The Challenges and Opportunities of OT & IT Integration By Greg Cline

The convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) is one of the key mantras of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0. OT typically refers to the control and automation technologies supporting physical equipment and processes, and was once intentionally separated from IT due to different technologies, skillsets, and cultural attributes.

OT/IT and Digital Manufacturing

Now, the world of manufacturing is changing, and to keep up, OT and IT must change with it. Forced OT/IT interactions of the past are giving way to collaborative OT/IT alliances designed to enable the rise of digital manufacturing and the connected factory. Together, company OT and IT teams are playing a key role in their companies’ digital transformation. OT/IT convergence is helping firms gain competitive advantage, to seize new business opportunities and make them more efficient, competitive, and profitable.

A large factor compelling OT and IT to collaborate is the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Thanks to IIoT, manufacturers are collecting more data than ever before. However, that data is only as valuable as the decisions it can support. Successful OT/IT cross-functional teams collaborate to build trust, respect, and synergy between departments. Indeed, 70% of the Best-in-Class say they are implementing OT/IT convergence. This implementation rate is 25% greater than All Others (56%).

Best-in-Class manufacturers are 25% more likely to implement OT/IT convergence than All Others.

Why is OT/IT convergence so hard? Well you might say that “IT is from Venus and OT is from Mars!” In the past, both departments had very different goals and objectives. IT was running the business applications, while OT was focused on the manufacturing process and whatever technologies were needed to implement and support it. Collaboration didn’t need to happen before, because OT and IT were based on different technology, and often, on different networks.

However, in the last few years, OT has started to progressively adopt IT-like technologies. Internet Protocol (IP), for example, is gaining acceptance as an all-purpose networking protocol and Windows is more and more frequently found in a wide range of devices. The convergence of OT and IT bring clear advantages to companies including cost and risk reductions as well as enhanced performance and gains in flexibility.

Change management is required to ensure that the OT/IT convergence implementation process runs smoothly. More and more, Best-in-Class firms are recognizing this (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Effective OT/IT Integration Requires Change Management

For instance, 53% of the Best-in-Class employ a Chief Digital Officer to navigate and successfully resolve issues such as OT/IT integration; they are 27% more likely to do so than All Others. Also, 43% of the Best-in-Class have established a formal organization for change management involved in digital transformation, industrial IoT, and OT/IT convergence; they are 12% more likely to do so than All Others.

The Road Forward

The reason for OT/IT convergence is centered on business impact, that is, the commercial opportunities it creates for industrial companies. The convergence of OT and IT brings clear and tangible advantages to manufacturers, including cost and risk reductions, as well as enhanced performance and operational effectiveness. Not surprisingly, the market is also responding to the impulse for OT/IT convergence. For example, the new business entity “Hitachi Vantara” recently unified three business units specifically to capitalize on the firm’s capability in both operational technologies and information technologies.

OT/IT integration is not easy, but it is inevitable and a key part of smart manufacturing. OT supports physical value creation and manufacturing processes. It comprises the devices, sensors, and software necessary to control and monitor both the plant and equipment. IT, on the other hand, combines all necessary technologies for information processing. IIoT merges the OT and IT domains, creating enormous actionable, strategic insights. These insights are generated through cloud-based big data analytics (IT) fueled by real-time data collection on the factory floor (OT). The road to digital manufacturing is paved by IIoT, and OT/IT integration, tempered by change management, to provide a path to safely arrive at that destination with minimal bumps along the way.

Manufacturing is ripe for business disruption, and business disruption means business opportunity. In this chaotic environment, OT and IT are coming together to achieve the vision of a connected factory, driving innovation and minimizing downtime.

To learn more about operational excellence in the era of industrial IoT, check out The MOM/MES Edge: The MES Performance Kick.

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How Data Science Can Help Grow Your Business By Mitul Makadia

Today, the advent of the Internet of Things and the development of AI technology has simplified implementation of big data solutions to the degree that even medium to small-scale businesses are benefiting from it. Using big data analytics, businesses can make informed decisions and better their operational efficiency in a number of ways.

Without professional expertise that will turn cutting-edge technology into actionable insights, Big Data is nothing. Today, a lot more organizations and institutions in the financial sector as well, are opening up their doors to big data and unlocking its power, thus increasing the value of a data scientist who knows how to drive the value of a large amount of information that already exists inside an institution.

