Steve Ballmer Speech Transcript – Windows DNA for Manufacturing Launch

Remarks by Steve Ballmer

Windows DNA for Manufacturing Launch
2/23/99, Seattle

STEVE BALLMER: Thank you all very much. I want to join Marcus in expressing our great appreciation for your traveling such a long way, for your spending two days for us.I’m also going to apologize, I’m afraid, in advance.I woke up with a little…not a little — with quite a fever this morning.If I get momentarily incoherent at any time during the next hour, I ask your forbearance.I’m a little woozy at this stage.

What I’d like to do set a context for you on this effort by Microsoft around Windows in conjunction with our partners to provide some leadership in the manufacturing industry, and the way that Windows can integrate with the kinds of things that people are trying to do on the manufacturing floor.I want to put that in a context of a broader vision that we’re pursuing, the vision that we talk about of the Digital Nervous System which needs to exist in companies.

A Digital Nervous System — what does that mean?We liken an organization to the human body.And you can ask in your company, in your organization, what does the nervous system look like?How does information flow?How do decisions get made?How do things get communicated?And how important, frankly, is all of the IT investment that your company, that your customers’ companies are making?How important is that IT investment to the basic process your company uses to go about making decisions?There are still many, many businesses where if you ask the CEO, “How do you get the information that you need to make a production decision, to make a pricing decision?” they’ll say “Well, it’s a little ‘ad hoc’.Maybe I get a little out of the computer system.”

It’s always a little bit humbling for me when I sit next to somebody on an airplane who figures out I’m in the computer business.And they say, “we have a lot of computer people in our company.”I said, “that’s a wonderful thing.”And they say, “we have a lot of computers in our company.”And, frankly, I say, “that’s an even better thing.”Then they’ll ask kind of naively, “but why is it when I was trying to do X, Y or Z, I wound up not being able to find the information?”The goal of a Digital Nervous System is to really have in place the infrastructure that allows the kind of rich communication, analysis, collaboration and action that companies really dream of.It is a vision in which every worker is a knowledge worker.We’re going to take a look at some demonstrations later of software by Rockwell Software in which we clearly recognize how any operator on the plant floor is a knowledge worker, somebody that companies are counting on to make the right decisions at the right time to do the right job.And those people need to be empowered with the same kinds of knowledge tools that a finance person, a marketing person or anybody else would be.

A good Digital Nervous System puts customers at the center and uses the Internet as a basic mechanism to do that.I think in the manufacturing industry the Internet and the notion of reengineering supply chains across the Internet will do more to kind of change things and put customers at the center of the Digital Nervous Systems of our manufacturing customers than ever before.In a Digital Nervous System, bad news travels fast.Good news is actually not that interesting.You can’t do that much with it.You can celebrate, you can have a little glass of champagne.Bad news you can act on.You can change your price.You can fix a machine.You can change the production schedule.You can acquire more inventory.So we have to have the kinds of tools and feeds from the basic process out on the shop floor all the way back up to the people in sales and marketing and engineering and management who need to make decisions that are essential to a company’s health.When you want to rate your nervous system, whether you consider it digital or not, many CEOs actually say their nervous systems are far more “ad hoc” — paper, pencil, meetings, faxes.

But if you’re going to rate your nervous system, you’re going to ask yourself a few simple questions for yourselves, for your customers, for people using your products.Can everyone access customer information, at least everyone who needs to? Inside Microsoft we think we’ve come a long way with our own nervous system, but it’s not possible for anybody who’s going to interact with customer X, Y o Z still today to just drill down and get that information in a useful way.We still need to enhance our nervous system.How quickly can you adapt when a machine breaks down?It’s a good test of a nervous system.How does that information flow?How do you react to that information?What tools do you have that help you diagnose change, make an adaptation in the manufacturing schedule or process?If a shipment is delayed, can you find alternate suppliers?Can your production line be quickly reconfigured?All of these questions have a very strong and important information technology component and there’s a real core question–how good and how important is the IT investment that everybody in this room is making and all of our customers are making?How good are the IT investments at answering these kinds of questions?

