Companies which integrate the Internet of Things into everyday business practices may not get the slam-dunk that they were expecting.
A report by Cisco said that companies that decide to push forward with an Internet of Things initiative are not guaranteed of success. According to Cisco’s – The Journey to IoT Value; Challenges, Breakthrough and Best Practices_ report, only 26% of companies consider their recent Internet of Things initiatives successful.
A full 60% of business leaders surveyed by Cisco said that their progress was slow, citing time-to-completion, the quality of data, internal expertise, actual integration and budget as limiting factors. Even completed projects were often not deemed a success, with one third of all projects failing to meet expectations.
The problem is that the integration of the connected devices looks great on paper but often proves more complex than expected. The report, which was released at the recent IoT World Forum in London, said that the Internet of Things would one day be “as indispensable as the Internet itself,” but enterprise integration was often a tricky path to take.
As a by-product of unfulfilled expectations, 64% of people said that stalled or failed initiatives had actually increased company investment in the Internet of Things. Global spending on the Internet of Things is forecast to total $1.4 trillion by 2021, according to IDC, with the consensus being that companies and not consumers will drive growth.
With that in mind, the human factor is the key to a successful Internet of Things integration, the report said.
“IoT may sound like it is all about technology, but human factors like culture, organization, and leadership are critical,” Cisco said, in a press release. “In fact, three of the four top factors behind successful IoT projects had to do with people and relationships.”
Companies Need The Internet Of Things
Although the Internet of Things remains—in the eyes of the general public, at least—a nascent technology, the report said that the benefits to a company are tangible.
Around 73% of people said that data from successful Internet of Things had had an effect on business practices. Forty-seven percent of people said that product quality was improved, with 46% citing an improvement in decision-making. Customer interactions had all also benefited from Internet of Things integration; 44% of people said it had led to improved or new customer relations.
In addition, the opportunities afforded to companies by the Internet of Things are limitless, the report said.
Sixty-one percent of people said that their organization had not scratched the surface of what connected or smart devices could do for the business, with the most successful companies taking a hands-on approach to the integration via selected partners in the ecosystem.
What defines a successful Internet of Things integration is all down to perception within that company, Cisco said.
For the purposes of this report, Cisco surveyed 1,845 IT and company business decision makers (55% from IT) from a range of industries based in the United States, the U.K. and India. All of these people worked for companies that had either integrated the Internet of Things into their working practices or were in the process of doing so. It is also worth bearing in mind that Cisco likely has a vested interest in how companies define success in terms of integration, but there is a disconnect between IT and business executives.
On the IT side, 35% of people said the initiatives were a complete success. Business executives were not quite as bullish; only 15% said that the Internet of Things integration had achieved its goals.
IT executives placed more value on the technologies involved, the effect on organizational culture, expertise and vendors. By contrast, business executives cited strategy, business cases, processes and Internet of Things-related milestones as indicators of a successful integration.
“We are seeing new IoT innovations almost every day,” said Cisco’s vice president of Enterprise Solutions Marketing Inbar Lasser-Raab, in a press release. “We are connecting things that we never thought would be connected, creating incredible new value to industries. But where we see most of the opportunity is where we partner with other vendors and create solutions that are not only connected but also share data. That shared data is the basis of a network of industries—sharing of insights to make tremendous gains for business and society, because no one company can solve this alone.”