IoT failure CAN breed success

A Cisco study showed 60 percent of internet of things (IoT) initiatives stalling at the first big hurdle, the proof of concept stage. The research involved 1,845 IT and business decision-makers in the US, UK, and India working for organizations that were implementing and/or had completed IoT initiatives.

Meanwhile, just 26 percent of companies had an IoT initiative they considered a complete success, while a third of completed projects were not regarded as a success.

“It’s not for lack of trying,” said Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IoT and Applications, Cisco. But, there’s clearly a lot more companies can do to be an integral and practical part of this growth and, well, get these projects out of the pilot stage and delivered successfully.

And yet, market intelligence firm IDC foresees a growth from 14.9 billion at the end of 2016, to more than 82 billion IoT endpoints installed worldwide in 2025. In the face of Cisco’s data, it might be difficult to imagine being a fruitful part of the IoT movement. Fortunately for us all, Cisco’s study, The Journey to IoT Value wasn’t all doom and gloom. In the run up to an IoT dominated planet, you can learn from the successes, the insights and yes, even the failures to fine-tune your own IoT considerations, strategies and activities:

Human hands, hearts and minds

Three out of four key features of successful IoT projects all leaned toward the people side of things, namely:

  1. collaboration – the number one factor; 54 percent said success came from IT and business side working hand in hand;
  2. culture – where a top-down leadership approach ingrained a technology-focused culture, 49 percent stated project success would follow;
  3. expertise – the people that know, live and breathe IoT, both within and outside an organisation (say through a partnership) were lauded by 49 percent as crucial to any IoT victories.

Though strong collaboration between IT and business decision-makers proved central to success, the differences that emerged between the two can help you to understand the different mentalities, and devise better ways of working together. Specifically, while the IT side placed more importance on technologies, organizational culture, expertise and vendors, the business side would focus more on strategy, business cases, processes and milestones.

A tide of complexities

Sixty percent of respondents stressed that IoT initiatives often look good on paper but prove more difficult than expected. The top five challenges across all stages of implementation were: time to completion, limited internal expertise, quality of data, integration across teams and budget overruns.

In it together

Although we’ve touched on partnerships, they truly were a vital part of the most successful IoT initiatives, especially in navigating those complexities. Firms triumphed through engaging the IoT partner ecosystem at every stage. From strategic planning at the beginning, all the way through to data analytics after rollout.

“Where we see most of the opportunity, is where we partner with other vendors and create solutions that are not only connected but also share data,” said Inbar Lasser-Raab, Vice President, Cisco Enterprise Solutions Marketing.

“That shared data is the basis of a network of industries – sharing of insights to make tremendous gains for business and society, because no one company can solve this alone,” she added.

Capitalizing on data

Smart, valuable data from successful projects give way to reaping the reasons for, and results of, success. Globally, the top three benefits of IoT include improved customer satisfaction at 70 percent, operational efficiencies at 67 percent and improved product / service quality at 66 percent. Profitability was the top unexpected benefit at 39 per cent.

Constructive failure

The unexpected benefit of failure was where 64 percent of those surveyed agreed that learnings from stalled or failed IoT initiatives have actually helped to accelerate their organization’s investment in IoT.

With the advancement of IoT inevitable, a steady stream of lessons learned through partnerships, successes and failures is the necessary part of capitalising on IoT and of being a valuable part of the IoT ecosystem.

For a closer look, download  our free ebook Navigating the IoE roadmap of challenges: Insights and opinions for digital businesses and our Insights Research report The roadmap of options: Monetizing and managing IoE services.


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

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