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Preparing For ‘The Internet Of Everything’

Preparing For ‘The Internet Of Everything’

Tarek Ghoul, general manager for the Gulf, Pakistan and Levant at Cisco, says the internet can improve the lives of everyone on the planet.

There are phenomenal opportunities to be created for businesses and individuals in the Middle East as we enter into the era of the Internet of Everything (IoE); where the Internet has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of everyone on our planet.

At Cisco, we define IoE as bringing together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunities for businesses, individuals and even countries.

The role of IT within organisations in the Middle East will continue to evolve as IoE gathers pace, giving CIOs, IT Directors and business leaders ever more opportunity to influence the strategic direction of the business.

The value to be gained through the Internet of Everything will ensure a place for IT strategy within the boardroom, presenting a new level of opportunity for technology leadership.

IT will be in the spotlight to enable actionable information, build new connections and open new revenue streams. CIOs are well placed to facilitate the necessary business conversations on what outputs the business requires from IT.

As the network extends into every aspect of decision making, operational IT teams will be able to make new connections across business units within the organisation, but also beyond the network perimeter, connecting with partners, customers and throughout the supply chain.

With the proliferation of connected devices, people and processes, we can also expect to see a shift towards operational technologies, and an amalgamation of IT and operational technology in some organisations.

This is already happening where IT Directors are taking on more responsibilities informed by their knowledge of IT governance, technology innovation and creating process efficiencies across business units and departments.

This shift in responsibility will map to the autonomous nature of today’s networks, and with IoE on the horizon, we can expect to see new roles emerge as the importance of IT operations rises.

Interconnection

Creating this interconnected environment is not the end goal however, when realising the value of IoE. Connecting a greater number of devices and people does not automatically create business value without the interconnection of business-aligned processes and the ability to synthesise critical data.

Connectedness in isolation is the equivalent of IT departments being asked to run ‘Big Data’ applications without a clear idea of what outputs would be valuable to the business – information for its own sake has no value.

There are two key areas where business leaders must take the role of driving the transition of culture and collaboration in order for their enterprises to deliver on the value of IoE.

The first is understanding from business governance what the outcomes need to be. The second area is to remove operational barriers for delivering the scalable IT strategies that enable IoE.

The next-generation CIO has the greatest opportunity yet to claim ownership of all business computing systems, relying on an expert operational technology team supporting all of the connected devices, processes, people and things.

IoE will spawn many new careers and jobs as it evolves, focused more on the concept of ‘business technology’, where the roles of the CIO and CTO merge to enable people to strategize around how data from IoE-connected devices can be used to create disruptive innovation and competitive advantage.

Today’s technologies however already have the intelligence to deliver the business value of IoE and research certainly indicates that first-mover businesses will realise the greatest rewards.

Clearly there is a need for strategic vision and a view of the whole organisation for business leaders and CIOs to successfully maximise the business value from IoE. The technology available already has the answers; the next step for IT is to ask the right questions of the business.

IoE is ultimately a revenue-generating opportunity for businesses throughout the Middle East and will create new jobs, products and services, as well as markets and new types of customer experiences.

Through IoE, enterprises will be able to capture new value created from technology innovation in a whole range of functional business areas.

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