Forbes: How Manufacturers Can Get IT And OT To Work Together

Organizations worldwide will spend $2.1 trillion a year on digital transformation projects by 2021. Considering this is double the 2017 levels, this clearly shows that digital transformation hardware, software and services is serious business.

And few business functions are hit harder by digital transformation than Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). Traditionally, these departments have operated in isolation, but digital transformation forces them to align.

This convergence is often met with resistance, so the big question is how can manufacturers successfully align IT and OT?

By showing IT and OT employees exactly how their departments benefit from aligning their processes, manufacturers can start embracing Industry 4.0.

The silo challenge

A factory is like a living organism with many different parts to it; there’s the materials, the machines, the people and the systems that they use to make high quality products.

IT and OT are key parts of that living organism. However, the challenge for manufacturers is that IT and OT often work in silos with little interaction, even when it concerns critical production data. This results in a lack of visibility into how each department’s role fits in the manufacturing organism. Consider the IT decision maker. Their chief concerns are around privacy and security; that’s what keeps them up at night. While the Operations team is more interested in uptime and safety.

So it’s no surprise that as digital transformation forces these two departments to align, conflict will arise. Many manufacturers have discussed the convergence of IT and OT for some time, and many fear the change.