Why CIOs are sweating over their enterprise IoT

More than two-thirds of CIOs believe IoT could become a major performance management burden owed to the complexity of integration and raft of components required.
1 November 2018

What tech trends do CTOs and CIOs think will be critical in 2021? Source: Shutterstock

Much of the noise around IoT in recent years has been focused on the consumer side— think smart home appliances like Nest, for example— but it’s in enterprise where the sensor technology carries real substance.

The analysis of data provided by these connected devices provides powerful insight into how processes once taken for granted can be rejuvenated for the age of digital.

Among biggest spenders in supply-chain-oriented industries, such as manufacturing, logistics, transportation and utilities, benefits of the technology are more obvious. But use cases are vast and spanning healthcare to government, and insurance to retail, more and more verticals are waking up to IoT’s transformational potential.

The end goal for all is optimisation and efficiency. But as IoT becomes more commonplace, meeting those objectives requires the integration of a hefty and rapidly-expanding raft of components.

IoT demands sensors, edge devices, gateways and applications. As such, it’s understandable that despite the hype, the lion’s share of CIOs have serious concerns when it comes to effectively managing these complex ecosystems and the massive volumes of data being produced.

In a new report by dynatrace entitled Taming the Complexity of Web-Scale IoT Applications, a survey of 800 CIOs found that 69 percent predicted that IoT could become a “major performance management burden”; a further 74 percent believed similar issues could have collateral impact on business operations, posing “significant damage” to revenues.

“In most cases, IoT applications will be mission-critical, with a direct connection to business processes, or control over physical devices like cars and factory machines,” explained dynatrace.

“In the increasingly connected world of IoT, business operations and revenue streams will come grinding to a halt if software doesn’t always work perfectly. Worse still, digital performance problems could put human life at risk as IoT is deployed more widely in connected cars and healthcare devices.”

But, if backend failures and connected car crashes didn’t sound stressful enough, CIOs are worried that the “exponential complexity” and distributed nature of web-scale IoT applications is leading to a number of performance risks, ultimately manifesting themselves in poor user experience (UX).

Dynatrace notes that while no shortage of mind has been given to IoT security concerns, organisations have yet really to consider the blind spots posed by problems with performance. These issues could hamper adoption and customer retention, posing an additional threat to revenue streams.

That said, this issue is beginning to clock. While just over half of CIOs claimed to be making efforts to understand the impact of device performance on UX, ensuring that device firmware updates and security patches do not have a negative performance impact was a priority among 62 percent.

But success in technology is ephemeral. Providing smooth user experience is one thing, but the proliferation of IoT technology and its subsequent seeping into the everyday lives of consumers means these experiences could soon be taken for granted.

Indeed, 70 percent of respondents were worried that consumer and user expectations for fast and fault-free experiences could soon outpace what IT teams can deliver. For the time being, CIOs will face mounting pressure to ensure their IoT software works perfectly, every time.