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IoT Analytics Coming to the Enterprise

Enterprise customers are beginning to shift from IoT proofs of concept to "scalable" deployments that exploit IoT analytics.

In the last 18 months, a slew of vendors kicked off major IoT-related initiatives. These and other players were arguably trying to lead -- or drag -- the market to IoT.

According to a new survey from market watcher International Data Corp. (IDC), they no longer have to pull (or drag) buyers along. IDC's "Global IoT Decision Survey" finds that enterprise customers are beginning to shift from IoT proofs of concept to "scalable" deployments that exploit IoT analytics.

Signs of IoT Growth

Business and IT seem -- at last -- to have figured out how to fund IoT project efforts. "Setting strategies, finding budgets, and supporting IoT solutions have contributed to an ongoing tussle between line of business executives ... and CIOs," said Vernon Turner, senior vice president of enterprise systems with IDC, in a statement.

"That race may be over, because in many cases [the lines of business] are now both leading the discussions and either paying in full or sharing the costs of IoT initiatives with the CIOs."

Almost one-third (31.4 percent) of the decision makers in IDC's survey say their companies have already embarked on IoT projects. Nearly half (43 percent) said their companies expect to deploy IoT-related projects over the next year. IoT seems to have captured the attention of the business, too: 55 percent of respondents say IoT is an important component of their business strategy.

Challenges and Concerns

Right now, security and privacy are the biggest IoT-related concerns, followed by the cost (both immediate and long-term) of funding IoT initiatives.

This is changing, however. In order to "do" IoT, organizations must first recruit, cultivate, or contract for a diverse set of highly specialized skills -- starting with the deeply detailed, domain-specific business subject-matter expertise they need to identify good candidates for IoT projects.

Other challenges include finding (recruiting, cultivating, or contracting for) IoT technological expertise that spans hardware, application, and data integration; programming; and, of course, analytics development. A shortage of skills is now a top concern for would-be IoTers, IDC says.

Vendors are champing at the bit to help companies address these issues -- and to rake in revenues in the process. They're also trying to put their best spin on IoT complexity. Microsoft, for example, has promoted several IoT-related customer use cases and -- just this month -- promoted an "easy" way to build a proof-of-concept IoT analytics dashboard for Power BI.

IDC Report Contradicts Other Findings

IDC's bullish take on IoT uptake clashes, in some ways, with other recent research.

Earlier this year, for example, Oxford Economics published a report (State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016) that found that almost all organizations now have access to IoT signalers of one kind or another, be they connected devices (for example, sensor-equipped environmental controls, manufacturing equipment, and telemetry signalers) or sensor-enabled assets, such as cars, trucks, and engines.

Only a minority of companies are actually making use of these signalers, however. Fewer than one in 10 (eight percent) of companiesare using a "meaningful" proportion (25 percent) of IoT data, the State of the Market report found.

IDC's report expects this to change -- perhaps as soon as this year.

Integrated Vendors Have the Advantage

Vendors are helping to lead the embrace of IoT. However, the players that dominated in the traditional on-premises enterprise (in connection with business intelligence analytics) might not be so dominant this time around, IDC warned.

"Vendors who lead with an integrated cloud and analytics solution are the [that] who will be considered as critical partners in an organization's IoT investment," said Carrie MacGillivray, vice president of mobility and Internet of Things with IDC, in a prepared release.

"We also note that network and traditional IT hardware vendors are slipping down the charts, as software and systems integrators [make] strides in customers' minds."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a technology writer with 20 years of experience. His writing has focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics for almost 15 years. Swoyer has an abiding interest in tech, but he’s particularly intrigued by the thorny people and process problems technology vendors never, ever want to talk about. You can contact him at [email protected].

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