Do you know who Big Blue is? Follow the link if you don’t, but most of us will know that IBM is known as Big Blue. Think about that for a while. A nickname for a company that (almost) everyone knows. Some say this is a deliberate marketing strategy, based on the blue logo of IBM. Others say this is the result of the IBM dress code of blue suits in the past. Let’s assume it is a mix of both and it is still brilliant. Big Blue IBM wouldn’t benefit from a marketing strategy which would work great for a smartphone or other gadget. IBM opts for marketing based on reputation, a reputation that lasts for decades.
Why is that so important? It is important because Big Blue, like many others, provides products and services that easily last a decade. Hyping a new product or service will not motivate investors, manufacturers, hospitals, etc. to start a new project with a life cycle of many years. The objective is to be top of the list when the next major investment is planned. Being the Preferred Supplier is the name of the game, and reputation is what gets you there. IBM championed that.
Another champion of reputation is Siemens. From the entry level PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) to the high-end industrial automation clusters, from trains to turbines, whatever Siemens builds is build to last a long time. Siemens championed building that reputation and making sure that this is what they are known for. And that is a really impressive achievement because there is a lot of Siemens technology out there which we will never see. A very clear example of this is the Siemens SIMATIC S7-400H. Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry, unless you are working in the Industrial Automation industry, you will most likely never see it or hear about it. But a lot of us depend on it without even knowing it. Curious?
The SIMATIC S7-400H, by most technicians affectionately called “The H”, is a special version in the range of Industrial Automation Controllers by Siemens. The H stands for Hochverfügbarkeit = High Availability. You will find it for example in safety circuits in factories and this 400H has a solid reputation in the oil and gas industry. From refineries to tank farms to pumping stations to pipeline controls, you will find the 400H where safety is crucial.
Chances are pretty high that somewhere along the line between you and your energy provider, a 400H was involved to get the job done. So that means it is an important but unknown enabler when you fuel up your car or heat up your house or switch on the light, and in many more applications. That the technicians and engineers in the industry know this device isn’t what is so impressive about the reputation of Siemens.
What is truly impresive and demonstrates how Siemens champions reputation like hardly any other, is the fact that every executive and manager in for example the oil and gas industry knows that the 400H is an important safety device. Do they know how the 400H works? No. But they do know that the 400H makes an important difference. To get that critical license to operate the pipeline. To pass the safety audit. That is what championing reputation is all about!
That is just an example of one product in the enormous range of products and equipment. When you take the time to listen to the technicians, engineers and maintenance experts, you will hear tons of stories about the giants with reputations of generations. What they deliver today, fits straight into that picture. Reliable, and based on validated technology. And at the same time, these giants keep their legacy installed base up and running, long after new and improved version of their products are on the market.
Stay tuned for more chapters Back to the Future Cyber Security
- Back to the Future Cyber Security – Chapter 2: A new strategy for Legacy Risk is needed!
- Charter of Trust