Using a cutting torch to pierce a hole is something frequently done whether you are using Plasma or Oxy-Fuel. But sloppy piercing increases wear and costs and it is just not practical for smaller holes.
Drilling is the obvious alternative but physically mounting a drilling machine on to the cutting machine can be difficult but it is worth the effort.
After purchasing a machine with an excellent deep hole drilling machine, holes are now only drilled and not pierced at one Swiss cutting company.
They say that they have found that that this solution his is more economical, the cutting process is quicker and costs due to wear have been reduced.