The speed in which technology is evolving today and the imperative to meet customer satisfaction have made businesses across different industries to embrace with open arms digital transformation.\nIn the manufacturing industry, digital transformation is closely intertwined with Industry 4.0: the industrial revolution\u2019s ongoing phase focused on automation and data especially in manufacturing.\nDavid Tay, CIO at precision manufacturing company Beyonics, is leading the digital transformation of the different business units in the Singapore-based business. For him, digital transformation occurs at two levels.\n\u201cIn digital transformation, we always talk about two environments, namely IT and OT environments,\u201d he says. \u201cThe information technology environment is what we know as our enterprise resource planning: email, office automation, etc\u2026 Basically the traditional information technology side. Then we have OT, or operational technology.\u201d\nOT, as Gartner defines it, consists of the hardware and software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and\/or control of physical devices, processes and events in the enterprise.\nIn the manufacturing industry, OT entails the technology and industrial systems that keep production going. In the case of Beyonics, OT is spread across six business verticals including tooling solutions, printed circuit board assembly, metal casting, metal stamping, plastic moulding and polymer solutions.\nAs Tay points out, the technology and equipment used in the manufacturing plants differs greatly from that of the IT environment. Whereas in the latter we are talking about devices and networks, the former deals with metal-stamping machines or plastic-moulding equipment, which may run up to 400 degrees Celsius. In the OT world, machines have typically a 10-15 year life cycle.\n\u201cWhereas digital transformation in the IT environment usually means adoption of newer and better technological solutions, in the OT environment digital transformation usually means the adoption and implementation of Industry 4.0 practices,\u201d Tay tells CIO ASEAN.\nImplementing the Fourth Industrial Revolution\nIndustry 4.0 practices means the implementation of any of its nine pillars, namely autonomous robots, simulation, cloud computing, 3D printing, augmented reality, big data analytics, industrial internet of things (IIoT), cybersecurity, and system integration.\nTay explains: \u201cDigital transformation in the OT environment requires us to know, as a starting baseline, what is happening to the machine: is it producing at the right cycle time? Is it producing at the right quality such as temperature and pressure? You need to pull information from the machine at real time but since \u00a0most of the machines are more than 10 years old, they don\u2019t lend themselves to the current set of technology where we just simply connect a USB cable to extract data.\n\u201cAnd that\u2019s one of the challenges of the industry: how do we go about integrating the IT and OT environments? This is when the IIoT solutions comes into play.\u201d\nIIoT is so essential to Industry 4.0 that sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. IIoT enables the communication between facilities, machines and products, allowing the collection and processing of large data sets that can then be used to gain business insight or predictive maintenance, for example. .\nAn IIoT framework may incorporate machine learning, big data, sensors data, machine to machine communication and automation technologies.\nCybersecurity in the OT\nIt is when the OT environment starts using data integration and smart analytics that it converges with the IT environment and cybersecurity comes into the spotlight.\n\u201cOnce you connect your OT to your IT, all the vulnerabilities, including viruses and hacking, that can potentially affect your IT environment, could be extended into your OT environment. So the hacker not only can hack your desktops and servers or printers, they can also hack your machines,\u201d says the CIO.\nUnlike more traditional enterprise systems, networked industrial systems bring an element of physical risk to the table that IT teams have not traditionally had to think about. A disruption in service or machine malfunction can result in injury to plant floor employees or the production of faulty goods, which could potentially harm end users.\nWhereas in the IT sphere Tay can use the latest antivirus or intrusion prevention and detection systems, it gets more complicated in the manufacturing plant, where many legacy control systems, or may be running older operating systems that cannot easily be swapped out or updated.\nFortunately, there are a few options to overcome this challenge. According to Tay, the first of them is to \u2018whitelist\u2019 by identifying and authenticating all devices and machines within the system, both within the IT and OT environment. This is to ensure that only approved devices and systems are communicating with each other.\nThe other option is to ensure the OT environment is configured behind the appropriate firewalls, and to \u2018air-gap\u2019 the OT from the IT environment where possible.\nThese measures can minimise the risk of a hacker inserting rogue devices or code into the OT environment.\nHowever, both IT and OT environments are developing at very different paces. To reap the most benefits, the ultimate goal is to conflate both environments.