A Step-By-Step Approach is Best for IT-OT Convergence

Think Big, Start Small when it comes to IT-OT convergence to ensure a robust transformation.
Published: Mon 27 Jan 2014

It’s all about small changes as part of a transformation programme. This is according to David Socha, Practice Leader, Teradata International, UK, who says that IT-OT convergence is a relatively new experience for utilities. Therefore, utilities should work on small successes and small victories to begin with.

He says that utilities should rather concentrate on these instead of looking too far ahead. More focus should be placed on imminent change and success. This echoes many commentators who stress that an evolutionary approach will bear greater dividends, particularly as priority conversion points may differ form utility to utility.

Small successes

Celina Kroon, Consultant, Alliander Consultancy Group, The Netherlands, says that it will take small successes in order to feel successful as the transformation will be experienced largely on personal experience. He points out that the real success of IT-OT convergence will be when all levels of the organization, management and employees, are feeling the success and experiencing the benefits of the transformation process.

The true measure of success is when the two groups of people- IT and OT- are resolving problems together. This is according to Robin Hagemans, Manager Grid Management IT, Alliander, The Netherlands, who explains that the firm should set a common objective for everyone to work towards. It is essential that the whole team has the same objective and that everyone is pushing in the same direction.

Steady and comprehensive

While a gradual, step-by-step approach to convergence has its benefits, it’s also important that a steady and comprehensive approach with a strategic vision is in place when designing a comprehensive architecture for the system. For instance, practices and standards must be formulated and established from the very beginning. Aspects like disaster recovery, the back-up site, and security should be looked at up front.

By doing this, more successful results can be expected as there will be no surprises or misunderstanding along the transformation route.

"First think about the overall architecture – how you will build it and how you will secure it," confirms Schneider Electric's Jeff Meyers, the former President of Telvent Miner & Miner. "Then you can launch a small project. Even if you can't do everything at once, you still need to think through the system as a whole before you start small projects that won't fit together."

There are a number of challenges when it comes to IT-OT convergence but careful planning and superior project management should deliver one success at a time, resulting in a successful process over time.

Fred Fletcher, Assistant General Manager/Power Supply at Burbank Water & Power points out that all stakeholders should discuss and develop goals before rushing headlong into the project because IT-OT convergence is merciless when it comes to poor planning.