While Information technology (IT) systems are used for data-centric computing, operational technology (OT) systems monitor events, processes, and devices in plants and process facilities, typically in industrial operations.
Historically, organizations grappled with the traditional physical world (machines, manufacturing systems, industrial equipment) and the digital world (servers, storage, applications, data).
Throughout the years, these two areas of industrial operations have occupied separate IT domains and shared little meaningful data or control, resulting in silos of devices unable to communicate and share information, even if both are specialized and electronic.
But today, the worlds of IT and OT are converging.
Convergence of IT and OT is catalyzed by advances in technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), Big Data analytics and machine-to-machine communication.
IoT includes an assortment of sensors that can gather real-world conditions (temperature, pressure, chemical compositions) and an array of actuators capable of translating digital commands and instructions into physical actions (controlling valves, moving mechanisms). For an enterprise to take advantage of all the information from manufacturing or process operations requires the connection between a domain where data is generated (OT) and a domain where data is consumed (IT).
IT OT convergence can merge business processes, insights, and controls into a single uniform environment if implemented correctly.