The idea of using key performance indicators, or KPIs, to make smarter business and manufacturing decisions has been all the rage for several years now, with a growing number of vendors promoting their capabilities in this area. One of the latest entrants is myDials, a Lafayette, Colo.-based start-up founded by former executives of Citect, the Australian manufacturing software provider that was acquired by France-based Schneider Electric in 2006.
myDials on Feb. 11 publicly rolled out its on-demand, operational performance management software platform. Billed as the first performance management solution to effectively link and immediately present operations and business metrics as they change, the hosted myDials software solution provides an interactive display for consistent, timely analysis of operations, production and business metrics, the company says.
“What we’re trying to do is not just provide visualization of key performance indicators, but also build in methodologies and processes to make sure it’s an operational performance improvement platform, and not just a dashboard with nice visuals,” says Wayne Morris, a myDials founder and chief executive officer. Morris served as Citect CEO from mid-2001 through 2004. Co-founder Peter Long, myDials’ chief technology officer, also worked at Citect.
One differentiator that sets myDials apart, Morris claims, is its ability to pull and combine data from the operational production side—tapping sources such as manufacturing execution systems, data historians and other production data repositories—as well as from business systems such as enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems. “We have a unique technology that allows us to view those two different types of data and bring them together,” he says, and to present them via interactive dashboards that help users optimize decision making.
Aimed at mid-sized companies with revenues from $100 million to $3.5 billion, the myDials solution relies on a hosted delivery, or Software as a Service (SaaS) model. “There’s a piece of software, the connector layer, that sits on the customer’s location behind the firewall, which is where we connect to the different data sources,” Morris explains. Following a “first-pass aggregation,” the data is encrypted for secure transmission to myDials’ hosted site, where an intelligent metric processor provides continuos data analysis for role-based presentation of real-time information to customer employees using Web 2.0 technology interfaces. So-called “smart dials” allow multi-dimensional drilling and time shifting of data by users to show visualization of metric relationships in context.
myDials currently has six customers actively using the system, according to Morris. The company plans to sell the solution directly, and is also partnering with performance improvement consulting firms that will offer myDials with their services—receiving revenues in return under a fee-sharing arrangement with myDials. Nine consulting firms have signed on as partners in the United States, Australia and Europe, and myDials is looking for more. Over the long term, Morris figures that about 60 percent of myDials installations will come through partner sales.
The myDials product is offered on a subscription basis, with pricing based on number of users. Typical subscription pricing will range from $20,000 to $25,000 per year with an added $15,000 to $20,000 one-time implementation cost at the low end, says Morris, up to a $100,000-plus annual subscription fee at the high end with a $50,000 to $60,000 one-time implementation fee.