Perspective: Implications of IT/OT Convergence in Mining
The reality is that the line between IT and OT in mining has blurred. This has a large part to do with the way that technology is developing and the increased importance of data in the way that mining operations are managed. Much of what we would traditionally see as IT capabilities is being implemented within solutions being invested in by OT teams. Operational teams are deploying solutions that incorporate data analytics, mobility, cloud, and social platforms as well as capabilities within their offerings — traditionally, the domain of IT vendors — and driving utilisation of datasets from the sensors attached to all equipment in the mine.
As we have mentioned, many IT and OT groups in mining are realising that there are efficiencies to be gained by operating more like IT. This requires a move to architectures that accommodate modular software, standards-based devices and communication networks, IP-based protocols, and network-based security. It also means eliminating point-to-point integration and adopting enterprise service buses (EBS) and middleware to share across both operational and business (IT) systems. It is about deploying program-based approaches, employing more rigorous approaches for vendor sourcing, and utilising frameworks such as IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). The idea is to reduce costs, increase nimbleness, and enable innovation by moving away from custom-built systems to standardised commercial off-the-shelf systems and solutions.
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