Simplifying the Infrastructure for The Connected Enterprise

June 5, 2015
Many have experienced wrong turns, dead-ends, and roadblocks in creating an industrial plant network that connects the plant floor to enterprise IT systems. Would you like a GPS app to help guide in you in creating a Connected Enterprise architecture for your plant?    Full article brought to you by Rockwell Automation. Visit The Connected Enterprise for more.  

Would you like a GPS app to help guide you in creating a Connected Enterprise architecture for your plant? Many have experienced wrong turns, dead-ends, and roadblocks in creating an industrial plant network that connects the plant floor to enterprise IT systems.

The market transition of Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 has increased the urgency of making Internet Protocol (IP) networks and IT technologies an integral part of plant automation strategy and planning.  A key area to establish some early agreement and success is the plant physical infrastructure – establishing a plant network fabric that is scalable and secure.

Sometimes the struggle between IT and OT is agreeing on the end goal of the network design, and sometimes there is confusion over the execution steps to get there. Wouldn’t it be great to have apps that helped you define your destination with turn by turn instructions on how to get there for a Connected Enterprise network?

Panduit, as part of an ecosystem with Cisco and Rockwell Automation, has been working to simplify the journey – especially at establishing the critical network infrastructure foundation for unlocking the value of The Connected Enterprise. It’s all about reducing risk and speeding time to value by leveraging best practices proven across many industry leading companies. Here are three ways to simplify and guide you on your journey:

Execution Models

Are you familiar with the concept of execution models? This tool originated in the world of software and IT project planning but has been widely used to describe milestones and execution steps for many business processes.

Execution models are developed after processes are well understood with best practices and pitfalls known. This is really good news for the longstanding struggle between IT and OT stakeholders because one of the major disconnects between IT and control engineers has been agreeing on a plan and getting management support for investing in a long term strategy.

Rockwell Automation released The Connected Enterprise Execution Model whitepaper outlining five key stages with execution steps and recommendations to progress. Panduit has also developed an execution model for the physical infrastructure. The point of these execution models is to help define your destination, assess where you are now and chart those turn-by-turn steps to get there.

Education and Training

Before planning a trip, most people do some research online – checking various websites with descriptions, reviews, and guidance on their destinations. For planning industrial networks, there are tools to help you understand and plan this journey as well.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for making progress has been having a common understanding of the logical and physical networking concepts that are required for mapping out the execution plan and journey. IT needs to learn more about priorities, scale, environments, and standards for the plant floor networks, while OT needs to understand more about the IP network design fundamentals for structured networks, segmentation, and security for a converged network that they can collaboratively manage.

The good news is that there are now great resources online as well as certification programs to learn more about the high level value areas to consider, as well as how-to guidance to make progress with case studies to validate your path. Industrial IP Advantage is releasing online e-learning on converged industrial network design. At Cisco Live 2015 in San Diego (June 7-11), attend the breakout session BRKCRT-1901 CCNA Industrial Overview to learn more details.

Design Tools and Services

Knowing what to ask for, how to specify, and how to combine elements without mistakes reduces design risks and speeds deployment.  Reference architecture documents provide design frameworks and guidance for the overall design, but how to design the specifics? Popular configuration drawings guide you on overall design building blocks and component category selection while detailed specification tools like Proposalworks and Integrated Architecture Builder not only help you select parts but have rule checking and wizards to reduce your design time and risks.

These tools allow you to specify the physical building blocks like Industrial Data Centers, Industrial Distribution Frames, and Industrial Network Zone Systems that simplify the deployment of industrial networks. Need more help? Leverage Rockwell Automation and Panduit Physical Infrastructure services to assess and plan your journey.

Has your company committed to The Connected Enterprise plan? A huge part of the value of a Connected Enterprise is all about simplifying decision making – using data to avoid mistakes and to optimize operations, to achieve predictable performance and make adjustments to avoid waste.  Now is the time to connect and tap into the wealth of information at Cisco Live US and online at Industrial IP Advantage to chart your journey ahead to The Connected Enterprise.

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