Last year, McKinsey estimated that big data initiatives in the US healthcare system “could account for $300 billion to $450 billion in reduced health-care spending or 12 to 17 percent of the $2.6 trillion baselines in US health-care costs”. This is enough news to attract business owners to make use of the value that they already have.

Here is the list of 8 ways Data Science can help your business:

  1. Empowers management to make better decisions

    Big data analytics acts as a trusted advisor for an organization’s strategic planning. It helps your management and staff in enhancing their analytical abilities and thereby improving their overall decision-making skills. Measuring, recording and tracking performance metrics then allow the upper management to set new goals.

  2. Helps identify trends to stay competitive

    As mentioned earlier in this post, one of data analytics’ primary objectives is to determine patterns within large data sets. This is particularly useful for identifying new and emerging market trends. Once identified, these trends could become the key to gaining a competitive advantage by introducing new products and services.

  3. Increases the efficiency and commitment of staff in handling core tasks and issue

    By making employees aware of benefits of using the organization’s analytics product, data science can make them more efficient at their jobs. Working with a greater insight into company goals, these employees will be able to drive more action towards core tasks and issues at every stage. Hence, improving the overall operational efficiency of your business.

  4. Identifies and acts upon opportunities

    Data science is all about constantly looking for areas of improvement in the organizational workings. Also, by discovering inconsistencies with the help of Elasticsearch in the organizational processes and existing analytical systems, data scientists can introduce new ways of doing things. This, in turn, can drive innovation and allow new product development, opening profitable avenues for your company.

  5. Promotes low-risk data-driven action plans

    Big data analytics has made it possible for small and big businesses to take actions based on quantifiable, data-driven evidence. Such a strategy can save a business from unnecessary tasks and sometimes foreshadow risks.

  6. Validates decisions

    Apart from allowing your business to base decisions on data, analytics also helps you test these decisions by introducing variable factors, to check for flexibility and scalability. Using data science and big data solutions, you can introduce favorable changes in your organizational structure and function.

  7. Helps in selecting target audience

    One of the key value props of big data analytics is how you can shape customer data to provide more insight into consumer preference and expectations. A deeper analysis of customer data can help companies in identifying and targeting audience with utmost precision using tailor-made products and services.

  8. Facilitates sensible recruitment of talent

    Human resource departments are constantly at work in companies to find talent that fits the prescribed criteria. Big data has made their task simpler by providing comprehensive data profiles on individuals by merging social media, corporate profiles, and job search databases. Now your HR Department can process CVs much faster and recruit the right talent quickly and without compromises.

The above are just a few ways we think big data can help companies grow. We are living in a digital age, and having data provides you with a plan to make more money from your business. Data science will be a must for companies in a few years, who want to achieve aggressive growth in business.

Moreover, big data is also resonating with government and public-sector agencies, which is a good sign for businesses all around the world as this will help deepen the public-private collaboration in a range of fields.

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Security Negligence: Failure to Patch By David Williamson

Security Negligence: Failure to Patch

By now, most of the world has heard of the monstrous security breach that occurred at Equifax. Its CEO recently took ‘early retirement’ which is no surprise since the debacle exposed millions of consumer’s personal data. If the incident never happened, he would probably still have his corner office. In the last few weeks, large breaches have been uncovered at Deloitte and the SEC, and malware was inserted into CC Cleaner Software aimed at large tech giants such as Cisco and Intel. This is in addition to the numerous DDoS attacks that are reported daily.

Many of these episodes could have been stopped. We know this because organizations, including Equifax, frequently note that they should have patched up the weak spot… but didn’t. To sum it up, businesses admit to suffering from security negligence.

Many of the recent cyberattacks involve data exfiltration – when hackers siphon out valuable intelligence from a business. Oftentimes the most insidious path is to go through the Domain Name System (DNS) – the way that Internet domain names are located and translated into IP addresses and vice versa. Cybercriminals manipulate the DNS protocol to act as a ‘file transfer’ protocol and by default is seen as legitimate. Most businesses don’t even know it is happening until it is too late. It’s like a leaky faucet – drops of confidential data coming out slowly and unnoticeably until there is enough to fill an entire bucket.

