4 New Roles That I&O Plays in IoT

Why I&O leaders need to take a more active leadership role in their organization's IoT initiatives.

Digital is the top priority for CIOs in 2019. And they will look to  I&O leaders to deliver and support new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT). This is easier said than done.  

With stagnant budgets and decreased funding for traditional infrastructure, I&O leaders need to stay relevant and prove  they can support digital business. Digital initiatives require a fundamentally different strategy from traditional I&O that requires a higher degree of involvement with the rest of the business from the very beginning.    

“By 2022, 80% of leading I&O organizations will devise I&O strategies for digital business initiatives such as artificial intelligence and IoT,” says Sanjit Ganguli, Vice President Analyst, Gartner. “Especially IoT projects are a place where I&O leaders can test their new strategies and prove their worth to the business.”

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The most successful IoT projects require a holistic organizational approach from three distinctive groups:

  • I&O — Provides integration, communications, analytics and the underlying infrastructure
  • Lines of business — Focus on goal setting and resource allocation
  • Operations teams — Focus on product design and functionality

Tasks such as project management and security often fall within all three groups. However, I&O should be aware of all IoT initiatives and create appropriate processes and documentation.

I&O leaders must take a more active leadership role

Each IoT initiative represents a different potential role for I&O with different levels of influence, responsibility and ownership. I&O leaders must aim to take an active role for any IoT initiative that needs I&O support.

The goal should be to: (1) assess what programs and initiatives exist and what their role is; (2) identify areas where they can assert increased strategic ownership.

Gartner estimates that over the next several years, more and more I&O teams will have driver, implementer or operator responsibility over their organizations’ IoT initiatives. I&O leaders should take heed and move from a bystander role, wherever practicable, to a more driver-oriented role.

Here are four roles I&O leaders may find themselves in.

Gartner explains the four new roles that infrastructure and operations leaders play in IoT projects.

This article has been updated from the original, published on May 30, 2018, to reflect new events, conditions or research.

Gartner clients can also read more about the role of I&O leaders in IoT projects in the report "I&O Leaders Must Get Involved With Current or Planned IoT Initiatives"  and “The IT Implications of the 2019 CIO Survey for I&O Leaders” by Sanjit Ganguli et al.

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