Bjorn Andersson

Scaling IoT: 3 Key Areas of Focus for Extending Your IoT Investment

Blog Post created by Bjorn Andersson Employee on Aug 23, 2018

Guest Contributor: Carrie MacGillivray, Group Vice President, Internet of Things, IDC



For many organizations, the inability to scale their IoT programs is becoming acute and is affecting their ability to make a digital shift that moves their company forward. This blog, authored by Carrie MacGillivray, IDC Group Vice President, Internet of Things & Mobility, presents three strategic areas where leaders can spend their energies to improve their odds for achieving successful, scalable IoT programs.

- Bjorn



Half of companies that have deployed IoT expect to extend their IoT project(s) in the next 24 months, according to IDC’s Global IoT Decision Maker Survey. The reason behind this is that more than half of those projects are still in the pilot phase – highlighting a challenge these organizations are encountering as they look to extend their IoT capabilities. How do they scale their infrastructure to support the increased demand for compute, processing, and storage as more and more data is generated from their newly connected “things?”


There are three key areas to focus on when scaling an IoT project:


  • Design a flexible deployment architecture.With sensors and devices becoming more robust and capable of significant compute, you must consider how to develop a flexible architecture that allows for the evolving state of where, how, and when data is being processed. Increased device and sensor capability make it increasingly important that your structure to be able to provision for edge compute. A flexible deployment architecture will enable you to match the business goals of near-term IoT projects to the capabilities needed over the mid to long term.
  • Develop an adaptable cloud strategy.Most companies in the early stages of their IoT deployments need a strategy that lets them seamlessly process data on-premises as well as in the cloud. Some environments require on-premises installations for geographic, regulatory, and latency reasons. But as IoT deployments scale, some non-critical processing can be incorporated into the cloud to reduce costs and provide scale. By building an adaptable cloud strategy, data processing priorities can be achieved, enabling IoT programs to scale more efficiently.
  • Robust analytics capabilities. Understanding the data that’s coming off your organization’s connected “things” is where the value of the IoT is realized. IoT networks can generate a tremendous amount of data, which can be difficult to ingest, blend, manage, and interpret. Using analytics tools that help sort and transform the data into meaningful insights allows better decisions and outcomes to be achieved. To scale successfully, analytics tools need to be in place before your project starts.


A recent IDC study of more than 3,500 IoT decision makers in 20 countries asked companies that have successful IoT deployments about their digital transformation (DX) initiatives. These organizations have invested in their cloud transformations, and have made crucial decisions about their big data and analytics investments prior to taking on a scaled IoT project. This experience provided broad perspective on how to scale IoT initiatives.

Before attempting to scale your IoT programs, ask yourself: Where is my organization in this IoT journey? If you’re in the early phases of a larger digital transformation effort, take some time to examine your organization's cloud and analytics plans. Make sure you have a flexible deployment architecture to support the changing requirements of IoT projects as they scale. It would also make sense to work with a vendor that can provide the infrastructure and industry-specific expertise to support your effort to scale. If you're further along the DX path, it would still behoove your organization to work with a partner that can provide solutions that future-proof your investment and has interest in co-creating with you and your organization – for mutual success.



Guest Contributor Profile

Carrie MacGillivray is Group Vice President responsible for providing leadership to IDC's global IoT research. Carrie co-founded the Internet of Things research domain at IDC in 2012 and is responsible for leading thought leadership on this evolving market. She works with IDC's global IoT team consisting of technology and industry analysts to drive research on the supply and demand elements at play in the IoT market. Carrie was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the IoT by Onalytica, July 2017 and one of the top 25 most influential women in IoT by the Internet of Things Institute, September 2016.