IoT is undoubtedly one of the most important technologies of the current time. According to IDC, investment in IoT is expected to top $1 trillion by 2020. Moreover, Gartner predicts that there will be 20 billion IoT-ready products (excluding PCs, smartphones) in service by 2020.
Enterprises are looking forward to implementing IoT applications and utilizing its potential in order to stay competitive. According to a report published by Forbes, almost two-thirds of companies believe that IoT is important to their current business, and over 90% believe it will be important to the future of their business. Despite these amazing trends and projections, a large percentage of IoT initiatives fail. One of the major reasons behind the failure is that enterprises embark on their IoT journey without doing the required groundwork.
Here are five pragmatic steps that your business should consider before getting started with IoT:
Enterprises must layout a clear vision of what they want to accomplish using IoT. With a consistent vision, it becomes easy to focus the efforts in a specific direction, define the purpose, plan activities and create long-term value. Moreover, it serves as a guiding principle to help the teams when roles, business models and strategies change through the course of time.
Adopting and implementing IoT require companies to revise the ways in which they operate, spend, make decisions and train their personnel. Moreover, there are changes in infrastructure and management structure as well. Therefore, it becomes important to get approval from top executives as they are better equipped to tackle these organizational challenges. According to a Cisco study, around 71% of the surveyed organizations believe that executive buy-in is necessary to pursue IoT initiatives.
When pitching to your upper management, describe the ways in which your organization can benefit by implementing IoT. Try to break down the opportunities into smaller chunks and explain to them how the company can create value in the short run. Also, share your vision for IoT and describe how it aligns with the specific vision of your enterprise.
Identify the areas within your business chain where IoT applications can prove to be most beneficial. This includes selecting the use cases that can provide the greatest value and at the same time connect to the overall strategy of your company. While prioritizing these use cases, it is important to keep capabilities as well as limitations of IoT in mind.
Another important part of the process is to take suggestions from both technical and business teams. This helps in finding the most compelling use cases. IoT may seem to be a technical concept, but its use for your organization must always be business focused. Therefore having a business approach in mind during the selection is beneficial.
The next step is to evaluate the readiness of your organization to implement an IoT strategy. This includes assessing infrastructure, security policies, data sources, team skill set, company’s culture and other such important factors. The results concluded from assessment helps to identify the gaps that you need to work upon before implementing any IoT projects.
It is also important to benchmark your IoT readiness with your industry peers. You can make comparisons on the basis of critical success factors of IoT along various dimensions like size, geography, turnover and year of establishment. These comparisons enable enterprises to identify opportunities for improving their IoT readiness level.
IoT deployment is like building a house. When architects, engineers, contractors, masons and other professionals come together only then, the house can be built. You simply can’t do it all by yourself. Similarly, when planning to implement IoT, enterprises should avoid trying to do everything by themselves. A better option is to select the right partner that helps you in the process. This eliminates the complexity of implementation and ensures a smoother operation.
The success of your IoT effort depends a lot on the solution provider that you choose. This makes the selection of the right IoT platform provider a crucial task. During the selection, keep in mind factors like data security, authentication, scalability, user experience, device management, and ease of use. Also, check if the company is capable of delivering end-to-end solutions and customizing them when needed.
Consider all the above mentioned steps before starting IoT, as it will equip you to handle the hassle that comes along with it. Just remember, implementing IoT or any new technology is never easy, but when you prepare well, you have already won half the battle.
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