Almost two-thirds of Internet of Things (IoT) projects don't even make it past the proof-of-concept stage, according to a survey by networking company Cisco. And, even when they do go further, one-third aren't considered a success when they are completed.
Cisco surveyed 1,845 IT and business decision makers in the US, UK and India from a range of different industries.
Cisco only surveyed people who worked for organisations that are implementing and/or have completed IoT initiatives. All of them were involved in the overall strategy or direction of at least one of their organisation's IoT initiatives.
The survey found that despite the growing clamour for IoT within many businesses, only 26 per cent of companies have had an IoT initiative that they considered a complete success.
Cisco also wanted to gain insight into the challenges that are impacting progress, and found that sixty per cent of respondents stressed that IoT initiatives often look good on paper but prove much more difficult than anyone expected.
According to those surveyed, the main challenges across all stages of implementation were: time to completion, limited internal expertise, quality of data, integration across teams and budget overruns.
Meanwhile, three of the four top factors behind successful IoT projects had to do with people and relationships, rather than technology.
Collaboration between IT and the business was the top factor, cited by more than half of the respondents (54 per cent), followed by a technology-focused culture which stemmed from the top of the organisation (49 per cent), and internal or external IoT expertise (48 per cent).
However, there were differences in opinion between the IT and business respondents in some areas. For example, IT decision makers placed more importance on technologies, organisational culture, expertise and vendors, while business decision makers placed greater emphasis on strategy, businesses cases, processes and milestones.
In fact, IT decision makers wree also more likely to think of IoT initiatives as successful; 35 per cent of them called their IoT initiatives a complete success, compared to only 15 per cent of business decision-makers - this may be down to ownership of particular projects as IT leaders are more likely to have responsibility for them, they're more likely to claim that they've been successful.
Cisco asked respondents what they thought the benefits of IoT were. The top three benefits were: improved customer satisfaction (70 per cent), operational efficiencies (67 per cent) and improved product/service quality (66 per cent). There were also an unexpected benefit of improved profitability.
Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) agreed that learnings from stalled or failed IoT initiatives have helped accelerate their organisation's investment in IoT. This shows that companies aren't giving up on IoT at this early stage.
It's no surprise when 61 per cent believe that businesses have barely begun to scratch the surface of what IoT technologies can do.
The IoT is a key area that Cisco is hoping will help re-ignite its growth. Back in 2015, Cisco claimed that it would invest as much as $1bn in UK IoT start-ups.
In 2016, it spent $1.4bn buying JasperSoft, a small company behind a cloud-powered IoT device automation and management platform, and opened an innovation centre in Manchester focusing on the development of smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT) and healthcare and creative digital technologies.
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