It’s no mystery what “IT” stands for: Information Technology, the computing power used to run businesses and corporations. Fewer people might know that “OT” in this context stands for Operational Technology, the computing power behind modern industrial production systems. A new white paper from Skkynet asks whether IT and OT will converge.
These two, IT and OT, are worlds apart in most businesses. The IT people use computing resources to support accounting, logistics, HR, and all other areas of the business. In a sense, the product of IT is the business itself. IT becomes a star of the show. In the OT world, the focus is on doing or making things. The product is the process, or the manufactured output. OT is one of several players in the game, operating primarily in a supporting role, to ensure that mechanical systems function as designed.
For a long time, OT and IT have functioned separately from each other. OT has been hidden away in the deep recesses of the plant or out in the field, using its own proprietary data protocols, and often physically disconnected from the rest of the corporate network. IT has been content to get occasional updates on factory floor status through paper reports, database entries, or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.
Now these two worlds are beginning to make contact. Businesses are waking up to the value of the data that’s coming from the production systems. Managers are discovering within OT data opportunities to harness real-time analytics and leverage predictive technologies that IT can provide. John Pepper, CEO and Founder of Managed 24/7, recently wrote, “Unless organisations actively bridge the gap between OT and IT, the real operational benefits of the digital business will be lost.”
Our new white paper, Will IT and OT Converge? takes a closer look at some of the concepts introduced by Pepper. It clarifies the distinctions between IT and OT, presents current thinking about how they might converge, and highlights three critical requirements from the OT side for bridging the gap: security, ease of integration, and real-time performance.