What role does SCADA play in Digital Transformation?
Data powers Digital Transformation.
The role and capabilities of SCADA systems have moved on significantly since the 1990s. The days of densely populated graphics and legacy communications interfaces are gone and modern SCADA systems are a vital tool to drive efficient operator decision making and illicit the right response to abnormal conditions and events.
Manufacturers who installed their original equipment many decades ago should now consider upgrading, as SCADA can serve as the groundwork for making digital transformation scalable and cost-effective.
So, what benefits are on offer by upgrading to a modern SCADA system?
Combining operational systems under an intelligent platform, such as the Industrial Internet of Things(IIoT), improves efficiency and scalability while reducing costs and workloads through standardisation.
As pressures on any manufacturer mount, including competition and rising costs, having an IIoT-capable system is critical for building an operation fit for the future. The industry is increasingly leveraging analytics and the data available to improve continuously.
Modern SCADA provides the groundwork through connectivity with intelligent devices, adherence to MQTT protocols, the ability to run in the cloud and large-scale data collection.
IT Compliant OT
IT and OT have traditionally been separate domains with distinct architecture, languages and standards. The modern best-practice sees an alignment of these two system areas, with benefits such as reduced exposure to cybersecurity threats and cost savings from standardisation. Bridging the gap between these two system areas is one of the roles of SCADA.
A vital link in gaining 360-degree operational visibility and a foundation for scalability. Necessary connectivity includes any PLC, your databases and your ERP.
In the decades since many manufacturers installed the SCADA systems they run to this day, the technology landscape has changed considerably. Mobile has taken over how many of us interact with work tasks, socialising and documenting our lives. So to keep pace with innovation, and owing to many distinct benefits, the SCADA of today should be accessible on mobile devices.
Why? Because extending the reach of real-time information beyond the control room allows for faster response times and more accurate, data-driven decision-making by your operators. Modern SCADA can offer a user experience on the shop floor and make your OT data available on any device, anywhere, in real-time. A system leveraging web-ready components is critical for creating dashboards that can scale and grow alongside your operation’s digital journey.
Many benefits are available through this unified, accessible, and agile approach to monitoring and control. Widespread access to real-time data improves worker safety and alarm response times. A reduced need for personnel on-site can also reduce the need for travel while maximising the positive impact of your most experienced operators across your entire estate.
COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards remote working, which is becoming a permanent change for many organisations as the benefits have become evident.
With continuous improvements offered by embarking on a digital transformation journey, businesses that fail to act or implement suboptimal solutions will face difficulties as they wish to scale their operations or remain competitive in the face of changing industry conditions. Change is inevitable, and to stay competitive requires a SCADA system for for the future.