Digital Transformation and IoT: Making the Connection

By Special Guest
Cara Sloman, EVP, Nadel Phelan
March 20, 2018

Within the increasingly competitive technology landscape, data is an essential commodity. It is so valuable because, when managed and analyzed properly, it provides the insights that businesses need to innovate and grow. Thanks to the internet of things (IoT), higher-quality data can now be captured more quickly and in greater volumes, presenting organizations with new opportunities to transform and improve their business models. What could the IoT’s new possibilities mean for your business?

The main drivers for IoT spending are currently IT-focused projects, including data center management, surveillance and security monitoring. However, as companies become more familiar with the technology, 451 Research projects that IoT applications will spread further into the enterprise.

What’s behind this rapid spread is new advancements in key technologies that have enhanced the IoT’s capacities and usefulness within enterprises and supported growth through digital transformation. If you understand the ecosystem of forces driving the IoT, unprecedented opportunities exist for business growth.

IoT Growth
More than 65 percent of IT and IoT decision makers plan to increase their IoT spending in the next 12 months, with an average spending increase totaling nearly 18 percent. While the majority of current use cases are focused on IT applications, future projects are predicted to focus on industrial applications. Some of the biggest industrial enterprises, including GE, Siemens and Schneider, are investing billions in their IoT platforms.

The “digital vortex” of rapid change within the marketplace makes tech products and services in particular vulnerable. The ability to scale and quickly adopt and adapt new technologies will determine longevity.

Many factors are enhancing the utility of IoT and ultimately driving its growth, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers:

  • The convergence of IT and OT: Now that operational and information technology have begun to interconnect, mountains of previously unavailable data are being generated and captured. The coming together of these historically siloed departments means more informed decisions, reduced operational costs and improved production processes for the manufacturing industry.
  • Artificial intelligence: Data is only useful if its insights can be acted upon. Artificial intelligence helps make data actionable, supporting enhanced IoT applications that enable predictive, prescriptive and adaptive analytics. Artificial intelligence will continue to heighten productivity and expand business opportunities beyond anything previously possible.
  • Explosion of Connected Devices: There will be 80 billion internet-connected devices by 2025, according to IDC’s forecast. These devices will generate 180 zettabytes of data per year, in contrast to 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 and 44 zettabytes in 2020.
  • Cloud/Fog Computing: Fog and edge computing are furthering the growth of the IoT begun by cloud computing, extending cloud capabilities closer to connected devices and facilitating the operation of compute, storage and network services between end devices and cloud computing data centers.

How the IoT Enables Digital Transformation
The IoT’s ecosystem and supporting technologies are leading the drive toward digital transformation, enabling growth through the strengthening of current business models and the creation of new offerings, services and products.

Enterprises will use the IoT to support digital transformation in a number of ways, including:

  • Increasing efficiency and lowering costs – The IoT can reduce costs and increase productivity through the automation and integration of processes – one of its greatest utilities. The combination of data driven insights and sensor-integrated systems presents the opportunity for businesses to improve operations in multiple areas including, inventory and human resource management, security, energy and safety compliance.
  • Finding new business opportunities – As companies gather and analyze massive data sets generated by IoT devices, they can gain a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of their customers use cases and preferences. Previously unseen insights into their offerings can turn into new products, services and ways to create value for their customers. These insights will also be used to proactively augment current products and services based on access to real time data.
  • Better customer service – Simplicity and 24/7 accessibility are givens for today’s customers. IoT-enabled big data analysis can help businesses build a better platform, tool or strategy that will improve consumer experiences through multiple touch points. With a comprehensive understanding of customers, businesses will be able to personalize their marketing efforts, positioning relevant products and services each customer. On the service side, access to complex, real time data will enable businesses to streamline workflows and better react to urgent issues. These advancements will free up personnel resources to interact with customers and better anticipate their needs, enhancing satisfaction and engagement.

Greater agility –Freed from slow legacy IT systems, organizations can become more nimble and responsive to current market trends and demands with greater speed. This frees technology and personnel resources to focus on strategy and innovation.

Transforming Business
If companies want to remain viable, digital transformation is a must. It is a significant undertaking that necessitates a foundational understanding of what’s behind it. The IoT is a primary factor, able to reveal and release value on a scale never seen before – if companies will heed the insights its data yields and change their business models accordingly. The benefits are almost limitless, including huge cost savings, competitive advantage, greater operational efficiencies, greater customer engagement and more.

About the author: Sloman has helped shape Nadel Phelan’s brand, services and reputation for quality and results.

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