Plan an Enterprise IoT Roadmap but Start with Smaller Projects

September 14, 2015

By Emil Berthelsen, Principal Analyst, Machina Research

For many enterprises, Enterprise IoT will include significant business transformations. Starting on this journey, enterprises must have a clear understanding that this strategic agenda will be defined as a roadmap of IoT opportunities rather than a single new IoT application. Figure 1 illustrates this process of identification and selection, and the management of prioritized IoT applications in a roadmap.

machina-application-roadmap

Figure 1: The Enterprise IoT Identification, selection and management process [Source: Machina Research, 2015]

Defining an IoT application roadmap from the start is a preferred approach as enterprises should start small and build their capabilities piecemeal, one or two opportunities at a time. The priority in IoT at this early stage is to make sure that quick wins are achieved and the underlying approach is suitably scalable, agile and flexible to deliver the IoT roadmap.

A Scalable, Agile and Flexible IoT Platform

In an earlier blog, “Focusing on the Future – Scalable, Agile and Flexible Architectures,” we addressed many of the emerging requirements placed on IoT platforms, recognizing that “to manage the growing scale, variety and complexity of the data,” new IoT architectures will require new design and development characteristics. What is important to note is that these characteristics will also be part of an approach to future-proof the solution, ensuring that the very dynamic and changing nature of IoT applications will be suitably managed without major changes in the core IoT architecture. In the core architectural stack, Machina Research envisages such components as device and connectivity management, application and service enablement, IoT services and integrated business service platforms. Together, these make-up the core IoT Enablement Platform which ultimately will enable the deployment and management of both the first and future IoT applications.

The IoT Application Roadmap

In planning and prioritizing the IoT application roadmap, enterprises should look to deliver some early and quick wins. This prioritization will be driven by both the opportunities to test and develop the IoT Enablement Platform in terms of scalability, agility and flexibility but also to allow for the enterprise to develop an awareness, culture and the suitable business processes around Enterprise IoT. A time horizon of no more than 6 to 12 months should be considered for this very early stage of Enterprise IoT development and test of which a great deal of may be based around trial and error.

What is the time horizon for an IoT application roadmap? Remembering that IoT is all about agility and flexibility, and the nature of change inherent, enterprises will be able to define anything from one to three to five year IoT application roadmaps but these are not set in stone, and should be viewed more as an ongoing list of priority jobs where continuous assessment and further additions will be part of the Enterprise IoT process. A healthy list of identified and prioritized IoT applications will become a strategic priority for the entire process.

What is also important to remember is that customer demand and expectations will now be intrinsically linked with your IoT application roadmap. Having launched one new IoT application with its associated business service and data will be the beginning of potentially developing other applications and most importantly, developing that closer relationship to your customers. The new IoT enabled services will entail more than just working from one product launch to another; they will be characterized by working closely and continuously with your customers and partners.