IT / OT Convergence: The Dilemma in the IoT Perception Gap

Therein lies the challenge. Though IoT requires intimate collaboration, IT and OT organizations have traditionally been turned off. The OT side – engineers, operators and managers who oversee the sprawling operations on the plant floor or in the field – often look at IT as a black box. The IT team – from system administrators up to CIO – sometimes considers OT systems as black boxes as well. Even if the two groups have collaborated in the past, they may have widely differing priorities, reporting structures and workplace cultures that hinder their ability to collaborate on transformative IoT projects.

Study points to IoT perception gaps
Given the many differences that share IT and OT, it should come as no surprise that they have very different perspectives on both the goals and outcomes of IoT initiatives. This finding comes from a study conducted by Futurum Research analytics company of 500 people with at least a moderate responsibility for IoT planning, configuration, management and oversight in IT or OT.

What emerged from the survey data were six different gaps in the perception between IT and OT:

  1. Common values ​​and expectations – the value relationship.
  2. Shared responsibility and benefits – the impact gap.
  3. Agreement on leadership and priorities – the leadership.
  4. Similar perspectives on how to achieve success – the success gap.
  5. Mutual understanding of challenges and barriers – the challenge gap.
  6. Adjusting budgets and financing – the budget gap.

In the survey data, the perception gaps are not so clear in the overall. But they emerge when the responses of IT-dominant respondents are compared to their OT counterparts.

For example, within leadership, more than 30 percent of respondents said they strongly agreed with the statement “IT drives IoT strategy initiatives within your organization.” This corresponded to the 27 percent of respondents who strongly agreed with the statement “OT runs IoT strategy initiatives within your organization.”

However, when the results are distributed to IT dominant responses (those involved in IT in their organizations) versus OT dominant responses, sharp differences emerge. More than 33 percent of IT-dominant respondents strongly agreed that OT runs IoT strategy initiatives with their organizations.

From this data, it is not only less likely that OT considers IT a leader IoT strategy, it is also less likely to see itself running IoT strategy! This is, to say the least, intuitive. But it also leads to new questions – where does OT look for IoT management?

To overcome some very real gaps in the perception of IoT, you need to integrate IT and OT so that they can collaborate intimately and effectively on IoT projects. Such collaboration will support comprehensive IT / OT convergence, which is essential for scaling IoT systems and ultimately achieving greater business capability and increasingly efficient operations.

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