After years of quietly transforming our companies, squeezing more out of assets and executing, industrial CIOs have finally taken center stage.

The convergence of operational technology, or OT, and IT has given us the chance to remake the enterprise.

We can approach engineering, operational workflow and systems in a new way and get everyone speaking the same language. But we need to act now or risk letting this wave crash on our heads rather than riding it.

Why?

For one, it presents one of the biggest opportunities for business since the IT revolution. The total impact is in the trillions, according to Accenture, which means that it will be worth tens of millions in savings and new revenue for CIOs at even mid-sized companies.

And CIOs are, at their core, laser-focused on outcomes. Every industry will see benefits. For example, if we use predictive maintenance to decrease downtime in the oil and gas industry, which can reach 10 percent, we’ll see an immediate impact on the bottom line.

This isn’t just a technology play, though. It’s about digital architecture and how CIOs design that architecture for the future. We can take complex and costly operations and tame them through the use of software, data and analytics.

We saw that at GE when we helped South Africa’s Impala Platinum replace manual sampling in processing with automated controls through GE’s Intelligent Platforms. By optimizing the process, we helped the company increase platinum extraction.

But we need to move fast. The changes are already going forward. Everything that can be instrumented, connected, monitored and controlled will be. And it will happen faster than it did the last time IT transformed business.

As one of the commenters on my last post noted, “at the current speed of disruptive change, the only way to survive is to embrace technological evolution. A good CIO will largely lead the way.”

Here’s my advice: as an industrial CIO, you need to know where you stand in this journey and make a plan. Don’t wait for someone else to do this. IT and OT matter like never before. Start small, but start now. 

This isn’t just a technology play, though. It’s about digital architecture and how CIOs design that architecture for the future. We can take complex and costly operations and tame them through the use of software, data and analytics.

About the author

Jamie Miller

President & CEO, GE Transportation

Innovation and transformation are the drivers for Jamie Miller, President and CEO at GE Transportation. For Jamie, a former PwC partner and Controller at Wellpoint before joining GE, technology is the tool to deliver new outcomes and ever-increasing value for GE’s customers, investors and employees.