Convergence IT/OT – Corporations are undertaking wide-ranging projects to seize the growing opportunities data processing offers to optimise and add value to their businesses. It is in this context that the Cigref « IT-OT Convergence » working group led by Gilles Lévêque, CIO of the ADP Group, publishes the fruit of its reflection in a report entitled « IT-OT Convergence: A fruitful integration of information systems and operational systems ». French version here.
In this context, firms are encountering the same catalysts. They want to harness the full potential of their data and roll out the applications that enable this. To meet data usage needs, platforms are being developed to collect, qualify, process, correlate and analyse data, and, ultimately, improve business processes and customer experiences. Little by little, corporations are establishing true end-to-end digital continuity.
Nonetheless, this digital continuity enabled by system interconnection requires the imposition of many rules, notably in the area of cybersecurity, which is becoming both a great challenge to and a catalyst of the IT/OT convergence. The gateways between these worlds, with their converging technologies, are increasing the cyberattack surface; such attacks are becoming more common and more professional.
To these first two issues of data and security can be added a third: that of competencies. The OT/IT dialogue is a new one and teams have very different cultures. Team collaboration and project governance are key to IT/OT convergence sucess.
There is no standard template organisational structure or roadmap for convergence; it is up to each corporation to find the « right » structure by facilitating two-way interactions and understanding between IT and OT teams, pooling competencies and sharing responsibilities.
All the corporations taking part in this Cigref working group faced the same issues. They have adopted different standpoints to address them and, in some cases, different vocabularies to describe them. Despite their specific contexts and organisations, they have used similar tools, solutions and techniques. So, even with differing methods, the overall approach is comparable.