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Lexmark 2022 Predictions: Companies Can't Operate Like an IT Science Fair

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Companies Can't Operate Like an IT Science Fair

By Demetrios Karathanasis, Global Portfolio Director, Optra IoT Platform, Lexmark International

The high school science fair was always a breeding ground for new ideas and experiments, but many of them moved no further than receiving a certificate of achievement or a shiny blue ribbon.

The same could be said about companies experimenting with their own IoT solutions. With the science fair approach, different teams run various exploratory projects (proofs-of-concept, proofs-of-value) and experiment with technologies to see whether anything interesting emerges. There's nothing inherently wrong with this exercise - aside from expending time, money and energy. But it leaves the last mile unfulfilled - operationalization and monetization.

With the ongoing pandemic and supply chain issues affecting industries globally, corporate leaders are hard pressed to develop new solutions and processes that will streamline their existing businesses - preparing and insulating them from the next momentary crisis. In fact, efforts to streamline and embrace the "digital transformation" that is shaking up the world are often put under a microscope by everyone from employees to customers and corporate boards. But there is not a specific formula for success because every organization's journey toward that realization is always different and there isn't always the capacity, time or skills to get to the promise land.

For organizations to survive - or better yet, thrive - they must:

Make business outcomes the primary focus

Over the past two years, companies made decisions based on what was going on to keep them afloat in the near term. Bogged down with managing IT infrastructure, they ran out of time and resources to take advantage of emerging technologies designed for fast-paced transformation. Heading into 2022, companies will start to play the long game again: What can we invest in that will benefit revenue margins, facilitate a healthy culture and put us ahead of the competition? And, as companies embrace new technologies, they will begin to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT). With more opportunities to leverage IoT and data analytics, companies will achieve their desired business outcomes - think predictive analytics, asset optimization, systemic innovation and as-a-service engagements - by addressing operational inefficiency at scale, reducing costs and developing new areas of growth. You can't succeed if you don't begin with the end in mind.

Avoid doing tech for tech's sake 

Instead of pursuing siloed solutions, successful companies must realize the benefits of a comprehensive digital environment - one that leverages cloud computing to connect, store and extract actionable data from devices and the operating environment; embraces 5G and other connecting innovations to share data from devices at the edge in near real-time; and integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to more easily analyze data and enable intelligent decisions.

Building a holistic ecosystem can be difficult. Sometimes, companies get so caught up in the technical solution that they lose sight of the outcomes and the reasons they embarked on the project in the first place. Some companies even forget about outcomes altogether and take a "build it and they will come" approach, which is a recipe for failure.

Think holistically

The pandemic has changed how people work, and it has arguably shifted the relationship between employers and employees. Organizations sometimes forget people, and processes are just as much a factor in successful business outcomes as the technology. With the current labor shortage, it's critical for employers to figure out new ways to attract and retain the best possible talent pool. Companies destined for success will leverage innovation, IoT and automation to elevate the work people do and help attract potential hires to the organization.

An IoT solution represents a holistic solution that must receive buy-in from across the company. Everyone from the top down must be involved in the various facets, including deployment, adoption and results. It cannot exist as a one-dimensional project led solely by IT. The business outcomes and value need to be quantified in ways that makes it obvious in terms of "what's in it" for the customer, IT, and the functional business areas.

To thrive in 2022 and beyond, companies must invest their resources in proven solutions, rather than in an experimental IoT science fair. Lexmark internally deployed its Optra IoT Platform and realized significant benefits, including win-win scenarios for Lexmark and its customers. The result was a proven, battle tested IoT solution from a manufacturer mature in their digital journey. Now, other companies also can unleash the power of the Optra IoT Platform, which will undoubtedly lead to both successful and sustainable business outcomes.



Demetrios Karathanasis 

Demetrios Karathanasis is global portfolio director for the Optra IoT Platform at Lexmark International. In that role, he brings to market the company's latest offering in IoT. He joined Lexmark in 2002 and has previously held a variety roles in sales, strategy and service operations. Karathanasis has extensive experience in designing and overseeing Lexmark's Managed Print Services (MPS) for large global companies in manufacturing, finance, retail, and healthcare. Karathanasis holds a bachelor's degree in finance and management, as well as an MBA in finance from the University of Kentucky.

Published Thursday, January 27, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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