6 - IoT

One of the most hyped technologies since the internet, The Internet of Things (IoT) has been discussed at length by industry experts as a transformative technology. For a business considering the effect of the IoT on its operations, the vast amount of research on the subject can feel overwhelming.

Businesses may feel they have to invest immediately in the IoT or risk being left behind, but to do so would be foolish. The IoT is more than a single concept and senior managers should fully understand all aspects of the technology and its business uses before making a decision to invest in solutions and platforms.

All businesses will likely use some form of the IoT in their operations, but as the technology requires an infrastructural change it is unlikely that every industry will adopt the Internet of Things simultaneously. Instead, each industry will assess how to best utilise the data generated and adapt its practices accordingly.

Insight

What the Internet of Things can offer all businesses is a deeper level of insight, both into its own operations and that of its employees. Sensors deployed on assets, transport, equipment and other network end-points will create an enormous amount of data that can be utilised and analysed to improve efficiency, drive down costs and monitor activities.

A recent article by Michael E Porter and James E Heppelmann, How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Companies, discusses the increasing importance of data to the average business:

“Data now stands on par with people, technology, and capital as a core asset of the corporation and in many businesses is perhaps becoming the decisive asset.”

But sensors and their data are only one part of the puzzle; businesses need to invest in enterprise applications to transform data into insight. This intelligence can then be used internally to improve operations, or offered externally as a service to customers.

Personalised Business Tool

Although it is a network infrastructure, organisations should view the IoT as a business tool. A personalised approach is the way to harness the power of the IoT for your business.

Assess where in the business would benefit most from the IoT, and the investment and technology required for this to be possible. Even within the business itself, the IoT will function differently for each department, so careful planning can help ease the pains of adopting the associated technologies. As the IoT is influencing all areas of the business, the whole C-Suite will need to work together to maximise its effectiveness and ROI.

As Porter and Heppelmann continue:

“As the ability to unlock the full value of data becomes a key source of competitive advantage, the management, governance, analysis, and security of that data is developing into a major new business function.”

Companies are beginning to employ Chief Data Officers to manage and utilise the exponential increase in data from the IoT. Businesses do need to consider an IoT strategy but should not be afraid of the enormity of the term. With a strategic approach and focus on the corporate network, businesses can start to adopt the IoT as a useful business tool capable of raising their competitive position.

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