Automation Insider: Who Owns The Data?

EP Editorial Staff | March 23, 2012

0312autoinsiderThe annual Forum sponsored by the ARC Advisory Group (ARC) took place February 6-9, in Orlando FL. This year marked my 15th trip to the information-packed event, where I again hoped to hear the latest thinking in production and manufacturing.

One meeting I always anticipate is with Alan Johnston, President and CEO of MIMOSA, and Cliff Pedersen, CIO of North West Redwater Partnership. For readers who might not be familiar with MIMOSA (, it’s an alliance of Operations & Maintenance (O&M) solution providers and end-user companies that are focused on developing consensus-driven data standards to enable Open Standards-based O&M Interoperability. Johnston has been spearheading this initiative for years. Pedersen represents the interests of owner/operators in the group.

MIMOSA and the Open O&M Initiative were accomplishing much until the recession hit. Their demo showcase at the 2009 ISA Expo revealed the potential of the work. The group has, fortunately, recovered from the slowdown and is rapidly progressing toward building a critical mass of suppliers and owner/operators who have signed on for data interoperability.

One key element involves the data exchange from the design/procure/construct process to the operations/maintenance process. Too often, information necessary for efficient and effective operations or maintenance is buried in design documentation—or is not even in existence. Many times a supplier will give just enough information for the purchase of replacement equipment, but not enough for effective and prompt service. For example, you may get a pump curve, but not the actionable data points you need when you go out to service or repair the pump.

Then there’s the problem of the “who owns the data” argument. Owner/operators believe they do—i.e., own data they paid for—while suppliers try to retain ownership of that data, forcing owner/operators to pay extra service fees for access to it. This is another situation where MIMOSA and the Open O&M Initiative are looking out for buyers. I’ll be writing more about these topics in future issues of MT. Meanwhile check out MIMOSA’s Website and see how/where you might get involved. MT 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read more from ARC in this month’s “Viewpoint” column, by Paula Hollywood, Senior Analyst with the Group.)

Gary Mintchell,, is Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Automation World magazine and blogs at




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