Insights - Energy Dais

A Connected Future with Honeywell Forge

ADIPEC, one of the most important oil and gas events, offers a unique opportunity to connect with people and participate in informed, exciting conversations around the world of energy. In 2019, the exhibition turned out to be a true energy extravaganza. With Oil and Gas 4.0 in the spotlight, the industry is definitely looking forward to a true digital journey. An integral part of this journey is Honeywell and when Energy Dais got a chance to interview Mr. Murali Mandi, the Chief Operating Officer at Honeywell Connected Plant and Mr. Ronnie Rahman, EMEA & APAC Director of Cyber Security at Honeywell, we were confident that here is a story of innovation, inspiration, and inclusion, which the global oil and gas community needs to hear.

These two leaders in Oil and Gas practically took us on a digital tour of Honeywell’s systems and processes, in a brief yet enlightening conversation. From the value in data to the cultural change, we discussed it all. How Honeywell is moving towards a connected future and embracing digital technologies in true spirit is highly commendable. Adding to their credibility is the fine balance they create between development and sustainability. Here’s an excerpt from the exclusive conversation with Mr. Murali Mandi and Mr. Ronnie Rahman. 

Data, Digital, and Decision Making with Honeywell Forge

With Oil and Gas 4.0, what is the digital prize we are looking at? How is Honeywell looking at the digital transformation in the industry? 

Honeywell is a big enterprise but I would like to specifically talk about Connected Enterprise. This is the 5th Strategic Business Group that we started last October with a specific focus on Digital Transformation. Connected Enterprise deals with digital transformation in aerospace, plant, buildings, cybersecurity. My business which is Connected Plant is responsible for the process industry and the digital transformation in the process industry. In the process industry, where we cater to Oil & Gas, all the way to Upstream, Midstream, Downstream. 

Though digital transformation is relatively new and how we are getting into that particular space, we have been in this business for over four decades. We have been developing and deploying solutions in the safety, efficiency and reliability space. I would say almost all of the major refining and downstream companies are our customers and using our solutions. What we are doing now with Honeywell Forge that has been introduced in the Middle East, is really taking this to the next level. 

With Honeywell Forge, we are focusing on Enterprise Performance Management which means we are going to take that performance from unit level to the plant level to the site level and then to the multi site level or enterprise level. Only optimizing a particular unit is not sufficient. 

It’s like you are on a highway, where half the way you go very fast and then there is a traffic jam, everyone is going to come on a standstill. 

We are creating this new platform to ensure that we are collecting the data from a variety of locations such as the units and plants, we will then analyze the data, provide the required insights to act on that data. This is the new digital transformation that we are bringing into the equation but not new from the standpoint of starting something from scratch. We already have a significant stand base that offers these solutions deployed across major process industries in safety, reliability, efficiency space. 

Ronnie Rahman adds, “Honeywell Forge Cyber Security platform does several things to enable organizations to take that step in industry 4.0 in a safer manner. It helps to simplify the cybersecurity management practices and it does that by gathering automatically all of the devices and controllers and pieces of equipment they need to manage in every platform and then provides very secure methods to access data in those sites and transferring that data and sharing it with the HQ or partners. You need to analyze the information and then it helps to aggregate that data where it can be managed, manipulated, and shared.”

As your organization grows, it can be scaled in a very straight forward way so as you add more sites, you want to add them in your enterprise view. Security and scalability are paramount. We have now over 300 Cyber Security specialists and all the key partnerships we need to make sure that we are working in an effective and secure framework. 

There are many levels of regulations and navigation to make this happen. We have 3 security operation centers around the world which are 24×7 managing thousands of sites across the globe in terms of cybersecurity controls, reporting, monitoring, alerting, offering solutions to companies. With that model already in existence and the very secure way we manage our data, we can enable Industry 4.0 projects. 

Emphasizing on this further, Mr. Murali says, “Cyber Security is a pre-requisite. The reason we are getting into digital now because technology has the ability. It is very difficult to convince the customer to push the data out. It is a very big challenge. With Cyber Security, we are in a position to make sure that we can conform to the required compliances, of country and client both. We are sometimes even controlling the plant from outside the premises of the customer’s plant, that’s how secure it is.” 

How do we look at Collaboration across the industry? Where do you see the roadblocks and opportunities?

First and the foremost barrier, as well as opportunity, is Change Management. The fact that at a location like ADIPEC, we have a roundtable with 35 CExOs for Digital Transformation tells the fact that it’s here and here to stay and it’s going to be embraced.

