Study reveals record number of enterprises becoming “intelligent” with growing IoT investments
This global survey analyzes the extent to which companies connect the physical and digital worlds to drive innovation through real-time guidance, data-powered environments and collaborative mobile workflows.
Zebra Technologies Corp., Lincolnshire, Ill., released results from its third annual “Intelligent Enterprise Index,” which indicates a record 61% of enterprises worldwide are on the path to becoming “intelligent,” compared to only 49% in 2018.
This global survey analyzes the extent to which companies connect the physical and digital worlds to drive innovation through real-time guidance, data-powered environments and collaborative mobile workflows. The index scores are calculated using 11 criteria that include Internet of Things (IoT) vision, adoption, data management, intelligent analysis and more.
Based on these criteria and driven by an overwhelming pressure to improve the customer experience, retail organizations have gained the most momentum in the last 12 months, graduating from the bottom of the 2018 vertical index rankings to nearly the top of the 2019 list, second only to healthcare.
The number of companies defined as truly “intelligent enterprises” by achieving a score of 75 points or greater on the index also rose year over year. In fact, 17% of organizations with at least 250 employees crossed this threshold in 2019 vs. only 11% in 2018. Likewise, 37% of surveyed small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with 50-249 employees scored 75 points or greater on the index, indicating SMBs with an IoT vision are in many cases more “intelligent” than large enterprises.
“When we launched the Intelligent Enterprise Index three years ago, many enterprises were trying to understand where and how IoT solutions could be best applied within their unique business environments,” says Drew Ehlers, global futurist. “We now see more urgency to improve operational visibility and facilitate the delivery of actionable intelligence all the way to the edge of the enterprise. I believe that is why enterprises are now demonstrating a much greater commitment to executing their IoT plans and why we’ll likely see a surge in investments over the next few years.”
Key findings entail:
- The pace of IoT adoption is picking up, leading to increasingly greater intelligence levels. The cumulative Intelligent Enterprise Index score continues to grow as more companies move from exploratory to deployment phases of their journeys, with the 2019 score topping out at 61.5 points. This represents a nearly 6-point increase from 2018, driven largely by the increased “intelligence” gains of retail and transportation and logistics (T&L) organizations. It is also a 9-point gain from 2017, the first year the index was conducted.
- Continued growth in IoT solutions and other data-driven technology platform investments. In 2019, each respondent’s average enterprise spend was $6.4 million, representing a 39% year-over-year increase. Nearly 86% of enterprises expect this number to grow in the next 1-2 years, with over half of respondents expecting to increase their investments by 21-50%.
- Intelligence-driven solution deployments have broadened quite significantly. 46% of study respondents are currently implementing their IoT solutions on a company-wide level, an increase from 38% in 2018. Another 32% expect to soon move toward regional deployments.
- With security a top priority, enterprises are committing more resources to continuous data system monitoring. 62% of enterprises are now constantly monitoring their IoT security to ensure system integrity and data privacy. That is a 4-percentage point gain year-over-year and a 13-percentage point increase from 2017. At that time, only 49% had a constant security monitoring protocol with 47% periodically monitoring their systems.
- Enterprises are shifting to a single partner “intelligent” solution ecosystem. Nearly half (49%) of study respondents indicate they now rely on a single strategic partner to manage their entire “intelligence” solution, including components and services provided by third parties.
- Surveyed SMBs score higher than large companies (64.5 points vs. 61.5 points). This higher score is based on findings such as SMB respondents indicating their enterprises are more likely to have an IoT vision and are executing on the plan (69% vs. 62%).
The online survey was fielded Aug. 12-Sept. 18 across the healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation and logistics industries. In total, 950 IT decision makers from nine countries were interviewed, including the United States, UK/Great Britain, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, China, India, and Japan. Each of their organizations had at least 250 employees and an annual revenue of $5 million. The data captured from SMBs focused on companies with between 50-249 employees.
The following metrics were used to understand where companies are on the path to becoming an intelligent enterprise, including IoT vision, business engagement, technology solution partner, adoption plan, change management plan, point-of-use application, security and standards, lifetime plan, architecture/infrastructure, data plan and intelligent analysis.