Although it presents myriad opportunities for leading organizations to address their business issues, key technical and business challenges must be overcome for IoT to fulfill its promise
The internet of things (IoT) is at a crossroads in the enterprise, where the evolution from early trials to production deployments has proved challenging due to business and technical concerns. Industries that can derive clear business benefits from IoT, such as improved operational efficiency, have gravitated toward the technology at this nascent stage. While there is some commonality between IoT projects across industries, differences in business goals and technology competence drive the need for more targeted solutions.
New security attack mechanisms and project funding concerns have continued to present a challenge to IT leaders looking to implement IoT solutions in their organizations. Amid a highly-fragmented market landscape, organizations in key industries such as manufacturing and automotive/transportation have emerged as the early adopters of IoT. Reference architectures and industry-specific best practices have started to emerge to address the top challenges of IoT and accelerate IoT adoption
IoT at a Crossroads: When Reality Sets In
After years of growing interest in the applications and innovations in IoT, many business and IT leaders have been wondering if the technology can ever overcome the hype and fulfill its promises in organizational and societal disruption. As previously observed, organizational leaders have gradually changed their perception of IoT from “hope” to “possibilities” to, most recently, “reality.”
During the “hope” phase, leaders viewed IoT as a silver bullet, a technology that could solve a myriad IT and business problems that their organizations faced. Very quickly, though, they recognized that without the proper framing of the problems, IoT was essentially a solution looking for a problem. In the next phase, “possibilities,” leaders started to explore the applications and use cases for which IoT is best-suited as the organization embarked on its journey toward digitalization. Finally, in 2017, we expect some of these “explorers” to move to the “reality” phase, when skunkworks projects and proofs of concept graduate to commercial or production deployment.
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As the perception of IoT has changed among organizational leaders after their initial investigations, key business and technology challenges have surfaced. For example, from a technology implementation perspective, the constant media reports about hacks and breaches have only served to increase the anxiety surrounding IoT and security. In fact, in Gartner’s IoT Backbone Survey, security was cited as the top barrier to IoT success (35 percent of respondents). From a business perspective, while the value and benefits that IoT may bring to an organization are becoming increasingly clear, its ranking among other top IT priorities remains unclear — in the same survey, cost and funding concerns was second behind security (32 percent of respondents).
Addressing the Business and Technical Challenges Impeding IoT’s Progress
In order to further change perceptions of IoT, organizational leaders must address the business and technical challenges impede IoT’s progress by measuring the performance of IoT initiatives, addressing hardware security, preparing to monetize data, reassessing storage requirements, and more.
To begin with, vanguard enterprise architects must adopt leading indicators to measure the performance of IoT initiatives. Adopting IoT solutions and establishing business value have been difficult tasks for many organizations due to many factors, including unclear business benefits and insufficient expertise or staff. Enterprise architects must develop leading indicators to plan, track and manage their IoT investments.
Also, the emergence of IoT has created new security challenges that enterprises must address. Determining the level of security required and educating the organization should be primary goals of IoT project leaders. Among other concerns, healthcare provider CIOs need to address IoT’s security. For healthcare providers, IoT provides the benefit of significantly increased situational awareness surrounding patients and hospital operations; however, as a result, new and unfamiliar cybersecurity risks have also emerged. Healthcare provider CIOs must redefine their security strategies to address these new vulnerabilities.
Meanwhile, organizations must prepare to monetize data from the Internet of things. Data and analytics leaders increasingly understand that IoT has the potential to be transformational. However, determining how the data generated from the “things” can be monetized is the key challenge. One of the first steps to overcome this challenge is to create a focused information product manager role.
Anther requirement is to reassess storage requirements for successful IoT implementations. Organizations must discuss how the demand for more scalable and cost-effective storage will be driven by IoT, along with the inadequacy of current solutions. There will be a need for I&O leaders to re-evaluate their storage requirements based on specific use cases as IoT evolves into more of a corporate asset.
IoT and digital business have created new opportunities; however, few CIOs understand the full potential of IoT business solutions and how they can be best-leveraged. Developing an ERP and IT strategy must be a top priority for CIOs interested in taking a more IoT- and digital-business-related approach.
Another key impact areas of IoT is on IT Disaster Recovery Teams. Disaster recovery professionals will be faced with a new wave of challenges due to the rapid adoption and implementation of new IoT projects. DR strategies must be built into IoT architecture and deployment plans to avoid costly additions and high-impact failures.
In retail sector, organizations will also have to understand the costs of the challenges below the tip of the IoT cost iceberg. IoT is a challenging IT environment to manage due to immature ecosystems, varying standards and the fact that IoT is not one single technology. This research, targeted at retail CIOs, details the need to cost out custom IoT projects that require consulting and professional services.
With the emergence of IoT, separating hype from reality is a challenge many CIOs are facing. Seeing through the service provider marketing hype requires CIOs conduct a SWOT analysis of vendors to assess their capabilities and how external providers might support their IoT initiatives.
The adoption of IoT among businesses is accelerating at an increasing pace. Sourcing and vendor management leaders must transform their IoT processes by quickly being able to assess the critical constraints of their IoT use case.
Gartner estimates more than US$440 billion will be spent on IoT in 2020. In terms of the commercial opportunities, manufacturing, utilities, transportation and government stand out, while retail and healthcare are also significant market segments. Given the unique requirements of each industry, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” IoT solution that can serve these heterogeneous markets.
— Text provided by Gartner Inc., All rights reserved