Unseen value in operational technology

April 16, 2021

Operational technology (OT) is ten, maybe fifteen years behind compared to IT. And when it comes to sharing and using data in business processes and decision making, it’s all about maturity. Even though you would want to, you just can’t leap from the lowest maturity level to the top. You have to learn and understand. You have to know your environment, the dependencies, and the consequences. You have to understand the value network and know your data. You have to secure your core and write the strategy for the data and API management. You have to ensure the integrity, usability, and reliability of your data. And after all of this, you can move to the next level.

I always say “simple is beautiful”. But even though the solution is beautiful, you need to make sure the continuity is covered. Even the most beautiful and elegant may enclose harm inside. And even though there is an endless field to conquer for API developers and data scientists, the problem is not a technical issue. It’s a strategic challenge addressed to the business decision makers to see the potential of unseen operational technology. And I love to share this pain, because it’s a huge opportunity - not a frightening threat. Actually, one special feature in operational technology is that it’s obvious but mostly unseen. And another is life.

In the built environment life is always to be considered. If it’s not a human, it’s e.g. a fish in an aquarium or a horse in a stable. One of the most important things in operational technology is to take care of operational safety and the conditions of the environment - the temperature, the light and the air we breathe. And to ensure safety and continuity from all the perspectives, we need to concentrate on cybersecurity, identity and access management - and the know-how. That’s why we need more competent IT oriented people to help construction and lifecycle management of the built environment, to adapt a necessary change caused by digitalization. And we need to find the same path with IT. Because it’s not just a convergence of information and operational technology. It’s a joint adventure. The goal is the same and they both need each other to build a better and sustainable future for all of us.

So, use your environment and data wisely to increase sustainability in your company. Design it wisely to avoid overlapping technology and solutions and to save money, time and natural resources. Use your environment wisely to ensure continuity in the built environment you operate in. And use it wisely to discover the unseen - the opportunities your own data is to offer. Look beyond the box and keep your perspective dynamic.

Hanna Pikkusaari

Smart Tech Advisor


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