At Microsoft we’re generally more facile at talking about COM and Windows DNA, and we’re going to go that direction, but it’s important to start any discussion of the value of IT in the industry with a discussion of the core kinds of questions that we can help with.Information technology grew up running the business of the business, the processing of the business.Today a lot of the most interesting value from information technology doesn’t come out of the processing, it comes out of the information that gets taken out of that environment and made available to people to act on.So when we talk about Digital Nervous Systems we’re not just talking about the processing, we’re talking about putting that information to work where people can act on it, make better decisions and improve the productivity of the business.

An example customer who we’ve had the privilege to work with in the manufacturing space who has what I would call a reasonable Digital Nervous System is Cumberland Packing.I’ve got to admit I didn’t know who Cumberland Packing was when people first told me the name of the company, but I sure knew their flagship product, Sweet N Low.This is a company that had a 20-year-old custom manufacturing ERP application.It had Y2K issues.There are unique food industry requirements, particularly when you’re FDA regulated, as essentially everybody in the food industry is.They had a fairly inflexible system.They implemented a new manufacturing ERP system based around SCT’s ADAGE ERP product.Some of our technology and some of the Citrix’s technologies are a core platform.They had this system up and running in five months.They took out 10 percent, about two million dollars–10 percent of their inventory carrying costs.They reduced their lead times.They improved their customer service.It’s one thing to talk about the technology and the number of months.The thing that I’m pleased about, the thing that I was excited about when our folks were telling me about this implementation was they could talk about reduced inventory, they could talk about reduced lead times.Those are the kinds of decisions that people had a chance to make because of the improvements in the nervous system at Cumberland Packing.

Our focus as a company is to invest in the kind of technology platform integration and interoperability and partnerships that enable these Digital Nervous Systems.All three of those are important.Our products are just enablers.We build a platform.It takes partners like many people in this room and others around the globe to bring that platform to life, but without the right integration and interoperability technologies, we’re never going to be able to assemble the information people need to run their business.Some of that information is going to run on Windows systems, some of that as people in this room know, run on UNIX systems and mainframe systems and shop floor systems and it comes out of the process control systems on the shop floor.So we’re putting a lot of energy, a lot of attention in very low level integration and interoperability up to very high level semantic interoperability, which is really the thrust for the Windows DNA for Manufacturing and other similar initiatives that we have in a variety of industries.

I want to take a minute and summarize for you what we’re trying to do on the platform and on interop and then show you how all this might work.First of all, from a manufacturing perspective, I think there are a number of products that are important.First and foremost is undoubtedly the Windows NT Server product.It’s sort of the backbone, the foundation on which business logic can run.With our SNA Server, we actually provide very good interoperability with host environments, not just doing SNA and terminal emulation but actually a much higher level like connections to DB 2, to CICS transactions, etc.Our SQL Server database product and our Site Server Commerce Edition product for letting these manufacturing systems play over the Internet for business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce are very important.We’re making the entire environment, in addition to our partners’ applications, scriptable with Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.In some of the work we’ll demonstrate later today, you’ll see just how some of the ISVs, the independent software vendors who’ve built around our platform allow you to use Visual Basic for Applications to script solutions to your specific business problems.

We’ve built interoperability technologies that get you out to Oracle on UNIX, that get you out to SAP R/3.We’ll show you some applications of what we call the D-COM connector for SAP in a demonstration later in my speech.I talked about the mainframe connectivity.We also provide rich AS/400 connectivity which is important in a number of manufacturing environments where the AS/400 has had a lot of presence in the distribution systems in smaller plants, etc.The platform that we’re attempting to build has then strong interoperability; it’s the only way this works.It has a fairly rich foundation of services for information storage, for business logic, for presentation and for Internet connectivity and communication.This is the core engine on which we and our partners try to add the capabilities, specific capabilities to let it plug in and be a rich basis for manufacturing applications.

