Marc Taccolini, Tatsoft, LLC PostedMonday, August 5, 2019 Q Why did you choose the career you did, or did the career choose you? A The career chooses me in 1986, but then It was my decision to stay. I started as a trainee in a system integrator company, leading at that time projects with the "new" architecture based on PCs and PLCs. Living the experience and needing of automation engineers doing field start-ups, I moved to develop HMI software. On my previous venture, I founded the company InduSoft and designed its platform, InduSoft Web Studio, currently still in the market under the AVEVA group. I sold that business with the intend to create a new company to bring a new platform to the market. Q What was the motivation to create a new platform, after having an established product? A Like many packages still currently in use, that platform had its original design on the 90s, using the technologies available at that time and aiming to be just an HMI, not an Industry 4.0 or IoT framework. Around 10 years ago, it became clear to me that we were about to have a major evolutionary step in industrial automation over the next decade and beyond; therefore, a brand-new platform, designed from kernel-up with the latest technologies, would be a great and necessary tool to enable the new generations of applications. Q What is the biggest benefit of CSIA membership for Tatsoft? A Our history is rooted in the practical requirements system integrators have when deploying their projects. The CSIA membership allowed us to stay in close contact with those companies and their current challenges. Q Why did Tatsoft become a member of CSIA? A A brand-new platform, based on latest technologies, capable of delivering 4.0 solutions, integrating IT and OT, requires a mature and specialized network of Integrators. What we can do includes, but goes beyond, traditional HMI-SCADA systems. The CSIA membership put Tatsoft in direct contact with those forward-thinking system integration houses. Q What kinds of trends and challenges are you seeing in industrial automation right now? A Mergers and acquisitions will keep very active, with large players seeking to complete their platforms and unlock new opportunities in their own base. The lack of proper infrastructure or out-of-date factory-floor solutions will challenge the adoption of full 4.0 solutions. While most of the marketing and cases will be published on purely cloud-based solutions, lots of investments will go to install and upgrade on-premises systems. That is why we designed a flexible, open and layered platform that can fit with existing architectures or support newer more efficient technology stacks. Q How has Tatsoft grown or changed in the past year, and what do you expect for your company in the next 12 to 24 months? A We are consistently growing double-digits and that shall continue the next 24 months. When we completely rewrote a software architecture that had 20 years of usage, it was to create a platform to grow and stay on the long run, that is what we are doing. About branding, we don't have yet much name recognition because we have been more focused on organic growth based on brand-label agreements, OEM partnerships and some specific industry solutions, where our product in embedded in another solution. The next 12 to 24 months, we shall have investment to use our brand more directly into the mainstream industrial software markets. Q In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the automation marketplace today and in the future? A With the industrial internet of things and Industry 4.0, there is a need for a scalable but robust application development platform that is flexible enough to meet the constantly changing requirements, both from OT and IT, in premises and for cloud solutions. We believe FactoryStudio is that platform that incorporates the best of both the engineering or OT and IT worlds and close the gap on the on-premises and distributed applications. Q What challenges are your customers facing now? A A big issue that we see is dealing with legacy software that has been patched together over many years and has high cost of maintenance and support, both internally and from the annual fees of the software supplier. Q From a supplier perspective, why should a prospective customer hire a CSIA integrator member? A CSIA members are proven to follow best practices and they care about their business processes. That ensures they deliver quality results for their customers – which translates into quality results for Tatsoft’s customers. Q What is the smartest decision your company has made recently? A To work closer with partner integrations companies, assisting them in packaging vertical solutions on top of our platform. The integration projects are changing from custom development to each site to the selection and configuration components and building blocks packaged from previous deployments. Q What mistake did you make and what did you learn from it? A We had from day 1, many years ago, the ability to license the software by subscription, unlimited or by tag, but initially we didn't actively market all the options, as the main demand was by tag. Now, all options are commercially available, including subscription and unlimited tags and users. Looking back, we could have done it right away, guiding users to evaluate those new options, instead of waiting for the market to mature. Lesson learned: to put the features you have, even the market isn't requesting it yet. Q What makes Tatsoft optimistic about the future of the automation industry? A These are exciting times, the generational change in technology we're living now, opened lots of potential possibilities. The last few years many of those new concepts had finally the time to mature to practical applications. The industrial automation market has a bright future ahead, we look forward to it. Q What’s the best advice you could give your younger self, just getting started? A You are your own main competition. Look what is out in the market, but primarily, focus in improving your own company and products, and yourself. Q What advice would you give to a prospective customer researching you vs. your competitors? A Dig into the product and test the capabilities – don’t just look at the marketing hype. High performance and experience on factory-floor are fundamental for an industrial automation platform. Q What’s unique about how you approach a project? A We understand that our mission, when approaching a project, goes beyond collecting requirements and specifications. It involves learning what is the ultimate goals that are trying to be achieved, so we can, as possible, validate and improve the solution that is going be deployed. Q Tell us why your customers return to you project after project. A We're an old-style passionate and focused software company. Each project isn't only a deliverable to be concluded, but it is also a signature left, which shall meet the objectives of the project, but also makes us professionally proud and motivated. Q Do you specialize in any industry, product or discipline? A FactoryStudio is an application development platform that can be used to create solutions in a variety of industries. The software is flexible and can scale from an edge device to an HMI to advanced SCADA to a full IIoT solution and everywhere in between. Applications that require high performance and high flexibility for customization are the ones where our platform had most of the advantage. Q From a supplier perspective, how should a customer go about choosing a system integrator? A The integrator shall have experience, good support from its suppliers and a validated process to approach the systems. In that sense, the certification provided by CSIA is an excellent tool to ensure good procedures are in place.