Yesterday’s Schneider Electric Editor’s Event shed some light on that company’s emergence as an end-to-end solutions company.  Kevin Brown, Vice President, Data Center Global Solution Offer for Schneider Electric’s IT Business, said it best when he noted that while many people know the historic brands associated with Schneider, including Square D and APC, not many in this country recognize the Schneider brand. This, he says, is changing.

What’s also changing is the company’s positioning as an equipment supplier. While some recent purchases, including Uniflair enable Schneider to sell in new product categories, Jeff Drees, Schneider’s U.S. Country president, positioned these as acquisitions that supported the company’s “one throat to choke” philosophy. More revealing of the company’s strategy is its recent purchase of Lee Technologies, which gives the company the capability of supporting data center operations through a facility’s life cycle, beginning with design.

                Kevin Brown

Of course, serious doubt exists about Schneider’s ability to utilize the strengths that Lee Technologies brought to market. Among Lee’s strengths was its reputation for vendor neutrality and ability to stay ahead of technology developments across a wide variety of manufacturers. These assets can be hard to maintain in a one throat to choke environment. However, Domenic Alcaro, the Schneider executive in charge of integrating Lee into the Schneider family, seems fully aware of the challenge in front of him and readily acknowledges Lee’s historic strengths, saying that Schneider understood that Lee needed to retain its independent posture to bring full value to Schneider.

                   Jeff Drees

Schneider made other announcements at the event that illustrate the ways  that the company is committed to achieving one throat to choke goal, including the release of its StruxureWare software, which provides intelligent monitoring, automation, planning, and reporting on critical facility management systems from across the organization. Commenting on the release, Brown complained about the lack of standards surrounding DCIM software, and suggested that many of the marketing claims surrounding these offers oversold their capability, leaving users unsure about their needs. Brown recently blogged about this topic.

Dominic Alcaro

Schneider also announced its University Relations Program. Through this program, Schneider will collaborate with colleges by providing internships, taking part in speaking opportunities on campus, offering subject matter expertise and strategic guidance on university sustainability programs, and supporting research opportunities and competition programs for students.

Finally, the Schneider team also spoke at length about it general support for sustainability efforts, especially as made possible by the Smart Grid. Its Smart Grid initiatives extend the company’s one throat to choke philosophy to the entire electrical efficiency supply chain. Further information about all these initiatives is available elsewhere on our website. Videos and photos will also be available soon.