Industry Coverage icon

The Connected Factory

Bring your factory to life with IIoT and supervisory control and data acquisition enablement.

Unlock a Free Sample
  • Your operation isn’t very cautious or knowledgeable about the negative consequences of having products flagged as being non-compliant with regulations.
  • The business is still using a lot of manual paper-based processes such as bankers’ boxes to track, store, and review the quality of your products.
  • You are risking being caught off guard by downstream suppliers if the regulatory bodies conduct a full review of all suppliers’ products/materials/ingredients being used to develop your finished goods.
  • The company isn’t tracking all materials, solvents etc. used within the manufacturing process and may encounter unexpected liabilities or penalties due to residue left on the finished goods products being delivered to the customer.
  • You are risking being left behind as the rest of the industry progresses in this digital and ESG conscious era.
  • Your operation has difficulty tracking and tracing across the supply chain, which is slowing the process of adding new products into the portfolio.
  • Niche players have made your operation more vigilant, and therefore your objective is to modernize your processes so that customer satisfaction ratings from audits will be a benefit over the competition vs. an hinderance.
  • The effects of the pandemic are still apparent within your operation, most notably there is a shortage of labor, acquiring skilled labor is difficult, and there are supply chain disruptions.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Gain real insight into the Regulatory Standards and Certifications necessary for the business, understand the potential cost and impact of non-compliance, and determine which tools should be investigated for strategic improvement initiatives. Transform your compliance business process to future-proof your manufacturing operation’s compliance activities and turn compliance into a competitive advantage.

Impact and Result

  • Identify: The kinds of compliance, certifications, standards, and regulatory activities that are important for your business sector and products.
  • Prioritize: Further determine which tools can be used for tracking and tracing information, for conducting internal audits, and for generating reports for governing bodies.
  • Align: After establishing what technologies are needed for compliance you will form the team in accordance with initial setup and ongoing management of compliance across all suppliers as well as considerations for management of in-transit control processes such as customs and CTPAT.

The Connected Factory Research & Tools

1. Storyboard – Learn why having a connected factory is a pivotal change to the way production activities are performed, managed, and maintained.

Learn about the processes, tools, and technologies that are used to make a real material difference in how your business interacts internally and how the production systems breathe life into the factory.

Unlock a Free Sample

The Connected Factory

Internet of Things (IoT) lives at the center of Smart Services, but Industrial IoT is the fuel that enables Manufacturing to connect the factory.

Analyst Perspective

The competitive landscape has become highly charged by the onslaught of new technologies entering the market and SaaS. Many businesses are implementing Cloud First and Cloud Only models, and that has elevated the need for CIOs to broaden their engagement across the business.

This is a glorious time for the astute CIO to enable a foundation for innovation in the business by connecting the Factory with the Business; however, it isn’t easy:

  1. IIoT is the secret sauce for connecting the factory but it brings some unique challenges into focus such as:
    • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) are complex, proprietary, and plant equipment often lacks support.
    • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software and a Data Strategy are paramount for success.
    • Wired vs. wireless solutions.
  2. Securing the Environment becomes more complex as equipment is exposed to the internet and integrated into the Cloud.
  3. Edge computing puts a premium on reliable partnerships.
  4. IT/OT Convergence is vital for success.

Possibly the greatest challenge of all is the tremendous difficulty associated with identifying, hiring, and retaining the correct talent.

“We’re compelled by the fact that the machines will capture their own information and make their own accurate decisions and do it in real-time. IIoT brings your Factory to Life.”

Kevin Tucker, Principal Research Director

Kevin Tucker

Principal Research Director
Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Logistics.

Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary: The Connected Factory

Situation: Real-Time

Businesses must make timely and accurate decisions. Everything in today’s market is underpinned by this ability.

Dynamic, data-driven decisions can only be enabled through connectivity of the factory.

New models of teamwork are required. In the past, IT and OT were managed as distinct silos within the business. To be holistically connected, silos must be eliminated.

Manufacturing environments still have manual processes and lack the skills and knowledge to enable and manage live interactions.

Complication: Risks

Disruption: Businesses that don’t start planning their connected factory journey now will be running the risk of being disrupted.

Complexity: Manufacturing environments are often filled with a mix of very new and very old equipment, with both proprietary and open connectivity tools, and that creates complexity.

Exposure: Developing a connected factory exposes the business to new threat actors and an entirely new set of skills for both setups and users across the environment.

