The idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining executive-level attention because it promises to create an unprecedented set of new market opportunities for organizations in nearly every industry. But, only a small fraction of organizations have been able to launch IoT initiatives to capitalize on these opportunities because they lack an executive champion to lead their IoT efforts. Is it time to consider a Chief IoT Officer?

Chief IoT Officer: Guiding the Fundamental Change

The focus on the IoT is being fueled by accelerating technological innovation, escalating customer expectations and intensifying competition. The sophistication and economics of sensor technology is improving rapidly. Mobile technology has given customers new powers at their fingertips and created a rising expectation to be better connected so they can have greater control over their day-to-day lives and work environments. And as the barriers to entry disappear in almost every industry, customer loyalty is also becoming a thing of the past. As a result, companies must find better ways to connect with their customers to gain and retain a competitive advantage.

The ‘Cloud’ is powering greater connectivity, more cost-effective data storage resources and powerful computing capabilities. The cloud is making the IoT possible and making it possible to capture and analyze data generated by the new generation of ‘things’.

The cloud has also inspired a new generation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other subscription services. And as corporate customers and consumers become aware of the benefits of these ‘on-demand’ services they are also becoming less interested in buying traditional packaged products.

The shift from products to services along with the migration from physical to virtual resources is fundamentally changing the way organizations operate. Every business process from R&D to sales and support is being impacted by these changes. Therefore, every business unit must rethink how they are structured as well as their customer/market orientation.

Aligning the views and values across the organization is just the first step of a successful IoT effort. Unfortunately, the current state of the IoT industry is highly fragmented and populated with an infinite assortment of piece parts being divided by a growing number of competing standards. So, identifying the right IoT components and integrating them into an effective IoT network is an equally difficult undertaking.

Because the organizational implications of IoT spans every facet of the business operations, it is essential to have a specific corporate executive tasked with the responsibility of guiding the IoT strategy development and executive effort. This role entails more than the technical proficiency of a CIO or CTO. It also requires more perspective than the market positioning skills of a CMO.

The perfect corporate leader for IoT must possess a combination of strategic vision, organizational skills, technical awareness and execution capabilities. These are the essential attributes of a Chief IoT Officer in today’s rapidly evolving world.

Kaplan is the Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace (www.Cloudshowplace.com), and host of the Cloud Innovators Summit executive forum series, http://Cloudsummits.com/. He can be reached at jkaplan@thinkstrategies.com.