Solution Providers Become Central to Enterprise IoT Success
Despite many of the valid concerns surrounding enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, there’s no slowing its momentum now. By some estimates there will be more than 50 billion intelligent and connected devices by the year 2020, and within a decade, according to a McKinsey study, these devices will spark $11 trillion in economic value. Despite uncertainty around return on investment, regulations, or the ability to execute because of technological barriers, the move to connect and add intelligences to disparate and distributed devices remains strong.
So how are enterprises alleviating their execution concerns such as security and return on investment? According to the newly released report, Internet of Things Insights and Opportunities, from the IT trade association CompTIA, as IoT initiatives get started, enterprises are shopping across hardware, software, and services providers for everything from guidance on how to build and deploy solutions to data analytics. And enterprises are turning to channel partners to fill in the talent and architecture gaps that they can’t fill internally, and reap the benefits of teaming with partners who have experience deploying across many industries and enterprises.
According to the CompTIA report, this is necessary because enterprises are now ready to think of IoT as essential to their IT and business strategy, with 68% of enterprises stating that they are aware of IoT’s growing importance, and many of these enterprises have begun their IoT initiatives, CompTIA says.
The survey of solution providers in the same report found that the channel is seeing similar trends. According to the survey, solution providers are witnessing a divergence in the market. Less than half, or 44%, of solution provider companies are still in the education or early planning stages. Ten percent of clients are deep into their IoT component integrations, while 23% are in initial implementations. And, a surprising 22% currently show no interest at all.
One of the most interesting things I found from this survey were the concerns and barriers to adoption. Here they are ranked in order of most likely to be a barrier to IoT:
- Upfront cost
- Lack of skilled workers with necessary IoT expertise
- Ongoing fees / maintenance costs
- New cybersecurity risks
- Interoperability with existing systems / devices
- Difficulty in quantifying the return on investment (ROI)
“A number of these factors – cost, interoperability, complexity, and security, are routinely covered in news stories and tech blogs covering IoT. Receiving less attention, but equally important, are issues such as the need for a skilled IoT workforce and the resources required for ongoing maintenance,” the study read. “Executives in the study astutely cited these factors as significant potential challenges. The workforce issues are especially critical. CompTIA’s extensive body of workforce research shows employer demand for many IT skills frequently exceeding the supply of workers. IoT and related emerging technologies will likely exacerbate the problem – at least in the near-term, as industry sectors across the economy pursue tech talent,” it continued.
Of course, enterprises are looking at training programs to help fill their IoT skills gap – but few enterprises have the year or two for those strategies to play out. At least not initially. Not without losing too much momentum against their competitors. I think many will turn to trusted channel partners to help them get their efforts moving and also provide much of the necessary skills transfer required for these efforts to bloom.
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