In order to manage the risks and capitalise on the opportunities of the Internet of Things (IoT), enterprises need an IoT architecture strategy, says Gartner.
"Enterprise architects have a great opportunity to position themselves at the heart of digital businesses," says Mike Walker, Gartner research director.
"This could take the form of establishing a business competency centre that explores how the IoT can create innovative breakthroughs for the organisation's business models, products and services through rapid experimentation," he says.
Walker identified several trends that make the IoT particularly relevant to enterprise architecture as a discipline:
Information of everything, which enables detailed insight into what customers want, and how to connect their needs with what an organisation has planned for its customers.
Shift from the ‘thing’ to composition, or using the connectivity of ‘things’ to measure certain data or to form new business models and uses.
Convergence - smart, connected technologies don't just bring together ‘things’, they link and combine people, places, and information to create new opportunities.
Next-level business - the IoT will reveal better ways to measure and operate the organisation through new and powerful analytics.
"In establishing a business competency centre, enterprise architects need to determine the potential impact, both positive and negative, of IoT technologies and then create actionable deliverables that can define which business opportunities should be pursued as result.
"The first step is bringing together various business unit and IT leaders to explore how the IoT can impact their respective business domains, and agree on actionable business scenarios that will require deep collaboration between them," says Walker.
The IoT will bring many opportunities to enterprise, and the volume of information being collected will also create risks for legal, regulatory and reputational exposure, according to Gartner.
The role of the enterprise architect is not only to create new ideas and scenarios, but to properly assess the impact in terms of what information will be generated, what the most important information is and how it can be protected, if necessary, Gartner says.
"Organisations must understand the profound impact new sources of information will have," says Walker.
"Enterprise architects are best positioned to discuss and enable the most lucrative opportunities in partnership with business unit and IT leaders.
“At the same time, they must work with chief data officers and security officers to structure this data in a way that mitigates the worst risks of pursuing these opportunities," Walker says.