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Cross Functional Collaboration

This is part 2 of a 3 part series of our Whitepaper – “A Reference Architectural for Energy and Manufacturing Companies” by Mario Brenes. Mario has over 30+ years experience in delivering Industrial IT applications on Operations Intelligence, SCADA and DCS for major oil companies and Fortune 500 companies worldwide.
If you ask an information technology professional and a control systems engineer to define a “Tag”, you will most of the time hear two distinct definitions (i.e. HTML tag and instrument tag). Similar situations arise when you ask a maintenance personnel what is a “Tag” (e.g. equipment tag or “tag out” tag).
This type of question illustrates that there are definitions that are outside of our domain knowledge; definitions that we need if we are to deliver complete information solutions to our customers. Yet what I have observed in the industry is that there is a “territorial dispute” when it comes to who should be in charge of the information solution. There is a war between IT and the operations departments that is costing a lot of money to large corporations that are implementing IT solutions.
The reality is that all these “tags” are needed along the way to providing the complete information. There is a need for cross-functional teams that are all working together and sharing knowledge.
If IT owns the ERP information and it is not comfortable providing interfaces to operational systems such as Manufacturing/Operations intelligence, the dashboard that operations needs will not be complete. Maintenance Costs are part of the “Value of Decisions” that needs to be controlled at the operations level.
Similarly if the controls systems organization is making it difficult for the IT department to extract process history it will not be possible to have the most complete BI solution: one that relies in aggregated data that is extracted periodically for tools that must report across a larger data set than just one plant.