We complement the products that I talked about with our client efforts, and particularly in the manufacturing space, I want to highlight Windows CE.We’ll see in the demonstration later some of the applications of Windows CE as a handheld terminal device that you can use to monitor, to manage, to control applications and working environments on the shop floor.That product certainly has good momentum.There are over 15 independent software vendors and hardware vendors in manufacturing and over 100 design wins for Windows CE embedded into manufacturing specific applications.

We also have good momentum on some of the other pieces.There are over 25 applications in manufacturing already running our SQL Server 7.0 product, which was just introduced in December.We’ve seen over 179 percent growth in acceptance of SQL Server in the ERP space and 86 percent growth in the acceptance of our database products in plant operations.Windows NT, today Windows 2000 Server–you can see some of the numbers.The one I think is perhaps in some senses most interesting has been the uptake for Visual Basic for Applications.We have over 10 manufacturing ISVs who embed Visual Basic for Applications and use it as a core tool for the customization of their applications.We’ll hear later from Mike Smith, the national manufacturing manager for Ocean Spray Cranberries.He’ll talk to you about some of the work they’ve been doing with Visual Basic for Applications to customize their manufacturing environment.There are over three million Visual Basic programmers worldwide, and so opening up that knowledge base to ISVs focusing in and customers focusing in in a given industry I think is very important.

Today it’s a pleasure to be able to tell you that Windows NT has become the leading platform for manufacturing execution systems.About 49 percent of all the MES systems installed get installed on Windows NT and that’s up from just 20 percent a year and a half ago.Advanced manufacturing research predicts that by the year 2002, 66 percent of all ERP solutions will be based on Windows NT.So there’s a lot of momentum, a lot of acceptance for Windows NT in the manufacturing space, which causes us to invest even more to try to push farther with our customers and with our partners to make NT and to make our platform a fundamental and important part of the manufacturing environment.

Everybody in this room knows more about manufacturing than I do but I’m going to give you a kind of simple view of how we see manufacturing and some of the technical components that we need to do to enhance our platform specifically for the manufacturing environment.In a very simple view, you have four pieces–control systems and devices, plant operation applications, ERP applications and supply chain applications.So the question for us is how can we provide some specific context that helps glue these things together in more powerful ways based upon the Windows NT and the rest of the Microsoft platform?That’s the goal of Windows DNA for Manufacturing, which you’ll hear about today.We’ve defined with our partners and with our customers standard interfaces to allow the control systems and devices to talk to other things, including plan operation applications.That’s the work we’ve done with so-called OPC, or OLE for Process Control, which is a set of COM-based interfaces for process control systems and devices.We’ve done work with the people who make plan operation applications to make them scriptable with Visual Basic or programmable with Visual Basic for Applications and to allow them to talk to one another by having them instantiate their communication with the external world through COM interfaces to business logic.With our Site Server product, in particular the Commerce Interchange Pipeline or CIP that’s built into it, we’ve tried to open up a standard way to script the interaction and to put together interactions between ERP applications and supply chain applications.So we’re trying to get our partners, the ISVs, to expose themselves in ways which are consistent with this instantiation of our platform and then lets customers and system integrators use components that come from a variety of different independent software vendors that they create themselves and to very quickly get very powerful and satisfactory Digital Nervous System solutions for the manufacturing shop floor and for the manufacturing process.

It’ll be great when you have a chance to hear from Mike Smith later.He was talking over breakfast about how they were able to quickly assemble their solution, writing some of their own objects in Visual Basic, integrating together some work from Intellution and others, and SAP, into a very powerful solution where it was easy, or at least much easier for them than ever before, to put the pieces together coming from these disparate sources in the manufacturing area.The benefits are obvious.It’s about application integration, seamless data exchange, doesn’t require new infrastructure or training.It builds upon the momentum and understanding people have about Windows, about Visual Basic, about COM and writing applications that feed off that platform.It uses proven technologies and tools and provides really a lot of flexibility and a wide variety of choices to a customer who is trying to implement a manufacturing Digital Nervous System.

