Surfing the IoT Wave for Data Value
I have been fascinated of late with the continuing progression of the “Internet of Things (IoT)” and have been spending a lot of time thinking about how this wave of technology creates a tsunami of opportunity for CIOs to amplify value for their enterprises.
I wanted to share some of those planning insights and hopefully you can consider them as you are building your IoT value stories within your company. Many companies participate in IoT as a solution supplier or provider, and those product offerings and solutions will find their markets. Here, however, I am thinking about what the IoT means beyond products and services to the CIO and all of us as IT leaders.
When I consider IoT under this lens, I immediately pivot to an old, but valuable tag line:“It’s all about the data”. I break this down in three historical data waves I’ve seen across my career.
IoT: The Next Data Wave
The first wave of enterprise value from data was really about ERP and core systems. Back in the olden days (the 90’s), when every company was implementing a modern ERP, lest they face the end of the known earth from the Y2K event, it was really about standardizing your processes to create a uniform, consistent set of data for decision making. For those companies that were successful, this was great information value that accelerated the frequency and quality of data driven decisions. Most of these decisions were internally focused, given the nature of ERP and its core focus on internal processes.
The second wave of enterprise data value I would generally describe as the internet enabled wave. This is a big bucket, with lots of use cases. But, in general, what emerged was data about your company that over time was less and less in your control. It includes structured and unstructured data, much of it created outside your enterprise, by your industries, peers, and customers. Lots of great examples of companies leveraging this wave to create “outside in” decision making inputs that allow you to really see your company’s value from the lens of your customer. Many companies are probably still in their value journey here as the internet continues to accelerate the creation of new data and therefore, value streams.
This third wave I will consider as the IoT-enabled wave. It’s about your product's data generated at the point of use. Really it’s a combination of both the internal and external waves, magnifying both of those opportunities and creating a massive expansion of internal and external understanding. For product companies who have traditionally built and shipped through channels, retail or even direct, this data will be a direct understanding of product value at the moment of the customer experience. Multiply this data value by the IoT-enabled products and services these markets represent and the growth opportunity is almost unmeasurable.
The Opportunity for CIOs
CIOs are uniquely placed to understand how to convert data into value for an organization and as such, need to stay on top of advances in IoT and what they mean for their enterprise. The data that can be collected through IoT is constantly evolving. New connectivity solutions such a NB-LTE, LoRA and soon 5G allow for collection of greater amounts of data and from more remote locations where previously range and battery limitations made costs too high to generate reasonable return on investment. Companies are getting smarter about identifying which types of data are going to be real game-changers and diversifying sensor types. As the 5G networks unfold, IoT applications sensitive to latency and bandwidth constraints will become feasible and need to be evaluated and ultimately implemented.
While the opportunity for CIOs and IT organizations to capture and transform IoT data into higher quality, higher velocity business insight and decision making is clear, as the waves get bigger, so does the risk of crashing harder. Just as in the earlier waves, companies can fail to plan, to execute, or to see over the horizon as this IoT data wave continues to form.
As IT leaders, nobody in your company is better experienced to leverage what you’ve learned in creating data value from the earlier waves of data. CIOs understand how to create value with IoT data by combining it with the power and flexibility of cloud-driven data collection and processing architectures to maximize this next data driven wave of value.
At Benchmark we are engaging the most innovative and disruptive customers already by ensuring their products and services are 5G/IoT ready. As the CIO for Benchmark, I can see early indicators of how these products that we partner in designing and manufacturing will clearly differentiate these customers in their chosen markets when it comes to creating this next evolution in data.
Want to talk to Benchmark’s Connected Device team about your IoT challenges?
Connect with us at IoT@bench.com