Francisco Carrion — Inductive Automation Australia

Conversations with Colby

10 min video  /  10 minute read

Francisco Carrión, the General Manager of Inductive Automation Australia, joins Colby Clegg in this episode of Conversations With Colby. They discuss how the industrial automation market in Australia is evolving, key verticals in Australia, upcoming challenges in the industrial automation industry, and the future of Inductive Automation.


Colby Clegg: This is "Conversations with Colby," where my goal is to meet up with and learn from industry leaders and leaders of our Ignition community. So I have Francisco Carrion here with me, who as of recently...

Francisco Carrion: Very recently.

Colby Clegg: Is now the Managing Director of Inductive Automation Australia.

Francisco Carrion: Yeah.

Colby Clegg: So, welcome.

Francisco Carrion: Very recently, like a few minutes ago.

Colby Clegg: Welcome. So why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and then we'll jump into...

Francisco Carrion: Yeah, sure. Well, I'm Francisco Carrion. I come from Ecuador. I moved into Australia a year and a half ago to work with the [Ignition] distributor, that stage. But, I have a whole past with Ignition. I discovered the platform in 2013 and over a decade I've been basically a system integrator, a Premier Integrator. I've been part of the advisory board for the ICC. I've been a speaker here, and I have had, well, my company has had like six Discover [Gallery] finalist projects. Never a winner, but... And I was a distributor last year and this ICC I'm coming as part of Inductive Automation. So it's been a journey.

Colby Clegg: No, it's amazing. Yeah. And so...

Francisco Carrion: It's been a journey.

Colby Clegg: After all that entire journey, what does it feel like, what does it mean to you to become now part of Inductive Automation?

Francisco Carrion: Oh, it's great. The only way that I can describe it, and I think I have mentioned this to you before, it's, I feel privileged. Because Inductive Automation is the type of company that has inspired us in so many different levels, in so many different ways, that I think that each one on his own space. Like whether it's an integrator or a distributor or even an end user, sometimes you'll get inspired by the way that the company has driven their philosophy around the business model and around the technologies and everything. So, I feel honored.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. Well, so are we, because this is a major step to open our first outside office. It's always been for 20 years, our focus has been our office, keeping people close and connected. We've always wondered, when will it happen? How will it happen? And now to do it in Australia and to have someone like you and the rest of the team there, it's just so incredible for us.

Francisco Carrion: Oh. Thank you. Thank you for that.

Colby Clegg: Now, you've been in Australia for a few years, so how is that market unique or, and how has it evolved over the last few years?

Francisco Carrion: Well, Australia is a very particular market from my point of view, because it has so much potential at the moment. We are reaching that boiling point, I would say, where all the Digital Transformation initiatives are taking... Are becoming real. Right?

Colby Clegg: Yeah.

Francisco Carrion: I think that's a trend worldwide, I would say. But, in the Australia space, it's kind of like in the previous year, it has been like going across different verticals, and now everyone is talking about it. But from a practical point of view, I think that before that, it's always been theoretical, but now, they are looking for practical ways to do it, and that's when Ignition, of course, comes into the conversation to kind of unleash the data that enables everything around the Digital Transformation space.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. That's amazing. What are some of the key verticals or markets in Australia?

Francisco Carrion: Well, mining definitely is one of the main ones, food and beverage, manufacturing. Those are the ones that we focus on mainly.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. And there's been a long track record of amazing projects that have been featured in the Discovery Gallery and whatnot from Australian integrators. Right? So, how do you feel Australia approaches innovation compared to some of the other parts of the world?

Francisco Carrion: Oh, definitely, I've seen so many, I would say crazy sometimes, but really innovative ideas because...

Colby Clegg: Adventurous.

Francisco Carrion: Yeah, yeah. I really enjoy the fact that we were a distributor because this gets you to see what people are thinking, they are conceiving and kind of like saying, "Wow, that's really crazy. I really hope you get it." But, in other cases it's like, "Oh, that's really... How no one has thought of that before?" And in Australian market you see that there are... Well, we have a whole range of system integrators. Some of them are quite mature. Some of them are just starting their journey with Ignition. But, the things that you hear from the mature ones are really innovative in many regards in many markets. They are always looking into new ways to do stuff. And even you saw that project that was a Firebrand this year.

Colby Clegg: It's amazing.

Francisco Carrion: Taking that into the, I would say into the entertainment industry somehow, but giving life to robotics and stuff, that's really cool.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. That was an incredible project because they used Perspective. They developed a custom module that added that control system in there. And what was interesting to me was that it was just a great example of they were able to replicate a system that the customer had that had become outdated, and they made it look and function so much better. And they did that in such an incredible period of time. I think it was only like, what, like six weeks they pulled that off?

Francisco Carrion: Yeah. It was record time. Yeah, definitely.