Personally, I think today we’re still in the very early days of Windows DNA for Manufacturing.I think we have so much more opportunity if we seize the day correctly with our customers and partners.Our expertise is not in manufacturing.The next step is for our partners and customers to take the extra step to try to actually define standard schema and standard objects so that customers aren’t even themselves writing a lot of translation code but literally everything just plugs together in the richest possible way.And we’re going to try and be a galvanizing force to get our partners and our customers in this space to help the industry take the next step.

I’d like now to invite onstage with me Rich Ryan, who is President of Rockwell Software and Heinz Roggenkemper, Executive Vice President of SAP Labs.We’re going to do a little bit of a demonstration for you on how the Rockwell Software, the SAP software might come together in a fairly unique and interesting manufacturing environment.I’ll let these two gentlemen talk to you about some of the interesting things their companies are doing to facilitate that.Please welcome Rich and Heinz.I guess I’ll turn the podium first to Rich.

RICH RYAN: Great.Thanks, Steve.We’re thrilled to be here as part of the demonstration of DNA for Manufacturing this morning.What we think will be very interesting for everybody is to bring a little bit of the excitement of the factory to our meeting this morning and show you some of the things — well, we can’t bring the whole thing…so what’s happening.

At Rockwell Software, we’ve been working on using Microsoft tools and integrating those with the manufacturing environment for quite some time.What we hope to show you today is a whole host of different technologies that integrate on the manufacturing floor and how they provide integrated solutions in unique ways for our customers in the future.First, the power of embedded VBA, as Steve mentioned, to allow us to extend our architecture and allow extensibility in products like visualization tools such as RSview, bi-directional connection capabilities between SQL Server and the real time control system in products such as Rascal, RSSQL, real time control and visualization all running consistently on NT Server with Soft Logic engines and then data access through COM extended for manufacturing and OPC, which allows a wide variety of different data access mechanisms to be used in consistent systems.Finally, tools that extend the reach of DNA right down to the manufacturing floor to help support the operating systems that are running in all of our customers’ plants.

Now, as you know, manufacturing environments aren’t simple, so let me take a minute just to lay out the demonstration architecture that we’ll have here this morning.First, on our remote site, we’ve got the SAP Server application running in Ohio.In front of me I have an R/3 graphic user interface client that’ll be doing some order entry.Our manufacturing application station run by Brandon Eckbert will run a host of different Rockwell Software applications integrated with SQL, integrated with COM elements to bring those elements together.And finally our shop floor.Now I know it looks like something different than a shop floor over to my left, but our shop floor will deliver product driven by a process PLC and run our online shirt factory.All of that is networked together with a combination of Ethernet and dial-up networks between the various sites.

STEVE BALLMER: So you’re going to show us that now live?

RICH RYAN: What we’re showing is that all of these applications use COM as a natural glue that Rockwell Software has been embedding in products for several years to bring together a set of solutions that tie with our own applications and with others.So the demonstration architecture breaks out those three pieces in much the same way that you would layer a real time factory application on the factory floor–enterprise software, business execution software and the shop floor control mechanisms all integrated together.

The Internet application architecture, if you will, or Rockwell Internet Application Architecture…

STEVE BALLMER: I like that name.

RICH RYAN: It’s a natural add-on to DNA.We’ll demonstrate how this works in several different steps.Let me march through those steps and we’ll turn it over to Brandon.First, the SAP order information will be retrieved from the R/3 database and brought down into the local server running RSView, and SoftLogics that takes care of the supervisory control of my overall plant.Second, we’ll actually initiate an order into the manufacturing system.The manufacturing system then provides the routing control so we know how to deliver the product to the right part and what types of products and what quantities are required when.Finally the fun part, the shipment of that customer order through connections down to the PLC.Almost as important as the acknowledgement that that final order status gets passed back to the system to confirm it happened, it happened on time, it happened at the right quality level for that particular process.And the last piece, maintenance.And how do we bring in tools of extensions from CE technology right down to the floor to help maintain the operating system.

