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Infographic: Real world lessons in the Internet of Things

MAY 27, 2020 | Matt Hatton
region: ALL sector: ALL

On 27th May 2020 Matt and Jim participated in a webinar entitled "Key Characteristics of IoT Projects: What Works, and What Doesn’t?". During that webinar we shared some key findings from our extensive and detailed research on real-world IoT implementations, as contained in the Best Practice & Vendor Selection Database. We also published an infographic with a summary of some of the findings (below).

Infographic_real_world_IoT_2020_05.jpg

In this blogpost we provide a little more detail on the findings in the infographic, or guidance on where to find more information.

First learning was that the average IoT project takes 10 months to deploy and 18 months to pay back. This is very quick and implies a favouring of relatively simple 'low hanging fruit' applications. This was reinforced by the second finding, which was that a substantial majority of IoT deployments only have a significant impact on internal processes. Much more detail about this can be found in a dedicated blog 'Detailed analysis of IoT deployments reveals significant aversion to risk'

The third finding as highlighted in the infographic was that only 20% of IoT projects are mission critical. Given how sophisticated the technology is, and the potential opportunity, this is a little disappointing. Companies are still not prepared to embrace IoT. A lot of this is probably due to continuing immaturity in the delivery of IoT. We discuss the reasons behind this during the webinar (so we suggest you check out the recording for more details).

To get the most out of IoT, adopters will need to bite the bullet and embrace it. Finding number four shows that IoT applications that are most transformational on externally facing capabilities are notably more complex to implement, across a range of different criteria. The rewards are greater but the complexities are also clearly greater.

Not only that, but the adoption of more transformational IoT will force any adopting company to make changes to how it operates. We identify five main recommendations:

  1. Be bold and adopt a systems-first approach. Some people will advise you to start small, and it’s true that the quickest ROI is usually from the simplest deployment. But you won’t find a competitive differentiator in incremental change. Look at your internal processes and systems and work out what you want to change and how you will go about changing it to take advantage of IoT.
  2. Deployments must be commercially led. Make sure you’re planning commercial and operational changes at the same time as technological. It is a common mistake to focus on the technological aspect of testing and deploying IoT to the detriment of the commercial. These two strands need to be managed in parallel. Also, put someone other than IT in charge. Don’t get us wrong, we love the IT department! But it needs to focus on the day-to-day running of the IT systems, rather than business transformation, which is implicit in IoT. A CTO would be great. Or some other C-level exec pushing things.
  3. Learn from others' experiences. The kind of analysis of real-world deployments that we have done in our Best Practice & Vendor Selection database is exactly the sort of exercise that you should undertake. Learn from it.
  4. Caveat emptor. Do your due diligence on the companies whose products you are planning to use. Choose your suppliers based on their longevity and know-how. Overall, look for experience. “We can” is not as good as “we have”. Look for real world examples.
  5. Be prepared for change. Be prepared for change, in seven ways, which are also highlighted on the infographic. We published a separate blog post on exactly this topic: ‘The 7 internal factors you need to consider to take advantage of IoT and other Digital Transformation technologies’.

We recommend checking out the webinar, which is available here to hear about all the five key findings in the infographic, and much more, including what the characteristics are of IoT applications that are the fastest and slowest to deploy, the requirements for transformational IoT, the key things that don’t work in deploying IoT, and the cross-dependencies between IoT and other digital transformation technologies such as AI, product lifecycle management and distributed ledger.