How the convergence of operational and information technology is ushering in a new era of industry productivity.
Today's volatile markets are shaped by environmental, political or regulatory compliance as well as by rising prices for components, raw materials and fluctuating demand. Industries affected include the energy and chemical sectors. The long-term business plans that drive industry still focus on mass-producing low-cost items as the most viable option. How can organizations adapt to the above-mentioned external factors, while remaining nimble and cost effective?
The potential solution may well be with the convergence of operational and information technology, which has long been considered a huge opportunity for industrial organizations. The merger of these typically separate managerial and operational silos could result in greater collaboration and hence enhanced operation efficiencies, reduced costs and greater profits. Operational Technology (OT) is the domain that controls the automation of machines and processes while Information Technology (IT) caters for the batch processing of enterprise data requirements essential for data analysis and management oversight.
To the layman, these seem to be similar disciplines but they are as different as baseball and cricket.
The problem is that diversity in the industrial enterprise has come about because OT and IT have taken distinct evolutionary paths determined by their unique characteristics. OT is machine and process orientated and this requires microsecond-swift response, deterministic-performance, continuous-operation, high-availability, reliability, with robustness and safety foremost. On the other hand, IT is practically the reverse, as it is orientated towards batch processing of historical data, where only reliability and user convenience are of concern. These distinct operational differences represent profoundly divergent approaches to troubleshooting, maintenance and support.