Creating a successful IoT initiative

Nick Sacke, Head of Product and IoT at Comms365, outlines why collaboration is key to creating a well rounded business case for a successful IoT deployment…

Industry analysts are predicting great things for IoT, with statistics from Vodafone stating that the number of IoT adopters around the world has more than doubled since 2013, clearly demonstrating that the business case for IoT deployments is gaining momentum.

However, a bleaker picture of the market is provided in the statistics from Cisco’s IoT deployment survey, stating that 60% of IoT initiatives stall at the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage. A PoC is a crucial component of an IoT deployment as it provides the foundations for the fundamental design of the project, as well as the business goals it will address and how soon that deployment will provide a return on investment. It’s also a fundamental factor in ensuring that the project can be rolled out fully beyond the pilot stage, so it’s imperative that multiple factors are considered at the PoC stage, to ensure the project does not prematurely stall.

Business objectives

Whilst it’s true that IoT can address multiple core business objectives, including enhanced business insight and efficiency, it is not a miracle technology that will provide business benefits
in isolation.

Collaboration is key to creating a well rounded business case for a successful IoT deployment. By gaining consensus for the project across all departments, stakeholders across the business  can buy into the project from day one, alleviating any potential negative cultural elements such as internal competition, envy and distrust between departments. Combined with an appropriately planned and executed PoC, this will maximise confidence in the project from the start, and also ensure that the business does not experience the negative ‘silo’ effect of a deployment.

The role of the channel

Of course, the sheer logistics of implementing and supporting IoT projects may be daunting for any organisation. There are numerous aspects involved in a full end-to-end IoT deployment including devices, network access, security, applications and data analytics – to name a few – all of which provide opportunities to generate new revenue streams and positively impact the relationship with the end-user.

IoT security is a key area where CSPs and resellers can diversify their offering by upskilling and offering solutions to protect the networks and the substantial volumes of data being created as the result of an IoT deployment. In particular, security is a sensitive topic for businesses of all sizes, so by reassuring companies that their data can be fully protected, this will go a long way to put them at ease and feel confident about proceeding with an IoT initiative.

However, in order to appropriately monetise areas such as security, CSPs and resellers must ensure that they invest in training and skill developments, as well as partnerships to become experts in these areas. Only then will they be able to offer a complete end-to-end IoT service solution.

Making the business case

In order to identify the objectives that are to be achieved from the project, the business challenges for the end-user customer must first be pinpointed, so they can be measured during the PoC and throughout the project. By working towards specific outcomes, such as optimisation and realignment of business processes, employee wellbeing and cost savings – data gathered by the IoT solutions platform – can be analysed, converted into insight and validated in the PoC phase. This offers the opportunity to dynamically ‘tune’ the solution structure, and focus to ensure tighter alignment with business case outcomes.

With defined parameters in place that can be analysed, the IoT business and use cases can be expanded further as more quantifiable IoT data is delivered for analysis and insight. By encouraging regular sharing of this insight amongst stakeholders, the focus towards common goals is maintained, and each stakeholder has continued visibility and involvement in how the solution is impacting the business. This collaborative process lays the foundations for a stronger commercial case to expand the deployment of IoT in the business.

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