The OT (operational technology) and IT (information technology) integration can be defined as the end-state sought by asset-intensive organizations where there are integrated information and process flow (instead of having IT and OT separated as technology areas with different levels of responsibility and authority.) And the alignment of OT and IT is becoming more necessary as data-centric concepts (such as IIoT) are realized in business all over the world.
The decision-making processes rely heavily on data because being able to access data from every part of an organization comes with many advantages. The alignment of OT and IT is, thus, the groundwork for producing benefits for professionals and organizations that work in both fields. Let us introduce you to the four incredible benefits of the OT-IT alignment.
- Improved Decision-Making
For the enterprise to be able to take advantage of operational intelligence and real-time data, devices, and machines on the production floor, need to be connected to an IT network infrastructure. But more high-quality information can be accessed cross-organizationally when OT and IT are aligned, which leads to better decision-making. Take an oil pipeline for example – an average oil pipeline has miles of wiring and thousands of devices and PLCs. The majority of the data remains in the field, and only the vital operational information is used for monitoring. By aligning OT and IT, you’ll be able to gather all the data to the enterprise level.
An organization can improve its interoperability and compatibility by leveraging clearly defined standards. It can be costly to connect several proprietary systems, which may limit the ability to scale that kind of solution. Embrace open standards and let proprietary tech remain in the past. Open standards help make integration more accessible and allow you to scale your systems easily without affecting the overall performance. Virtual machines and cloud services are some of the technologies that can host manufacturing-floor or plant servers, easily connecting remote systems and reducing on-site equipment.
- Lower Risk
How does aligning OT and IT lowers organizational risk? By leveraging IT technologies, you get the higher data fluidity, stability, and accessibility added to an OT environment. When data is shared from one point to another directly, the risk of human error is reduced. Also, instead of choosing for a costly replacement or upgrade of your plant-floor equipment, you can integrate a SCADA system into your IT infrastructure and gain access to vast volumes of data without affecting the existing SCADA system.
- Greater Value for Smaller Cost
The fourth significant benefit of OT-IT alignment is cost reduction. Using traditional methods for connecting OT to IT and enterprise-level functions can be very expensive. However, OT can benefit from the IT’s affordability and help alleviate restrictions and reduce costs. Also, OT and IT can share data across the entire organization, improving the decision-making process, preventing errors, and enabling the use of predictive analytics (and other cost-saving measures.)
There are four major pain points in every business – decision-making, standardization, risk, and cost. With the OT-IT convergence, companies can improve their performance and benefit from the resulting technological innovations.