DevOps has given your business a solid grasp on core applications. IT is back on track to support and innovate without being at odds with itself. The technology infrastructure is robust and ready for growth. Everything is as it should be.
Then, along comes Internet of Things (IoT) applications, ready to disrupt the technology harmony your team has fought so hard to establish. Bandwidth overload, security holes, uncontrolled connections and masses of incongruous data may cripple your business if Internet of Things applications take over.
The Internet of Things is not the Wild West
As with the advent of any new technology, the IoT has critics and fear mongers. There are also those who will claim it solves everything. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. The IoT will bring a new level of visibility to what has previously been inanimate, and with this comes a vast increase in data. To make sense of all this data, companies may need to add processing power.
However, the IoT produces different data than the artifact and process data currently under management. Depending on exactly where the IoT applications are deployed, the data may end up being transitory and disposable. Inventory location data for each individual item is valuable when managing inventory flow logistics, but the same data is unlikely to have business value once the item is consumed, particularly for commodity items.
Another likely scenario is distributed processing and data aggregation. Internet of Things applications based on networks of sensors don't need each and every data point when wide areas are sensing identically. It is the outliers, anomalies and transitions that add value. All others are able to report as a single data point.
DevOps filters the hype
If IT is integrated into the DevOps team, the business will be able to weather the waves of technology change. The premise is that DevOps takes a business sustainment view when evaluating new technology and puts an appropriate filter on any adoption. Will the IoT applications serve the business needs or create value? Can the current infrastructure and architecture support the demands of the new technology? In the same way, current operations should be questioned to ensure they can support future opportunities. By building capabilities as a measured investment in the present, companies can avoid forced decisions and risky timelines in the future. Standardizing your landscape on a simpler in-memory platform such as SAP HANA could be one example of an investment into the present for a future in IoT.
The IoT will present businesses with increased visibility and presence in new places through connected objects, but not all businesses will find value in those places. DevOps teams will be well-placed to understand the business, the technology and the opportunity.
Jason Hannula is a seasoned IT business analyst who has worked with various agencies to deliver transformation projects that improve business processes and data usage. He has also been writing about the impacts of emergent technologies and trends on businesses for since 2013.