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Stratus 2022 Predictions: The Relationship Between IT and OT Thaws in 2022 ... For the Sake of the Business

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

The Relationship Between IT and OT Thaws in 2022 ... For the Sake of the Business

By Jason Andersen, Stratus Technologies

Since the beginning of the pandemic, all eyes have been on manufacturing companies and the global supply chain crisis. IT and OT are at the center of these organizations' response, requiring the two organizations to work together and build on earlier promises of digitalization, especially automation and advanced analytics. While their priorities are converging, these two groups have historically not been aligned: OT manages the machines and critical systems at the heart of operations, while IT ensures the security and efficiency of supporting enterprise systems. Increasingly, their shared priority is to drive greater productivity and responsiveness across the organization in order to drive performance and resilience in the face of unpredictable change.

Despite past differences, IT and OT must collaborate to help companies achieve business goals, remain competitive, and be profitable. Current projects driving collaboration between the two groups, for example, focus on designing, implementing, and running next generation plant floor automation systems as well as applying analytics that improve the efficiency, speed, and durability of operations; but look for other collaborative opportunities to emerge in 2022.

Modernizing the plant floor, or any edge environment within a company's operations, requires IT and OT to achieve consensus and develop a coordinated plan for leveraging both cloud and edge infrastructure models. These cross functional teams will need to move past structured traditional IT infrastructures as they have proven to be inefficient at addressing latency, flexibility, and manageability of applications - and data access and loss requirements - from the cloud to the edge and from edge to the cloud. By eliminating territorialism and working together, IT and OT can bridge gaps and create solutions that put systems and data to work in a manner that makes their company more productive and resilient in any condition.

As the two groups find synergies, here are other trends we see emerging as we head into 2022.

Simplicity over capability

Complexity kills. If we've learned anything over the last 18-24 months it's that, when faced with dire global conditions, businesses already face too much complexity ensuring that they can maintain first-rate customer and employee experience. For IT and OT leaders innovating at the industrial edge, that means there is - rightfully so - increasing reluctance to do things until they are sure they are making the right assumptions.

What it means short term is that manufacturers will be looking for turnkey solutions, prioritizing simplicity and availability over capability. With turnkey, plug-and-play solutions, manufacturers will no longer need to spend time focusing on engineering and will be able to reallocate their time to focus on customers and generating revenue for the business.

But what about the long-term implications? There is a think trough of disillusionment in the industry as leaders spend more time connecting the dots between the technologies they have - think of the correlation between artificial intelligence and data science, for example - and that threatens innovation. Our belief is that the benefits of efficiency, cost, speed and security at the industrial edge are just too powerful for companies to ignore and investment in innovation will return - albeit with caution - in 2022.

Systems Integrators will lead innovation

Another trend the industry will see next year is the emergence of system integrators as the leaders of innovation. At the start of the pandemic, Stratus predicted that system integrators would protect their businesses and top customers through careful and cautious decision making. At the start of 2021, we predicted that system integrators would become even more critical, with them offering even more strategic guidance and becoming more trusted partners - and they did, which was the biggest boom in two decades. This has well-positioned system integrators to lead innovation.

In 2022, when manufacturers look to innovate for digital transformation, they will look to system integrators rather than relying on vendors. Systems integrators provide the specialized implementation expertise to provide the quick technology wins that manufacturers' need.

Edge won't kill cloud

The whole edge versus cloud debate is based upon a false notion that all digital transformation efforts would take place in the cloud. This theory never worked because, for some industries, it was unavoidable that a combination of edge and cloud was required. The misconception formed that edge was reducing the opportunity for cloud.

In truth, edge will enable a huge, new and likely more realistic opportunity for cloud providers. 2022 will see a lot of manufacturers deploy edge computing first to normalize and secure their local sites and then begin to deploy cloud-based services and apps.

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As 2021 closes much like 2020 did - with the global pandemic raging once again and businesses rethinking their workforce strategies - it's becoming clear that manufacturers will need to continue to get more savvy about digitally transforming their businesses. That starts with IT and OT putting aside past differences and rising to the occasion to enable transformation and innovation at the edge.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Andersen 

Jason Andersen is Vice President of Business Line Management and is responsible for setting the product roadmaps and go to market strategies for Stratus Products and Services. Jason has a deep understanding of both on-premise and cloud based infrastructure and has been responsible for the successful market delivery of products and services for almost 20 years.

Prior to joining Stratus in 2013, Jason was Director of Product Line Management at Red Hat. In this role, he was responsible for the go to market strategy, product introductions and launches, as well as product marketing for the JBoss Application Products. Jason also previously held Product Management positions at Red Hat and IBM Software Group.

Published Thursday, January 13, 2022 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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