Be the CIO of Everything

Manage increased complexity by building an IoT war room.

Technologists are, at heart, today’s explorers and inventors, venturing into wild digital frontiers. As the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves, IT leaders are discovering that it is not an endgame but a beginning: The IoT is a launch pad for infinite new forms of digital business and social connection.

“Don’t underestimate the unknown factors that will emerge as the IoT expands and the enterprise’s IoT participation grows,” says Jenny Beresford, research director at Gartner. “The IoT will expand rapidly and extensively, continually surfacing novel and unforeseen opportunities and threats.”

This calls for a new type of CIO, a “CIO of Everything,” who can radically adapt the vision, decision making, and capabilities to orchestrate an IoT world.

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“Enterprises will approach the IoT from different angles — perhaps as consumers of data, or as passive contributors of data, or as active IoT ecosystem leaders bringing new product and intelligence to market,” says Beresford. “Whatever the point of entry for a cultivated enterprise IoT, the ability to act with speed, imagination and confidence are qualities required of the CIO of Everything. They will be expected to own, respond to, and resolve the waves of new and unanticipated demands, considerations and issues that the IoT will generate on a daily basis.”

The CIO will need a curious, entrepreneurial and strategic-thinking IoT-focused team able to work with abstraction and unprecedented levels of complexity.

CIOs need to decide today what additional capabilities and resources they need as they cultivate the enterprise’s IoT efforts — both in the short and long term — and start acquiring them without delay.

Develop an IoT war room

Operating in an IoT world requires planning for the best outcomes, but also preparing for the worst. Central to this, CIOs leading IoT adoption should create a virtual ”IoT war room” to focus attention on the unfolding future. The war room consists of a team of business and technology minds to brainstorm the situation and create an enterprise IoT strategy and roadmap to guide the CEO, C-level peers and technology teams toward a vision of how the enterprise wants to participate in the IoT world.

The strategy will provide a ”constitution,” with aspirations and guiding principles. The roadmap must be lightweight, flexible, options-based, and designed to be as dynamic as the IoT itself. It will inevitably change direction frequently, and priorities will shift as IoT technologies and products evolve, markets and players come and go, and customers decide how connected they wish to be.

Map and monitor critical IoT domains

IoT-generated data will never be finite, stable or complete. So creating and maintaining an accurate map of the enterprise’s critical IoT domains and connected endpoints needs to be done from the outset. A visual dashboard or monitoring system with a real-time view of the continual flow and growth of IoT involvement can help with this.

Build a dedicated IoT team for the enterprise

A dedicated IoT team needs to be skilled in designing, mapping, reading, growing and maintaining the enterprise’s IoT internal domains and external products.  

“The CIO will need a curious, entrepreneurial and strategic-thinking IoT-focused team able to work with abstraction and unprecedented levels of complexity, and to anticipate opportunities and threats quickly as industry, market conditions and technologies change,” says Beresford. “Brainstorm needs with IT leaders and forward-thinking business leaders and product owners to develop a profile of the talent, skills and competencies needed to form and develop this new pivotal team.”

Gartner clients can read more in the report, The CIO of Everything: Orchestrating in an Internet of Things World” by Jenny Beresford. This research is part of the Gartner Trend Insight Report “IoT’s Challenges and Opportunities in 2017,” a collection of research focused on the key technical and business challenges that must be overcome in order for IoT to fulfill its promise.

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