by Jim McNiel
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already changing the world. Most people see it directly in the consumer space, but the true transformation is taking place in the enterprise and in industry. IoT must be a key piece of an organization’s digital transformation or they will quickly fall behind competitors that show more foresight.
The key business value of IoT is not the ever-growing list of connected devices but the communication that occurs between those devices and other internet-enabled devices and systems. It’s easy to give a physical object an IP address and get it on the internet, but what value does that connectivity provide if it is not making connections and providing insights or efficiency benefits to the organization?
This is where many industries have tried to make a distinction between consumer IoT and the Industrial IoT, which is solely focused on improving operational efficiency and business models. Industrial IoT is more interested in things like machine learning and sensors that provide actionable intelligence. Using this intelligence and existing machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, Industrial IoT provides business value by increasing data accuracy and consistency.
Industries like manufacturing and infrastructure began this transformation long ago, but it is beginning to take hold in other sectors that have realized the potential of eliminating inefficiencies in their business models to save time and money while increasing their visibility into core business functions. With this new intelligence, many sectors can optimize or even fundamentally change their business model to adapt to new opportunities and swings in consumer demand. The game changing impact Uber – a company that doesn’t own any cars – has had on the taxi industry is a prime example.
So how can your business take advantage of IoT?
Understand the Risks
As with any big benefit, increasing IoT technology in the business does not come without risk. As other sectors begin to seek the benefits of IoT, they should expect an increase in IT complexity and security risks as well. This increased risk brings the concern of operational disruption and a lack of service assurance. The key for organizations beginning to capitalize on the potential of IoT is to have the ability to pinpoint the root cause of performance issues across the entire network and decrease the time it takes to resolve performance issues.
The key challenge of enabling a successful digital transformation strategy that includes both IoT and service assurance is having a true and complete understanding of all the moving parts of the enterprise in one understandable snapshot with context and actionable intelligence. This visibility can’t be limited to one area of the enterprise, it must include everything from finance to ERP, CRM, social and IoT.
Once visibility is established across the entire network, the IT team must embrace continuous monitoring of traffic-based data and real-time analysis to provide a clear and holistic view that supports the new or updated business models being developed using IoT and other technology improvements.
With an understanding of the risks involved and actionable intelligence provided by comprehensive and real-time visibility your organization has the ability to utilize IoT to improve the business model. Now the challenge is avoiding a deceleration in business velocity.
To avoid a deceleration in business velocity, we go back to data coherence and service assurance. The IT team needs a deep understanding of the relationships and interdependencies of the service delivery environment to diagnose whether client services, servers, application environments or the network infrastructure is causing a service performance problem.
Plan to Scale
Lastly, digital transformation and IoT is growing exponentially and will continue to drive more connections between people, machines, data and processes. As such, your organization’s digital transformation strategy must be able to scale as the network surface continues to grow along with the business itself to accommodate business velocity and agility acceleration at any level.
Don’t Get Left Behind
There’s little doubt that the Internet of Things is having a major impact on business. And just like any company that blissfully ignored the Internet at the turn of the century, the ones that dismiss IoT run the risk of getting left behind. But by undergoing the business transformation that empowers organizations to have a holistic view of all their technologies and data points, organizations have a high chance of success with whatever comes at them in today’s digital world.
Jim McNiel is the CMO of NETSCOUT.