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IT and OT

Aligning IT and OT is the crucial first step on your smart manufacturing journey. Here are 7 strategies for success.

IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) are two distinct domains within an organization, each with its own focus, objectives, and technologies.

IT deals with information processing and management, including systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and data analytics.

OT, on the other hand, focuses on the control and monitoring of physical devices and processes, such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), industrial control systems (ICS), and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

Yet, aligning IT and OT is crucial for achieving optimal performance, efficiency, and innovation within manufacturing and industrial environments.

Here are seven strategies that can help align your IT and OT:

Shared Goals and Objectives.

Establishing shared goals and objectives between IT and OT teams is essential for alignment. This involves understanding the overarching business objectives and identifying how IT and OT can collaborate to support these goals. Encourage regular communication and collaboration between IT and OT teams to ensure alignment with broader organizational objectives.

Cross-functional Teams

Form cross-functional teams comprised of members from both IT and OT departments to work on projects and initiatives that require collaboration between the two domains. Cross-functional teams facilitate knowledge sharing, break down silos, and promote a better understanding of each other’s requirements and constraints.

Standardized Technologies and Protocols

Adopting standardized technologies and protocols that are compatible with both IT and OT environments can facilitate integration and interoperability between systems. This may involve leveraging industry standards such as OPC-UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) for data exchange and communication between IT and OT systems.

Integrated Platforms and Solutions

Implement integrated platforms and solutions that bridge the gap between IT and OT systems. For example, deploying Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) that integrate with enterprise-level ERP systems can provide end-to-end visibility and control over manufacturing operations while ensuring data consistency and accuracy between IT and OT domains.

Cybersecurity and Risk Management

Collaborate on cybersecurity and risk management initiatives to ensure the security and resilience of both IT and OT systems. This involves implementing robust security controls, conducting regular vulnerability assessments and audits, and fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and collaboration across the organization.

Training and Skills Development

Provide training and skills development opportunities for both IT and OT personnel to enhance their understanding of each other’s domains and technologies. Cross-training initiatives can help bridge knowledge gaps and foster a more holistic approach to problem-solving and innovation.

Executive Sponsorship and Leadership

Ensure executive sponsorship and leadership support for IT-OT alignment initiatives. Executive buy-in is essential for driving organizational change, allocating resources, and overcoming resistance to change from stakeholders within IT and OT departments.

Align IT and OT to drive innovation

By adopting these strategies, organizations can effectively align IT and OT to drive innovation, improve operational efficiency, and achieve better business outcomes in today’s digital manufacturing landscape.  Looking for a partner that can help? 

AutomateIT’s team of IT and OT experts come from various manufacturers and have led smart manufacturing initiatives and delivered results for those various companies. 

Let’s get started.