One in four executives say Internet of Things is already delivering, survey finds

IoT making some headway into enterprises, and hopes are high. But security and skill issues loom.

Most executives have high hopes for the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which is still relatively new on the scene. Interestingly, close to one in four companies say IoT is already delivering some form of business value.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the key takeaway from a survey of 200 IT and business leaders released by TEKsystems, an IT staffing company. The survey finds close to one in four organizations (22%) have reached the stage where IoT initiatives "are having a substantial impact" on their businesses.

The majority of organizations (55%) expect IoT initiatives to have a high level of impact on their business over the next five years. Only two percent say there will be no impact at all.

The positive vibes only increase after implementations are underway. Organizations that have already implemented IoT initiatives are more likely than others to expect these projects will have a transformational impact on their business. Benefits anticipated include creating a better user and customer experience (expected by 64%), sparking innovation (56%), creating new and more efficient working practices and business processes (52%), and creating new revenue streams in terms of products and services (50%).

IoT is an area in which IT departments can step forward and provide leadership. Indeed, the survey finds IT is taking the lead in piloting and experimenting with IoT approaches, with the expectation that eventually, things will be handed off to the business side as the concept proves viable. Close to two-thirds report IT is now taking the lead with IoT, followed by business development and strategy teams (32%), operations teams (29%) and R&D (27%). Only nine percent indicate that there is close coordination between business and IT at this time.

Increased exposure of data/information security is the biggest challenge to realizing IoT potential for half of organizations. Other early-stage concerns include return on investment (ROI)/making the business case (42%), and interoperability with current infrastructure/systems (37%). One-third of respondents indicate finding the right staff/skill sets is also a challenge.

If this all sounds familiar, that's because it is. These are exactly the same issues that typically have dogged most new business technology initiatives, from early Internet to SOA to mobile to big data to cloud.

As with any sophisticated project with a lot of moving parts (and IoT has more moving parts than anything that's come before it), organizations are going to need a lot of skilled people to pull it all together. Most organizations are not highly confident in their preparedness to complete each phase of an IoT initiative in-house. Fewer than four in 10 rate their level of preparedness in each phase as "excellent" or "very good." The sore spots are information security skills (45%), big data analytics skills (34%) and architectural skill sets (27%).

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