There is a growing debate about whether it is necessary to establish a formal Chief IoT Officer position within an enterprise. Some folks believe the existing CIO or CMO can play this role. Others believe the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is best suited to assume this responsibility. THINKstrategies believes pursuing a serious IoT strategy requires a combination of corporate stakeholders, a complex supply-chain to technological piece parts and a series of important steps that demand the attention of a multi-faceted executive champion.

Here are the four primary responsibilities of a Chief IoT Officer in our view:

  1. Align the corporate IoT vision
    1. Unlike any previous technology phenomena of the past, successfully adopting an IoT strategy entails the buy-in of multiple corporate executives and coordination of every business function from R&D to service and support. An IoT strategy can also be pursued for various reasons ranging from improving operating efficiency to gain cost-savings to improving product and service quality to gain a competitive advantage and create new market opportunities. The Chief IoT Officer’s first task is to educate the corporate executives about the business implications of IoT so they can agree on a realistic roadmap for success.
  2. Assemble the IoT technology piece-parts
    1. Regardless of the scope of the IoT strategy, identifying the right technologies and integrating them into a successful deployment will take concerted effort. There are a vast number of established and emerging technology alternatives from an equally diverse set of large players and relative start-ups. There are also a growing array of industry standards which need to be taken into consideration. The Chief IoT Officer must work with its CXO counterparts and SBUs to select the right technology and coordinate the deployment process.
  3. Analyze the IoT business implications
    1. THINKstrategies believes organizations should employ a reverse ‘Long-Tail’ approach to IoT adoption. In other words, start with a narrowly focused pilot project to test the IoT strategy and technology. This will enable the Chief IoT Officer to minimize the upfront capital investment, mitigate the potential risks and quickly determine how to proceed.
  4. Act on the new IoT business opportunities
    1. The good news is that a properly deployed set of sensors, applications and analytics capabilities will enable the Chief IoT Officer to quickly scale the IoT initiative to achieve the organization’s business objectives.

These responsibilities represent an “A list” of practical steps for a Chief IoT Officer’s to champion a winning IoT strategy.

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.