Wednesday, September 16, 2015

IT Staff Needs Education in IEC 61850 and Related Standards

Information Technology (IT) is quite well understood by many (often young) experts. Operations Technology (OT) in the power industry is quite well understood by many (often older) experts with some tens of years experience in the use of hardware, automation and information exchange software.

These days we see the integration of Information Technology into the Operation Technology. The migration happens quite fast … and more and more experienced OP engineers are part of the “aging workforce”. This requires that new staff (IT experts and engineers) in the IT and in the OP world to learn two technologies: “IT”, “OT”, and very crucial: “More IT in OT”.

I found a very nice publication that discusses some of these issues in detail:

Click HERE for the paper “Information Technology (IT) vs Operations Technology (OT): What the C-Suite Needs to Know”

Based on my long-term experience since the early 80s with “More IT in OT” I fully agree with the need of Cross-Department Training and other needs listed in the paper:

“… considerations to improve the IT/OT rift:

  • Annual Staff Surveys – to measure cooperation between IT and OT and look at utilization of resources, trust/conflict, clarity of goals and objectives, etc.
  • Cross-Department Training – for both technical training but also support values and behaviors expected to foster cooperation and communications
  • Cross-Functional Teams – to develop policies, standards, projects, etc. with both IT and OT perspectives
  • Reach Over the Wall – encourage the IT and OT teams to reach out to the other technology team and be willing to walk in their shoes. This is also supported by the executive team taking the same actions.”

In some cases of big utilities I see this already happen!

IT and OP people would benefit from our training in IEC 61850 and related standards. Be aware that even a small embedded device could support TCP/IP, higher level protocols like ftp and http(s), IEC 6070-5-104 and IEC 61850, and … it is “IT in OT”.

How do we reach more IT and OT people? Please forward this information to them …

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