Sector Name:Power Delivery & Utilization - Distribution & Utilization
Document Type:Technical Results
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Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) have been on a convergence path as the electromechanical devices that have been deployed in the grid have given way to devices that generate, transform, or act on data. When convergence is discussed, the term reflects both a convergence of technologies and the resulting change-management struggles that a utility may go through as it attempts to optimize resources required to support OT.
The research resulting from the Information Technology (IT) / Operational Technology (OT) Convergence Strategies project builds on prior work from a Utility Chief Information Officers (CIO) summit co-hosted with EPRI and DTE Energy in 2012. In the lead-up to that summit, a qualitative study was conducted to determine the significant issues facings CIOs in the utility industry. The findings from that research indicated that IT / OT convergence was becoming an issue and that three high-level strategies were used to deal with the situation:
Reorganization – taking a wholesale approach and moving large segments of the organization under a single CIO/CTO
Realignment – taking a piecemeal approach and selectively choosing segments of the organization to move based on similar skill sets
Re-engage – where leadership did not move anyone organizationally, but for large efforts to ensure that all of the stakeholders had a seat at the table when developing requirements
This study attempted to delve into these high-level strategies and determine what changes to convergence have occurred since the original study, the factors that determine success or the lack of it, whether a correlation between size of the utility and level of convergence could be made, and if some clarity could be brought to the definition of OT.
This study utilized both an online survey of enterprise architects (a community of practitioners within a utility that are often uniquely positioned to see across silos in an organization) and one-on-one structured interviews with utility executives utilizing an open-ended structured interview instrument.
Some of the key findings include that trust was found to be critically important to the success of any convergence effort, and respondents also agreed that the drive for collaboration was only increasing. Also of interest may be that in 2012 a utility having undergone some sort of realignment or reorganization was the exception driven by convergence. This was found to be more of the rule for this study.
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