OT and IT are often at odds and that probably comes from a lot of bad history together. IT is often all about the latest and greatest, wanting to keep things updated and the most recent firmware on machines. OT, however, knows that this isn’t always possible with legacy equipment. As legacy equipment is brought further towards secure architectures and the expansion of IP-based technologies gets to the plant floor, IT will need to work with OT more and more. But it doesn’t have to be a tug-o-war between the departments to declare a victor.
IT has a goal. OT has a goal. They’re often at odds when it comes to legacy servos that can’t communicate with modern technology. “Are you going to play Assassin’s Creed with it?” we always ask. “If not, we can get around communication issues.”
The best way to get IT and OT talking on the same wavelength is to lay everything out and draw up the goals of the project for both departments and converge those ideas together. What IT might think of as routine might be tragically wrong for OT and creative solutions might need to be used to complete a project. But IT won’t get that that when OT can’t communicate well with them.
Explaining requirements on both sides of the issue can help give both departments an opportunity to start thinking creatively so ensuring both groups know the requirements is important for the project to work well. This can mean OT and IT explaining the basics of their routines and how they can fit in with the servo technology in place. Ensuring at this point in the process neither set of requirements is more valued over the other except in terms of the best end result will also relieve a lot of tension between the departments.
However, the best thing to do is to have IT and OT meet regularly to review how things are going on both sides of the plant. Establishing trust before projects start and building a team with both departments ahead of influential changes can help the two departments work together better. Don’t forget that after changes, routine communication is still key to ensure that things are still working as they should.