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Performance + Productivity
Contributor: David Connellan
How CIOs can prepare for IoT: Be focused, be brave and be in for the long haul

One of the most exciting things happening in technology today is the rise of IoT. 

There is huge optimism around the potential benefits created by embedding intelligence into a vast network of connected devices and then mining the resulting data for immediate insights.

Across various industries there are compelling statistics highlighting the tremendous cost savings and exciting examples of IoT being applied to redefine the way we can engage our customers, optimise our operations and make more accurate, real-time business decisions.

The majority of CIOs I speak with understand the advantages of IoT - and recognise that this technology can provide competitive advantage.

Where the challenge lays now is how to translate all the hype and big picture thinking around IoT into specific actions to derive the promised business gain. This is especially true for organisations that are not heavy with machine assets or an obvious fit for IoT.

For CIOs the real IoT question has become: How do I get onboard with IoT quickly so I can be ahead of the curve and add value to the business?

Of course - there is no silver bullet here and the answer will vary depending on the type of industry and the organisational vision. But for CIOs and technology leaders looking to explore IoT, it would be worth considering the following approach:

Be focused

Start with what you’ve got and look at existing applications that could most benefit from real-time monitoring to enable on-the-spot decisions around a change. After all, IoT is really about a) capturing the right stuff and b) turning it into something that is immediately useful. Isolate this application and then build an elegant but simple business case that focuses solely on this specific area and the associated bottom line impact.

Be brave

It’s likely that for many organisations an investment now in IoT sits outside of what would normally be considered - but with the IoT wave set to hit in the next 12 months first movers will be at a natural advantage. It’s essential that CIOs have a practical first-hand knowledge of how IoT applies to their business to avoid an over reliance on expensive consulting guidance. This knowledge can be developed with a commitment now to a small, focussed IoT project.

Be in for the long haul

The current mantra of test fast - fail fast could well apply here. Potentially it makes sense to invest small, go hard and then move on if the results do not meet expectations in the short term. But given IoT is still so new - and the extent of the impact unknown - perhaps a better approach would be to invest without a strict time limit. Potentially the pay-offs are bigger in terms of immediately being able to expand to other areas once the initial investment bears fruit.

From what I am seeing in the industry at the moment, the big players are onboard with IoT. Coming off the back of Big Data investment they are now in a position to cherry pick the exact data that is most relevant to them - and which will yield the biggest insight. From here they are set to take those learnings from the back end to extend and connect out. This is the competition and this is how the marketplace is set to be shaped.

IoT is the next big inflexion point and arguably bigger than all those that came before it. It is essential that CIOs move quickly beyond the big picture and understand how it best applies to their business. Those who are willing to experiment now and try early will be best placed when the IoT wave breaks.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

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