How to Make Your IoT Strategy Work
Internet of Things (IoT) is all set to transform the way we live and work. Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, 20 billion IoT devices will thrive, and $300 billion+ in revenue will be generated. IoT is about making entire umbrella networks work for the business- with the help of sensors, data, cloud, analytics, machine learning and will converge many of the emerging technologies. Disruption is the word that defines the potential of IoT, yet how do you, as a business, embark on this path of disruption? It all boils down to having a correct IoT strategy defined, and implemented to the core. Here’s what you need to consider to build that inevitable IoT strategy.
John Rossman, author of “The Amazon Way on IoT: 10 Principles for Every Leader from the World’s Leading Internet of Things Strategies.” Was a part of the launch team of Amazon’s IoT business. Based on the methods and approach followed, he put forth some principles for IoT adopters to refer to. He recommends a three-pronged approach for the IoT journey — (1) building the technology components (2) Identifying the use case suitable for business and (3) transforming the business model.
- Obsess over customer experiences: Connected devices should focus on solving the customer’s problems. Improvizations in the customer experience should be enough reason to proceed with and investment in an IoT project. On the way, you will figure out a way to monetize it. In the true sense, Rossman recommends being “obsessed” with customer experience as the mantra to crack IoT.
- Create seamless experiences across platforms and channels: In a connected world, customer communication happens through a variety of platforms and devices. It is important to deliver an “Omni channel experience” to the customer, and for this data flow systems and processes must be strong and reliable. For example, if a smart device malfunctions, information about the issue must flow to the customer service center proactively, and they should contact the user proposing a solution.
- Continuous improvement is key: Connected is all about continuity — continuous flow of data, continuous action, and continuous decisions on what to do. This era of connectedness aids visibility to process flaws or to data lapses, thereby allowing you to enable better and proactive process improvement.
- Data is not enough, do your math: Having hordes of conventional and unconventional data is not enough in itself, it is important to gain useful insights from that data. Apply the latest of models, analytics and algorithms and get the insights you need, these will help you take accurate business decisions. Harness the operational data to know what’s really going on in the organization.
- Think big, start small: Have a big vision for your IoT-led business, but launch this vision in discernible small pockets. IoT is not a quick gain, but a journey with a long haul. Invest in agile, low-risk projects, experiment on a small scale and find out what suits your business model the best. De-risk and then scale up.
- Become a platform company: The age of the platform company is here and happening. This means you need to figure out ways on how other companies will leverage your IoT networks and resources. This platform-as-a-service model holds a promising future, as more and more companies try to make themselves IoT-friendly. Tap into this opportunity, see how you can provide the right platforms to make this happen for others.
- Facilitate outcome-based business models: The world of IoT goes beyond selling mere product and services, it involves selling outcomes. This means, that you get customers to pay for the results of a product and service, rather than usage. Thus, more responsibility ensues on the provider, who takes on more ownership for the efficiency and effectiveness of the solution provided. This can be made possible in the form of a self-monitoring service, or a subscription service.
- Find a path between monetizing data and protecting privacy: Data may not just remain an input for a decision, but become a valuable resource in itself. The future will see companies packaging IoT data and selling it. This will be the new way of monetizing data. A case in point is the fact that financial trading companies are buying cargo ship data, such as port arrivals and departures.
- Explore new products and services: IoT even though in a nascent stage, is ever evolving. One must don the innovation hat and think beyond the obvious, in terms of products and service offerings. The way to do it is enter one area of the value chain, and then collaborate to devise an end-to-end integrated solution. At the end of the day, customers want integrated solutions. With this approach, it is possible to disrupt the value chain.
- Build a flywheel for your IoT strategy: Jim Collins’ management book, “Good to Great” talks about business as a flywheel, wherein it is important for a business leader to identify the area of most momentum and driving growth in accordance. IoT is not only a different system and model, but a whole new set of dynamics. Identify the opportunities that move this flywheel, while analysing the threats that may stop it.
These are the basic principles that go into making an IoT strategy, and the potential to do bigger and better in business lies in making the most of these IoT principles. After all, the future lies in IoT.
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