IDC Survey Finds IoT is All About The Data


IDC just released the results of its 3rd annual survey of IoT decision-makers (press release here and webcast with IDC Vernon Turner and Carrie MacGillivray here). The IoT market is maturing, says IDC, going beyond its initial focus on connecting more and more things. Data management is fast becoming the overarching theme, with Analytics and the IoT Platform emerging as the main requirements of the 31.4% of organizations surveyed that have already launched IoT solutions , and the additional 43% looking to deploy in the next 12 months.

The survey was conducted in July and August 2016, with 4,500 decision-makers from more than 25 countries participating, from enterprises with more than 100 employees in a wide range of industries. Here are the highlights:

  • 55% say IoT is strategic to their business as a means to compete more effectively. 21% regard it as “transformative”—they know it holds promise and are looking for the right investment, says IDC.
  • Top reasons to invest in IoT: Increase productivity (24%), time-to-market (22.5%), process automation (21.7%). IDC noted that internal and operational benefits are still the main drivers of IoT deployment. However, in a possible sign of market maturation, “reducing costs” was not mentioned much this year (in contrast to previous years) and “time-to-market” appeared for the first time.
  • The business side of the enterprise is responsible for most IoT initiatives. 62% of respondents said business units fund IoT as opposed to 3% being funded by IT and 35% where IT provides the funds and the business units are involved in managing the project. 18% of projects are run by specially created IoT business units. “It’s not a technology solution, it’s a business solution,” says IDC. Of the projects that are funded by the business, IT is involved in the project (36%) or IT is aware but not involved (25%). Only 1% of respondents reported “shadow IT for IoT” where IT is not aware of the IoT project.
  • Top IoT challenges include security (26%), privacy (21%), upfront cost (22%), on-going cost (19%), IT infrastructure (16%) and IoT skills (14%). The issues of IoT-related skills came up for the first time this year, in apparent response to the challenge of handling the influx of IoT data.
  • The security challenge is addressed in an as-hock manner, with enterprises opting for a variety of solutions: security processes are integrated into the IoT workflow (23%), a tiered approach where devices are secured by firewalls between tiers (21%), and as an extension of existing IT security policies (20%).Where is the IoT being processed: 54% collect data at the edge and transmit to the enterprise; 29% collect and process data at the point of creation; 14% collect and process some data at the point of creation and transmit the rest to the enterprise.
  • Industries that lead in the adoption of IoT include financial services (including insurance), retail, and manufacturing. Lagging sectors include government, healthcare, and (surprising to me) utilities.

Survey results show that IBM and Microsoft have taken a leading role in almost all IoT segments, especially the ones ascending in importance—analytics, software, systems integration and providing an IoT platform.  This is due, IDC says, to their success in blending a cloud strategy with analytics and software capabilities. To IDC’s question about most important digital transformation projects, survey respondents cited cloud transformation/transition (66%), IoT (32%), and big data/cognitive solutions (27%). IDC noted that these transformational initiatives are interlinked: The cloud gives IoT a platform on which to scale and the IoT lays the foundation for investments in big data and cognitive solutions, to make sense of all data generated by the IoT and residing in the cloud.

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