ERP giant SAP and industrial automation company Schneider Electric Tuesday announced that they would expand their collaboration in the field of IIoT (industrial IoT) and digital transformation, with a focus on sustainable infrastructure and easy deployment.\nThe two companies plan to create preconfigured deployment options for IIoT customers\u2014so any company looking for, for example, a field service management tool using augmented reality can simply pick up and use the partnership\u2019s preset hardware and software configuration. (Shop floor operational tech integration, using digital twins for lifecycle management, is also planned.)\nThe idea is to simplify and speed the deployment of so-called Industry 4.0 applications\u2014systems that link IT such as ERP software with operational technology used in manufacturing processes\u2014the companies said in a joint press release. While there\u2019s plenty of interest in Industry 4.0 among potential customers, many of those customers see design and deployment as major headaches, which has slowed the spread of newer technologies.\n\u201cOur companies align on the importance of collaboration, innovation, and open standards, making integrated information and operational technology solutions easy to consume for our joint customers,\u201d said SAP president of industries and customer advisory Peter Maier in the statement.\nSustainability was also mentioned in the release, with the companies saying that they planned future offerings to help companies with energy management.\nThe fact remains, however, that Industry 4.0 is still largely in its infancy, which means that the new deal between Schneider and SAP is as much a matter of meshing cultures as it is creating new solutions, according to IDC IoT research director Marcia Walker.\n\u201cEffectively integrating the cultures of two companies is every bit as challenging as integrating the cultures of IT and OT personnel,\u201d she said. \u201cI see great potential for the industrial and energy-centric perspective of Schneider Electric to complement the ERP-centric heritage of SAP.\u00a0 Schneider Electric has proven their ability to weave culture change into technological evolution, as evidenced by their launch of Schneider Electric University.\u201d\nThe impetus for new industrial technology, moreover, carries its own dangers, said Katell Thielemann, vice president and analyst at Gartner Research. She said that, any time technology is added to existing production systems, cybersecurity risks are created.\n\u201cIndustrial production systems are full of cyber-physical systems that need to be protected like never before, and the announcement is conspicuously silent on that front,\u201d Thielemann said.