In today’s HxGN Radio podcast, we are talking to Callum Ford, Intergraph Process Power & Marine’s Vice President of Services for APAC. To listen to more episodes from HxGN Radio, visit our channels on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.
Welcome to HxGN Radio. This is your host Frank Joop. Today at the HxGN Radio Broadcast we’re talking with Callum Ford who is the Intergraph Process Power and Marine Vice President of services for APAC.
FY: Maybe Callum you can say a few words about what your role there is.
CF: Hey good morning Frank and thanks for that. First of all welcome to Hong Kong. It’s good to be here for the conference. My background and role is across Asia-Pacific looking after our services teams in each of the different countries from Australia, Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. So definitely a broad spectrum.
FY: Alright. So Callum what type of services is the BBM services team providing then in your region?
CF: Obviously the main focus is predominantly around implementation of our solutions but that extends into training and consulting. And often working with our customers on what they need to be looking at in terms of the long term vision for their business, giving them guidance and advice. And often a road map to basically get the best outcomes from Intergraph.
FY: Right. Right. So but basically what I also often hear is we do deliver products ready to use out the box and still several customers require help from us. What are the main areas you see your team is helping the customers with? Is it customizing to specific work processes or specific type of deliverables?
CF: Obviously, I think we’ve seen this over the last few years where with a lot of the integration aspects of our software this creates some challenges for the customers in terms of their own processes and needing to understand the change management aspects that their business will have to go through in terms some of their processes and procedures. So yeah, I mean obviously to pulling the software out of the boxes is one thing but really being able to leverage a lot of our processes that we’ve established around the engineering work processes and the integration capability statements. These really affect the business across all aspects of their enterprise. So a lot of time we spend is working through those issues with the customer, not just simply doing the implementations.
FY: Right and of course our customers if I think about an engineering type customers they serve, different types industries isn’t it like for instance chemical industry, oil and gas industry, maybe pharmaceutical industry, maybe the marine industry? So I think the implementation of our tools will probably also help with… because there are differences how you use these applications in these different industries. So do you help also to make it fit for different demands and different types of industries? Do you see that is well?
CF: Yeah that’s true. Especially in Southeast Asia, for example. We’ve got a lot of fabricators and their work processes are obviously a little different from a traditional EPC. We’ve taken things like smart plan construction and modified that to suit the fabrication processes that they have which is more keen to manufacturing in some respects. So that’s a good example, I guess, of taking our out of the box solution but then making sure it’s fit for purpose for the fabricators.
FY: Right, right. And then of course I think for owners it’s maybe even more because they probably have an existing environment. I mean the plant is there a scale of one-to-one. I mean they’re not going to okay let’s do away and start all over. But probably and existing plants in brownfields if they want to use our tools they probably need some help to get from where they are and where they want to go to with our tools, right?
CF: Yeah exactly. I think we’ve seen with… a good example of that is Shell, right? In their integrated engineering environment. I mean this is something that Shell has as one of their top three priorities as business? So Intergraph, of course, is a key partner with Shell for the integrated engineering environment and that means not only delivering our solutions but delivering that in the ecosystem of the Cloud, right? So this covers not just solutions it covers the whole environment.
FY: So what do you see as the main value that you and your team bring to these customers?
CF: I think anybody that’s deploying our solutions especially on capital projects or mega projects these are long term investment. The key to that is understanding ultimately the risks and the benefits in making sure the right decisions are made in terms of the roadmap for those customer’s projects. So I think we’ve got a lot of experience with obviously you know we’ve got many people in our organization who’ve been long term with Intergraph. I think that experience and maturity can help customers step through some of these challenges and make sure they understand the risks and see definitely what the outcomes are. So I think it’s us being able to work with the customers on their outcomes that they need to see.
FY: Right. I think you said a key word. What I had in mind as well coming from the product world myself is that risk management, for sure, because everything change has risks. And if you have a partner like Intergraph that not only provides the software but also can help you can minimize the risk in deploying it. I think that is very, very helpful.
CF: Absolutely and you see that with a capital project that might be going for 7 years through a particular phase. You know it’s very important for the customers to understand what the upgrade process will be, what the future will look like in 4 or 5 years’ time and then understand what… you know how stable they want the situation to be, the platform to be for them in the future. So it’s important for us to be there.
