Keeping your OT Running 24x7x365 – The Engineering Service Desk

Most people don’t think about how electricity is generated and transported to them, or the logistics behind the gas supply to their home, or how water gets to their tap. We take for granted that these critical services are continuously available. There are very high expectations around these basic services, and with customers being assertive and empowered, utilities face an ever-increasing challenge in guaranteeing availability and quality. This would be an impossible task without Operational Technology (OT). 

Digital transformation is in full swing. Casne makes it possible to keep the OT infrastructure working that keep gas, electricity, and water running, using data captured from sensors and stored in a real-time data infrastructure.

Utilities infrastructure must run 24x7x365. Meanwhile, service delivery and the OT that it requires is becoming more complex. If you are still reading this, you probably agree that OT is critical. The next question is, how do you keep it running in the midst of expansion and change? 

Organizations generally start by supporting their own OT internally, as other, more traditional software-based solutions are supported. The problem is that OT is not like IT. OT is highly specialized. Millions of IT professionals globally support Windows Servers, Oracle Databases, and desktop productivity software. Only 1000’s of people worldwide can support process control networks and real-time data infrastructure. 

If you are looking for expertise with OT in a particular business environment, the number is further limited. Casne and its team are experts in OSIsoft PI and the devices and systems generating continuous data streams, deployed within a petroleum refinery or a data center. While you are limited to a pool of 100’s of people with that OT / industry combination expertise, Casne is leading the way in providing solutions. It is difficult for most companies to hire enough of those rare breed OT experts to man a service desk, and even more difficult to keep them.

So what do you do to keep your plant and critical OT running 24x7x365 while managing change and growth? Deploy an Engineering Service Desk (ESD). The first step is to recognize that the IT Services Desk (ITSD) and ESD are distinct processes. Although the ITSD supports both low and high criticality applications, most or all ESD applications are high availability, high criticality. Desktop support for an operating system impacts one user. Business unit support for an application like a document repository, CRM, or ERP can impact multiple users and may involve serious business risks. 

OT support, however, can affect compliance, safety, and uptime for the entire operation, its employees, and customers. OT involves physical processes with real-life implications – temperatures, pressures, pumps, compressors, control valves. The plant cannot run safely without the OT. A failure of IT can certainly cause critical business impacts, but it does not usually lead to plant shutdowns, evacuations, and community impacts.

This naturally leads to the next point. If you believe that supporting OT is critical, and the best way to handle it is with an ESD, what are your options? 

Very large, well-funded organizations may decide to staff their own ESDs. Most organizations, however, can really benefit from having a Casne as a partner who already has a deeply focused ESD, allowing you to focus on your core mission, and provides stability and continuity through fluctuations in your business environment. 

When selecting an ESD-focused partner it’s crucial to know that your ESD partner will be able to help you build and retain a strong IT infrastructure supporting your organization. That they would be able to help assure reliable networks and servers to manage data and business operations, cloud platforms that allow for agile responses to constantly changing market conditions, and strong backup and disaster recovery systems to provide peace of mind. That the information your customers, partners, and vendors have trusted you with is safe, whether it is simply being stored in records on your servers, or is being transferred or shared between locations where you operate, even across borders.

Conclusion

Keeping all of the above mentioned ongoing business operations considerations in view, it is imperative that you plan for the future because leading companies are using OT partnerships that combine deep domain expertise with cutting-edge technology that helps them meet their core mission and stand out amongst the competition.

Casne Engineering brings over 40 years of success in professional engineering and technology integration services for major utilities, process industries, and critical facilities. Our team of capable engineers and technologists develop and support engineered solutions using best of breed products and technologies. Contact us here (https://casne.com/contact/) to discuss your operational technology needs.

SEE WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU

Casne Engineering has helped hundreds of customers over nearly 40 years and can help you.  Comfortable in classic Engineering problems, but specializing in problems with a unique solution, Casne’s talented team would love to partner with you to help your next stretch goal come in on time and on budget.

 

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We strive to provide engineering at the highest level of quality. We recognize that project success is the result of team members working together toward a common goal. Our team is comprised of individuals with the highest integrity. They are joined as a team with each other, the client and other engineering disciplines by commitment and a relationship based on trust. We believe this attitude is necessary for a successful project and relationship.

Curtis Clute

Curtis Clute, President