Best Practices for IT-OT Convergence
IT/OT convergence refers to the intersection of Information Technology and Operational Technology. It is a new trend in the field of technology. This trend results from a shift in how we think about technology. The old way was to separate IT from OT, and now we are moving towards an integrated view where it is all about managing and monitoring everything as one system. The convergence trend is not only taking place in IT and OT but also in other fields such as finance and healthcare. For example, more patient information can be stored digitally with the convergence of healthcare and IT.
Types of IT/OT Convergence
– Process Convergence
It covers the convergence of IT and OT workflows. Both departments make accommodating adjustments for better communication of internal business structure. For example, the data storing and protection process is extended from IT to OT systems.
– Software & Data Convergence
This is to get software and data to address Operational Technology needs. It involves the architecture network of the business. For example, implement new IT tools to gather and combine OT data for analysis.
– Physical Convergence
Physical devices are fitted with new hardware to accommodate the convergence of Information Technology in OT systems. This is also known as operational convergence because the hardware is maintained and kept up-to-date. Businesses may purchase new Operational Tech systems to facilitate communication, data maintenance, and control.
Seven Best Practices of IT/OT Convergence
1. Describe the Change
If you want a change, define how it should be. Every company’s digital transformation with IT/OT paves the way to success. The first and foremost thing to occur will be the influence on the environment and behavior of people and systems. If you have clarity, you can bring about change, but you must be sure about what you want to see around you and your organization. Start with the outcomes that will drive value. It will lead to actions and behaviors to deliver desired outcomes. Bring insights for motivation. Data and calculations are the least to be worried about. This is the model value workshop to deliver the business case.
2. Clear View on Challenges
The best practice for IT-OT integration is the ISA-95 standard. The convergence landscapes are stacked in four layers to give a clear view of challenges and solutions for the convergence projects. Companies move towards IT/OT integration to fill the optimization gap.
3. Embrace the OT Chaos
A company might use a standard IT app for all functions, but the OT solutions may vary due to multiple vendors. It creates much chaos, but you must embrace it. You may even think about sorting all the chaos by homogenous solutions, but that will be cost and time intensive. Reducing vendors is another option, but it also takes years to complete the reduction process, and in that time, the OT structure will remain fragmented.
4. Build Trusted Data Layer
OT comes with ‘time-series data,’ which differs from the data usually found in IT structures. This creates new complications, and it is best to counter them with a trusted data layer. The data will be stored in an analytical framework for quality management. This trusted data layer also governs automation controls, monitoring, and functionality.
5. Drive Action
The convergence of IT and OT with a trusted data layer drives analytics, alerts, and visualizations to fix or find issues instantly. IT/OT convergence and integration aim to ensure technological feedback for humans and working systems and keep humans in the loop. This has been an effective and proactive change.
6. Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure
Cloud platforms are very secure and cost-effective but do not perform all your analysis on a cloud-based platform, especially with the IT/OT data.
7. Tear Down the Silos
The last step is to bring organizational change for successful IT/OT convergence. It is mandatory to culturally divide the IT and OT silos to meet the goals.
Benefits of IT/OT Convergence
The IT and OT industries are converging to form a new digital industry in this digital transformation era. This convergence is happening because of the need for more automation in OT and IT. The convergence of IT and OT will lead to new services, processes, and products based on data analytics. This will also lead to lower costs, higher quality, greater efficiency, and better customer service.
In the Industrial Automation industry, there has been a convergence of IT and OT. The convergence of these two industries is happening because of the need for more automation for greater efficiency and production in less time. This industry will create new services, processes, and products based on data analytics, leading to lower costs, higher quality, greater efficiency, and better customer service.
Challenges of IT/OT Convergence
The convergence of IT and OT is not a new thing. It has been used for many decades. The difference now is that the pace of change has accelerated, and the range of possibilities for IT/OT has broadened. The challenges of IT/OT convergence are in two parts: technology and people. Technology-wise, many issues need to be solved before we can see widespread adoption of this new way of working. People-wise, it requires a change in mindset from both managers and workers to embrace this new way of working. This includes ways in which IT/OT will disrupt the traditional workplace and change how businesses operate. The specific benefits of IT/OT convergence are reduced costs, improved efficiency, and better customer service. IT/OT convergence is also associated with new opportunities for workers because it can lead to more flexible work arrangements and reduced time.
Businesses follow certain IT/OT convergence guidelines if they look forward to maximizing the success ratio. Communication in IT/OT convergence will ensure the completion of goals and objectives. The overlapping of IT and OT defines the roles and responsibilities of both groups for smooth collaboration. This can be done if the staff has adequate training and the right tools are deployed for maximum control and configuration. The future organizational success is now dependent upon IT/OT integration. All eyes are upon the path with questioning eyes to see where this tech legacy will lead us.
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