FY: One thing that we will hear a lot from customers, of course, the system, the solution we live are often complex and not only complex in terms of the huge amount of data and the use across the enterprise many, many, many different users. So once you have a certain environment set up, of course, we deliver all these new versions and then the upgrade comes into place, upgrading from version 1 to version 2 or whatever. Now I know that my phone upgrade is a little bit different. I can push the button and I’m done. That’s one end of the scale but the other end of scale is a complex engineering solution like we have. Still the customers have this expectation of it needs to be easier and easier to upgrade, and of course I think from Intergraph’s perspective we want these customers to be at the latest version for whatever reasons. So is that an aspect that your services team can also help with with the customers moving them from one version to another version and reducing the risk and time involved and everything that they struggle with with these upgrades?
CF: Sure and as you said earlier the risk aspects of that and I think it’s reasonable for customers to expect that this is done with minimum disruption to the business and to the project. So that view is definitely not going to go away. So as I said, I think that accommodating and understanding the risks associated with it and making sure that the risk, well the risk of upgrading, if you like, or the benefits of upgrading and properly understood. So not just a matter of being on the latest platform but is this actually supporting the new features or functionality that’s coming with the upgrade. Does it actually enhance or add value to that particular situation for the customer? And making sure that’s understood and then balancing those aspects and making a decision with the customer about the right process for all of that.
FY: Yeah and sometimes customers have to move as version because operating of systems and data base support and everything. So I mean that is of course part of our solution but not totally our control. So I can see that they sometimes need help. Upgrade is not only the Intergraph product but it is associated to the environment as well. So I can see that they need some help there. Now talking about all these operating systems and databases and technology is moving so fast. I think you see that it’s a challenge to keep up to date with the latest and greatest one that’s out there and train your team to make sure that their up to snuff.
CF: Sure and there’s no end to the challenge and training is a key part of making our service team capable and able to provide the latest and greatest. So we do spend a lot of time on training but I think also the experience gained from obviously dealing with many customers across the globe capturing the lessons learned from all of those implementations is critical as well so that hopefully not only are we learning and developing but we’re also being better practice and best practice into place to ensure that companies get the best value from us, right?
FY: Right and that’s actually a good point that you basically… I think that’s that a big benefit for our customers that you are involved in many products and actually leverage experience from project to project and get better all the time and the customers actually benefit from that experience of change. So that would be a good thing I would think.
CF: It has and I think over the last 5 years we’ve developed our smart services methodology which gives us a consistent approach to managing projects with our customers and that, of course, then allows us to be able to tap into projects from around the world and take on best practice. You know working very closely with the product teams as well to ensure that we understand that the fastest and most efficient way of deploying the software and coming up with the plans to how to implement is critical too.
FY: I know you mentioned earlier about the engineering workflow practices and I think, I myself also get these questions, ok you put these solutions out there, how do you want me to use it? And we have now some examples, right? Can you say few words about what we have there and how customers can actually benefit from that?
CF: Sure. I mean actually for customers today there is a lot of interest and in fact we’re usually interested to see the number of downloads that customers go to take off from our smart services, smart support website is in a lot of the integration capability statements that have been developed. So these are showing how to take our products in the recommended practice around the integration aspects between PNID and SBF and 3D and all of the design tools are actually showing the integration steps that are involved with supporting the workflow. So we’ve developed those and I think some of our customers have taken them in terms of a good practice going forward but also develop them themselves for their own particular situations, but it’s a very good foundation for us to engage in discussion and actually show the process. And then at least your working from a recommended practice which I think is fantastic.
FY: Right and as I understand these work practices are also used in our certification process. So that’s also a good.
CF: Yeah that’s right and another great benefit of this is, of course, working with the services team. We’ve got strong ties into the product center. So we’re continually working with the product center to understand what’s the best approach and of course that feeds back into product development as well, but also is really important for our customers to get that insight as to what developing aspects are coming so they can start to see and plan on for potentially deployments into the future.
FY: Well that’s actually an important point is you also feedback to the development from the services experience.
CJ: Right. Exactly.
FY: Okay cool. So anything you want to add on to what we already discussed?
CJ: Things don’t stand still obviously and we’ve been developing the capabilities across the service teams and I think it’s an important aspect of our whole engagement enterprise expertise to marry that up with the ecosystem of the software and really we see ourselves providing longer term benefits to the customer in terms of outcomes. The focus of being able to get the best solutions in place and of course working through with our customers on requirements, proof of concepts. So there’s a range of activities we get involved in that I think add a lot of value overall to the customer’s experience.
FY: Great. Well we appreciate your time today Callum. Thanks for being our guest.
And to our listeners you can learn more about smart services at ppm.intergraph.com. Tune in for more episodes of HxGN Radio on ITunes, SoundCloud, or StitcherRadio. Thank you for listening.
CJ: Thank you Frank.