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The Strategy, Value and Risk of IT/OT Convergence

by Kristian Steenstrup  |  March 16, 2011  |  Comments Off on The Strategy, Value and Risk of IT/OT Convergence

Gartner’s Special Report, IT and Operational Technology Alignment, is focused on the strategy of integrating IT business systems with the operational technologies that are used to manage and automate equipment in a heavy industrial environment. Traditionally, these two systems have been treated separately, but more and more we are seeing distinct advantages in bringing them closer together.

Gartner has identified five key issues that organizations need to understand as they engage with OT environments to assess convergence, create alignment and seek potential integration. The first key issue is focused on the way enterprises should think about evaluating the strategy, value and risk of IT/OT convergence.

So what are the benefits that come from managing IT and OT convergence, alignment and integration? They include optimized business processes, enhanced information for better decisions, reduced costs, lower risks and shortened project timelines.

A shared set of standards and platforms will reduce costs for future integration projects, software licensing, external and internal support, and more. If this set of standards is addressed early, the risks for future integration projects are minimized. Hybrid projects relying on IT and OT investment will meet fewer obstacles if the staff working on them have an agreed-on approach, and the same set of standards and architecture plans. Reduced risks also come from reducing malware intrusion and internal errors.

With IT and OT alignment, CIOs have a great opportunity to better enable decisions that optimize business processes and performance. The expanding universe of digital technologies creates challenges stemming from multiple stand-alone technologies, which tend to fragment processes and information across the enterprise value chain. OT fragmentation leads to multiple information owners.

Gartner continues to develop research that describes the risks of not aligning IT and OT, as well as the potential project risks that can derail the internal alignment between the two areas. We are also creating research that describes the opportunities for process and information integration, and that identifies benefits to enable clients to create a business case for this undertaking.

In the coming weeks, we will continue our look at the five key issues of IT and OT alignment. For more, please visit the collection of research on the IT/OT Alignment Special Report page on Gartner.com.

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Kristian Steenstrup
VP & Gartner Fellow
11 years with Gartner
30 years IT industry

Kristian Steenstrup is a vice president and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research and the industry services director for the Energy and Utilities Industry Advisory Service. As a Gartner Fellow, he is involved in cross-topic research... Read Full Bio




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