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Taking the step to invest in an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy, and ensuing implementation, can be an important part of your organization’s digital transformation. There are many things that should be taken into consideration from vendor selection to understanding if your current infrastructure can support an IoT project to the plans to deal with the information generated by these connected “things”.

There is going to be a lot of noise from the vendor community over the next few years. It is important that your organization partners with vendor(s) that can help guide the process from concept to deployment to maintenance. However, when evaluating vendors, one criteria to consider is their support and/or interoperability with open standards. This can be driven by an open source ideology or an agnostic platform approach which can prove beneficial as your organization’s IoT plans expand to include other projects that cross lines of business. It should also be acknowledged that those vendors who look to protect existing business process and maintain IT infrastructure integrity should also be considered.

This leads to a new consideration, where the data captured from these endpoints should be considered within the context of the current infrastructure as well as any additional capabilities required. Can the current infrastructure handle the increased loads and processing requirements? IDC recommends examining current IT infrastructure to understand what can be repurposed or augmented to help support your IoT initiatives. IoT does not necessarily mean a complete rip and replace of IT equipment and capabilities. However, IoT does require a scalable, robust and more secure environment to enable long term viability.

It is also important for the organization to understand not only the short term gains of its IoT investment but also the longer term implications of the information that the connected “things” will generate. Will it help to improve customer experience? Will it help your R&D group to understand product behavior when it’s in the field? Will it improve product reliability and performance? Many IoT projects are initially focused on driving internal, or operational, change. However, over the longer term, these changes can begin to affect external factors. Those organizations that have the foresight to understand these long range implications may have the benefit of capturing those improvements sooner than others as it’s on their radar.

Finally, to help ensure success of your IoT investment, look for ways to create joint accountability to drive collaboration between the line of business stakeholders and the IT organization. With the Line of Business and IT working together and having a vendor partner(s) that acknowledges this important relationship, success can be achieved. IoT can be transformative for a business. However, it takes internal accountability and cooperation, robust and scalable infrastructure as well as a vendor(s) working collaboratively to get the ball rolling.

Please take a look at IDC’s InfoBrief, Internet of Things: State of the Market, sponsored by Red Hat, – including the current view of organizations adopting IoT, the opportunities IoT presents as well as budget, data and security considerations as they plan for an IoT investment.

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