As far back as 2011, Gartner was predicting that the future lay in bringing disparate IT and OT ecosystems together. But, until recently, it’s been difficult to bridge the gap between the two.

With an effective bridge between IT and OT, we gain more visibility into the inconsistencies of our systems. Why does that matter? The visibility helps us understand the bottlenecks and opportunities.  Breaking down barriers and leveraging new insights into opportunities is the magic of the Industrial Internet. In the past, we didn’t have the technology to do it. Now we do.

At most industrial companies, IT and OT are enormous entities in and of themselves, and marrying the two can be a monumental effort. A single firm will not have all the expertise to span the two – and companies realize that. As a result, key experts from the two areas are forming powerful partnerships of complementary capabilities. 

GE is the historical leader in OT platforms; Oracle is the leader in IT. We announced our partnership in April 2016 to develop and integrate complementary solutions. Because of the depth and breadth of each company’s expertise in our respective areas, the two companies are able to offer integrated solutions, combining GE’s operational technology with Oracle’s enterprise solutions to connect and manage assets across the globe.

Numerous niche players are entering the Industrial Internet space, and many have compelling value propositions for point solutions. But we believe that having two industry leaders in IT/OT come together with our common ecosystem partners is much more powerful than a targeted approach for a single industry or process. A fragmented approach using point solutions creates complexity down the road, whereas an integrated approach across the whole enterprise, or “system,” drives simplicity and flexibility down the road.

A system-focused approach spans processes from the initial trigger of an enterprise-wide process across all parts of the business to the final step. This avoids silos and creates an open solution that can easily be applied across the business and will drive more powerful and visible outcomes -- and the IT and OT worlds merge.

Consider this: A company is digitizing their “factory to field” system, which affects the enterprise across many plants and product lines. In this example, Predix Machine (at the edge) will collect, analyze, and provide alerts on data that is streaming off of new intelligent assets working in the field.  By leveraging GE’s Asset Performance Management product, we can use this information to predict when an asset is near failure.

Oracle can help drive the situation to the enterprise management level to tackle critical issues that live in the IT domain, including:

  • What inventory is on hand and where is it?
  • What did the customer buy, and how can we understand their investment areas and business goals?
  • Schedule the field tech with the right expertise to get the job done right the first time.

 

The upshot?  The future is here, and IT and OT convergence is real. Companies that are convinced of the value of the Industrial Internet now have a way to make it happen for themselves, applying the open Predix platform with the expertise of GE and Oracle together.

The great thing about the Oracle and GE Digital alliance is that we are both committed to open platforms, and we have many partners in common (Deloitte Digital, Infosys and Accenture, among others). This enables us to fully integrate the point solutions they have created into our front-to-back IoT solution and provide the systems integration and customization that each business will require. 

I’ll be back over the coming weeks with some additional thoughts. Follow me at @ChrisFoxATL and let me know what you’re seeing out there!

About the author

Chris Fox

Senior Architect, Oracle

Chris Fox, MBA, CISSP is the Senior Architect from Oracle working directly with GE at all levels and across all businesses. As a 20-year IT veteran of Oracle, RSA, Lockheed Martin and also General Electric, he assists in the develop enterprise wide strategies to transform the business while growing revenues and reducing cost.

As an architect, he blends a solid business foundation with enterprise, systems-level thinking and expertise on enterprise applications, big data analytics, security controls, application development, integration and core information management to set challenging goals, design a multi-phased plan for implementation to achieve compelling outcomes.

Chris supports customers and greater Oracle community by presenting at conferences such as Oracle Open World, IOUG Collaborate and various industry events. He is based in Atlanta, GA, is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and holds an MBA from the University of Florida.