Companies worldwide can see the promised benefits of IoT, but most are yet to realise how the technology can change their business.
In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by SAP, decision-makers said they see the IoT as a means for operational efficiency.
The study, entitled "The Internet of Things Has the Potential to Connect and Transform Businesses," found that despite this awareness most companies have not experienced the potential of IoT solutions, including early adopters, to transform their business models
83% of the companies surveyed said that to "improve the experience of our customers" is of critical or high priority, with 71% of respondents rating the advancement of data and analytics to make better business decisions as critical or of high priority for the next 12 months.
Dr Mark Darbyshire, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP UKI, told CBR: "In many ways the IoT is already a reality. We are connected to other people, places, objects and organisations in new ways that are transforming the way we interact with the world around us.
"For C-suite executives, this means they must quickly build an understanding of the impact IoT has on their business and more importantly on their customers’ businesses."
The survey has also found that 75% of companies are dealing with IoT fragmentation among three or more executive sponsors, with most organisations yet to define clear ownership of the IoT life cycle.
Most business leaders said they see greater operational efficiencies as the strongest benefit of IoT, while fewer are only just beginning to imagine new business models.
31% of these executives said they see IoT as an enabler for new products, with the majority of them envisioning new service offerings.
Darbyshire added: "IoT implementations require changes that are deeper than simply investing in the technology. They require new operational structures, new skills and new models to drive real value and explore fresh revenue streams.
"To take advantage of these opportunities, it is vital that C-suite executives have the ability to see ‘one source of the truth’. A scalable in-cloud database that includes streaming capabilities will enable this."
The Chief Technology Advisor added that for business leaders it is perhaps more important that they are prepared to act on the new opportunities that data scientists, developers and analysts unearth.
These opportunities are "sometimes hard to predict" but what is certain is that they will require agility and a willingness to use the data in a meaningful way for their business.
Steve Lucas, president of platform solutions at SAP, said: "The Internet of Things allows companies to transform into digital enterprises, create previously unimaginable operational efficiencies and digital experiences for customers."