There are two types of people in industry—operations technology and information technology. God forbid if they should actually talk with each other.

Everywhere I go there is talk of overcoming the OT/IT divide. Something just crossed my email stream where there was a survey about whether the departments have merged anywhere. They were shocked, shocked I say, that only about 1 in 10 companies have merged the two departments. I think the purveyors of that survey must have been on Mars for the past bunch of years.

These people just have different jobs to do. Different things they are measured on. Different ways they contribute to the common welfare of the corporation. However, the technologies they use are overlapping at an ever greater pace.

Here is a survey that once again reveals what is seemingly a disconnect between IT and OT. But I think that interfacing to ERP systems is non-trivial. I’m actually amazed and heartened by the progress we’ve made to date.

I’d take a look at this survey and consider how far we have come—and yet, how far we still need to go.

IFS has released a primary research study on how the Internet of Things (IoT) affects readiness for digital transformation in industrial companies.

According to survey of 200 IoT decision makers at industrial companies in North America, only 16 percent of respondents consume IoT data in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. That means 84 percent of industrial companies face a disconnect between data from connected devices and strategic decision making and operations, limiting the digital transformation potential of IoT.

The study posed questions about companies’ degree of IoT sophistication. The study also explores how well their enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) or field service management (FSM)software prepares them for digital transformation and to consume IoT data within enterprise software.

Respondents were divided into groups including IoT Leaders and IoT Laggards, depending on how well their enterprise software prepared them to consume IoT data—as well as Digital Transformation Leaders and Digital Transformation Laggards depending on how well their enterprise software prepared them for digital transformation.

The two Leaders groups overlapped, with 88 percent of Digital Transformation Leaders also qualifying as IoT Leaders, suggesting IoT is a technology that underpins the loose concept of digital transformation.
Digital Transformation Leaders made more complete use of IoT data than Digital Transformation Laggards; Leaders are almost three times as likely to use IoT data for corporate business intelligence or to monitor performance against service level agreements.

Digital Transformation Leaders were more likely than Digital Transformation Laggards to be able to access IoT data in applications used beyond the plant floor. They were more than four times as lilkely to have access to IoT data in enterprise asset management software, twice as likely than Digital Transformation Laggards to be able to access IoT data in high-value asset performance management software, and almost twice as likely to be able to be able to use IoT data in ERP.

The data suggests a real need for more IoT-enabled enterprise applications designed to put data from networks of connected devices into the context of the business.

In reviewing the findings, IFS Chief Technology Officer for North America, Rick Veague, commented, “Are your planning and maintenance systems robust enough to make real time decisions using IoT-sourced data? Many are facing the reality of having to answer ‘no.’ ”

“Study data suggest that the most common use case for IoT in these industrial settings is condition-based maintenance. The benefits go beyond operational improvements and maintenance cost avoidance,” said Ralph Rio, Vice President of Enterprise Software at ARC Advisory Group. “It increases uptime that provides additional capacity for increased revenue. It also avoids unplanned downtime that interrupts production schedules causing missed shipment dates and customer satisfaction issues. When married to demand and scheduling systems in ERP, IoT becomes a revenue-enhancement tool improving the top line.”

 

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