Solution: Tools & Processes

Use this Connected Factory Advisory Deck to help your business evolution:

  • Reduce your downtime through predictive leading indicators.
  • Measure performance with live data from all equipment in the factory.
  • Improve safety by knowing when systems are likely to fail.
  • Increase operator satisfaction with live information and machine reliability.

Info-Tech Overarching Insight

IIoT is the secret sauce of the factory: Although IIoT will enable the business to capture mountains of live data, it doesn’t serve any purpose without a data strategy that develops the data in dashboards and management reports for live decision making.

The Covid & Business Continuity Marriage

When COVID-19 attacked the world, IIoT became a central player in the quest for resilience in the factory.

The coronavirus outbreak threatened to pop the world as many businesses had paid lip service to the need for resilience across the manufacturing ecosystem. Several new initiatives began to leverage IIoT to solve real world problems.

Develop reliability by getting live machine information for safety, security, waste-reduction, maintenance management, and lowering costs through remote services.

Create resilience through connectivity, cybersecurity, asset optimization, procurement visibility, and live price management.

Manage Strategic Advantage by developing a fully integrated supply chain ecosystem of integrated services and dynamic process optimization.

IIoT became a catalyst for ensuring that companies would have the right information, at the right time, and for the right place. That the information could be developed as tool for protecting the livelihoods of business locations across the global marketplace.

Many years of factory connectivity

Electricity becoming widely available in the 1800’s set the stage for automation

The early 1900’s enabled businesses to go beyond the use of just steam and electricity. The understanding of how to convert analog signals into digital signals set the stage for machines to send and receive information within the factory operation. Along with the onset of data communications came the beginning of machine and sensor-based communications. The early sensors we mainly just capturing information for display on the built-in, machine-based screens and could transfer data to PCs around the mid to late 1900’s.

Game changing IIoT in the 2000’s as the SCADA systems and the internet open up a great new world of opportunity. Early SCADA systems used phone lines and modems to connect factory systems. In the early 2000’s the Industrial Internet of Things became a reality with sensors, equipment, PC’s and live data Dashboards being mounted in factories all over the globe.

The SCADA and IIoT partnership

A SCADA system is a combination of hardware and software components that work together and IIoT enables expansive connectivity

SCADA provided the format for factories to capture every desirable byte of data and to use the data to deliver previously unimaginable results. By implementing sensors that communicated with programmable logic controllers embedded inside as well as using relays, timers, and remote terminal access, businesses could suddenly offer reliability management. Above all they now had the ability to offer worker safety through the real-time monitoring capabilities of SCADA but configurations were very slow and complex.

Traditional SCADA became antiquated as modern SCADA is adapting to leverage the value of the technology boom. The move to real-time IIoT-based systems that leverage the cloud and enable access to data anywhere around the globe and the onset of rapid application development (RAD) has enabled businesses to create personalized human-machine interfaces.


The choice is becoming increasingly obvious but the suppliers with both DCS and SCADA argue that they have the best solution

Distributed Control Systems (DCS) have hardware and software like a SCADA system but this is a pre-packaged solution with a built-in controller and control room that doesn't allow customization. This solution is normally supported by very high-speed connections, and it's delivered as a turnkey solution. These systems are quite inflexible. It’s not possible to go out and purchase new PLCs that simply plug into the solution. A Tesla is a good example of where the entire car is a DCS that cannot use aftermarket modules.

Supervisory Control and Data Access (SCADA) is designed to be an Open Connectivity Framework platform that pulls from all programmable controllers into a central control and alarming environment that is programmed based upon the customers' requirements and can connect to pretty much any device. LEGO would be a good example of something that is delivered with all of the tools to build an environment, but programming is customer specific.

Info-Tech Insight

Modern SCADA is becoming increasingly flexible as customers need to connect to many IoT devices.

SCADA by the Numbers

IIoT is poised for rapid growth.

  • Hardware spend is rapidly growing and is anticipated to grow more rapidly as companies attempt to gain advantage or catch competitors.
  • Software-as-a-Service is still in its infancy; however, SaaS companies are becoming the norm. Implementations will become an operating expense versus a capital expense.
  • Perpetual license spending is still significant; however, it is anticipated that it will continue to be eroded as more businesses become comfortable with cloud-based production services.
  • IIoT drives SCADA as an emerging growth market, whether its an actual SCADA solution or piecemeal SCADA technology.

Global market size for supervisory control and data acquisition.

