Let’s start defining the terms Information Technology and Operational Technology
What is Information Technology (IT)?
IT (information technology) is a term that encompasses all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange, and use information in its various forms. In other words, IT keeps the information flowing, email running, and databases populated.
What is Operational Technology (OT)?
OT is the hardware and software that keeps your power plants running, manages factory process lines, and essentially works together to achieve an industrial objective such as manufacturing, transportation of matter, generation of energy, etc.
Intersection of Information Technology and Operational Technology
Business and technology leaders view the IoT as an incredible opportunity for change. Many are implementing standards-based operational control systems as part of IoT initiatives and replacing isolated meters, sensors, and electrical equipment with smart ‘IP-enabled’ devices.
As a result, IoT initiatives present a perfect opportunity to unite isolated, parallel technology disciplines. By unifying OT and IT solutions around common protocols and building blocks, enterprises can connect disparate systems and practices to eliminate redundancies and improve business results.
Information Technology and Operational Technology Differences
The different characteristics between the two entities are:
Reengineering the Enterprise
In order to take advantage of the Internet of Things, leading companies are reengineering their businesses by uniting forces between Information and Operational Technology entities that manage the equipment, devices, and other components of the operational infrastructure. The richness of data and tools shared, open many opportunities for continued collaboration and transformation of the organization, business processes and investment optimization through the understanding and insight of the data.
The benefits of the collaboration between Information Technology and Operational Technology using IoT as a business driver are:
- Cost reduction of the operation
- Resource utilization improvements
- Lower operational risk
It is imperative to have reliable and robust data infrastructure to optimize the connectivity and availability of operations and business data for fast analysis and decisions. Another important aspect is to have the right smart devices to manage the advanced analytics to connect the sensor’s data, operation and people.
ERP-IoT systems will manage and control operations data for analytics, visualization and detail information. These systems will combine historical, real-time and predictive data, providing a good insight on what is happening in the different parts of the business operation.
The digital transformation will be facilitated due to the knowledge provided by the combination of Information Technology and Operation Technology operational data. Analytics and visualization for analysis of operations and financial data will allow:
- Increase company insight
- From a business perspective, support continuous improvement programs, reduce cost and accelerate profit
- From an operations perspective, increase efficiency, optimize asset management and increase resource effectiveness.
By aligning and unifying OT and IT infrastructure, systems, and practices, enterprises can optimize business processes and greatly reduce operating expenses.
Integrating these environments, requires businesses to address both technological and organizational requirements. Implementing a tiered intelligent system infrastructure ensures high scalability, availability, and security, while IoT gateways efficiently bridge OT and IT.
In addition, effective converged infrastructure requires organizations to establish cross-functional teams that share knowledge and unify business practices, following strategic direction that is set at the executive level.
ERP-IoT systems will reduce cost for implementation and Internet of Things operations, and simplify software integration between OT and IT.