BRANDON ECKBERT: So what I can do now, is I’ll actually, we can switch over to this system here and I’ll go online with the SAP instance and pulling the current orders that we have staged for the manufacturing system here.We’ve got a series of orders here for different shirts, so I’m going to attempt to try to fire, actually manufacture shirts using the manufacturing system.You’ll see two things.I went online with the SAP instance and pulled in the current active orders through here.And in this case, as we start that manufacturing unit, you see the SQL Server integration kick in and SQL Server is actually controlling the full routing control of this unit in conjunction with our RSSQL transaction engine, and managing the route right through the process.Then actually setting up the destination where I can then fire the shirts right through…so we’d have to try it again to…

STEVE BALLMER: Now we know people are awake!

BRANDON ECKBERG: So if we can pop a second order up here, we can…you’ll see…

STEVE BALLMER: You used the D-COM connector for SAP in order to drive the SAP, or fire the SAP system?

BRANDON ECKBERT: That’s exactly correct.

BRANDON ECKBERG: It’s the power of VBA embedded inside RSView connecting to the COM interface provided through the D-COM connector that allows us to grab the current sales orders and pull them into RS View.And as you see here, we pick a different part number.The manufacturing process is now you’ll see the unit follow a different route because it’s actually a different part, it’s following a different manufacturing location and then some lucky customer out here will now get a different shirt location.Whoa!We have a lot of fun with this when we put rubber bands on it.Then you see it go through the back wall as opposed to…

So with that, we can finish up one more, try one more option here.Try it and run it through the manufacturing process.One of the nice things, as Rich mentions, we’re using SQL Server to build that whole manufacturing history, orders, date information all contained in the SQL Server which gives the customers that single location to go for all their manufacturing questions.

STEVE BALLMER: Why did you guys pick SQL Server?

RICH RYAN: SQL Server, particularly SQL 7 because of performance–it allows real time integration of the database along with the operation.Secondly we think the extension to analyze problems using OLAP tools will be important in the future.

BRANDON ECKBERT: I know you’ve never experienced demo problems up on stage, but we’ve got this demo problem showing up.I just can’t figure out what happened.Maybe someone could help us out.

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: I can fix that.Fortunately, Microsoft extended DNA down into these handheld devices and Rockwell Software built PocketLogics that’ll allow me to go online here with this PLC and I should be able to get this diagnosed and fixed pretty shortly.Let’s see.

STEVE BALLMER: We’re looking here at a camera that’s on the Win CE handheld device running the Rockwell Software.I think this is just a standard Win CE device, the same kind you could buy at a Comp USA store and software is running down there for repair.

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: Let me go over here now and see if I can’t readjust this a little bit.There we go.Okay.No problem.

RICH RYAN: We’re up and running.



STEVE BALLMER: Is that going to fit right there in your tool belt?

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: Sure does.Goes right in there and I’m ready to go.

STEVE BALLMER: Very stylish.Thank you.

BRANDON ECKBERT: The last piece of our demo is the use of CE technology as an interface device.Not all the commands for the factory are going to be driven by the supervisory system.So this is a CE terminal using a wireless connection that allows me to go online and adjust the operating parameters of the shirt cannon so we can deliver that manually to different parts of the screen.The reason CE technology is so important for the factory, obviously instant on’ was critical, so as Jeff saw, he can come out, step to the machine immediately and go online.Secondly, it allowed us to take our standard applications and use many of the same APIs we did for Win 32 applications and other places and port them to the factory.So let’s see if we can adjust this a little bit over here, maybe take the elevation down a little bit.

