The Internet of Things has been the next big thing for a while now. There is some debate over which sector has seen the biggest change – home, government or enterprise. I believe all signs point to the enterprise, specifically industrial customers, given the ability for IoT to solve business-related problems, improve performance and efficiency, and deploy on a large scale to transform the way an enterprise does business.
Questions remain over how significant enterprise IoT can be, whether it can create incremental improvements in business practices or something truly strategic. For an enterprise to move beyond the connectivity of peripheral devices, such as performance-monitoring sensors to integrating truly transformative business processes, requires overcoming certain obstacles:
Enterprise systems require architecture and implementation to adapt to innovations in devices, software, or technologies. Moreover, they require the ability to assimilate data they gather and share them with applications that can generate insights. This is complicated not just by the multiplicity of both legacy and modern devices but also different types of devices from different vendors, using disparate protocols and outputting data in different formats. These data assimilation capabilities will enable enterprises to keep adjusting their processes more intelligently and to enrich their relationships with customers.
Strategic enterprise stakeholders face a complex problem when planning IoT initiatives: How do you eschew high implementation costs while simultaneously benefiting from connectedness, as well as minimizing the security risks brought by that desired connectedness? Business planners must address this issue in the context of gaining competitive advantage for their firms without negatively affecting financial performance. Focus usually turns to overcoming the security concerns and price barriers characteristic of implementations.
Producing a Compelling Business Case for Large-Scale Enterprise Deployments
Before enterprises can undertake large-scale deployments, they need to develop a convincing business case. This offers business leaders opportunities to discover and articulate those business cases, and to attempt the difficult task of quantifying the results. One source of inspiration is the concept of network effects: Greater value accrues to, and inheres in, a network the more popular and intertwined it becomes, particularly when connectedness yields greater benefits to network members by virtue of their participation. This not only accounts for the importance of growth to startups but also established enterprises.
The problem is that this is all new territory. A lot depends on how enterprises can manage and interpret data given that the proliferation of connectedness might strain existing human capacity to make sense of it all. The problem for the enterprise sector is the novelty of the situation. The most effective business cases will depend on the use that enterprises can make of the data that connectedness enables, especially since the proliferation of data might tax the institutional capacity to manage and interpret it all.
The IoT creates an added dimension of complexity that puts a premium on the following competencies:
To learn more about what enterprises are looking for in IoT and how they can overcome these obstacles, download our white papers here.