Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Ambuj Kumar, Shelly Palmer, XebiaLabs Blog, Liz McMillan

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at 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. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at 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. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at 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. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at 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. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at 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. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at 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. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at 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. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...