One in four companies in the Global Fortune 2000 rank Internet of Things (IoT) deployment as their most important initiative, according to a recent VansonBourne survey sponsored by Software AG.
This early, a very high 98 percent of respondents stated that they are already generating some level of return from their IoT investments, yet 89 percent still believe that they must improve their approach to IoT to improve ROI further.
Most respondents report achieving specific business benefits from their early IoT implementations, with 39 percent citing production capacity increases and higher customer satisfaction and 38 percent making better-informed business decisions.
The respondents with the highest rate of satisfaction with their IoT deployments used a hybrid implementation approach – namely buying an IoT platform from an external vendor and then building upon it with customization done in-house, giving them the flexibility, they require within the framework of a reliable platform.
The majority of respondents (93 percent) employed some level of hybrid approach to IoT implementation – both buying an IoT platform from an external vendor and then adding customization internally.
A hybrid approach to IoT
Raj Datta, President, Software AG North America, commented that organizations know they cannot deliver IoT with off-the-shelf packaged applications or with ground-up in-house builds.
“They need to rapidly deploy IoT in a way that is easy to customize, open enough to seamlessly integrate with their existing landscape while remaining proven, secure and robust,” he said.
Hence, when evaluating IoT platform vendors, respondents stated that they are looking for an innovative partner (46 percent), with a solution that can be easily integrated across an entire organization (40 percent), with customization that suits their specific needs (39 percent).
At this point, 98 percent of respondents stated that all business processes and functions within their organizations have been or expect to be positively impacted by IoT — customer service/relationships, product/service delivery, supply chain management, marketing/sales, product/service development, employee/HR processes, infrastructure management, contact center/support, accounting/finance and administration.
However, the respondents are also aware of the barriers to effective IoT implementation, including lack of internal expertise and skills, which is cited 31 percent of respondents.
A high 90 percent reported experiencing barriers to effective implementation and expansion due to lack of IoT expertise and skills in-house.
Other barriers include the inability to manage and process large volumes of data (29 percent), integration issues (28 percent), too many legacy systems (28 percent), inability to scale the network to meet IoT demands (26 percent) and cybersecurity challenges (25 percent).
Wanted: Better IoT platform functionality
As most organizations are still in the early stages of their IoT implementations, 89 percent of survey respondents believe that their organization needs to improve its plans for IoT.
Datta pointed out that 72 percent of survey respondents feel that their IoT platform vendor could and should be doing more to help them.
They want to realize better IoT platform functionality with 49 percent seeing high reliability and 48 percent seeking enhanced security as two key attributes they want from their external vendor IoT platforms.
As more organizations seek carrier-grade IoT platforms, they will continue to depend on external vendors to achieve that level of stealth functionality and reliability.
The survey noted tremendous optimism and confidence regarding how IoT implementations can transform organizations and make them more competitive in the future.
VansonBourne polled 800 senior IT and business decision makers at organizations with a global annual revenue of $500M and higher across 13 different countries in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
IoT and edge computing
For 2019 and beyond, most organizations said they are looking to deploy IoT on the edge but are struggling to do so — 80% of respondents want to deploy IoT on the edge but only 8 percent are actually doing that today.
By combining IoT and edge computing, organizations can shift the workload of processing IoT data closer to, or in some cases on the device itself.
An example given was that instead of sending all the data from a wind turbine to the cloud and processing the data centrally, users can process data and analytics locally and then send the results to the cloud.
This reduces network load, cloud processing, and storage requirements while making IoT in areas without reliable networks possible.