STEVE BALLMER: These are customers.Let me take a look.So literally this is a wireless connection and I can just rotate this thing that way.

DIFFERENT SPEAKER: Whoa, it’s back up.

STEVE BALLMER: We can drop it and move it up.That hurts the lights.So we take it down–that hurts the customers.And then we hit this Fire button, something good should happen.


STEVE BALLMER: Softly delivered!That’s great!But I think it gives you something of the sense of the integration across the different platforms, across the SAP software and the Rockwell Software.It’s fantastic.

RICH RYAN: Great.Thanks for the opportunity, Steve.

STEVE BALLMER: Thanks very much to Rich.


STEVE BALLMER: Thanks, Heinz.We’re going to have a chance to hear more from Heinz Roggenkemper later, a full presentation about the SAP application suite in manufacturing.I hope that gives you a bit of a sense for some of the kinds of integration that are possible.What we saw there was across a variety of platforms, across the SAP application, across the Rockwell application, with custom code that had been written in Visual Basic for Applications.I guarantee you it took custom code to drive this cannon.Every basketball game I’ve ever been to where I’ve seen them shoot these things, they had a human being on the end.But all of that and all of the integration that went into this demo was enabled by the standardization of interfaces that we’re all trying to accomplish with Windows DNA for Manufacturing.

If we could have the other screen back, I’d now like to invite also to join me on stage, Mike Smith, who’s Manager of National Manufacturing Systems for Ocean Spray Cranberries.Ocean Spray has actually done an implementation with SAP using the beginnings of the Windows DNA for Manufacturing systems.I’d like Mike to talk to you a little bit about his real world experience implementing one of these systems.Please welcome Mike Smith.

MIKE SMITH: Hi, Steve.Well, first of all, I’d like to take a moment just to…if I become incoherent, just blame it on Steve.Okay?

So I just want to take a few moments, I was asked to come and just give you a little bit of information and share with you some of the benefits that Ocean Spray has been able to garner from using the technologies and the architectures here with DNA for Manufacturing.Back in 1991, several of the managers, manufacturing and IT managers, got together and tried to identify ways that the IT group could benefit the manufacturing organization.A couple of things that came out of that right away.We wanted to leverage our leadership as far as innovation is concerned, find technologies and implement those technologies to continue to give us a competitive advantage.Also, we did not, we were not willing to compromise our leadership in product quality and product standards and product safety to the consumers.So those are a couple of things that drove us to this right off the bat.Then in addition to that, we saw that we had an opportunity to leverage our assets better, our capital assets, which drove us to seven by 24 operations.It sounded real good, but also at the same time presented a lot of challenges.IT was looked upon to deliver those systems that would give us a reliable operation seven by 24, various time zones, different types of operations, different divisions within the company.It all had to be independent of those systems external to Ocean Spray such as enterprise systems, communication systems going down.We had to be able to survive those kinds of issues.

Cost.Like everyone else, it’s a competitive environment.We had to drive down the cost of our manufacturing operations.So we needed to be able to leverage the development that we were doing and the work we were doing to reduce our cost overall.One of the things we also found as we looked deeper was we needed to be able to improve our ability to redeploy the technologies and the solutions that we’re having out on the field.Oftentimes we found many facilities that were addressing the same business problem with their own individual custom solutions.Because of the diversity of platforms and architectural designs, we were not able to leverage a single targeted solution across the entire enterprise.We needed to be able to do that much more effectively.So as we went down the path, we began to assemble an architecture and a foundation that would be able to give us the types of improvements we needed.

One of those things was what we’re looking at here today, the DNA for Manufacturing architecture.Some of the components that we’ve employed throughout the years and brought together, Windows NT Server, all of our application systems, our Scada systems, databases, application servers, object servers–all those run on Microsoft NT Server.NT Workstation is our standard desktop platform for the manufacturing shop floor environment.Everything on the shop floor runs from a client, Windows NT Workstation.NT Server is our enterprise standard for manufacturing for all of our database applications.Visual Basic is the standard development environment using COM, D-COM, OPC, OLE for OLE DB.All of those are integral parts of the development environment for us and have been.

