The SCADA/HMI Software Market Is Moving towards Holistic, Yet Modular, End-to-End Portfolio Solutions: SaaS, Easy Integration, and Identifiable Product Differentiation Help Vendors Stand Out.

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By James Prestwood | 1Q 2023 | IN-6862

The SCADA/HMI software market is undergoing an evolutionary change. Though the promise of a single system that covers all control and management functionality (HMI, SCADA, MES) seems unlikely, technology vendors will increasingly offer these products as a bundled solution. To stand out in the market, vendors need to deliver their software as a SaaS product with an unlimited licensing model, ensure it is easy to integrate and future proof, and effectively communicate their points of product differentiation.

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Modular, End-to-End Portfolios is Now the Market Standard


Traditionally, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software connected to plant floor equipment including Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors in real-time that allowed operators to control and visualize operations on the shop floor. This data was then communicated to Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software, that worked with the same data, just over a longer time frame. In the push for interoperability by both manufacturers and technology vendors, SCADA software is looking to lose some of its unique identity amongst the expansion and evolution of MES and Human-Machine Interface (HMI) software. MES is seeing a significant shift towards working with data in real-time connecting to PLCs and IIoT sensors, sharing data to HMIs, and archiving data to historians, with Inductive Automation’s industrial automation software, Ignition, providing an example of the integration of MES and SCADA functionality. Meanwhile, HMI software is increasingly adopting SCADA functionality, with both Siemens and Rockwell Automation currently building out their respective HMI software offerings, WinCC Unified and FactoryTalk Optix, respectively. Furthermore, both offerings are closely integrated with overarching portfolio solutions, Siemen’s Xcelerator and Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk, which include MES software. Technology vendors are meeting these integration requirements by designing their solutions as modular, end-to-end portfolios that can be deployed holistically, or used to fill gaps in pre-existing solutions, with Siemen’s Xcelerator, GE Digital’s Proficy, and Mitsubishi Electric’s ICONICS suite being primary examples.

No Single Control and Management System Available Just Yet


While the promise of a single system that covers all functionality currently seems unlikely, restricted primarily by available computer power and network speeds, the goal to present the control and management layer on a single platform and view it on a “single pane of glass” is increasingly sought by manufacturers. Even if HMI, SCADA, and MES software do not fully converge into a singular system, they will start to mesh and function as a singular system, even if technically, they are not. This will impact technology vendors go-to market strategy, promoting them to sell software solutions bundled together, rather than as separate products. Instead of offering individual HMI, SCADA, and MES software solutions, they will offer control and management platform solutions that contain integrated software products.

Overall, the SCADA/HMI software market is forecast to increase from a current value of US$6.17 billion in 2023 to US$11.3 billion in 2033 (AN-5624), at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% The pure SCADA software market growth will begin to slow towards the end of the decade, and instead augment the growth of more connected platforms that join together industrial automation levels 2 (monitoring and supervising) and 3 (manufacturing operations) on ABI Research’s Digital Maturity Model (for more data see ABI Research’s Digital Factory Data (MD-IICT-108)), primarily MES. HMI software will retain its identity and market size, alongside developing into a more complete visualization and control tool that is closely integrated with MES.

Hot to Thrive in a Converging Market


As the SCADA/HMI software market undergoes changes, notable market vendors such as Rockwell Automation, Emerson, and Hitachi Vantara need to ensure that their offerings are correctly positioned to succeed. Key elements that companies should take account of are:

  • Delivering SCADA/HMI software as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product with an unlimited licensing model: Manufacturers are looking for flexibility and scalability in their solutions and, therefore, SaaS and unlimited licensing models for SCADA/HMI software will be the most successful over the next decade, allowing manufacturers to scale their operations easily and cost-effectively. SaaS SCADA/HMI software allows manufacturers to effectively keep up to date with software development and latest functionality, alongside reducing the cost of new software adoption by changing investment from Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) to Operating Expenditure (OPEX). Additionally, unlimited licensing models allows manufacturers to only be limited by what their hardware can support.
  • Ensure software is easy to integrate and future proofed: SCADA/HMI software must be designed to move towards being a more integrated and complete solution. Customers want to be able to deploy best of breed software across their entire enterprise, and to do this, it requires that technology vendors have a wide range of offerings that can be integrated, not only alongside their own products, but also any third party system. For technology vendors to effectively displace any SCADA/HMI software, they will have to ensure a smooth transition over to the new solution. Alongside this, SCADA/HMI software must be designed with future technological development and adoption in mind, with it able to work with advanced analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) supported software, and even Virtual Reality (VR) headsets.
  • Develop strong relationships with system integrators: Working closely with System Integrators (SIs) allows software vendors to best understand how to design their solutions with best integration practices in mind. Furthermore, these relationships provide vendors who have holistic portfolios with a strong go to market option, as SIs are likely to prefer and choose to implement single solutions than take multiple software offerings from different vendors.
  • Effectively communicate the points of differentiation and innovation of the software: SCADA/HMI software has a mature place within the manufacturing industry, with nearly all enterprises employing one in some form. Over the years, much of the software on the market has developed similar, if not identical functionality. It is essential that technology vendors highlight the key points of differentiation and innovation in their software solutions. Examples of key selling points in today’s market are low-code application use and development, integration with all used third party solutions, zero downtime deployment, SaaS and unlimited licensing models, and a proven and repeatable rapid time to value. Vendors such as Siemens, Rockwell Automation, Tatsoft, and Inductive Automation are well positioned to differentiate their solutions, with holistic and flexible offerings that can bridge both HMI, SCADA, and MES functionality. Alternatively, companies will be able to highlight strong vertical market expertise, such as Honeywell and Yokogawa, within process manufacturing markets.