Despite the charge by lines of businesses to consider the Internet of Things as a game changer for their customers and them, the CIO is still very much in the decision making driver's seat. Why? Simply put, the technology is still not fully ready for a full blown deployment in most organizations, and as the 'I" in CIO can also mean "Integration", who else is going to take on the task?
The Internet Of Things momentum is very much in favor of those businesses who see the opportunity of enabling their products (and services) to be connected across their whole supply chain. Business models will change and profit pools will shift across a company’s supply and value chain. In addition, IoT implementations that have gone from a proof of concept stage to a stable production environment will have shaken out the vendors and partners of those companies – a new ecosystem of IT , channel, integration and services partners will have been formed. Now, internally, the company has to appoint an executive owner and sponsor of the IoT deployment. The question today, is whether that owner will come from the Line of Business, or will it be from the IT – technology organization.
Recently, we completed a global IoT study with over 2,300 CxO and IT heads and when they were asked who is currently the IoT decision maker, over 53% of the respondents agreed that the CIO should lead the initiative and only 21% said that it was a business unit lead task. This was backed up by the respondents saying that 67% of them had the CIO owning the IoT budget while 33% of them said the business unit head owned it. These results confirm that while companies believe that IoT is strategic and part of their digital transformation strategy, they still need to see the technology continue to mature - hence the heavy dependence on the CIO and their office. This makes perfect sense as we continue to see IoT deployments generally be adhoc in nature, and have not passed through a repeatable or maintainable deployment.
Finally, our advice to companies is as follows:
1. Continue to have the CIO drive all of the IoT initiatives until the foreseeable future, given the relative maturity of the technology
2. Enable the CIO to manage the creation and support of the new IoT ecosystem. IoT deployments will require traditional IT supplier and partners to evaluate their capabilities in an IoT driven customer world
3. Establish a working group between the CIO office and key line of business units and map out every IoT opportunity early in the discussions. Companies will need to make sure that they have the core IT tenants to build a scalable, information-based company by having a well thought out cloud and analytics platform on a robust network.