We also needed a scalable manufacturing platform.We went to Intellution back in 1992 and spoke with them.They were able to provide us and have been able to consistently provide us with a solution that really had an enterprise approach.It gives us seamless integration all the way from the shop floor, all the way to the business systems within the facility and even across facilities.In our business, they were really concerned about making sure that the operators are concerned about their job and their job alone, which means that they’re responsible for validating that the target information and the process parameters, those are the things that are correct and that’s what we want them to focus on to maintain the product quality and product safety.So by using these kinds of architectures and the products Intellution gave to us, it allowed us to do that and present that to the operator in a very effective way.

Also we needed a platform that we could go and implement cost effectively across any type of situation.We have many different working environments, everything from small one and two unit solutions in some of our fruit receiving areas, to large plants that have multiple types of processing and packaging environments and lines within a single given facility.So we needed a product and a vendor that would be able to deliver those kinds of advantages to us and be able to put in a cost effective solution regardless of the size.Also, we needed to be able to take the objects that we built and be able to apply those across the entire organization.We have several divisions as well as different types of operation and regardless whether it was our cranberry or our citrus division, we need to be able to apply the same types of technologies and take advantage of those solutions across the entire enterprise.Intellution gave us those kinds of solutions.

Realizing we needed to improve our enterprise planning process, we went to SAP.They are delivering the R/3 solution to us and will deliver the results that we need as far as the enterprise is concerned for planning purposes.Greater material control is critical for us to be able to provide the product quality while maintaining a low cost.What we did then is we took all of these pieces and not surprisingly we knew the path that we were heading down.We needed to integrate them, but we already had the architecture in place, we already had the pieces; all we needed to do was just fit them together and they fit together very well.

I’ll just take a couple minutes to give you some of the highlights and the benefits of what it’s given to Ocean Spray.We have a 30 to 50 percent decrease in cost for development time as well as increased deployment.We can deploy a particular application much more rapidly because we don’t have to redevelop new solutions from scratch.We can take objects and portions of the business we’ve already applied a solution to and just simply extend that solution.One of the great examples of that is we applied the Intellution Fix Dynamics Visual Batch product and put that in our blend system in one of our facilities.Then later on that same year, we took and just extended that product to our Clean in Place, CIP, processes.Normally those types of operations, completely different software packages managed both of those solutions–two completely different products.What we did is actually take and just extend the use of the visual batch product across to multiple parts of the operation.Normally we would look at some of these operations we’ve done in the past and it would take an average of about a year from the time that you started engineering to implementation of any one of those products or processes and we were able to implement both of those processes successfully in less than a year.So it was very, very rapid for us to be able to put that online and have the reliability.We already knew the product and the process was stable with the blend system, so it was simply being able to extend and apply that to another process.So it was a very, very stable and effective solution for us.

The DNA architecture is tremendously flexible.We can use it across all parts of the organization, different divisions, processes within a particular division or plant.It’s extensible.Without having to rewrite code for new applications, we can just extend that, the code that we already have, add functionality.We don’t have to rewrite it from scratch.So that’s tremendously powerful, and we have the ability to rely on those products.Again, because of the extensibility, we don’t have to worry about putting a whole new system online–we’re just adding functionality.That’s been tremendous.Also, the last thing is it gives you a foundation, for us a solid foundation for our applications and the architecture.We can look into the future, some of the things–the SAP DCOM connector that will be talked about later on today. I think Heinz will probably be giving you some information about that.When we started our project, an implementation project a couple of years ago that was not available.And so with the design that we have, the architecture that we have, as those technologies come out and it provides a business advantage to us we can simply plug those technologies in because of the architecture without having to rewrite a lot of the code and the interfaces around it.We can simply just plug that piece in and take the older technology out.Also Windows CE is another technology that we’re looking at and have some implementation plans for already again looking at that platform gives us another alternative to put solutions in places in the business where otherwise previous solutions would be too costly to put in.We can use that CE platform and very cost effectively put in a smart interface in a situation where previously it just was not cost effective.So there is a lot of technology that again you can, the architecture provides you the foundation so you can plug those technologies as your business grows and those technologies come out that you can then take advantage of in your business.So just really in closing I want to say that it’s powerful architecture, it’s here, it works and it’s very powerful and I think you should grab onto it, it’s very, very powerful.

