2019 Trends in Internet of Things – part 4
There has not been dramatic progress in IoT adoption over the past few years. IoT is still the most widely adopted technology in CompTIA’s emerging tech tracking, but there are still only formal initiatives taking place at just over a quarter of all companies. The pace of IoT adoption may seem somewhat surprising given the rapid adoption of cloud computing and mobile devices, but there are reasonable explanations for the inertia.
Looking at the extended history of technology adoption, it is more likely that cloud computing was an outlier and that adoption patterns will somewhat regress towards typical levels. Furthermore, many emerging trends build on cloud computing along with other components, and the complexity can be a lot to handle, even for companies that are pushing the envelope with technology.
The complexity of modern trends highlights an important distinction. The connection between “strategy” and “product” in IT is becoming less direct. Consider a trend as recent as virtualization. There was little difference between having a strategy of virtualizing resources and implementing the products to enable virtualization. More and more, technology strategies go beyond a singular product. Internet, cloud, and now IoT are all examples of strategies that require modified workflows, interdepartmental communication, and a full suite of products in order to be fully realized. Measuring adoption for these broader strategies can be somewhat difficult as companies build all the necessary components.
Another aspect of these broad strategies is that they are not relegated solely to the IT department. As IT shifts from a tactical support organization to a strategic business partner, technology initiatives are a collaborative exercise, often being driven directly from a business unit and impacting multiple teams.
IoT clearly falls into this category. Nearly two-thirds of companies surveyed say that IoT initiatives are aimed at incorporating technology into existing business processes. This viewpoint is consistent across company size and between business/IT functions. The one exception is the executive level, where 54% see IoT as an addition to business processes and 45% see it as a standalone IT project.
Looking at the types of projects companies are pursuing, it seems clear that most fall outside of the standard IT domain. Monitoring business operations, managing the physical office environment, and tracking the behavior of customers are all activities owned by non-IT departments. Adding IoT components to these activities creates more opportunity for collaboration with the IT department, but that does not necessarily mean that they are IT projects. Those executives that connect IoT with IT may not be fully embracing a holistic view of digital transformation, where technology permeates every part of the business and new working models are needed to fully digitize operations.