Future Direction: IT and Operations Integration

Texas News Today

“Workers have many opportunities,” says the Irani-Family, who has worked in the energy sector for most of the decade. OT dreams of possible solutions to the problems they face every day. For example, in the event of a power outage, the supervisor concerned may be automatically notified wherever they may be. Alternatively, staff availability data can flow through the company’s systems, making it easier for supervisors and managers to assign projects and shifts.

“And they go and talk to IT, but IT may not be able to handle it. It can break all security protocols,” says Irani-Family. The operation is looking for solutions to the problem. IT Cyber ​​Security, Integration And support is aware of the risks. “But from an operational standpoint, you can see that IT’s red tape, IT’s not cooperating, or IT’s not playing the game.”

It is easy to describe IT and OT as separate departments with different objectives and completely different cultures. They are often thought of as isolated groups that are managed independently within the organization, address specific issues, and adopt their own protocols. However, the result is an inefficient and costly setup that may not facilitate innovation and standardization.

As the global economy is on the verge of collapse in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, there is a need for productivity, innovation and agility. Enterprises need to accelerate their business by digitizing processes and using Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to extract actionable insights from large datasets.

To implement such digital transformation in industries that rely heavily on physical assets such as manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation, energy and utilities, organizations combine IT and OT, which connects systems on both sides. It needs to be integrated into a seamless organization.

“IT/OT convergence is inevitable,” said Fake Ramer, managing director of Accenture’s natural resources operations and former chief information officer at mining company Rio Tinto. “It is the only way to achieve complete digital transformation, especially in heavy industry.”

However, there are significant challenges to be overcome. Many industrial environments are characterized by legacy equipment from both OT and IT business units, old-fashioned manual processes, and resistance to change. In many cases, only the OT knows how to create money-making products and services for the company.

In contrast, IT professionals often think they know how to help modernize the OT sector by enabling systems that understand the benefits of AI, the Internet of Things and other digital technologies. .. True collaboration is essential, but the complexity of integrating new technologies and infrastructure with older machines raises questions about investment, leadership and governance.

Bala Arunachalam, an oil and gas executive for more than 30 years, says certain characteristics of the industry are a major factor. “This industry is a legacy industry. It is difficult for them to enter the technology space and take advantage of the opportunities available.

Physical assets, whether inside the factory or off-site, are digitized by Internet of Things technology. As applications, data storage and data processing move to the cloud. And as employees are glued to their home offices for more than a year, the boundaries between OTs and other businesses are collapsing. “The challenge is that we need to bring the data together across all of these boundaries,” Kramer says. She says the biggest hurdles are organizational and cultural. “It is much easier to overcome the technical side than the human side.”

Fortunately, there are guidelines that organizations can follow to achieve IT/OT integration, which is critical to the success of digital transformation initiatives.

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