From 10,000 feet up, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) dazzles: it’s a gleaming vista of connected machines that do the jobs they were designed to do while providing the data that can tell their owners how to drive continual improvements in efficiency, safety, productivity and profitability. But come down to earth—to the executive suite, the IT department and the plant floor—and you will mostly find questions that leave different business units struggling to chart a clear path forward or even to decide whether to take the first step at all.
Where do you start if you’re the guy charged with developing your company’s first IIoT initiative? It’s an important question. According to Dave Petrucci, analytics, engineering and IoT VP at the industrial consulting company Genpact, it’s the most important question there is, and it can be summed up in three letters: ROI.
Beyond the magic, real barriers remain, ranging from business units locked in silos to the belief that, in the end, the IIoT is just another IT investment or, worse, another dose of hype that just won’t pay off. Moving past these obstacles requires vision and practicality, Petrucci said. Vision to create new marketplaces and leapfrog competition, and practicality to drive the step change that can result in real business outcomes.