Recently, a global DNS threat report revealed that 76 percent of organizations (80% of businesses in the U.S.) have been subjected to a DNS attack in last 12 months with 28 percent suffering data theft. DNS attacks ranged from malware (36%) to DDoS attacks (30%) and DNS tunneling (20%). One fifth (19%) stated that in the last year they experienced five attacks or more, with most enduring between 11 and 15 separate attacks. The study also revealed that a large organization spends on average over $2 million per year fixing the damage caused by these attacks. The most shocking revelation was that almost ALL U.S. organizations (98%) did not apply the necessary security patches and only 86 percent applied half of the required patches on their DNS servers. There you have it: Security Negligence. Businesses are opening themselves up to risk each time they skip an update.

Every IT vendor releases patches – a lot of patches. Some are more critical to a business than others. Companies need to prioritize updates especially those that can protect a company’s intellectual and digital property. Organizations need to stop putting their primary efforts into maintaining systems that continue to fail against attacks – such as firewalls and virus scanning. An educational initiative about patching and the repercussions of certain failures must be embraced to shift the current mindset.

IT departments also need to change the way they secure the infrastructure, especially the DNS. Case in point, research points to the fact that IT departments that experienced a DNS attack took almost a full day to mitigate it – taking the affected part of the business offline for 6 hours or more. Isn’t that accomplishing exactly what a hacker set out to achieve? Organizations must amend their playbook and learn to play a stronger offense in this game of cybersecurity. Otherwise they can add their brand to the long list of names that have been hacked.

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Real Time Data is So 2015. It’s Anytime Data That Counts. By Elena Byers

geralt / Pixabay

Business Intelligence (BI) is all about the data. The ability to consume data in a digestible format empowers teams to understand their business better than ever before. New insights acquired through a BI tool can shine a spotlight on challenges that previously seemed ambiguous and difficult to pinpoint, let alone resolve. Businesses using BI technology understand how to make changes to inefficient processes that result in significant positive impacts to their company’s bottom line.

Successful results from an initial BI project typically spur the creation of additional projects. With an increasing number of projects comes additional requirements. One common request is for real time data. This is a crucial need when you are making important business decisions based on the data you’re pulling. You need to be certain it is the most accurate data available.

On the surface, it seems obvious that having real time data is essential for every project, but adding that requirement also adds significant expense. The truth is, there are many cases where real-time data is not necessary. It’s important to think through the logic of when and where you really need real-time data before setting up new projects. Let’s look at a few examples:

Retail Companies – an eCommerce provider may need 24/7 access to inventory data to update their online store with current data to ensure customers are not ordering merchandise that’s out-of-stock or has an extended back-order.

Manufacturing Companies – production line data needs continual refreshing, but only during production line hours. It isn’t needed when the line is shut down for lunch or in the evenings when workers have gone home for the night.

Finance and Accounting Departments – payroll data may only need to be updated once a week to calculate billable hours for employees that week.

These scenarios are a few of the limitless number of projects you may decide to implement. The point is that there’s a difference between needing to have the data available all the time, and needing to have it updated all the time. Certain data doesn’t need to be refreshed every minute around the clock, so requiring real time on all data connections, all the time, would significantly raise your costs without adding value.

The resolution to this challenge is what we call ‘anytime data.’ That means you decide, based on business requirements, how often you want your data updated. The frequency you select can be specified down to the week, day or minute.

With the ClicData TEAM plan, the frequency of your data pulls is completely dictated by your business needs. You will be empowered to customize every single connection with exactly when the data is pulled down, and each refresh will update tables and graphs in your dashboard accordingly. You can be confident that your data is refreshed at the right time and at a competitive price.

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6 of The Best Advantages of Using Augmented Reality in Business Advertising By John Smith

Augmented reality (or AR) has already become one of the hottest trends in advertising especially due to the innovative nature of the benefits that come with it.

There’s no denying this fact that AR’s lately had a significant hand in increasing customer impressions, on the whole. At the same time, it is equally true that it has also played a key role in driving customer engagements over time; something that can seldom be matched by anything else, in particular.

Now, in here, I have listed a few of the major benefits of implementing augmented reality in business advertising sectors. So let’s go through them all without any further ado.

  1. The Augmented reality technology is a bit unique; a bit different (at least up till now)

Any novelty factor associated with an application will naturally wear off after some time but until and unless that point is reached, people try their best to get the best out of it, and the results they get are majestic indeed.

