The top 10 IT trends for 2020 (4) – Trend 3: IT/OT integration leads to OT data platforms

The OT world and the IT world used to be separate for decades. OT systems are more proprietary than IT systems and were basically left untouched during the lifetime of a production plant, while IT has always had a reputation for needing frequent changes and being vulnerable to cyber security issues. Nowadays, though, in light of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation, many digital business cases will not work if IT and OT operate in silos and are separate also with respect to data. The goal should be to increase OT data transparency to uncover hidden inefficiencies and promote agile innovations.

The idea of IT/OT integration is to overcome the silos in OT by leveraging IT to gain access to this data and store it centrally. In the next step, this allows to share this OT data, combine it with IT data sources, and integrate it in existing or new applications. This means IT/OT integration builds internal OT data platforms to simplify data exchange with the IT side of the company, integrating OT data more and more with IT data and applications.

This offers three distinct benefits. First, increasing OT transparency within the factory, across the company (across different factories), and even beyond (3rd parties). Second, more flexibility in optimizing operational efficiency and production quality of industrial processes and assets through new applications and low-code platforms with analytics and machine-learning capabilities. Third, enabling increasingly automated and flexible production processes in order to automate the flow of transactions between IT and OT. In 2020, innovators will start building OT data platforms, and this trend will become mainstream during 2021 and 2022.

The top 10 IT trends, which we believe will have the greatest impact in 2020:

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