Global market size for supervisory control and data acquisition.

Modern SCADA

SCADA systems have always been designed to enable capture and control of data but now they provide universal flexibility.

Modern SCADA

Info-Tech Insight

The goal of modern SCADA is to enable rapid connectivity for pulling live data for real-time monitoring and alerting.

Sources: VT Scada 2022, Inductive Automation 2022, Google IoT Core 2022 (retiring 2023), Machine Metrics May 2022.

Suppliers' solutions need careful review

A difficult choice between solution or technology

Buying all-in-one solutions binds the environment as intended by the supplier of the solution. Solutions tend to be made up of a series of technologies that, although coherent with each other, are restrictive for the customer.

Purchasing technologies based on needs gives the company flexibility to produce product effectively and scale out the solution as the demands of the market change. The cloud and hybrid are good examples of shifts to open platforms that become critical if the company wants to have a cohesive and flexible ecosystem.

Info-Tech Insight

Being adaptable isn’t just desired, it has become a critical strategy for companies to maintain competitiveness.

IoT is fueling the future of business

IoT has been making its presence felt and now the speed of adoption is accelerating.

IoT is fueling the future of business

Sources: Techjury – Aug 2022.

The Connected Factory preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Talk to an Analyst

Our analyst calls are focused on helping our members use the research we produce, and our experts will guide you to successful project completion.

Book an Analyst Call on This Topic

You can start as early as tomorrow morning. Our analysts will explain the process during your first call.

Get Advice From a Subject Matter Expert

Each call will focus on explaining the material and helping you to plan your project, interpret and analyze the results of each project step, and set the direction for your next project step.

Unlock Sample Research


Kevin Tucker

Larry Fretz


  • Kevin Kracher, Global Vice President, IT, Zimmer Biomet
  • Frederick Donatucci, Vice President, IT, New Indy Containerboard
  • Dan Lasher, Chief Information Security Officer, TD Synnex
  • Patrick McLendon, Chief Information Officer, City of Birmingham
  • Marline Thomas, Global IT Director, ORBIA
  • Sallie Wright, Executive Counsellor, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Christopher Goodhue, Managing Partner, Non-Durable Goods, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Steven Schmidt, Managing Partner, Durable Goods, Info-Tech Research Group
  • David Espinosa, Executive Counselor, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Larry Fretz, Vice President, Industry, Info-Tech Research Group

Search Code: 100679
Last Revised: February 24, 2023


Manufacturing, Operations, Fabrication, IIoT, IoT, Security, Cyber Security, HIPPA, FIPPS, Standards, Rules, Chemical, Pharmaceuticals, Non-Durable Goods, Durable, Aerospace, Automotive, Scrap, Rework, Repair, Sustainability, ISO, Product, SCADA, PLC, MQTT, HTTP, X86, VPN, WLAN, Data Distribution, AMQP, CoAP, Azure, AWS, Google, Restful API, TCP, Python, AI, ML, NLP Sensor, Sensors, Context, Cubes, ETL, Catalog, Network, Monitor, Digital, Mobile, Cloud, Control, MES, TMS, ERP, PLM, Registry, OPC-UA, KPI, Cost Savings, Drive Revenue, Enhance Safety, HITRUST, NIST, Tolerance, Counting, Acoustics, Vibration, Zero Waste, recall, recalls, RMA, employee, staff, scan, scanning, skills, production, hiring, customer value, production operation, manufacturing operational excellence, manufacturing customer value, supply chain, automation, cybersecurity, collaboration, improvement, innovation, staffing, predictive, maintenance, strategy, strategic, intelligent, vendors, suppliers, prototyping, equipment, infrastructure, evaluation, functionality, report, progress, Data Analytics, ESG, artificial, Visual Recognition, shipping, monitoring, Elastic, logistics, sensing, mobility, private, Mumbai, job, project, exposure, Inventory, Dispatch, food & beverage, pharmaceutical, dangerous, containment, tracking, engineering, testing, partners, regulations, regulatory, classifications, penalties, environment, recover, waste, policy, recycling, alert, rapid, Health and Safety, Organic, Tulip, VTScada, WinCC, FactoryTalk, AVEVA, InTouch, Ignition, MuleSoft, Boomi, Rockwell, Siemens, FactoryStudio, Schneider Electric, Alleantia, PTC Thingworx
Visit our IT Cost Optimization Center
Over 100 analysts waiting to take your call right now: 1-519-432-3550 x2019