overused. I was pushing for green facilities management at some of my IT vendor clients last year, but it seems that now the idea’s time has come. With energy prices rising the economics are far clearer. Efficiency won’t ruin economies, it will keep them alive.

Paul Kurchina, Director of Communities for ASUG, the SAP Americas User Group, started the ball rolling again for me when I met him recently and he pointed out that OSIsoft was doing some good work in the area. The chance to drive more efficient and effective plant and facilities management seems such a natural opportunity for SAP I am a bit surprised it hasn’t pursued it more aggressively, particularly given its Lighthammer acquisition last year.

IBM it seems may be rushing in to fill the gap, opening a new front in its cooperation/competition with the German software giant. IBM’s acquisition of MRO software and its Maximo application is the catalyst for change. While the acquisition was ostensively intended to fill out a hole in IBM’s Tivoli service management toolset, namely a service desk, MRO’s broad portfolio also offers extensive management capabilities for non-IT assets. A recently completed tight integration between MRO’s Maximo and the ESRI geographical information system (GIS) makes the platform even more applicable.

Needless to say however all the monitoring and management software in the world won’t be any use unless it ties into the existing plant automation, air-conditioning systems and so on, which is where the likes of GE and Rockwell Automation come in. IBM is already aggressively courting these firms.

It seems to me that SAP and IBM are going to need to work together. Service automation won’t be useful if it isn’t tied into ERP, financial and other systems. I am definitely not as well informed as i need to be though. I will let you know more as I learn more about it. I wrote recently that not all automation decisions make sense, but some obviously do

picture courtesy of Noel Lee. Thanks Noel!