In his opening remarks at ARC Advisory Group’s recent Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida, ARC President, Andy Chatha, commented that digital transformation demands that engineering technology (ET) be included in the IT/OT convergence story as the importance of integrating product and process design increases. (ARC defines ET as those technologies that comprise digital models). Mr. Chatha stressed the importance of integrating product and process design, since process engineers need to work with IT software developers, safety experts with IT security experts, and automation experts collaborate with IT data scientists.
An entire Forum session focused on IT/OT/ET convergence. Speakers from Eli Lilly and Danfoss shared their real-world IT/OT/ET convergence stories. However, as demonstrated in the panel discussion, the audience was not entirely convinced that full convergence is happening.
ET in the Middle
ARC Sr. Analyst, Paula Hollywood, kicked off the session by stating that IT/OT convergence has become accepted practice in the manufacturing industries. The increased sophistication of intelligent devices and associated software drive the need for tighter integration of the IT and OT domains to gain new insight from known information. However, in the digital data environment of IIoT, engineering technology, those technologies that create virtual models must be included in the convergence conversation. While inclusion of ET may have been implied in the past, its use in the current and future work environment cannot be underestimated as modeling tools become essential to managerial or technical decision making.
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Keywords: Convergence, Engineering Technology (ET), Information Technology (IT), Operational Technology (OT), ARC Advisory Group.