CIOs key to bridging the IT/OT divide

The convergence of IT and operational technology provides a prime opportunity for business-minded CIOs to shine

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For years, operational technology has been a world of its own, set well apart from IT. OT-dominated industries such as healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing have traditionally upheld a clear line between the domains of OT and IT. That’s about to change significantly.  

Thanks to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and cloud computing, OT and IT are converging and creating unique opportunities for companies and IT leaders alike, says Guido Jouret, chief digital officer of ABB Group. Here, digital transformation is paving the way.

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"There are so many technologies coming from the pure IT side that are extremely relevant in the industrial space," Jouret says. "When you're already solving an automation problem with robots or process automation systems, the amount of stuff you need to know is pretty amazing. A lot of our business units are pretty keen to get some help."

And as IT steps up to tackle OT problems and opportunities, the CIO’s role will transform and expand.

Let’s get digital

Research firm Gartner first discussed this potential shakeup of CIO responsibilities in its 2011 report “IT and Operational Technology: Convergence, Alignment and Integration.” In it, Gartner saw CIOs shifting their roles from "leading the IT delivery organization to leading the exploitation of the business assets of processes, information and relationships across all technologies in the enterprise." CIOs, Gartner suggested, would have broad impact on businesses that have traditionally viewed IT as a support silo.

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