Five Reasons Subscription Shouldn’t be a Bad Word for Automation Software

Written by Melinda Corley, Product Marketing Manager, AVEVA

Consider the traditional model for HMI and SCADA software: You buy a perpetual license for operations control (HMI and SCADA) software based on your existing systems or equipment, and choose your software based on compatibility with what is already installed, features you require, and the team you have to develop and implement it. You hope that software will serve you for years as your equipment ages, dependent operating systems go out of support or become obsolete, and your workforce changes.

Subscription is almost a dirty word for many companies; why pay regularly for something you can purchase once? But when you consider the traditional model of software procurement, there are limitations that only become obvious after you’ve run your system nearly to failure and are faced with a massive upgrade project to bring your systems up to date, add operators to thin clients, or scale your system up with more I/O points.
A rapidly changing industry, a transitioning workforce, and a quicker pace of software development may leave companies using perpetual licenses frozen in time as their competitors take advantage of new technologies. That’s why it might be time to look at operations control software in a new light. Here are some of the reasons it’s time to stop considering subscription software for operations control only as a recurring cost instead of a future-proofing opportunity.

Edge to Enterprise

1. Subscription Gets You Started Quickly, With Low Initial Investments

Traditional SCADA or HMI software licenses demand a high initial expenditure and a lot of guesswork as you try to anticipate what you’ll need now, as well as years in the future. Subscription licenses, however, allow you to make a much lower initial investment, and unlimited clients and tag counts available in subscription offers for AVEVA Operations Control take the guesswork out of buying automation software. With multiple development environments to choose from, you can get started immediately and operate with the confidence, knowing you’ll have the freedom to switch software, include as many data points as you need, add operators, or change architectures at any time.

2. More Freedom to Experiment and Adopt New Technology Early

No company imagines they won’t grow. Building your SCADA or HMI system only for what exists now locks you into a single architecture, potentially for years. Subscription options, however, allow you to keep up with the pace of technology. AVEVA’s platform agnostic approach to operations control software means you’ll have the ability to add equipment, connect to new protocols, or meet new regulatory requirements or industry standards. When combined with the power of unlimited data points, cloud capabilities, and even the ability to choose from multiple software solutions, a subscription model can give you the power to innovate, experiment with architectures, and implement new technologies without the risk of overinvesting.

3. Operations Software That’s Always Supported (And More Secure)

It was only a matter of time until Ransomware and Malware began targeting operations software. Having systems that rely on obsolete or unsupported operating systems and integrate with unsupported software is no longer an option. Business must always use supported and updated software to mitigate security threats (and avoid liability for breaches). Unfortunately, a traditional perpetual model for SCADA and HMI software can create incentives to use unsupported operating systems or operations control software, even when unpatched vulnerabilities and active exploits exist. Subscription models remove these incentives by ensuring you’re always on the most recent version of your operations control software, with all the patches and security updates that entails. There’s no excuse for running a vulnerable system just because it’s cheaper to hope nothing happens than to buy an updated version.

4. Decrease Your Reliance on Institutional Knowledge

Even if your monitoring and control software is frozen in time, your workforce won’t be. Attrition, turnover, and the increasing move to automated positions mean that you can always expect your team to change over time. If you only have the choice of one software for operations control, and specifically only one version, you may fall into the trap relying on specific individuals who know how to use or develop it. What do you do when those individuals leave? Even worse, what do you do when those individuals are resistant to updates or changes to your software stack because they aren’t familiar with it? You may lose out on new features or technologies like cloud development or the ability to try different HMI or SCADA software. One way to combat this resistance to change is to create a culture of innovation that allows for and expects employees to be agile. Subscription solutions for automation software are an excellent way to institute this culture. When your workforce knows they are expected to keep pace with technology, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well they’ll rise to the occasion.

5. No More Surprise Costs for Operations Control Software

So, you’ve been running your monitor and control software for five years. It’s a few versions behind, but it still works and you see no reason to change it. Then comes the unexpected; a new regulation requires you to implement a feature only available in the newest version of the software. Now, in order to keep up, you must put down a huge investment to upgrade to the most recent version and implement the new capabilities. But what if you always knew, every month, every year what your operations control software was going to cost? Subscription solutions are an excellent way to remove unplanned upgrades from your list of budgeting concerns.

Are you ready to embrace the flexibility of subscription solutions for software? Consider AVEVA Operations Control; a new offer that allows you to tailor your monitor and control software to your current and future needs and effortlessly innovate and grow.