The augmented reality technology is still said to be in its infancy which obviously points to the fact that more and more innovation will surely follow over time. So the craze of this technology is justified indeed; all because of the “unique” tag associated with it.

Therefore, we would advise you to hop on the bandwagon ASAP. You will definitely benefit a lot in the long run as a result of the same.

  1. Augmented reality helps in three-dimensional thinking

Previously, ads were usually displayed in a two-dimensional interface on several display networks. Augmented reality has simply taken this up to a whole new level.

The AR technology has opened up a wide array of possibilities through the simple addition of a dimension into a company’s business marketing campaign. People can now visualize ads in 3D, rather than 2D which is a significant benefit in itself. Here’s an example for your reference:

  1. Augmented reality helps in content personalization

A personalized media is obviously more engaging and more enthralling than a standard photograph or a video. Now, this is a benefit that’s seemingly unmatched by anything else lying in the same equivalent category.

Augmented reality can play a huge role in personalizing content for good. So naturally, it became the choicest tool of promotion to many mmodern-daymarketers provided they have the necessary resources and the desire to achieve their goals within a reasonable amount of time.

  1. The ”viral” factor associated with augmented reality gives it an edge over the others

Source- Wiki

The novelty factor associated with augmented reality can surely play a vital role in enhancing an individual’s desire to share the same with others, either through social media or through word of mouth.

Things like these can profoundly benefit businesses, on the whole. A viral content is priceless; augmented reality can help businesses achieve the same within a reasonable amount of time. If this isn’t a benefit, what is?

  1. Augmented reality can help customers experience products in an e-commerce setting

Customers can now experience e-commerce products in a virtual environment, thanks to the magical wonders of the augmented reality technology.

If you want an example, refer to the following video, in particular.

  1. Augmented reality can help to make the viewing experience memorable to the audience

A memorable marketing campaign is simply priceless.

Most veteran marketers aim for a memorable campaign throughout their entire life, but seldom they achieve it in the long run as a result of weak content or improper execution.

Augmented reality can help you with that, and I have plenty of examples to prove the same in the blink of an eye.

In fact, the best one is Pokemon GO!

A few more worthy mentions…

  • Augmented reality is highly entertaining in comparison to a traditional video or audio. In fact, conventional video and audio are no matches to the innovative attire of the AR technology.
  • The augmented reality technology can augment virtual world objects with our real world in such a way that they feel more authentic and more enriching.
  • Lastly, I would like to point out that the use of AR in business marketing can significantly improve your business revenue in the long run. This perhaps counts to be the biggest benefit of the lot; doesn’t it?

So that’s basically it. It’s time I bring this to an end for now with the hope that you enjoyed everything we discussed in this article. Goodbye and good luck!

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5 Push Notification Campaigns That Have Delivered Success By Ross Hamer

It’s no secret that there’s more to delivering a push notification than typing out a ‘buy now, selling out fast!!!!!’ type message and sending it to your entire user base. In fact, that kind of indiscriminate spam is just one of many pitfalls that can damage relationships with your brand when it comes to push notifications. But get them right and they are by far the most effective way to communicate with users while they aren’t inside your app, helping improve some of the key metrics that your business may depend on.

Over the years, we’d like to think we’ve seen it all regarding what to do, and what not to do when it comes to push. We’ve helped world-leading brands build success by implementing simple techniques and tools that make the difference between an unwanted push and something of value to the customer. And what better way to demonstrate than by taking a look at some examples of the kind of push campaigns that in our experience really work. Hopefully they can inspire you!

Campaign 1 – Reducing Cart Abandonment In A Retail App

The unavoidable truth is that 7 out of 10 carts are abandoned on mobile. That’s a big number, and as a result reducing that figure is a simple way to immediately grow your business. That is exactly what a fashion app that we work with did by implementing abandoned cart recovery messaging. A push notification campaign enriched with unique personal and contextual data for each user increased conversions by 15.8%, generating over $6 million dollars that would have otherwise been lost. I think we can all agree that $6 million dollars counts as a successful campaign.

