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Cisco: three quarters of IoT projects are failing

David Bicknell Published 23 May 2017

Vendor’s survey claims 60% of IoT initiatives stall at the proof of concept stage while only 26% of companies have had an IoT initiative they considered to be a complete success

A Cisco survey has claimed that three quarters of Internet of Things (IoT) projects are failing.

The survey, released to coincide with the IoT World Forum being held in London, polled 1,845 IT and business decision-makers in the US, UK, and India across a range of industries, including healthcare and local government.

All respondents worked for organisations that are implementing and/or have completed IoT initiatives and all were involved in the overall strategy or direction of at least one of their organisation’s IoT initiatives.

The survey found that 60% of IoT initiatives stall at the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage and only 26% of companies have had an IoT initiative that they considered a complete success. A third of all completed projects were not considered to be a success.

The survey found that 60% of respondents found that IoT initiatives often look good on paper but then prove much more difficult to implement than expected.  The top five challenges across all stages of implementation were: time to completion, limited internal expertise, quality of data, integration across teams, and budget overruns.

When critical success factors come together, organisations are in a better position to reap a windfall in smart-data insights, the survey found. 73% of all survey participants said they are using data from IoT completed projects to improve their business. Globally the top three benefits of IoT, according to the survey, are  improved customer satisfaction (70%), operational efficiencies (67%) and improved product/service quality (66%). In addition, improved profitability was the top unexpected benefit at 39%.

64% agreed that learnings from stalled or failed IoT initiatives have helped accelerate their organisation’s investment in IoT.

The survey also found that although there was a strong agreement on the  importance of collaboration among IT and business decision-makers, some key differences emerged:

  • IT decision-makers place more importance on technologies, organisational culture, expertise, and vendors. But business decision makers place greatest emphasis on strategy, business cases, processes, and milestones. 
  • IT decision-makers are more likely to think of IoT initiatives as successful. While 35% of IT decision-makers called their IoT initiatives a complete success, only 15% of business decision-makers took the same view

To coincide with the survey, Cisco has also launched an IoT “Threat Defence” service. It said that  by 2020, there is expected to be up to 50bn devices connected to the network, signalling a critical mass in achieving the possibility of the IoT.

Only a week or so after a worldwide cyber attack caused widespread chaos, Cisco said its IoT Threat Defence solution would segment devices on the network to provide “adaptable, extensible protection for organisations at IoT scale.” It claimed the first use of IoT Threat Defence will be to secure vital services in advanced medical care, power generation and delivery, and automated manufacturing.

The GlobalData IoT Project Insight survey of 2,000 respondents across all industries, including public sector, revealed that the biggest challenges for IoT projects where addressing security and privacy concerns, along with lack of internal expertise and justifying the project. A GlobalData survey has also found that these are the main challenges for the UK public sector.

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