Align Technology And Talent To Leverage The Internet Of Things

Tanja Rueckert

Part 4 of the “Manufacturing Value from IoT” series

In my last blog, I talked about the necessary investments manufacturers must make to gain a full IoT transformation. Here, I will talk about the critical collaboration between IT and OT departments to further increase profits and productivity.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is delivering substantial returns for those applying intelligence into their plants and processes. Some 72% of manufacturers report that application of IoT technologies to operations increased productivity in the past year, and 69% report that use of the IoT increased profitability. Yet most companies could get more bang for their IoT bucks if their operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) departments would collaborate.

Why? Because even in companies with capable IoT initiatives, problems among technology employees can cripple an organization’s ability to:

  • Establish plant-to-enterprise connections: Secure networks are required to move plant-floor data to executives who need it. OT and IT staff must coordinate efforts — and budgets — to build these data highways.
  • Link IoT plant data to enterprise systems: OT and IT staff must work together to transform real-time plant and machine data into actionable information for enterprise resource planning and manufacturing execution systems.
  • Channel enterprise information to business analytics applications: OT and IT staff need to facilitate the smooth transfer of information into big-data applications that provide the basis for informed decisions.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers’ OT and IT staffs rarely collaborate. For example, just 43% report that their OT and IT staffs work together in linking operations data with business analytics.

OT and IT do not often collaborateSource: “Leveraging the Internet of Things Takes Talent — and Collaboration,” SAP, 2017.

This lack of coordination means that employees who could use IoT information to improve performance — quality, equipment reliability, safety, timeliness, productivity, etc. —  can’t:

  • Only 34% of manufacturers say that all corporate executives who need IoT-enabled data can access it.
  • Only 13% of manufacturers say that all customers who need IoT-enabled data can access it.
  • Only 13% of manufacturers say that all suppliers who need IoT-enabled data can access it.

Manufacturers leveraging the IoT are understandably focused on the technologies to make this happen — smart devices, controls, sensors, networks, etc. But they must also:

  • Break down OT/IT siloes
  • Recruit collaborative IoT technology talent
  • Drive cultural change in technology departments, changing their roles from IT rule-makers/problem-fixers to providers of value-added services and support

How well do your OT and IT departments collaborate?

Stay tuned for more on how IoT can increase your profitability and productivity. In the meantime, download the report “Catch Up with IoT Leaders” to learn why it is challenging for many manufacturers to get the right data to the right executives in the right format.


Tanja Rueckert

About Tanja Rueckert

Tanja Rueckert is President of the Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain Business Unit at SAP. This year she was voted by IoT Breakthrough as IoT CEO of the Year.