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Lack of IT leadership fuels IoT trial failures

Senior IT and business leaders need to get involved in internet-of-things pilots and trials to avoid project failures

Many companies experience failure at the proof-of-concept stage of internet-of-things (IoT) projects, a study of 3,000 decision-makers has found. Among the 218 organisations in a Microsoft survey that said they were actively adopting IoT, only 7% had experienced no proof-of-concept project failures.

The Microsoft study, conducted in conjunction with BCG Group, reported that 30% of decision-makers estimated that between half and all of their proof-of-concept projects had failed, while 31% said they had experienced a moderate level of failure, with between a quarter and 49% of their trials failing.

The survey also found that 32% of decision-makers had a low rate of failure in trials and proof-of-concept projects. Overall, the survey showed that a quarter of enterprise decision-makers are having strong success with IoT implementation, while others have room to grow. 

Of the 419 decision-makers who said they had experienced success with IoT, Microsoft and BCG reported that low-success companies are more likely to say they don’t have enough workers or resources.

The study found a strong correlation between management buy-in and IoT trial or proof-of-concept project success. The main reasons decision-makers gave for IoT project failures included the high cost of scaling, pilot projects that demonstrated unclear business value, and when the return on investment was hard to justify a business case without a short-term business impact.

Other factors that decision-makers said had contributed to project failure included a lack of necessary technology and lack of leadership support and attention.

“Successful IoT projects start with a clear understanding of the business problems to be addressed, the investment needed and the return on investment that is expected,” wrote Sam George, head of Microsoft Azure IoT, in a blog post. “The companies that think about technology roadmaps and plan for the infrastructure needed to scale IoT solutions are better positioned for long-term success.

“Involve leadership early as proof of concepts are being developed and start to have those conversations around future-state technology needs.”

Read more about IoT projects

  • Is data really the ‘new oil’, as some are saying? Yes – it’s potentially a highly valuable commodity, though that depends on the proper application of IoT analytics.
  • Following a series of panels with technology leaders, Equinix’s Chiaren Cushing outlines the top recurring IoT themes to help enterprises ensure the success of their connected projects.

Read more on IT project management

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