What Is IT/OT Convergence? Benefits, Challenges, and Examples

Posted by Stephan Lam on September 29, 2023

The operational technologies (OT) used to monitor and control mechanical systems have traditionally been isolated from information technology (IT) systems, with a literal “air gap” between the two domains. Now, they are converging as more electromechanical, manufacturing, and industrial equipment is Internet-connected. The 4th Industrial Revolution and the associated proliferation of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices have accelerated IT/OT convergence.

By connecting IT and OT systems, organizations can better leverage the data collected in the OT environment for more informed, real-time decision-making. They can also streamline business processes and take full advantage of process automation. This enables organizations to increase efficiency, reduce costs, minimize errors, and gain competitive advantages.

What Is IT/OT Convergence?

To put it simply, IT/OT convergence is the merging of the tools controlling core business processes (OT) with the tools measuring the data from those processes and more (IT). The goal of IT/OT convergence is to bring OT devices into the IT domain to exchange data with IT systems without human intervention. At the most basic level, it involves a physical connection between the two domains, typically by integrating network connectivity into the OT device. This might require implementing a new OT system or adding an aftermarket device that enables data communication. 

IT/OT convergence may also require the implementation or modification of software and manipulation of the OT data so that it can be combined with IT data. Process convergence enables IT and OT teams to collaborate, exchange data, and effectively manage workflows.

IT/OT Convergence Benefits

Breaking down the wall separating IT and OT systems gives organizations greater visibility into the OT environment. It also enables them to use data analysis to identify potential problems and perform predictive maintenance. This provides a number of benefits, including:

  • Reductions in unplanned downtime
  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Elimination of manual data entry and redundant workflows
  • Improved regulatory compliance
  • More efficient asset management
  • Enhanced supply chain management

IT/OT convergence also improves performance throughout the business by increasing productivity, optimizing resource utilization, and enabling faster time-to-market.

IT/OT Convergence Challenges

Despite its benefits, IT/OT convergence can be challenging to achieve. One of the first difficulties is integrating two groups of people who have traditionally had distinct functions. They use different technologies and have different priorities and concerns. Organizations should take steps to create a collaborative environment in which each perspective is valued and conduct cross-training so that the two groups better understand each other’s processes.

There are also technological challenges. OT devices may use communication protocols that are not standard in the IT environment or may only be capable of one-way communication. They may generate vast amounts of data, potentially overwhelming the IT network and consuming large amounts of storage. Conversely, OT devices may not be capable of meeting the demands of IT systems.

Cybersecurity is a well-known problem — many OT devices have minimal security controls because they weren’t designed to be connected to the Internet. Threat actors can use unsecure OT devices to access the IT environment.

Optimize Your Environment

IT/OT Convergence Examples

Organizations in a wide range of industries can benefit from IT/OT convergence. Here are just a few potential use cases.


As a result of the widespread adoption of IIoT in manufacturing, IT/OT convergence has been a leading trend in the manufacturing sector. It is proven to help manufacturers optimize production, minimize errors and waste, improve inventory management, and meet sustainability objectives.


Retailers must constantly manage inventory levels, track product expiration dates, and monitor the environmental conditions in which products are stored. IT/OT convergence enables real-time analysis of this data to ensure product availability and minimize waste.


Data collected from vehicles and transportation infrastructure can be analyzed to track shipments, determine the most efficient routes, predict when vehicles need maintenance, and identify safety issues.

The Enconnex EdgeRack Industrial 8M Supports IT/OT Convergence

Transferring OT data to distant data centers creates latency that inhibits real-time decision-making. Effective IT/OT convergence often requires implementing IT equipment in edge data centers close to OT systems. These are often in harsh environments that lack the environmental and security controls data centers need.

The Enconnex EdgeRack Industrial 8M cabinet is an all-in-one micro data center with 8kW of cooling capacity built-in. NEMA 12 and IP55-rated, the EdgeRack Industrial 8M is highly resistant to dust, water, and humidity. It’s designed to enable industrial edge computing at scale. Contact the edge data center experts at Enconnex to discuss your specific use case.

Browse Our Catalog

Posted by Stephan Lam on September 29, 2023

Stephan has over 15 years of IT experience, including all aspects of data center operations, project management, service delivery, and sales engineering.

Learn more about Enconnex

Get to know Enconnex with a customized fit-out