A common theme that dominates the arena is that Technology is just an enabler. It’s the Change Management which is the people and the process side which is very important. You can have the best of the best tech which is going to deliver the right solution but unless you change your business processes and make sure that your people are fully connected and aligned and they are willing to use those processes, we won’t be successful. Change Management is the most important challenge. 

Organizations are becoming flatter with time. People are not required to spend as much time in collecting the data. The expectation is that they need to spend more time analyzing the data. As you get in Honeywell Space, we are looking at analytics. For instance, how is your plant running today vs last week, which has been the golden day for you and how you can achieve the golden day. If we are able to analyze this for you, we will be helping you with Decision Making

If we talk about technology, we have cybersecurity technologies available. MS Azure now is coming to UAE. If the UAE law does not allow you to send your data to the outside country unless this partner eco-system is fully developed, whether it’s MS or Google. Unless they develop, we won’t be in a position to deliver our solutions because we won’t be providing our own cloud. Forge arrives now because efficiency, reliability are major concerns. 

Cyber Security is a global challenge. Cybercrime does not respect borders. It calls for collaboration between the Government, private sector, academia. – Ronnie Rahman

How do you look at the balance between development and sustainability? 

Our technologies are making oil and gas processes efficient, reducing the carbon footprint. With everything we do across all businesses, sustainability is at the core. Energy efficiency and productivity gain is pretty much guaranteed. – Johan Janssen, Corporate External Communications Manager, Honeywell, Middle East

Elaborating on this issue, Mr. Murali adds  “Solutions that we offer do have a direct positive impact on energy efficiency. We are the globally leading player in blending. We come into existence every time there is  Euro IV, V, VI. In Idia, BS-VI will be rolled out in 2020. Now every refinery is coming to us. We come into the picture to help refineries and the country for higher blending specifications. 

With the Millennials arriving and the Great Crew Change, what kind of change are we really looking at? 

In my 28 years with Honeywell, I have seen a significant change in the last two years in what we call User Interface. Our President and CEO, Vimal Kapur, says “This is the first time that the devices that the millennials use in their normal day to day world are better and more powerful than what the professionals use in their offices.” That’s on point. Not the device per se but the experience. Like the iPhone. When the same millennial comes to the office and is required to work on a computer that is quite good and he has to operate from one window to another, he would most likely not work for the company which uses apps so different than his phone. Our CEO has initiated this drive specifically on investing in Honeywell User Interface. 

We are investing in making our Softwares, Applications – Millennial-friendly.  

Gone are the days, when you would enter a company in 1992 and work with it till you retire. Like me. You will see many people who retire from Shell, ADNOC, others after working for 35-40 years. The millennials want a change every 2-3 years.

The mobility of individuals is going up, good for them but this could be a problem for the employers, draining their resources more so often.

What we as Honeywell are doing for these customers, are building Knowledge-Based systems and competency solutions. The knowledge from the day to day experience they have gets captured which will help someone like me when I come across a problematic solution. 

Mr. Rahman adds, We built guidance, that’s an innovation where people raise an alert. We offer a range of options, possible remedies. Particularly, in the Cyber Security space. Virtually all of our systems can function on tablets. The knowledge is available when needed.”

How do you look back at your journey in Oil and Gas?

“I started working in oil and gas 25 years ago and some things have been profoundly different. In the Cyber Security world, there have been dramatic changes. With respect to Cyber Security attacks, much more sophistication in recent years can be observed. It is a huge cost to the world. The positive is that the world is taking it very seriously. There is an increase in collaboration to address this challenge. Cyber Security is a challenge for all of us,” said Ronnie Rahman. 

“As the energy demand has gone up in the last multiple decades, there’s a clear focus on energy efficiency – focus on fuels, renewables. Honeywell is also focusing on this area. The oil will come to an end in 40 years. Energy Conservation is important. Demand will continue to go up but at the same time, energy will come from different areas beyond oil and gas”, concluded Mr. Murali with a smile.

(This is an excerpt from an exclusive interview with Mr. Murali Mandi and Mr. Ronnie Rahman and Energy Dais reserves all rights of publication.)



Garima Gayatri


With a background in English Literature and a diverse experience in writing and editing, Garima now focuses her creative energy in the energy sector. She believes that the world needs to be more aware of the myriad shades of the energy landscape. Being extremely passionate about people in this industry, Garima currently engages in bringing out real stories to inspire hope and change.

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Garima Gayatri


With a background in English Literature and a diverse experience in writing and editing, Garima now focuses her creative energy in the energy sector. She believes that the world needs to be more aware of the myriad shades of the energy landscape. Being extremely passionate about people in this industry, Garima currently engages in bringing out real stories to inspire hope and change.

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