Many automation and engineering technical staff in more recent years have come to learn about the use of the term Operational Technology or "OT" for short. In IT circles, "OT" is sometimes used to describe the black box or isolated nature of many automation organizations and technologies. The convergence of IT and OT technologies has gained traction with the onset of the Industrial Internet of Things and for the technical organizations today that have responsibility for manufacturing technology, pinpointing where the convergence of IT and OT occurs in your company, really depends on the mission of your technical organization.
IT and OT Convergence: Two Broad Categories
For industrial organizations the prime directives can usually fall into two broad categories. One type of organization may have a mission to serve the information and automation technology needs of operations and provide reliable sustainable infrastructure, while the other broad category of organization provides something distinctly different - such as create value for the business through IT and technology enablement. Technology enablement might improve capital utilization and provide a resultant return on investment. These financial drivers can be enhanced by improving the speed, capacity, quality, and efficient use of human resources.
If the mission is the former, then the convergence of IT and OT may occur withing the plant automation layer, but if the latter is true, then IT-OT convergence may be better applied to an emerging Operational Analytics layer of a modern digital IoT platform. ARC has described the next generation of analytics platform here and will continue to write about this in future blogs.
IT and OT Convergence Maturity Model
ARC has developed a maturity model to help build the case for organizational design, and ultimately creation of a highly performing organization. Companies embarking on IoT or Analytics strategies and plans and considering where IT and OT must convergence will find this maturity model helpful.