STEVE BALLMER: I appreciate it very much, thank you.I certainly think that Mike’s comments really summarize well the goals of what we’ve tried to do and what we are going to try to do in the future.It really takes a lot of cooperation and a lot of participation from everywhere within the manufacturing industry, SAP, Intolution, Rockwell software and many, many, many others.The work we’re trying to do here in manufacturing parallels work we’re also trying to do in some other industries.This is not an island if you will.We have efforts going on in retail, in financial services and health care to bring the DNA and COM architectures alive.With standard interfaces that customers and independent software vendors can take advantage of.In retail we have an initiative we call the active store.In financial services, Windows DNA for Financial Services.In health care, ActiveX for Health Care.And of course here in manufacturing, the initiative we’re here to all talk about and share information and views on, Windows DNA for Manufacturing.These all have the same common approach.They build off COM and DCOM.They build off NT Server and SQL Server.They build off of some task-centric middleware that we create and then they leverage a set of partners and a set of customers that propose ways to standardize the COM interfaces in the given industry.They also take a look down to the hardware specific devices which are important in those industries and standardize ways to communicate and get at information that come out of those devices, whether that’s a point of sale device in the retail industry, whether that’s a cash drawer or a check reader, specialized devices in financial services, medical equipment or process control devices.So there’s a set of interfaces defined for how information moves out of those devices through the middleware and then can be exchanged to cross applications in a variety of industries.And so what we’re trying to do here in manufacturing is to extend something which has been very successful for us in these other industries.I had a chance about two months ago to be in New York and to keynote a conference on Windows DNA for Financial Services.We had about five hundred people, right across from the old New York Stock Exchange, or the current New York Stock Exchange, we had customers from the insurance sector, the securities industry and the banking industry, talking about some of the same kinds of benefits that we just had a chance to hear Mike talk about that he’s realizing in the manufacturing industry.These solutions are not made by us, these solutions come to the floor when partners participate.We’re still not in the manufacturing industry, we provide an infrastructure that lets people who are in the manufacturing industry do their job.We’re excited about the uptake we’ve seen and the participation by the industry in this area.As I said, there’s 150-plus partners in OLE for process control which is the device level interface and we have over twenty independent software vendors announcing support for Windows DNA for Manufacturing today.And there are hundreds of applications available from people in the ERP space, in the plan operation space, in the process control space and in the supply chain space.Microsoft’s goal as a company is to build these kinds of enabling platforms, to have Windows and Office and Back Office and MSN be a platform for the kinds of commerce activities, manufacturing activities and knowledge activities that people need to do in their digital nervous systems.We know there’s a lot you expect from us.Not only a rich platform with a great set of services, but also with the kind of scalability, reliability, manageability and interoperability that really lets these solutions go into your organizations, your customers’ organizations, and just have them work to be available as Mike Smith said seven days a week, 24 hours a day.To have them scale up as your business needs scale up.We still have a lot of work to do.We’ll spend this year about 3 billion dollars in R & D, only three or four US companies will spend more than we spend.But that all of that R & D is really going in to not only extending the functionality but the reliability of these platforms so that you can depend on them, you can use them and you can really make them the backbone of the digital nervous systems and the manufacturing companies that you work for and that you support.I sure thank you again for taking the time, for joining us these two days and for the time that you spent with me and I’d be delighted to take your questions.Thanks very much.

Related Posts