Microsoft, Invensys Form Alliance for Intelligent Business, Plant Solutions

HOUSTON, Oct. 21, 2003 — Today at ISA EXPO 2003, Microsoft Corp. and Invensys plc announced an alliance to combine Invensys’ strengths in process and manufacturing applications and expertise in key industry segments with Microsoft’s platform, technology and enterprise products. The alliance will drive a new generation of Invensys solutions to provide manufacturers with real-time visibility in their plant environments and supply chains.

Although Invensys has long developed solutions using Microsoft®
technology, under the alliance, Invensys will tightly integrate Microsoft’s platform into the company’s future offerings. Microsoft also will help Invensys accelerate the development of its enhanced productivity tools, products and customer solutions with broad, horizontal appeal to the manufacturing industry and specific benefits for the hydrocarbons, power and utilities, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing segments.

“Our joint development, training and engagement model under the alliance will ensure we deliver solutions with the functionality, longevity, robustness and security that our customers demand,” said Leo Quinn, chief operating officer for Invensys Production Management. “The solutions will help our customers address many of the issues that are keeping them awake at night — such as speed to market, the diversion of investment to infrastructure issues at the expense of value-added applications, and the retention of intellectual property as more and more highly skilled professionals retire.”

The cornerstones of the alliance will be provided by more strongly linking Invensys’ ArchestrA architecture with Microsoft .NET and Microsoft’s Windows Server System (TM) integrated server software. Invensys solutions built on the ArchestrA architecture empower decision-makers to achieve their business goals without abandoning previous investments in automation systems, production processes or intellectual property. The ArchestrA architecture provides a common foundation for industrial automation solutions and can effectively integrate with all disparate systems in a plant. By working more closely with Microsoft .NET, Invensys solutions built on ArchestrA will be able to bridge all levels of the enterprise and take advantage of the unparalleled installed base of Microsoft products and productivity tools in the manufacturing environment.

“We believe this is going to be a successful alliance and a great example of how we’re continuing to work with market leaders that use our platform to build solutions that focus on critical areas for our manufacturing customers, such as providing real-time visibility into their plant floors,” said Charles Johnson, worldwide managing director of the manufacturing industry solutions group at Microsoft. “Invensys not only has the demonstrated domain expertise in a number of important vertical segments, but also one of the longest track records of successfully developing go-to-market solutions based on the Microsoft platform.”

For example, Invensys’ ArchestrA plant automation and information software architecture was designed from the ground up to take advantage of Microsoft .NET and to extend the life of a customer’s existing systems. In addition, Invensys is the world’s second-largest supplier of Microsoft SQL Server (TM) and was the first major automation company to incorporate Windows® operating system-based workstation applications into a large-scale process control system. In 1996, with the introduction of I/A Series on Windows NT®
, Invensys was also the first major automation company to incorporate Windows workstation applications into a large-scale process control system.

More recently, Invensys was the first company to utilize Windows XP for process control system applications and the first to use Windows CE in an optionally redundant industrial module. And today, Invensys is announcing one of the first mobile manufacturing solutions that will run on Windows XP for the Tablet PC (see today’s Invensys news release on Wonderware In Touch HMI software support for Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition).

The alliance’s first goal will be to extend the Invensys ArchestrA architecture using Microsoft .NET to create an adaptive collaborative environment for easily and effectively integrating all production management systems from enterprise resource planning and warehouse management to customer relationship management. The end result will be a complete business framework based on Microsoft .NET and Web services for the manufacturing plant or process of the future.

On a different level, Invensys and Microsoft engineers also are working together closely to embed ArchestrA at the device level to create Invensys automation systems that are fully appropriate for mission-critical industrial applications.

The two companies anticipate that their alliance ultimately will do the following:

  • Drive solutions that provide real-time connections between shop floor, engineering, supply chain and product life-cycle management tools and enterprise applications

  • Maximize customers’ investments while increasing overall productivity

  • Increase uptime and asset availability for managing multiple sites, integrating with partners and optimizing complex supply chains

  • Prove that technology and solutions from Invensys and Microsoft will be robust, flexible, scalable and secure

One customer already seeing benefits from Invensys and Microsoft working more closely together is the South African division of SABMiller plc, one of the world’s largest brewers. “With Invensys and Microsoft, we believe we are on the right path to achieving our operational goals for excellence across our brewing operations, but we are just taking the first steps,” said Thinus Van Schoor, automation manager at SABMiller. “We are encouraged by the results so far, like the significant cost savings from reduced engineering time and reuse of objects, and the way ArchestrA enables us to leverage standards and best practices. We also are pleased thus far with the ease of integration, and interoperability offered to other systems, as well as the overall flexibility.

“We have already captured a significant portion of our intellectual property in a library of ArchestrA objects, and we are making them available to all our plants,” Van Schoor added. “By leveraging the objects in our library, we can recognize significant savings. In fact, we are aggressively targeting engineering cost savings from reusable control modules, process specifications, and process classes or procedures.”

About Invensys

Invensys plc is a global leader in production technology. The group helps customers improve productivity, performance and profitability using innovative services and technologies and a deep understanding of their industries and applications.

Invensys Production Management works closely with customers to increase performance of production assets, maximise return on investment in production and data management technologies and remove cost and cash from the supply chain. The division includes APV, Avantis, Eurotherm, Foxboro, IMServ, SimSci-Esscor, Triconex and Wonderware. These businesses address process and batch industries — including oil and gas, chemicals, power and utilities, food and beverage, and personal health care — and the discrete and hybrid manufacturing sectors.

Invensys operates in more than 60 countries, with its headquarters in London. For more information, visit

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows Server System, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Invensys, Wonderware, ArchestrA, APV, Avantis, Eurotherm, Foxboro, IMServ, SimSci-Esscor and Triconex are trademarks of Invensys plc, its subsidiaries and affiliated companies.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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