Operational technology (OT) is a mission-critical function that must increasingly respond to industry changes. The traditional OT model distributed OT responsibilities across operating areas, embedding these responsibilities within engineering functions. While this model provided OT responsiveness to operating areas, several complications have been revealed that reduce its effectiveness in today’s changing environment:
While centralizing OT operations can address many of these challenges, centralization alone is not the answer. Operating areas still require the responsive support they get from their dedicated OT teams.
Organizations have addressed these challenges and successfully consolidated their OT organizations by implementing an OT service delivery model. These transformations have allowed organizations to meet emerging industry needs, acquire scarce technical resources, and work within budget constraints while maintaining and improving operating area responsiveness.
OT Value Chain – The OT value chain defines how OT services are delivered to the operating areas, providing the responsiveness they require. These services are documented in a service catalog with appropriate service-level and operational metrics, which are regularly reviewed and updated with operating area leadership. The OT value chain enables OT to streamline services and eliminate redundancies.
OT value chain services include:
Planning Functions – Planning functions ensure that alignment is maintained across the entire service delivery model. They provide focus to the OT team and establish clear accountability for the long-term sustainability of operational technologies. They are responsible for standardizing processes and procedures to codify the tribal knowledge of the workforce and facilitate a knowledge transfer to sustain end-of-life technologies. These functions also include the technical expertise necessary for digital efforts and the adoption of these digital enhancements. Planning functions provide the following benefits:
Cybersecurity and Compliance Functions – Security and compliance functions are built into the standard operating procedures for delivering build and run services across the application and infrastructure portfolios. Embedding security and compliance functions into these operating procedures simplifies and standardizes the controls across the critical infrastructure rather than distributing the functions across multiple organizations. This model provides line of sight into adherence to security and compliance controls across the OT enterprise. Security and compliance functions provide the following benefits:
Service Management Functions – Service management functions facilitate a strong partnership with operating areas to build confidence and provide an appropriate standard of service. These functions rely on a service-oriented approach to set and monitor operating area performance expectations. This approach provides performance transparency to the areas served, and it enables a constant feedback loop between the OT organization and these areas to ensure their needs are being met. Service management functions provide the following benefits:
A comprehensive OT service delivery model addresses the issues with traditional OT organizations, while providing the responsiveness required by operating areas. An OT service delivery transformation enables utilities to respond to the changing industry landscape and acquire necessary technical capabilities, even as budgets are constrained.
To learn more about OT service delivery models and how we can assist your organization, contact us.
Additional Contributing Authors: Todd Ponto and Laura Dorn
Sussex Economic Advisors is now part of ScottMadden. We invite you to learn more about our expanded firm. Please use the Contact Us form to request additional information.