Industry 4.0, the rapid change of technology-enabled industries and society, is accelerating. For production-intensive environments, this new phase holds enormous potential: faster time to market, lower production costs, improved safety and better asset utilization.
Businesses are looking for ways to accelerate IT-OT convergence in industrial environments and one of the fastest ways to achieve this is by first setting up a unified digital foundation (infrastructure & platforms) across enterprise IT and industrial IT/OT setups.
The convergence of industrial and enterprise IT starts with unifying, standardizing and automating IT infrastructure and platforms, specifically in the areas of observability, AI operations, resilient engineering, ITSM, hybrid cloud, networks, PC management across standard and industrial and more. The focus should be to leverage the best and proven capabilities, innovations and tools to fast-track deployments, while adapting and contextualizing to each environment.
Bringing together the best of both worlds
Industrial IT includes all the software, hardware and communication protocols that manage and control industrial processes. Enterprise IT, on the other hand, covers the computing systems and networks designed to meet the demands of a large organization.
Dictated by conventional wisdom, enterprise IT and industrial IT have traditionally operated in their silos, locked away from one another by high-latency networks, incompatible protocols and different paradigms of data processing.
But modern businesses are breaking these walls and rightfully so. Their convergence amalgamates the efficiencies and proven benefits of enterprise IT tools used for managing overall IT operations and industrial IT tools used for controlling production processes.
The primary benefits that can be achieved from a converged environment include:
Mission-critical resilience and heighted productivity
By facilitating resilient engineering, predictive observability, digital skills and tools, unified control of operations, hyper automation of manual tasks with AI & ML and transparent collaboration between corporate IT & Production IT teams, the convergence of IT-OT exponentially increases resilience, uptime and productivity.
Here are the two major areas for increasing resilience:
Building digital converged networks with a common software-defined network management and modern technologies, such as 5G network slicing, SDN, Wifi-6 and Wifi mesh creates a seamless user, application and workload performance across corporate and industrial setups. Building distributed cloud capabilities with advanced computing paradigms, such as private cloud and edge capabilities offer lower latency and higher bandwidth for optimized IT operations. This includes integrating cloud capabilities into industrial IT environments. This is essential for growth, as it provides real-time visibility through the integration of a larger number of machines, devices and processes into a single, centralized network.
Through optimization of resource utilization across both the IT-OT technology teams, centralized device management across unified technology landscape, leveraging AR and VR for smarter remote management and optimized energy consumption, enterprise and industrial IT convergence enables organizations to significantly bring down operational costs.
This is usually achieved by setting up Digital Production Operations Center across industrial and enterprise IT with intelligent swarming and digitally smarter on-ground people.
End-to-end security orchestration
With new age tools and centralized monitoring systems, converged enterprise IT and industrial IT systems can close the gaps between physical and cyber security across the business and enable IT teams to ensure airtight security of systems across all touchpoints.
Leveraging the cutting-edge offerings of modern cybersecurity tools, enterprises can effectively address the challenges in industrial processes and assets. This includes services that address the pain points of industrial IT such as:
Vulnerability management, especially patch management of industrial heterogeneous and niche technologies. Authentication of user and machine identities. Network and system security. Threat monitoring and incident detection.
The convergence of enterprise IT and industrial IT data enables the generation of precise and meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs), which increases the influence on business outcomes.
This can help enterprises enhance efficiencies and performance across all verticals, enabling both corporate and production teams to fulfill business-critical objectives.
Enterprise and industrial IT convergence provides enterprises with real-time data. This enables them to react swiftly to market changes. It allows enterprises to efficiently manage production timelines intelligently without disrupting operational efficiency.
Through analysis and visualization of real-time data and enhanced visibility into operations, converged enterprise and industrial IoT systems help organizations predict, identify and address potential opportunities and anomalies, enabling them to become more informed and make impactful decisions.
Accelerating IT-OT convergence with HCLTech
The convergence of enterprise and industrial IT is essential in accelerating the digitalization of an industrial environment. This is easier said than done without the support of an expert technology partner. That’s where HCLTech acts as a trusted ally of enterprises. With 46+ years of proven domain expertise, HCLTech’s skilled talent, effective solutions and accelerators can maximize the advantages of enterprise and industrial IT convergence.
The Digital Industrial IT-OT Operations Center is one such offering with an industry-focused solution that has helped several customers to leap forward in their Smart Industry vision. It enables clients with the centralization of industrial IT-enterprise IT operations across multiple factories with a unified blueprint.
This integrated solution covers IT-OT environments end to end, helping enterprises put their best foot forward, irrespective of their current maturity level in their convergence journey.
To learn more about our capabilities, click here.