Recently, I got the chance to attend the 2014 Automation Fair in Anaheim, California. One of the big topics was the convergence of information technologies and operational technologies – IT and OT. The idea? Integrated platforms that connect enterprises (and their IT and OT) can boost productivity and product quality, especially for manufacturing and industrial OEM applications.
More recently, in a followup interview to get a bit more information about IT/OT convergence, I chatted with Matt Fordenwalt, global business manager of network and security services at Rockwell Automation. Fordenwalt leads Rockwell Automation’s global professional services business, and his team hopes to help engineers define overarching business problems and then provide architectures to address the issues. He has fifteen years of experience leading global companies through complex change.
Listen to the interview here.
Before his IT/OT convergence efforts, Fordenwalt worked as deployment leader for Rockwell’s own Global Process Transformation or GPT project — an internal effort by Rockwell to replace its own ‘legacy’ systems (read: homebrew hodgepodge) and standardize on SAP. That served as a proving ground and learning experience for Fordenwalt’s initiatives to sell connected-enterprise products today.
Most enlightening here are Fordenwalt’s responses to some questions I pose about the biggest challenges for manufacturers converging IT and OT; the security issues associated with convergence; and efforts by Rockwell and Cisco’s Security Business Group to address potential issues.
For more information, here is a condensed summary by my colleague Miles Budimir of the Rockwell-Cisco partnership to offer connected-enterprise capabilities to design engineers.