The Internet of Things (IoT) is ultimately all about data, regardless of the vertical it’s being deployed in—from smart assistance to smart cities, from single processes to enterprise workflows, from fitness trackers to complex healthcare automations. According to Bain & Company, by 2021 the IoT sector might see a meteoric rise to a near $520 billion market. Clearly, IoT is enjoying its fair share of growth and predictions for the near future.
While it’s mostly intelligent devices that hog the spotlight, the new buzzword floating around in the business corridors is enterprise IoT. Enterprise IoT is all about connecting devices, proactive monitoring, and the intelligent management of enterprise workflows, products, and services.
Enterprises with products, services, and processes supported by business management systems—such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Software Configuration Management (SCM)—are in the process of optimising their workflows using the “connectedness” of their business assets and verticals. In conjunction, enterprises believe that bringing a close-knit integration between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) will be a cost-effective and smart proposition, and can ensure that user and device needs are met in a secure, reliable, and efficient manner.
With these units connected and exchanging data, enterprises are not only able to monitor and manage business processes, but also use and learn from the data to analyse end-user behaviour, as well as detect and preempt potential incidents using pattern-based triggers.
That being said, here are some key points to remember for businesses to explore Enterprise IoT.
Bridging the gap between IoT and the Enterprise
During the introduction of cloud and SaaS, it was the Vice Presidents of Sales teams in organisations who championed the cause and drove digital transformation. IoT in India, has still not reached all the verticals in a company. While we keep coming across stories on the impact of Industrial Internet of Things, incorporation of IoT in conventional enterprise roles are still in the nascent stages. This will grow only as more companies and their top leadership like CEOs speak about the technology. Enterprise IoT is the only way to ensure digital transformation is adopted at all levels and verticals of a business.
IoT investments and fear of high expenses
When we discuss IoT implementation across verticals or for that matter implementation of any new technology, one of the most common topics of discussion is the cost, including unpredictable expenses associated with optimization, data costs, security implementation, prioritization of information and much more. Vendors need to come up with more effective and easier solutions while planning the cost structure for IoT ecosystem. While the common perception by businesses is that hardware is the most expensive, it is actually the most predictable. However, implementation also involves spending on data usage, security and software which are less predictable and hence, add to budget concerns. In the long run, digital transformation and IoT would only help the business reduce costs in operations.
Identifying potential pitfalls through IoT
One of the largest areas of digital transformation happening across industries is the incorporation of IoT into corporate networks. A Gartner survey found that 80% of organizations that have adopted IoT indicated they are achieving better-than-expected results from their IoT projects. However, having said that reports also suggest that privacy and security are the top most technical challenges faced by IoT enabled projects.Multi-national companies also face additional challenges like variations in the quality and availability of local infrastructure. To address this, companies should plan their infrastructure strategy early into business if they are new and make changes in their business and integrate technology into the business by involving the leadership as well.
Explosion of IoT data
According to a report by Fortinet, 1 million new devices connect to the internet everyday thereby, causing an explosion of IoT data. However, this raises a huge concern for security. IoT devices are expected to make a quarter of cyber-attacks by 2020. Factors such as a multi-vendor environment, headless devices or in other words, devices which lack the traditionally provided control and visibility. Companies should come up with strategies to mitigate these threats on the front-end.
Utilising Enterprise IoT to the optimum
Enterprise IoT can be applied to almost any aspect of business, including applications, development, product design, hardware, and deployment.
Strategic foresight across domains on a firm vision of where the company is headed with its IoT implementation is required. Nothing comes without a challenge and in this space, the intensity of challenges is still yet to be discovered.
In conclusion, while it may seem like a strong and well-structured strategy is all that is required to put companies on the path to success, it is very important for companies to also come up with a contingency plan to make do during trying times, since different facets of IoT are at different stages of maturity.
An IoT-enabled business can exceed expectations when it comes to providing new experiences for customers, effective revenue models and business processes, and cost-savings.