Part of the pleasure of watching familiar characters in a movie or on a TV show is the anticipation that we experience when we can guess the final outcome, but are intrigued as to how it will happen this time around. The happy ending for the star crossed lovers in a Disney film or the romantic twist in a Bond movie are examples of this genre of entertainment.
In the world of technology there also seem to be inevitable outcomes. The deployment of sensors will inevitably lead to billions of connections requiring the capacity to process exponential volumes of data, which in turn will generate new revenues. This is the assumption that lays behind the hype around Internet of Things (IoT), but will it?
A good area to test this assumption is in the convergence between Operational and Information Technology. These two areas have functioned separately for some time with their own objectives, philosophy and culture. IoT has the capacity to link these areas together. Such an approach would deliver new value to the organisation through enabling collected data to provide improved insights delivering increased operational efficiency, decision making and planning. There is also the opportunity to increase data collection from new sensor deployments and other data sources. So there are clear business benefits.
But like in the movies the obvious link up does not occur without some difficulty. Perspectives on security, resilience and support are different. Scope also varies; Operational Technology (OT) solutions often have real time safety dimensions whereas IT is about presentation and usability.
These differences of view do not need to be a blocker to building out solutions. Starting small and being focused on specific use cases enables the business to embrace the value in bringing the two functions together without undermining their distinctive roles.
Bringing these technology functions together is not just about bringing about greater harmony. McKinsey in their 2015 report, Unlocking the Potential of the Internet of Things believe that 40% of the value they identified was dependent on interoperability between systems. By 2025 this could amount to 4 trillion dollars of value in their projections. This suggests a lot is riding on organisations giving this area focus.
So to get the happy ending both areas need to recognise each other’s strength, rather focusing on their weaknesses, and identify areas of collaboration that can benefit the organisation as a whole.