Operational Tech Company Offers Tool for Integrating with IT

Loraine Lawson
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Strategic Integration: 10 Business-Building Tips

Ten ways that companies can use integration and integration-related strategies to build business.

Operational technology - the technology of physical things such as equipment, ships, sensors and even manufacturing floors - has always been a silo of sorts, developing outside (and sometime before) the domain of traditional IT.


They're separate domains not just in what they do, but in terms of who oversees them. While the CIO, with a team of developers, network admin and database administrators, focuses on data centers, enterprise software and PCs, the operational side is typically overseen and run by engineers, running engineering systems on the plant floor.


Part of the problem, of course, is that while the factory floor may have information of interest to your BI and ERP systems, it's too much information. Operational systems can literally push a hundred million individual data items.


"You certainly don't want all of that flowing into your business intelligence system, but you know, you can export key statistics and performance indicators in real time immediately into those kinds of systems and they can use that data," explains Stan Schneider, the CEO of Real-Time Innovations (RTI), a California-based software company that builds high-performance communications and integration software for operational technologies.


Sorting through the data to extract useful information used to fall to traditional IT, but it was a huge hassle that took days or longer.


But that is changing, thanks in no small part to the fact that operational technology is becoming more like traditional IT, according to Gartner. Last year, Gartner predicted the convergence of the two worlds and suggested companies investigate how to integrate operational technology with enterprise IT.


"There's only so many incremental changes you can get in the IT systems to improve performance. The same on the OT side - you're only going to get incremental performance improvements by new versions of products," said Research VP and Gartner Fellow Kristian Steenstrup in a webinar. "But when you combine the two, you can get transformational change in the organization by combining the efforts of IT and OT strategies."


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