Aligning IT and OT is a crucial step in achieving success
Published by : Industrial Automation
Damodar Sahu, Digital & Innovation Strategist – Automotive, Wipro Limited, USA
What are the constraints typically faced by the manufacturing industry in Digital Transformation despite the obvious advantages?
Digital transformation is a combination of traditional manufacturing processes enhanced with new advancing technologies, working together to drive manufacturing forward and address inefficiencies in the current sector. There are 4 types of digital transformation:
1. Business process; 2. Business model; 3. Domain; and 4. Cultural/organisational.
We often see corporations focused solely on process or organisational transformation. Just like in any industry, there are many constraints that can hold manufacturers back from digital transformation initiatives, whether it’s getting proper buy-in from senior management or fighting over fears surrounding business and personnel resources:
1. Any digital transformation initiative can place demands on the IT department’s technology stack and development structure. This may require the use of new release cycles, processes, APIs, or innovating in other areas of digital performance.
2. Digitalisation in the manufacturing industry incurs costs on human resources, i.e., the workforce can feel disillusioned in the face of changing workplace realities. Employee reluctance and communication issues also pose a challenge to manufacturers.
3. Being in a dynamic and cash-sensitive industry, manufacturers need to carefully address any budget and resource limitations. This can lead to reservations about sticking to their digital transformation strategy.
4. Manufacturing operations are complicated with tight schedules and numerous resource constraints. As a result, management doesn’t take kindly to ill effects on operations before seeing any benefits from their digital transformation.
It is not digital disruption that impels companies to change, it is digital “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out).
What are the common mistakes companies make even before they start implementing the measures?
There are many mistakes companies need to avoid in course of implementation of digital transformation measures:
1. They don’t know what they are doing
2. They silo the transformation
3. Failing to consider how the business has changed
4. Not sufficiently planning for growth
5. Not trusting Cloud
6. Failing to listen to the data
7. Forgetting Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) go beyond technology in ERP projects
8. Unguided leadership
9. Fixed mind-set, and
10. Culture blindness.
How much of this is happening due to the OT/IT divide and operational silos?
Convergence of IT and OT is about systems, standards and a new way of thinking. Aligning IT and OT is a challenge, but it is a crucial step in achieving success with industrial automation on an efficient timeline. Connected factory and digital transformation initiatives such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) projects are disrupting traditional manufacturing processes and operations. The integration and alignment of IT and OT may not seem as important as the new technologies themselves, but connecting the two is, in fact, critical to achieving measurable RoI and timely success with IIoT initiatives.
Steps to successful IT-OT convergence:
1. Get management buy-in
2. Establish an organisation responsible for IIoT
3. Outline clear strategic goals
4. Develop a data management plan up front
5. Enlist stakeholder participation, and
6. Know what you know and what you don’t.
Is the issue of legacy system a formidable challenge in this journey?
Legacy systems have been a hurdle to digital transformation efforts for several years now. Unfortunately, despite the large amount of investment from SMBs, success can often be elusive – 70% of businesses fail to see through their digital transformation plans to a satisfactory conclusion. One of the reasons transformation can be difficult is the upgrading of legacy systems. They can be cumbersome, unruly, and challenging to update. That’s not to mention pushback from end users who are comfortable with the existing system and reluctant to move to another platform.
For SMEs, cost and skills are a major restraint – will this widen the gulf between them and the larger players in the supply chain?
Strong competition in the markets, high level of interest rates on loans, and poor infrastructure were are among the highest barriers for small and medium business growth in developing countries. Barriers influencing small and medium enterprises growth are multidimensional. For many enterprises, security concern is among the major inhibitors (a global automotive company being the most recent example). Can this be addressed holistically, ever? The recent disruptive cyber-attack on a major automotive manufacturer resulted in the company’s plants in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Turkey going offline. The cyber-attack impacted computer server access, email use and other internal systems at the Japanese automaker’s facilities. In addition to manufacturing, the cyber-attack also impacted
other operations within the company.
Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of keeping manufacturing facilities running smoothly. The attitudes around manufacturing security had been shifting long before the pandemic. The big thing around cybersecurity is awareness and it’s not a new thing. In the world of critical infrastructure, cybersecurity has been at the forefront of people’s minds for quite some time. But certainly in industrial manufacturing and any organisation that’s operating a warehouse, or reliant on building management systems, or places like hospitals that are starting to use more internet connected devices, I can see a great increase in awareness.
According to a 2020 report by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, the manufacturing industry is consistently featured among the most frequently targeted industries. 40% of those surveyed by Deloitte and MAPI indicated that their operations were affected by a cyber-incidents in the past 12 months and cyber incidents overall have increased greatly. According to the report, between 2017 and 2018, ransomware attacks increased more than three fold.
Secondly, as 5G implementations evolve and mature, security will become even stronger. We will see added encryption, additional defense at the edge of the network, and technologies such as network function virtualisation, mobile edge computer, and network slicing that can make networks more secure.
However, despite this increase in attacks, the manufacturing sector continues to lag behind in cybersecurity measures compared to other critical infrastructure sectors and in many countries isn’t bound by cybersecurity regulations or mandates.
To what extent can the Smart Factory help in dealing a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic?
As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, manufacturing organisations face significant operational challenges. Some companies have temporarily shut down factories in response to government restrictions or falling demand, but others are facing significant increases in demand for essential supplies. Frontline manufacturing staff can’t take their work to the relative safety of their homes. There are several useful technologies of Industry 4.0 which help for proper control and management of Covid-19 pandemic. Industry 4.0 can fulfil the requirements of customised face masks, gloves, and collect information for healthcare systems for proper controlling and treating of Covid-19 patients. It is useful to provide day-to-day update of an infected patient, area-wise, age-wise and state-wise with proper surveillance systems. With proper implementation of these technologies would help to enhance education and communication regarding public health. These Industry 4.0 technologies could provide a lot of innovative ideas and solution for fighting local and global medical emergencies.
Damodar Sahu is the Digital & Innovation Strategist – Automotive in Manufacturing Business Unit at Wipro Limited, USA. As a design thinker, Damodar works at the confluence of business and emerging technologies. His digital transformation approach and innovative technology application thought-process is well acclaimed by his presentations as Speaker in numerous technology conferences and global fora, and through his numerous articles and blogs in the print and social media.
Damodar helps customers advance their product and services realisation goals with direct impact on revenue growth, market share and cost to serve via differentiated ‘ways of working’. Exploring the ‘art of possible’ for the client and deliver an experience-led capability built around customer’s business, a high-velocity change/build capability designed to scale seamlessly. Currently Damodar plays the role of Manufacturing Digital Solution Evangelist and advises his clients to accelerate business outcomes with focused value modelling, Digital readiness, and analysis. He drives sales, BD and Market positioning of Manufacturing Innovation and Digital Themes and opens up hunting accounts/business contacts in existing and new accounts in North America. Damodar, with over 21 years chronicle of success with sound academic credentials and has a post graduate diploma in business management in CRM and Operations Management and has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecom Engineering. He also completed a Management Development program (MDPs) on Leadership in the age of Digital Transformation from IIM –Calcutta. Ranked as the #1 Social Seller Globally for Wipro – by LinkedIn, more information on Damodar Sahu @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/damodarsahu/
#July 2020 Magazine Cover Story
Digital Transformation – The Next Wave The Covid-19 pandemic has achieved what CEOs and CTOs failed to do – struck a blow for Digital Transformation like nothing else did The only constant in life is change, wrote Heraclitus of Ephesus (circa 500 BCE), who famously asserted that Life is Flux, and to resist change is to resist the essence of existence. Yet, most people spend a better part of their lives resisting change. The concept of digital transformation dates back to the time PCs became mainstream and digitisation began, paving the way for digitalisation and then, transformation. To read the full cover story Please click here