Colby Clegg: It's amazing. Yeah. No, I've always found that Australia, it seems to have a little bit of, what we also have here in the US, is kind of like cowboy/Wild West mentality where they're ready to go out there and try things and...

Francisco Carrion: Oh, yeah, definitely. I think they have a very efficient perspective to the engineering time. So, they really count the minutes in the sense that, if a solution can be delivered in an easier, faster way, it's quite valuable for the market.

Colby Clegg: So you've been, as you said, so many roles in this industry. You have such long experience. What do you see as some of the bigger challenges for the industry at large right now? Like, what would you say are the top three challenges to be confronted over the next few years?

Francisco Carrion: You mean the industry in general or...

Colby Clegg: In general. Yeah.

Francisco Carrion: In general. Well, cope with all the work that comes. Because now that finally... This is my personal point of view, like...

Colby Clegg: It's all right, Francisco.

Francisco Carrion: I've heard for so many years about concepts around Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, all these things that up to some point, they were saturated with the misconceptions. But, nowadays we see that the companies and the leaders on the companies are finally getting what Digital Transformation actually is and what they expected from it. And you can see that the market is driven by that. And, I think one of the biggest challenges is going to have enough companies that deliver those projects with the right sense of what the outcomes should be.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. The project management around that, huh?

Francisco Carrion: Correct. And measure the return of investments so these initiatives don't become a huge project that it's never ended.

Colby Clegg: Yeah.

Francisco Carrion: But also focus... Rather focusing on small initiatives that can be measured and can be delivered in no time.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. No, that's an ongoing theme. We hear it a lot here at the conference in that, because of course a lot of our customers are leading the way in this and what we hear a lot is it's about incremental change, an iterative process and just kind of delivering concrete value at every step.

Francisco Carrion: Correct. Roadmap fragmentation, I would say. Instead of having one big project, have a roadmap that enables your organization through the different steps that you want to achieve.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. And that was kind of my message in the Keynote this year was that we can talk about terms and when you give something a label like Digital Transformation, it's inevitable... Everyone kind of interprets it how they want. It becomes a little bit buzz-wordy, so to speak. But what we're seeing now is real companies who are getting...

Francisco Carrion: They've done it.

Colby Clegg: Yeah. They've done it and they're getting value. And so our message, one of the things I wanted to convey was that there's an urgency, but if you're on the... If you feel like you're not there yet, it's a good time to start to...

Francisco Carrion: Correct. It is like in the phrase that you presented during the Keynote, companies that are not willing to transform, they will be doomed to disappear. I know that's a bit drastic.

Colby Clegg: It's very dramatic. Yeah.

Francisco Carrion: That's a bit drastic, but it can happen. I think...

Colby Clegg: Yeah. And it's not meant to be discouraging. There's lots of ways. It's frankly easier than ever, in my opinion, to do something, a small step that shows value.

Francisco Carrion: Definitely.

Colby Clegg: We're seeing it everywhere.

Francisco Carrion: How do you envision the future for Inductive Automation? I would like to ask you that, how do you see the next steps? We know that today has been a milestone.

Colby Clegg: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think we have an amazing ecosystem that has been developed over time, and I think what's becoming clear is this year, our 20th anniversary, we're doing a lot of reflecting, and it's amazing that the point we've gotten to by just being sincere and organic and letting it grow up naturally. And now here at this conference, we see an ecosystem around us that's really, really maturing, and you see the way... What companies are... How they're benefiting and what they're really getting out of it. So our goal for the future is just simply to continue to build and reinforce that ecosystem. So Australia, this new office, is an incredibly important part of that. It starts off the execution of a vision to get to that 24-hour coverage around the world to where we can support our ecosystem in the best way possible. That ecosystem, and I mean, there's distributors, there's integrators, there's the end users, there are the solution partners, there's the Alliance Partners. All the technology partners around us. So that's our number one goal, is to just continue to take the core fundamentals that people love about us, that personal support, that effective high-level technical support and marketing support, and then spread that around the world.

Francisco Carrion: The experience, the same experience. Yeah, exactly.

Colby Clegg: The experience, the Inductive experience. That's right.

Francisco Carrion: Correct. Correct. No, thank you for that. Yeah.

Colby Clegg: Well, hey, thank you so much for taking a few minutes to talk to me.

Francisco Carrion: Oh, no, thank you for inviting me.

Colby Clegg: Yeah, it's always a pleasure to see you and I am just so excited to be able to work even more closely with you right now as we go, not just Australia, but beyond.

Francisco Carrion: No, and trust me, if you're excited, I am as excited as you, so thank you. Thank you so much for that.

Colby Clegg: All right. Thank you so much, Francisco.

Francisco Carrion: Thank you, Colby.

Posted on January 10, 2024