Book Image

Architecting the Industrial Internet

By : Robert Stackowiak, Shyam Varan Nath, Carla Romano
Book Image

Architecting the Industrial Internet

By: Robert Stackowiak, Shyam Varan Nath, Carla Romano

Overview of this book

The Industrial Internet or the IIoT has gained a lot of traction. Many leading companies are driving this revolution by connecting smart edge devices to cloud-based analysis platforms and solving their business challenges in new ways. To ensure a smooth integration of such machines and devices, sound architecture strategies based on accepted principles, best practices, and lessons learned must be applied. This book begins by providing a bird's eye view of what the IIoT is and how the industrial revolution has evolved into embracing this technology. It then describes architectural approaches for success, gathering business requirements, and mapping requirements into functional solutions. In a later chapter, many other potential use cases are introduced including those in manufacturing and specific examples in predictive maintenance, asset tracking and handling, and environmental impact and abatement. The book concludes by exploring evolving technologies that will impact IIoT architecture in the future and discusses possible societal implications of the Industrial Internet and perceptions regarding these projects. By the end of this book, you will be better equipped to embrace the benefits of the burgeoning IIoT.
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Title Page
About the Authors
About the Reviewers
Customer Feedback

The architect's roles and skills

If your company or organization is like many, it defined many roles and job titles for its architects. Most often, the roles we will describe in this section reside in the IT organization. That said, linking these projects to business needs and requirements is critical as we previously noted. We'll describe the process to do that later in this book.

Many look to The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) as a place to begin to define the skills an architect must possess. TOGAF describes characteristics needed to define a business architecture, application architecture, data architecture, and technical architecture. As cloud-based computing has gained popularity, some of the architecture considerations and emphasis have changed a bit. Today, the following roles are the typically defined ones for each architecture type:

  • Business architecture: This architecture includes the business strategy and goals, business processes, organization, and governance that are primarily driven by the lines of business and provides documentation for the business justification for projects
  • Application architecture: This architecture maps the relationships between identified-needed business processes and the application footprints, the interactions among applications, and how the applications are to be deployed (such as defining cloud-based SaaS strategies)
  • Data architecture: This architecture defines the appropriate logical and physical data structures aligned to business needs and the most appropriate data management platforms (choosing among relational databases, NoSQL databases, Hadoop, graph databases, and other options)
  • Technology architecture: This architecture defines software, server, storage, and networking solutions (including cloud-based PaaS and IaaS strategies) in response to technical requirements

The TOGAF definitions became the basis for defining the role of the Enterprise Architect (EA) in many organizations and a certification process. An EA could become certified by demonstrating skills in each of these architecture areas. In truth, many of today's EAs have strong IT technology backgrounds because of their heritage but are weaker in other areas.

Because of the unbalanced skills often present in architects, many organizations designate specialists for each architecture area. So, they will have business architects, application architects, data architects, and technology, infrastructure, or cloud architects. An organization will sometimes also have a chief architect who serves as the lead strategist and participates in strategic planning across the different specialties.

The growing realization of the importance of secure data and data centers in always delivering a trusted and timely picture of true business state has caused many organizations to create the role of Chief Security Officer (CSO). Security architects or cloud architects with strong security backgrounds are sometimes part of the team. They bring skills in defining authorization, authentication, and encryption architectures, and a knowledge of secure networking designs and options. They also have knowledge of industry and country mandates, as well as security certification standards that must be adhered to.

In the crowded C-suite alphabet soup, a relatively new entrant is the CDO or Chief Digital Officer. CDO has also been used for Chief Data Officer. However, in the context of the Industrial Internet, the Chief Digital Officer often plays a pivotal role. A CDO is the leader who helps a private company or a public organization drive digital transformation initiatives to achieve well-defined outcomes.

Digital transformation can be defined as the change associated with the conversion from traditional and often analog business technologies to digital ones using one or more of the modern computing paradigms involving data, analytics, mobility, social media, or cloud computing. A simple example of the digital transformation of business in the public sector setting is the use of automated toll machines communicating with automobile transponders to process tolls on highways, thus eliminating coin-operated or human-operated tool booths. The transponder is a good example of a thing.

CDOs are appearing in more and more companies. Examples include leaders of IIoT projects and initiatives at General Electric (William Ruh) and ABB (Guido Jouret). CDOs will sometimes have the title of Vice President - Digital. Regardless of the exact title, the person in the CDO role is often closer to the business operations than the traditional Chief Information Officer (CIO). Such an individual can have a natural promotion progression to President of an operational division or CEO.

CDOs usually have a strong architecture background. In fact, a career path we have seen is evolution from one of the architect roles defined by TOGAF to chief architect and then CTO and finally CDO or Vice President of Digital. Thus, IIoT is introducing new career paths for architects.

The architects and similarly skilled individuals responsible for the Industrial Internet are increasingly becoming part of the CDO organization as opposed to the CIO organization. Such digital organizations are often tasked to help break the barriers between Operations Technology (OT) and IT. This convergence of IT and OT is key to the full realization of the value of the Industrial Internet. This idea of the convergence of IT and OT systems into IIoT systems in visually represented in the following illustration:

This implies that the organization needs to hire and develop skills based on these new demands. In some cases, companies are developing Digital Leadership Programs to groom professionals from the lines of businesses who are skilled in OT and pairing them with more traditional enterprise IT skills to accelerate the delivery of the Industrial Internet, inside and outside their organizations.

The traditional Systems Integrator (SI) and professional services companies are creating digital and IoT practices. They are creating reference architectures and building proof of concepts to showcase applications for Industrial Internet. As these organizations increase the number of Industrial Internet architects to implement these IIoT solutions, we will likely see the emergence of new kinds of training and certifications.