Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Matt Brickey, Rene Buest, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Converging IT and OT at the Speed of the IoT | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M

A recent study showed that 40 percent of companies at the top of their industries will be replaced in the next 10 years

Converging IT and OT at the Speed of the IoT

The rolling thunder of digital transformation waits for no business. It will make short work of any organization that does not evolve rapidly. CEOs must quickly define where their organizations can compete for success and lead them on that journey. If they can't-or won't-change, they risk fading away like the slow-moving dinosaurs confronted with a habitat-destroying meteor.

The IoT's Precipitous Changes
Leading analyst Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. There is already $1.9 trillion dollars' worth of economic value related to the sale and usage of IoT technology.

The impact crater of this technology shift must not go underestimated. A recent study showed that 40 percent of companies at the top of their industries will be replaced in the next 10 years. Yet, the same survey found that 45 percent of respondents do not think digital disruption is worthy of attention from their organization's board of directors.

This attitude is perilous. Just consider these examples:

  • AirBnB, Uber and Lyft are transforming how people book lodging and arrange transportation, putting enormous pressure on the hospitality and taxi industries.
  • The iPhone blew the former market leader off the map.
  • Additive (3D) printing threatens marine and overland cargo shipping companies.
  • As the photography market swung toward digital, the reign of film-based camera companies ended.

There are bright spots for agile companies, however. With the launch of Pokemon Go and its massive recent Apple partnership, Nintendo boosted its relevance by establishing a strong mobile platform.

Rapid change requires that industry leaders proactively plan. Would you rather be Netflix or Blockbuster? Nearly 30 percent of businesses worldwide have already begun limited IoT deployments, according to Strategy Analytics' IoT 2015 Deployment and Usage Trends survey. For organizations that have not yet begun, it's not too late to embrace digital transformation - but they must act now.

Turning the Ship Around
The IoT opens up new worlds of possibilities because organizations now can extract data from network-connected devices and sensors. This data was never available before. Insights from this data can add enormous value to organizations. But companies must reshape their current infrastructures in order to use their data effectively. And they must hire and train the right people to bring their digital change strategies to fruition.

The traditional siloes of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) are getting shaken up by the IoT. These two were once separate and did not often communicate with each other. Now they must come together. It's a huge and critical step in the digital journey. The rub? Most do not know how to merge IT and OT. Neither IT nor OT professionals fully grasp converged IoT networking. They do not understand industrial IoT security. They are not fluent in endpoint data management and analytics. And they are not at all certain how the preceding will add value to their organizations. How will it lead to new business models? Or new services and revenue sources?

It will take new talent and the right training to update the skills of existing staff and to find answers to these questions. Connecting 20 billion machines and devices is a huge task. The World Bank predicts that over the next decade, there will be 2 million unfilled information and communication technology (ICT) -related jobs worldwide. There will be a global need to train 220,000 new control engineers every year for manufacturing plant operations alone.

The IT department, known for its information processing duties, is better positioned to take the lead in the digital journey. Data from IoT connected devices will create new information to parse, interpret and monetize. But IT must collaborate with OT during the transition. After all, many of the sensors, devices, operations and software that comprise the IoT reside in the OT side of the organization.

Consider, for instance, a steam valve system that controls water flow through a cooling apparatus. It operates within the OT domain and will continue to operate in the OT domain. In the past, manual intervention was required to take its readings and make decisions. Now, in an IoT environment, data from the apparatus is collected, analyzed and acted upon via the interconnected network and IT software. Solving for manual intervention, data generated from OT-managed devices and sensors is delivered across the IT system to take critical, real-time action.

How the IoT Benefits OT
IoT advocates need to make a strong business case for its benefits to OT and the organization as a whole. For example, the IoT could boost corporate profits worldwide by 21 percent in 2022.

Safety and comfort are also IoT benefits. Connected sensors and devices can measure and manage hazardous places at no risk to human beings. The IoT can also regulate the organization's physical surroundings to control energy costs and boost comfort.

Yet another benefit of the IoT is efficiency. It will handle routine tasks like reporting misconfigurations and errors as they occur on automated assembly lines. The result? Higher yields and less downtime, which improves profits. Better decision-making is also possible due to the IoT. Pulling trends from empirical data removes assumptions from the process. The ability to view how the system behaves can yield new insights and ideas.

Over the long term, IoT data analysis holds great potential for new revenue opportunities. In the short term, the IoT's immediate effect is lower costs and increased efficiency. All departments will benefit from the IoT. However, in a major cultural shift like this, OT executives must align with current IT initiatives in addition to breaking out of existing silos. It is a tall order.

Skilled Workers in Short Supply
To make the order even taller, OT executives are facing a major talent gap. Additionally, executives lack a process or industry-approved framework for quantifying the skills needed to perform IoT job roles. Insufficient staffing and lack of expertise is the top-cited barrier for organizations currently looking to implement and benefit from the IoT, according to research from Gartner.

Further, the State of IoT 2015 Global Developer Study found that 51 percent of developers and chief information officers surveyed say they are uncertain they have the skills or resources to deliver on the promise of the IoT.

Lessons Learned
Investing in the IoT is investing in the future. Let's explore how to lay out and follow a roadmap to a successful IoT strategy. Successful digital journeys arise from two factors. The first is leadership. Organizations need to hire a digital champion with a firm IoT vision and the enthusiasm to motivate employees to make huge changes in systems and processes. CEOs recognize the importance of tying workplace culture to behavior, with 41 percent making changes to this aspect of their talent strategies. Indeed, companies that take bold actions to align their value proposition, capabilities, products and services together view their culture as their greatest asset.

Updated skills is the second factor. Seventy-two percent of the CEO respondents in the 19th PWC annual Global CEO Survey reported that the availability of key skills is a concern. Both IT and OT need digital expertise. Training staff in this new expertise is essential for organizations to avoid the meteor and thrive in their digital transitions.

No business wants to go the way of the dinosaur. Organizations understand that in order to succeed in today's environment, they need to overcome traditional siloes by bringing together IT and OT to truly get the most out of their IoT efforts.

More Stories By Sudarshan Krishnamurthi

Sudarshan Krishnamurthi is a senior manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems with over 20+ years of experience in the technology industry. He leads the Business Strategy function for Education Services within Cisco. He also leads the Strategy and Portfolio Workgroups for the IoT Talent Consortium, which is an industry initiative to address the IoT skills gap and the career trajectories of the future. He has worked with many industry partner, including Rockwell Automation and Panduit, to help create the first skills-based training and certification program focused on IT and OT convergence on the industrial plant floor. Through this program, Rockwell and Cisco have jointly trained and certified more than 1,000 individuals.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained Michael Fuhrman, Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As enterprise cloud becomes the norm, businesses and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance related to data privacy and information protection. The most recent, Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have board level implications and companies still struggle with demonstrating due diligence. Developers and DevOps leaders, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.