As businesses pursue digital initiatives, I&O execs must assist their line-of-business colleagues with addressing software, security, data, and business analytics integration complexity associated with deploying these IoT solutions.

Digital opportunities to use IoT include:

Building connected products.

Product manufacturers are creating smart, connected products to differentiate their offerings and generate new revenue streams as well as ecosystems for other partners to participate in and create their own value.

Transforming operational processes.

Businesses across many vertical markets are using IoT-enabled use cases to transform supply chain processes, enhance inventory management and operational processes, and track and monitor asset performance.

To deliver differentiated connected products or transform business processes, IT decision makers face a fragmented set of network technologies, hardware, protocols, software, applications, and analytics solutions. IoT software platforms help simplify deploying, managing, operating, and capturing insights from IoT-enabled connected products and assets.

The IoT vendor landscape is crowded, with a wide variety of vendors, telcos, service providers, and systems integrators. In the report, The Forrester Wave: IoT Software Platforms, Q4 2016, we evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of key IoT software platform vendors against 25 criteria addressing current offering, strategy, and market presence capabilities.

Specifically we evaluated the following 11 vendors: Amazon Web Services, Ayla Networks, Cisco Jasper, Exosite, General Electric, IBM, LogMeIn, Microsoft, PTC, SAP, and Zebra Technologies. These vendors deliver their solutions through different delivery models and pricing structures.

Forrester’s research uncovered a market in which IBM, PTC, GE, and Microsoft lead the pack. AWS, SAP, and Cisco Jasper offer competitive options. LogMeIn, Ayla Networks, Exosite, and Zebra Technologies lag behind.

(About the author: Michele Pelino is a principal analyst at Forrester Research serving infrastructure and operational professionals. This post originally appeared on her Forrester blog, which can be viewed here)

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