The coexistence of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) in the Philippines does not only mean the convergence of technology. Rather it brings together people from different domains to sit together and plan for the future. IT and OT both have fairly different networks. Hence, converging them does not only mean bringing and sorting a few desks together or scheduling meetings together.
The IT field deals with information as it adopts a business-oriented approach while the OT field deals and interacts with machines as it adopts a machine-oriented approach. Basically, both the fields have a difference of day and night between them!
It is definitely a huge challenge to bring together IT and OT, especially in a country like the Philippines. IT and OT industries in the Philippines have been booming. Therefore, the amalgamation of both fields would mean BUSINESS!
The Philippines is slowly and gradually becoming a hub of outsourcing. People from all over the world are outsourcing their IT and OT projects to the Philippines. Hence, both industries are flourishing at a rapid rate. The BPO industry in the Philippines is geared up to generate over 1.3 million jobs. Moreover, both sectors have full support from the government of the Philippines.
So, having read about the importance of IT and OT in the Philippines, let’s have a look at 12 ways through which it becomes possible to bring together IT and OT here. Here we go:
- Uniting Two Different Languages
As IT and OT both are different fields, their respective languages are different as well. The terminology is different. Hence, uniting two different languages would make it easier for the coexistence of IT and OT.
For example, CIP vs. SIP (both pronounced as sip but meanings are different). In the OT industry, CIP stands for Common Industrial Protocol which means having a protocol for automating industrial processes, controlling, safety, configuration, etc. However, in the IT industry, SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol which means having a protocol that starts, maintains, and terminates real-time voice and messages.
So, if both the languages, the terminologies, the jargon, and the acronyms are collected in the same place, the task would become easier for the coexistence of IT and OT.
It is definitely hard but not impossible!
- Bringing Together the Diverse Cultures
IT and OT both have been present here for a lot of time. Therefore, the IT and OT cultures are quite diverse and profound. IT puts focus on the security of the offices and accessibility as it has been the custodian of ethernet technology for years now. OT focuses on reliability, availability, and quality.
Basically, both the fields had the requirement of different skillsets. Nonetheless, IT and OT convergence is changing that!
It is very much possible for both the groups to unite together. Nonetheless, honesty and patience are the keys to clearing the questions and truly understanding the connection between IT and OT.
- Cooperating with Each Other
A number of times, groups often oppose each other for several reasons. In short, they are adamant about not working together. The idea of one group being too dominant over the other is actually dangerous for coordination. Therefore, it creates rifts between the groups, and working together becomes harder.
In a bid to align IT and OT, the manufacturing and industrial sectors would need a person to step up in order to bring into line the priorities, engaging everyone to work together diligently. This single person would act as a third party and would not take any sides. The same person would have to represent both sides. Therefore, it is necessary for him/her to have knowledge in both fields.
The person must be able to persuade people from both sides in order to initiate cooperation.
- Fully Understanding the Meaning of Convergence
It is vital to understand that remaining on the same page in terms of IT and OT convergence is necessary!
Convergence does not mean that everyone would have equal accessibility to everything. When IT and OT are converged, the decisions would be based on mutual agreements. However, there will be dozens of challenges in converging both fields. It is not as simple as connecting two domains.
Through IT and OT convergence, you will have the benefits of IoT and process automation. You will be running after similar objectives to make sure that the convergence has proven to be fruitful.
In the end, a thorough convergence would ensure running a single system and managing it only.
- Faithful in Making the Convergence Works
It is all in your mind! If you believe you can do it, then no force can stop you from doing it!
Convergence is definitely very helpful in providing several benefits. In order to analyze the benefits, start with a pilot project or opt for some projects in which both IT and OT can work together. Slowly and gradually, build trust in the process, the team members, and your own approach, and then witness the feedback.
Plus, make sure to not get annoyed if any of the trials fail. Every member of the team must be ready for hiccups, mistakes, and total failures. Also, draw an insight regarding how the issues would be resolved.
- Converging the Process
Converging the process means aligning the workflows of both IT and OT. The IT and OT platforms must be able to modify their processes in order to accommodate each other while making sure that projects are communicated in the right manner. Newly converged technology would definitely take some time to prove its mettle. However, over time, you would realize that it was actually the right decision.
- Communicate Goals and Strategies
The best part about the convergence of IT and OT is that the communication of goals and strategies would make the job easier and faster. Developing a clear picture of the goals, discussing with each and every member, and ensuring that everyone understands the challenges and benefits of convergence are key to success. Nonetheless, it is important to make sure that members of both groups are equally participating in the discussion in order to avoid problems in the future.
- Defining Roles and Objectives
As two different groups are being amalgamated, the first and foremost task is to define the roles and objectives of each and every group member. The responsibilities must be assigned according to the skillset of the members. Moreover, both the IT and OT team members should get an equal amount of work.
There should not be any sort of discrimination if the idea is to keep both groups converged triumphantly.
Plus, apart from assigning the duties, there should be an initiative to keep the teams together. Also, the focus should be on providing opportunities to collaborate so members can easily gel together.
- Make Use of the Accurate Tools
In every domain, the use of appropriate tools is extremely important. IT and OT teams do require tools to communicate with each other. Moreover, deploying accurate tools make sure that there is enough visibility on what is happening around the ongoing projects. Visibility is very important so that all the functions remain under the scanner and nothing could escape from the eyes.
- Train the members of both IT and OT Groups
Training is very important, no matter wherever you head! Training the members would create a new atmosphere for convergence where everything would happen in a sustained manner. Through cross-training, the members of the IT group would know the expectations of the OT group and vice versa.
So, both the groups would work hand in hand without making problems amidst any important project.
- Keep a Check on the Flow of Data
When IT and OT groups are brought together, the check on the flow of data becomes imminent. You must be able to identify the devices from which the flow of data has originated. Plus, with a number of IT and OT devices passing through your network, it is very important to know their actual location.
Therefore, if you know the actual location, you will be able to identify and eliminate the vulnerabilities.
While eliminating vulnerabilities, the basic aim should be to have a completely secured coexistence of IT and OT.
- Integration with Existing Systems
The coexistence of IT and OT is only possible through the integration of existing systems. It is not fully possible to completely replace all the previous systems in order to create adaptability among IT and OT systems. Hence, the task should be to bring together IT and OT and integrate them with existing systems.
By adopting this approach, you will be able to cut down a lot on costs. Moreover, the main agenda of coexistence is to do more with less!
The Bottom Line
So, the above-mentioned are the 12 fruitful ways of making IT and OT coexist in the Philippines or in every other country in the world. Basically, the approach always remains the same. Nowadays, the convergence of IT and OT can deliver a number of benefits for organizations. So, coexistence must be looked forward to!