Companies Underprepared for IoT and Digital Transformation, Study Finds
Only 34 percent of companies plan IT architecture strategy more than 12 months into the future, according to a new survey from CompTIA. In addition, 25 percent of firms have no formal IT architecture planning strategy, and only 11 percent conduct long-term planning, the study found.
For four in 10 enterprises, budget availability is the biggest obstacle to planning for the future; for 32 percent, knowledge about emerging technologies and trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) is insufficient to plan the appropriate enterprise architecture.
Seth Robinson, CompTIA senior director of technology analysis, notes that planning for IT architecture is key to aligning IT and business departments around future IT strategy.
“Organizations see real benefits from better planning, such as improved collaboration between IT and business teams and a greater ability to evaluate current technologies against long-term objectives and to prioritize investments,” Robinson says in the official CompTIA press release.
Identifying business objectives should be the first step for organizations. The second step is to design the IT architecture to support those business processes.
“By connecting the construction of IT architecture to overall corporate objectives, both groups will be better informed about the options available and the trade-offs involved when selecting devices, applications or operational models,” Robinson says.
Where IoT Is Now
After intense initial enthusiasm for IoT projects, enterprises have taken their feet off the gas. CompTIA attributes this slowdown to a fresh understanding of how complex connected device initiatives can be.
Implementing connected device initiatives requires significant investments in new technologies, including software for data analysis, monitoring and automation, storage capacity, network components, devices and sensors and machine learning capabilities. Lack of budget and insufficient institutional knowledge make it difficult to conduct long-range planning.
From a practical perspective, many IoT initiatives are budgeted as new expenditures, not as extensions of existing IT projects. In addition, because connected devices often come from smaller and nontraditional vendors, procurement often gets involved.
This need to involve multiple departments in digital transformation planning, however, underscores Robinson’s point about leading with business objectives first. Without a guiding strategy, IT tends to purchase connected devices piecemeal instead of as individual components of a holistic solution. While this approach may generate less short-term spending, it often leads to spending money on devices that never deliver significant value. It also causes organizations to neglect long-term infrastructure investments that support a cohesive digital transformation strategy.
Failing to Plan Costs Revenue
Without strategic planning for IT architecture, businesses will experience significant opportunity costs. From outfitting facilities with sensors for climate control to improving manufacturing processes to streamlining the supply chain, IT investments in IoT can be recouped through significant cost savings in other areas.
When IT isn’t brought to the table to provide connected device solutions for future business initiatives, businesses lose the chance to generate future revenue. They’ll have to play catch-up as new initiatives emerge, and they may miss the chance to bring new revenue opportunities to the market.
The potential value that IoT, big data, predictive analytics and machine learning can bring to business is already obvious. Planning now rather than later is the only way for businesses to stay competitive.