The way forward: Integrating IT and operations

“People in operation are seeing a lot of opportunities,” said Irani-Family, who has worked in the energy sector for over a decade. For the problems they face every day, OT dreams of possible solutions. For example, if there is a power outage, the relevant supervisors can get notifications automatically wherever they are. Or staff availability data may flow through the company’s system so that supervisors and managers can more easily allocate projects or transfers.

“And then they go and talk to IT, and IT can react. It’s not possible. It could violate any security protocol, “said Irani-Family. The operation sees the solution to the problem. IT sees cyber security, integration and support risks. “But from an operational point of view, what they see is that IT is red tape, IT is not cooperating, or IT is not playing the game.”

It is easy to describe IT and OT as different categories with different purposes and completely different cultures. These are often managed independently in organizations and are considered as isolated groups that meet specific issues and assign their own protocols. But this leads to inefficient, costly setups that fail to encourage innovation and standardization.

Global economies are steaming up after the 2020 coronavirus epidemic almost collapsed, so pressure is mounting to increase productivity, innovation and agility. Companies need to accelerate business through the digitizing process and extract effective insights from large data sets using the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI).

In order to bring about this kind of digital transformation in industries that rely heavily on physical resources উৎপাদন oil and gas, transportation, energy, and utilities সংগঠ organizations must integrate IT and OT into a seamless entity that integrates systems on both sides.

“IT / OT convergence is inevitable,” said Faye Cranmer, senior managing director of Accenture’s natural resource practice and former chief information officer at mining company Rio Tinto. “It’s the only way to fully transform digital, especially in heavy industry space.”

But there are significant challenges to overcome. Many industrial environments are characterized by legacy equipment, time-honored, manual processing and change prevention থেকে from both business segments, OT and IT. Often the point is, OT alone knows how to create products and services that generate revenue for the company.

Conversely, IT people often feel that only they know how to help modernize IT departments, enabling systems that allow the benefits of AI, the Internet of Things, and other digital technologies. True cooperation is a must, but the complexity of new technologies and infrastructure combined with legacy machines raises questions about investment, leadership and governance.

Bala Arunachalam, an oil and gas executive for more than 30 years, said certain industrial features were a big factor. “This industry is a legacy industry. For them, going to the place of technology, capitalizing on the opportunity that is in front of them, is a struggle.

As a real resource, whether in the factory or off the field, it is digitized through Internet-of-Things technology; Moving applications, data storage and data processing to the cloud; And because employees have been stuck in their home office for more than a year in the epidemic, any perceived boundaries between OT and the rest of the business are being broken. “The challenge is that we have to collect data across all those boundaries,” Cranmer said. The biggest hurdle, he said, is organizational and cultural. “The technical side is much easier to overcome than the human side.”

The good news is that there are guidelines that organizations can follow to achieve IT / OT integration that are critical to successful digital transformation initiatives.

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