On many IoT projects, IT shops get left behind

Operations people are taking the lead more often

IT departments are playing second fiddle to operations people as enterprises tune up for the Internet of Things.

That’s one of the surprising findings from a survey of people involved in business IoT projects in the U.S. The survey, conducted last month by Technalysis Research, also revealed that monitoring employees is the No. 1 thing companies want to do with the widely hyped technology.

IoT straddles IT and operational technology, two disciplines that for decades have lived side by side without much interaction. Operations people handle things like lights, locks, and machine tools, while IT folks buy the computers and run them.

Now it turns out that very small computers, such as networked sensors, can help a company’s infrastructure work better. But more often than not, IT’s not in charge of those systems, the Technalysis survey showed.

According to the survey’s 620 respondents, 42 percent of IoT projects were being managed by facilities or operations departments, or other business units like manufacturing. IT was in charge of a third of the projects, while a quarter were run by a line of business within the company.

Conflict between IT and OT (operations technology) had been brewing before the IoT trend even began, as physical infrastructure was updated with new smarts. OT departments adopted those updates without asking IT, so whole new digital systems rose up in parallel with traditional computing and networks.

“It does represent a bit of a shift in power,” Technalysis Chief Analyst Bob O’Donnell said.

To make IoT a success, the two sides should start talking and then collaborating, and top management should buy into that process, he said. If the departments stay isolated, the company might miss out on getting maximum value from IoT data through deeper analytics.

In addition to organizational challenges, enterprises studying or adopting IoT are facing sticker shock, O’Donnell said. High capital outlay was their top concern, followed by time to deploy and security of IoT data.

That may explain why saving money, sometimes seen as a key driver of IoT, wasn’t the top objective they cited. More respondents were aiming to improve internal processes, a goal that could save money in the long run but is more focused on just making the company run better.

Early IoT deployments seem to be taking a conservative approach overall.

Ethernet and Wi-Fi, rather than LTE or specialized low-power technologies, were the networks of choice for most respondents.

And predictive maintenance, a highly touted system for replacing things before they break, isn’t the top application companies are using. Instead, it’s simple monitoring and alarms to keep on top of things that might go wrong, followed by security and identification. But predictive maintenance is on its way: It was the number one application respondents were evaluating.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?