In our previous blogs, we established that organizations are tired of hearing what the Internet of Things is; instead they want to know how to do it.
Establishing business goals and ownership comes first, then the technology for planning and controlling IoT processes next. This makes sense because, even though one tends to associate IoT with technical devices, data interactions and IT projects, in its essence, IoT aims at digitizing and optimizing business assets.
Further, there are business goals to be fulfilled and business strategies to execute on. Support of these being the aim of enterprise architecture management (EAM) and IT portfolio management (ITPM), it is clear that EA and ITPM play an important role in an enterprise’s IoT efforts.
An EA-based IT portfolio management approach is essential to mastering the complexity introduced into the IT landscape through IoT. In an environment in which every end point is an application, the sheer number of new IT elements and the connectivity between them require a high degree of transparency. Good governance and a solid methodology for transformation planning are also essential.
A good EAM discipline provides the necessary transparency with an accurate, real-time picture of the IT landscape – including all applications, technologies, devices and application programming interfaces (APIs), the inter-relationships between them, the information they exchange as well as the business capabilities and processes they support.
In an IoT context, the relevant architecture elements are represented as edge systems and their back-end counterparts. As APIs proliferate as a result of IoT, the ability to represent them as part of the architecture, and understand what information they exchange, helps establish effective governance over what can become a very complex API portfolio. They can be more easily planned and maintained and visibility into their usage supports decisions about their economic viability in the IoT ecosystem.
Capturing technical networks as part of the technology architecture for use in IoT solution development is also an important contribution of EAM to IoT efforts. Technical networks are often found in edge systems supporting the applications and technologies that make up the IoT solution. Edge systems in IoT change at an extremely high rate of speed; this requires alignment of their lifecycles with back-end computing systems, their APIs and their communication protocols. Lifecycle management is inherent to integrated ITPM. This is also crucial to ensure all connections are available when needed.
The continuous fast change in edge IT systems also mandates thoughtful planning for their retirement as it will have commercial consequences. IoT product managers need to understand the ramifications of backwards compatibility in terms of cost and development resources. They need the insight provided by ITPM to evaluate usage of the systems and weigh alternatives for retirement against contractual obligations.
So we can see that—more than being about the technology itself—a great part of IoT success is the proper planning and management of it to ensure you’ve got the right stuff to achieve your business’s IoT goals.