IoT driving number of intelligent enterprises to 61% in Zebra 2019 survey

Zebra Technologies, announced the results of 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 analyses 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. Their Intelligent Enterprise Index scores are calculated using 11 criteria that include Internet of Things vision, adoption, data management, intelligent analysis and more.

Based on these criteria and driven by an overwhelming pressure to improve the customer experience, retail organisations 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 has also risen year over year. 17% of organisations with at least 250 employees crossed this threshold in 2019 versus only 11% in 2018. Interestingly, 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,” said Drew Ehlers, Global Futurist, Zebra Technologies. “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 will likely see a surge in investments over the next few years.”

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 organisations. It is also a +9-point gain from 2017, the first year the Index was conducted. With an increase of over 9 points since 2018 alone, EMEA had the greatest increase in intelligence across the regions this year.

Continued growth in IoT solutions and other data-driven technology platform investments.

In 2019, the average global enterprise spend was $6.4 million, representing a 39% year-over-year increase. Eighty-six 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+%. Seventy-seven 77% of EMEA enterprises expect to increase their IoT and mobility investment in the next 1-2 years.

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. Forty-five 45% of EMEA respondents are currently implementing their IoT solutions on a company-wide level. This represents a 6-percentage point gain year-over-year. When including those expecting to soon be moving toward a company-wide deployment, the figure rises to 66%.

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. 62% of EMEA enterprises are now constantly monitoring their IoT security to ensure system integrity and data privacy, compared to 48% in 2018. That is 14-percentage point gain year-over-year.

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. 43% of EMEA respondents indicate they rely on a single strategic partner to manage their IoT solutions which is a 10-percentage point gain year-over-year.

Surveyed SMBs score higher on the Index 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 from August to September 2019 across the healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation and logistics industries.

In total, 950 IT decision makers from nine countries were interviewed, including the US, UK, Great Britain, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, China, India, and Japan. Each of their organisations 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.

Eleven 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.

The criteria were identified by executives, industry experts and policymakers across different industries at the 2016 Strategic Innovation Symposium: The Intelligent Enterprise, hosted by Zebra in collaboration with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard TECH.

The framework of an Intelligent Enterprise is based on technology solutions that integrate cloud computing, mobility, and the Internet of Things IoT to automatically sense information from enterprise assets. Operational data from these assets, including status, location, utilisation, or preferences, is then analysed to provide actionable insights, which can then be mobilised to the right person at the right time so they can be acted upon to drive better, more timely decisions by users anywhere, at any time.

Drew Ehlers, Global Futurist, Zebra Technologies.