Many organizations, across a wide spectrum of industries that include utilities, healthcare, insurance and transportation, have started to adopt the Internet of Things (IoT). They are exploring how IoT-based products and services can create business differentiation and improve the customer experience.
As you learn about the details of IoT operation, you will uncover new ways of leveraging the IoT system to drive additional business value
With the requirement to unify a diverse set of devices, data streams and processes, IoT projects often stretch IT departments in new directions and require diverse skill sets as well as step-by-step methodologies.
“Delivering a successful IoT initiative requires the use of a broad set of technical skills to integrate these diverse components in order to form a logical, end-to end system,” said Paul DeBeasi, research vice president at Gartner. “Based on interviews with early adopters, Gartner has identified five key steps on the path to executing a successful IoT initiative.”
Source: Gartner (September 2016)
Many organizations have little experience with IoT projects. IT professionals must begin by learning about the IoT and assessing its capabilities, in order to envision the various options for integrating the IoT into their business. Things to consider include the principles of algorithmic business and examples from similar companies, which can both inspire solutions and highlight some of the challenges of connected products and ecosystems.
This critical step brings together the essential human capital and organizational processes necessary for an IoT program. One way to address this challenge is to hire an IoT architect — an emerging role that Gartner believes will become important to any future IoT business initiative. This role will involve bringing together not only technical skills, such as designing an end-to-end architecture, but also nontechnical elements such as evangelizing, strategy and governance. From here, the team can move on to prototyping before architecting and implementing the solution.
The complexity of the IoT is an obstacle to rapid architecting, design and implementation, which makes prototyping a very important step in the process of creating an IoT initiative. Prototyping helps quickly uncover and address key issues posed by IoT complexity early in the process. As you learn about the details of IoT operation, you will uncover new ways of leveraging the IoT system to drive additional business value and will gain a deeper understanding of the architectural trade-offs of an IoT solution.
Architecting an IoT solution begins with decomposing the end-to-end system into its edge, platform and enterprise components. This “divide and conquer” approach enables the architect to focus on each component separately. Architects must define how they will integrate the devices, data and processes to create an end-to-end solution that adds business value. Integration is the “IoT secret sauce” that will turn an IoT project into a transformative business solution.
Organizations that implement IoT solutions will, of course, learn how to build, maintain and evolve these solutions. More importantly, however, they will learn how to use IoT technology to drive business value as they uncover IoT use cases that they didn’t envision when they began the initiative.