Let’s face it, most of us who work in and around technology are geeks at heart. As a result, it’s easy to get carried away with technology demonstrating a capability rather than producing tangible business outcomes. Internet of Things (IoT) is a perfect example of just such a technology. IoT holds great promise but unless it’s approached as a component of a larger effort to drive business benefits it will likely languish (and then perish) as nothing more than an interesting science experiment.

In some ways IoT introduces a cart-and-horse dilemma. Many industry analysts advise enterprise customers to develop IoT centers of competency and even Chief IoT Officers (CIoTOs?). While these may eventually occur, we do not currently view these as essential. This approach confuses structure with objectives. Most successful IoT deployments actually don’t even start out as IoT endeavors. Rather, they start out as initiatives designed to increase uptime or reduce scheduled downtime associated with critical business assets, reduce warranty and support costs, improve product differentiation, or simply reduce operating expenses. Only in analyzing available alternatives do many organizations discover that the data generated by remote business assets can be employed to drive the business outcomes they are looking for.

Focusing on improving business outcomes is the best way to get started with regard to IoT, and that term may be used sparingly, if at all. From there, it’s a natural extension to look at the mechanics of extracting data from critical business assets, integrating with existing systems, and turning the process into something that can drive positive results for their business. In other words, IoT.