A Functional Description of Automation

By Eric Cosman

ARC Report Abstract

A May 2016 ARC Insight, Defining the Automation Profession, described that challenge in terms of the competencies and experience required for success. That Insight also included observations on how these competencies are evolving in the face of changing technology and how competency descriptions are necessary due to different perceptions and the lack of common definitions and expectations.

While that discussion addressed the “people” aspect of the people/process/technology triad, challenges and opportunities remain to address the technology aspect. Specifically, what is the functional definition of the term “automation?” The traditional focus on instrumentation and direct control is no longer sufficient. This is due to developments such as the increased integration with business processes and systems and blurring of the underlying technology that drives what has come to be known as “IT-OT Convergence.”

As a result, standards development organizations and other stakeholders need guidance and tools that allow them to position specific products, solutions, and tools within the broad scope of automation. Some are al-ready available in the form of various reference models, but more are required.

Standards development organizations (SDOs) are addressing these questions as part of their efforts to better define and manage their standards portfolios. End users can use a similar approach to manage their portfolio of installed solutions.

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Keywords: Activity Models, Architecture, Cybersecurity, Portfolio Management, Process Automation, Standards, ARC Advisory Group.



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