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How to Make Your IoT Vision a Reality

Driving business outcomes is a key deliverable from a successful Internet of Things program, but you need to be flexible and willing to adapt.
By Sukamal Banerjee
Apr 25, 2018

A recent Cisco survey found that nearly three quarters of all Internet of Things (IoT) projects are unsuccessful. Such lackluster performance in IoT projects is attributed to the following:
• IoT projects take a long time to complete.
• The quality of data collected is not good, or the data is not put to good use.
• IoT expertise is lacking.
• There are improper or rough IoT integrations.
• The IoT projects overshoot budgets.

Despite these reasons, the IoT holds tremendous potential for businesses, and savvy leaders are looking to leverage it as soon as possible. Apart from the navigation of technology adoption, it is equally important to identify the benefits. Investing in pre-planning and getting the right constituents on board is more likely to see success with an IoT project. In addition, it might be a smart move to "think big, but start small," and to then scale iteratively but rapidly.

Getting it right from the beginning and staying on track are two of the most important aspects of an IoT project. In a 2017 global survey of more than 250 IT decision makers run by HCL and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 81 percent of respondents said they had either begun their IoT journey or planned to do so within the next 12 months. But more than 50 percent of respondents felt they were already behind in fully harnessing IoT capabilities, and 43 percent said this failure negatively impacted customer satisfaction.

To get the planning right from the beginning, a program leader should consider three aspects. First, he or she should get CXO approvals and alignment; most IoT projects will be cross-functional in both impact and outcome, so a top-driven approach will help expedite decision-making and adoption. In addition, for a project using technology and standards that are still evolving, getting executive buy-in and expectation alignment is critical. Otherwise, the risk from failure is high.

Second, the program leader should ensure there is alignment between business operations and IT. The IoT is a technology enabler aimed at improving or transforming operations that touch existing technology infrastructure. Therefore, working with careful planning, sharing responsibilities and ownership, and having common goals in mind are critical.

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