Despite this, Capgemini’s recent Unlocking the Business Value of Industrial IoT’ report shows that organisations are struggling to realise the full benefits of IIoT – finding that just 41% of UK organisations are implementing IoT at full scale, and 40% are struggling to secure leadership support and funding due to the lack of a clear business case.

So why, with all the investment and excitement around IIoT, is it not being used at full scale?

Cybersecurity and data privacy concerns

Most of businesses today are likely to be taking advantage of IoT in some way across their operations, however, there can be a risk involved with developing an IoT network at scale. IoT devices are a top target for hackers, as they have typically had little cybersecurity controls built around them, and can therefore offer criminals a route for targeting sensitive company data. Essentially the more IoT devices that are added, the more vulnerable a business can become.

In 2016, for example, hackers managed to penetrate a water utility’s control system and alter the levels of chemicals being used to treat tap water, threatening the health and safety of citizens. With incidents like this ringing in their ears, it is little wonder that our survey found that over half (52%) of UK organisations cited cybersecurity and data privacy threats as a top concern preventing them deploying IIoT at scale.

The problem is that cybersecurity has, to date, tended to be an afterthought in the design and implementation of IoT devices. Many businesses add a number of these products into their network before developing any understanding of their security controls and how they need to work alongside existing tools across the organisation.

In order for more organisations to scale up and realise the full advantages of IIoT, these cybersecurity risks need to be mitigated. In the coming years, IoT platforms and architecture need to be built for security from the ground-up, with the proper education and training then provided around their implementation and use.

Lack of clear business cases

Our report found that 40% of UK organisations are experiencing challenges establishing a clear business case for large-scale IoT deployments, and are struggling to secure funding and leadership support as a result.

With more targeted IoT deployments, the case can be relatively easy – the projects are fairly quick and straightforward, and the benefits in terms of efficiency and profitability are seen almost immediately.

Considering the high upfront costs that are usually involved in rolling out IoT across the entire operational chain, however, and the fact that the full benefits are often only realised in the long-term, and you can understand why many business leaders prefer to avoid or delay funding initiatives for as long as they can.

Generally, the companies that are leading in terms of IoT initiatives are those that have experienced competitive market pressure, or see IoT as a strategic imperative to remaining competitive – their business cases are focused almost entirely on the financial savings that they can make to help retain market share.

However, there is more to IoT deployments than just cost savings – and many other business cases to be successfully made. These include helping the organisation move towards a new business model, introducing new methods around customer service, implementing logistical improvements and exploring new avenues to optimise assets. By considering the most critical business problems that can be solved, and the value that can potentially be gained, and then working this into a strategic plan with a defined vision for both the short- and long term, businesses can make a compelling case for the support of full-scale deployments.

Difficulty leveraging IoT data

Even if an organisation manages to navigate the business case stage, there can be a more technical issue that prevents widespread rollout. A successful IIoT deployment relies on the ability to process huge volumes of data delivered from sensors on a real-time basis – over half (52%) of the organisations we spoke to, however, say that their current analytics capabilities are not ready to take advantage of the data generated.

To do this, organisations need to up level their data analytics and AI capabilities to the point where they advanced enough to deliver the ambitions of their IoT initiatives. This includes rolling out descriptive analytics to gain a granular view of the specific process that is being measured and monitored, and prescriptive analytics to build a feedback loop into the process monitoring in order to optimise, assist or automate that process. The final piece of the jigsaw is predictive analytics and AI that can learn from past patterns and events and start to anticipate potential failures in the future.

The analytics themselves are only one part of the solution however – and can end up causing more confusion if not used correctly. Another major barrier to IoT deployment is the lack of understanding around how to build and harness the insights they deliver.

Again, this requires the training of employees – and can take time. The good news, however, is that by plugging any immediate knowledge gaps with the support of third party experts, it is possible for businesses to set up pilot projects and start building the specialist skills required bit by bit.

We’d also recommend setting up an operational intelligence (OI) framework, giving the company an opportunity to experiment with an analytics-driven solution, develop it based on business requirements, and eventually scale it across the organisation in a timescale that suits them.

There are many proven use cases showing the significant value that full scale deployments of IoT can offer industrial operations, and over the coming years we can expect this market to explode. As this happens, it will become very difficult for companies struggling to get beyond the experimentation phase to compete with business rivals that are implementing IoT at scale.

Taking advantage of the benefits of IoT will require much more than just an understanding of the technology and the business benefits – to be successful, firms will need to develop coherent IIoT strategies and visions that identify use cases for both the short- and long-term benefits of the technology. The organisations that do this most effectively stand to make significant strides in modernising their operations, increasing efficiency, and gaining competitive advantages in their market.