The Capgemini Unlocking the business value of IoT in operations (IoT) report launched earlier this month makes it abundantly clear that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is here to stay. Where implemented successfully, connected machines and assets can be hugely beneficial to an organisation; yet creating a successful business case remains a challenge.
In my opinion, this is apparent across a wide range of organisations within the aerospace and defence sector. It seems as if everyone expresses their interest in IIoT, but initiatives often fail to progress past proof of concept.
There are several reasons why organisations fail to adopt IIoT. For example, some may find it challenging to establish a business case. According to the report: “around 50 % of organisations struggle to establish a clear business case for their investments.” Another reason may be security concerns. The report highlights that: “62% of organisations are grappling with cyber risks that pose significant reputational and financial consequences.” Yet, others could be struggling with their constrained analytical capabilities.
This report clearly outlines factors that should be considered during IIoT implementation, including strategic leadership and direction through the minefield of IIoT. The report states that: “a clearly defined vision also demonstrates strong leadership, focuses minds, and creates a sense of urgency, all of which are helpful for achieving widespread adoption.” I completely agree with this. A good understanding of exactly why an organisation is contemplating IIoT and a laser-like focus on exploiting those use-cases identified as being the prime high-value opportunities to either reduce cost or increase revenue are absolutely key when embarking on an IIoT journey.
To drive the point home, the report highlights three issues:
First, it makes the assertion that leadership of business-wide IIoT projects needs active engagement and sponsorship from as high up the organisational chart as possible. Tom Siebel, CEO of C3 IIoT, an analytics platform company, says: “There’s no question in my mind that if the leadership is not coming from the CEO directly, the company is not going to succeed.”
Second, there will be technology and skill gaps in the current organisation that will need to be filled to successfully adopt IIoT. This is likely to be a make-or-buy decision similar in nature to the acquisition of capital assets. Selection of the right partner(s) is crucial when buying-in capability, as is the realisation that if going in-house, an organisation may not achieve the required results with existing IT assets.
Finally, the report emphasises that the culture of a business needs to be able to adapt and adopt a new approach to a connected world; as with all enterprise-wide change initiatives, successful adoption lies in the hands of real people—the workers whose daily jobs are affected by IIoT. People and cultural effects can often be ignored, this report emphasises that you do so at your peril.
The final key point made in this insightful report is that the rewards are high, but if you are going to invest in IIoT then you must do so with absolute clarity of vision and at pace. The world is changing fast and to keep up you must know what you are doing—it was ever thus.
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