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Pinto’s Prose ISA Global Strategy Moves Forward

Just over a year ago, I considered ISA to be a “melting iceberg.” Since then, the organization has been making good progress, and plans are crystallizing for new growth and success.

Executive Director Pat Gouhin, who joined in January 2006, has excellent related experience with the dynamics of volunteer-driven organizations. He has clearly developed a strong relationship with the volunteer chain-of-command, which now has a consistent vision focused on the future.

 

Today, one can sense a spirit of new drive and determination within the ISA organization to make it much more than it has been for several years. In addition to amalgamated volunteer leadership, the existing team of dedicated people with years of industry knowledge and experience has been expanded to generate new growth through several focused objectives.

 

ISA was formed in 1945 as the Instrument Society of America, and the name was changed in 2000 to Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. As a symbol of the new expanded focus, subject to review by society delegates this year, it is anticipated that the name will be changed to International Society of Automation. This name reflects two important differences in focus: “International” and “Automation.” While originally an “instrumentation” society, ISA is now involved with the broader aspects of “automation” and aims to be a catalyst for creation of the automation profession of the future.

 

The original name was reflected in membership (about 29,000 total) being overwhelmingly American—65 percent in the United States, 10 percent in Canada. To be a successful global organization, the membership percentages should be the inverse of the current ratio, about 75 percent from outside North America. If one makes the reasonable assumption that domestic membership has stabilized, then international membership should generate growth of at least 300 percent, to well over 100,000 members.

 

The new ISA expects and intends to expand global membership to become truly “international.” Tim Feldman, director of global operations, joined ISA in July 2006 in a new position tasked with developing the strategy to transform ISA into a global organization. During his first year, together with a task force of Society leaders, he completed the due diligence and market analysis that led to the funding of the global program as a new venture investment through ISA’s cash reserves. Feldman has traveled the world holding meetings in key markets with suppliers, end-users, integrators, government officials and academia, to assess needs and review potential business partners who could deliver ISA’s core competencies to the automation profession.

 

Recognizing that it will take five to seven years of continued investment to bear fruit, ISA leaders have already approved the investment of significant funds to establish a firm footprint in India. The investment from ISA’s reserves to enter these markets is separate, and in addition to, the budgets that will be established to fund the activities of global operations management.

 

These are now ISA’s focused objectives:

 

·         Develop and coordinate standards: ISA is already globally recognized for its Standards and Practices involvement. To help with standards compliance, the Automation Standards Compliance Institute has been started.

 

·         Education and training for automation jobs: Workforce development is an important concern to every industrial company. ISA certification, recognition and licensing programs will contribute to defining the automation professional of the future.

 

·         Publish books and technical articles: Focus will be on automation business.

 

·         Host conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals: Expand global involvement.

 

No other organization anywhere in the world covers these important functions to serve the global automation business.         

Source:  Pinto’s Prose, ISA Global Strategy Moves Forward, September 2007 (p.80), Written by Jim Pinto
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