Campaign 2 – An Airline Reimagines Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Mobile apps have created new opportunities for companies looking to measure customer satisfaction. For instance, one of the world’s largest airlines sends push notifications to passengers when flights land and passengers are still on the runway – the perfect moment. These messages are triggered when airport geofences are broken, and ask passengers to take a quick and easy survey. When clicked on, the push deep-links to the simple in-app survey. Some 300,000 customers have already taken part in this ‘Rate My Flight’ campaign, with 92% rating that they were satisfied with their experience. A huge PR win (and more accurate and helpful feedback for the company).

Campaign 3 – Increasing Revenue Per User In A Casino App

Sometimes it’s the simple things that deliver the strongest results. A leading casino/slots business used a time-sensitive push campaign to notify users of a 20% bonus on tournaments for that day. But in a twist, these were targeted specifically to users that had been identified as having spent less time in the app recently. The results were impressive, with revenue per user increasing by 35%. Of course, it’s not always wise to offer discounts, as you don’t want to devalue your service or cannibalize product revenues. However, as shown in the example above, they can also be very profitable when sent to the right users.

Campaign 4 – A Games Company Sends Campaigns At The Perfect Time

At heart, push notifications have one core goal: bringing users back to the app. One of the world’s largest games companies used optimally-timed push campaigns to improve response rates to campaigns and thus drive greater engagement rates (a key metric in mobile gaming). Optimal timing simply identifies the most common time that each individual user has historically visited the app, and then sends push notifications at the specific time within a given window that each individual is most likely to respond. Again, this simple technique was incredibly effective, with an over 200% increase in engagement over the non-optimally timed variant.

Campaign 5 – A Learning Brand Increased Retention With ‘Day+X’ Messaging

Like any relationship, the early stages on mobile are the most crucial. People have large numbers of apps on their phones – and getting onto that screen is only half the battle. Staying there is the other. A customer specializing in online learning sent reminders and encouragement notifications to their students to nurture the relationship and make sure that they use the app regularly and get ‘in the habit’. Day 1 messages saw an increase in retention of 28%, Day 5 19% and Day 7 16%. This made a huge difference to revenue down the line.

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What You Need to Know About Mobile First By Arelthia Phillips

The mobile phone and device revolution of the past 10 years has led to a shift in the way content on the Internet is consumed. It has caused an upsurge in the number of people accessing content online from their Smartphones, tablet computers, phablets, watches and more.

The size of the screens and functionality of the devices has meant re-thinking website design so that a site will look good on any size of screen.

Google, the #1 search engine in the world, has notices this trend, and proposed a Mobile First approach.

What is mobile first?

Mobile-first proposes that website designers consider the smaller screens first when designing any new website. It should look good on a small screen and be easy to navigate. For example, traditional blue hyperlinks stacked one on top of the others can be almost impossible to tap accurately with a finger, compared to a button. Scrolling up and down a long page can be tedious on a small screen, so content pages are getting shorter, for less scrolling.

Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

Google has noted the shift in content consumption from desktop to mobile devices. Yet most of their results are based on the best results overall, even though not all of the sites are mobile-friendly. This can lead to frustration on the part of mobile device users who need answers but can’t always access the content Google is offering.

Google has therefore proposed a mobile-first index, in which the top results will be from sites that are mobile friendly.

If your site or blog is mobile friendly or uses responsive design, which sizes the page according to the size of the screen, you should have nothing to worry about regarding your search engine rankings. If you have an old HTML-based website, you have at least until 2018 to start making the move to mobile.

Role of Mobile Friendly design

Studies have shown that around 25% of Internet user are now mobile-only, that is, they rarely use a desktop computer to access web content. This being the case, they will only ever see a mobile-version of your site—IF one is available. While this may not sound like much at this point, the truth is mobile is here to stay, and is growing.

Mobile First

This being the case, it is important to start thinking what your site can and can’t do on the small screen. Your first step is to see if your home page is mobile-friendly. Use the free mobile-friendly checker.

Check to see if your page passes or fails. Also see if there are any alerts, which usually indicates that one or more elements of the page failed to load. These might be things like large images, or old Flash and JavaScript, once popular for traditional websites, but not mobile-friendly.

Mobile-friendly design as your starting point can mean narrowing down your content on each HTML page to the bare minimum. A handier approach might be to modernize your site with the help of Bootstrap. It is mobile-friendly and allows for rapid web development for a mobile-friendly site sure to impress.


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