The Internet of Things (IoT) is the trend of the year in information technology. Fantasies about IoT possibilities have been the source of dreams for some senior executives and imaginative techies for many years. Perhaps we’ve now reached the point where the price of the components is cheap enough that many of those dreams can be turned into business reality.
The sensors that are the key front line components of the IoT have shrunk in terms of size, weight, cost and electrical power consumption. Hardware components that store and manage all the IoT data are continuing to plummet in price through relentless improvements in design and manufacturing. Software is continuing to decrease in price now that the reuse of modules has finally become a reality. The cost of telecommunication, which used to be an enormous inhibitor to moving vast amounts of data, has decreased in price dramatically through fiber optics and deregulation.
Software development projects that produce applications based on IoT are about scale and time series data. Scale refers to the large number of sensors that originate vast amounts of data. Time series data is a boring and accurate description of IoT data. Time series data is typically displayed on charts with time as the X-axis or on tables with time in the column headings.
What are the critical success or failure factors that ensure IoT projects deliver business value and avoid turning into bottomless pits that consume valuable staff and endless cash?
Project Team Success Factors
IoT projects must be managed by project managers who have sufficient knowledge of the business and sufficient experience as IT project managers. Project managers must have sufficient capacity to manage the IoT projects and not be distracted by other demands and projects.
The organization must be prepared to assign subject matter experts (SME’s) to IoT projects. These SME’s must be prepared to explain, communicate and defend the project business cases to various stakeholders. SME’s must lead in describing the business requirements in collaboration with the project teams.
IoT projects will require software developers with sufficient software development experience using business intelligence and visual analytics software development tools. These individuals are in high demand and in short supply.
Organizational Success Factors
IoT projects must be sponsored by a project sponsor who is prepared to promote and defend the project business cases to the company’s management team. He or she must have the authority to allocate the required budgets.
The Information Systems Department must have the capacity and expertise to fulfill the computing infrastructure requirements of the IoT projects.
The IoT software vendors must the capacity and maturity to fulfill their commitments to the IoT projects.
Technology Success Factors
Because IoT projects move a lot of data around, the required telecommunications capacity, likely in the form of a wide area network, must exist or be acquired reasonably quickly. The organization’s local area network may also need to be upgraded.
The IoT data will typically be stored in a data warehouse (DW). The software required to build, maintain and operate a data warehouse must exist or be acquired. This DW software is sophisticated and requires specialized skills.
To be useful to the business, the IoT data must be displayed and reported. This requires business intelligence and visual analytical software that must exist or be acquired.
Data Success Factors
Many organizations operate with a surprising number of errors in their data. These errors will be illuminated by IoT projects and often threaten the projects’ business cases. To achieve the promised business value, the IoT data must exhibit a high level of data quality. To achieve this data quality, IoT projects require software and SME’s that accelerate the identification and resolution of data quality and data integration issues.
Can you share any examples of critical success or failure factors that influenced the value that your IoT projects delivered?