When we refer to the Internet of Things (IoT), we’re talking about the massive, worldwide network of physical objects embedded with smart technologies that allow these objects to connect and exchange data over the internet.

It’s estimated that global IoT spending will reach $1.2 trillion in 2022 as more businesses recognize how IoT can cut costs, bolster performance, and improve efficiencies.

While this technology is more intelligent and capable than ever before, IoT failure is very real, so today, we’re sharing how you can avoid such a setback in your own implementation.

The Role of IoT in ERP

As cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems become more advanced, they’re increasingly built with IoT capabilities already embedded. 

These solutions leverage the vast amounts of data captured by a business (and its equipment) and provide actionable insights. This means companies have access to real-time updates to help them make split-second decisions and pivot operations to meet customer demands.

IoT in ERP software gives businesses the utmost visibility into every facet of their company, and they can use this data to drive business forward – but only if they avoid certain pitfalls.

The 2023 Top 10 ERP Systems Report

This report is relevant to organizations across industries and outlines the best ERP vendors that we believe will help organizations prosper in 2023. 

Why do so Many IoT Projects Fail?

According to one estimate, nearly three-fourths of IoT projects ultimately fail to deliver on business objectives. In fact, 30% of them fail as early as the proof-of-concept phase. 

Why is this happening? Let’s look at a few of the challenges keeping future-focused companies from the success they expect.

1. Undefined Business Case

New technology is exciting, sleek, and sophisticated. As such, many business leaders become starry-eyed over the latest products, especially if their competitors are already snatching them up.

However, it’s never wise to embark on an IoT project just to say you did. Instead, you should outline measurable business benefits in a detailed business case before implementing new technology of any kind.

2. Too Much Complexity

The goal of implementing an IoT system is to capture important data and use it to make smarter decisions for your company. Yet, for the software to work, it must have capacity to operate.

Many companies overload their systems with too much data. While cloud databases are massive, it is no match for the volume of data that flows between IoT devices minute-to-minute.

When your systems become filled to near capacity, they understandably slow down. As a result, the real-time response they promised is less immediate.

To accelerate the information flow and offset the cloud-based data load, companies can use edge computers. These provide real-time updates while simultaneously cleansing data to create a more efficient workload all around.

3. Advanced Programming Requirements

A fully-operable IoT system relies on advanced and often abstract programming languages, including visual programming techniques. In addition, any given IoT project incorporates a range of different technologies, each with their own complexities.

If you want all these technologies to “speak” to one another, you need a high level of programming expertise. Often, these requirements go beyond basic programming skills, so many companies lack the expertise to implement IoT. 

iot failures

4. The Need for Around-the-Clock Operability

The basis of IoT is growth and acceleration. As data stores keep growing, these systems require additional sensors and advanced analytics to keep pace. 

The only issue? You can’t exactly take your system offline to make those changes. Doing so would create downtime, which could have devastating consequences. 

To avoid this roadblock, many companies create continuous deployment environments for their IoT deployments. This means they can access and update them without disrupting the flow of work.

Modular systems are also preferable, as this allows users to work on one component without affecting any others. 

5. Forgetting the Importance of Humans

Even the most advanced IoT system will require some degree of human interaction and involvement. It’s impossible to predict and program your system to respond to every single outcome.

We recommend training your employees on how the system works, as well as how to step in when a problem occurs. In addition, we recommend a full organizational change management plan.

If you don’t acknowledge the people side of change, your IoT system will fail to reach its full potential.

How to Avoid IoT Project Failure

Want to avoid these issues and put your IoT implementation on the fast track to success? Here are a few steps to take. 

1. Establish a Business Case

Before moving forward, your project team should establish clear objectives for the project. This helps you select technology that fulfills your most essential requirements.

Otherwise, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of Big Data, without really knowing what you’re optimizing it for.

What pain points will Big Data solve? Only after you’ve answered this question will you know what technology to select.

2. Research Your Options

Often, an organization will dive right into an IoT project as team leaders take the “buy now, learn later” approach. Unfortunately, this approach can backfire.

Instead, take your time and research the available options to determine the ones that would work best in your company. If you need assistance with this step, an enterprise software consultant can help.

3. Accept Some Degree of IoT Failure

It’s unrealistic to expect that your IoT project will go off without a hitch. This technology is new and evolving every day, and few companies have robust experience with it.

Understanding this, many companies adopt an attitude of experimentation. At bigger companies — where innovation is a core value — this effort will take place in what’s called a “skunkworks area.” This is usually a big-budget initiative wherein a separate, smaller project team is allowed the freedom to test IoT technology. The theory is that while some of the efforts may fail, others will succeed.

Even if your business doesn’t have the bandwidth for a designated skunkworks team, it’s still smart to carve out a small space in your IT department for IoT testing and brainstorming. This will require buy-in from your executive team and board members, but it’s a worthwhile investment and can help make your vision for IoT much clearer.

Avoid IoT Failure by Laying the Groundwork Today

Like ERP failure, IoT failure is common. However, it doesn’t have to happen to you. With the right approach, you can create a project plan that helps your company embrace the emerging technologies that are quickly becoming essential across every industry.

Our ERP consultants can help you evaluate all your enterprise software needs, from ERP software to AI to IoT. Contact us below for a free consultation. 

About the author

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As Director of Panorama’s Expert Witness Practice, Bill oversees all expert witness engagements. In addition, he concurrently provides oversight on a number of ERP selection and implementation projects for manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and public sector clients.

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