It has become a no-brainer for organisations to jump on the Internet of Things (IoT) bandwagon. With the amount of data flowing between internet-connected devices, it is vital that organisations are able to implement an effective IoT strategy in order to remain competitive. Yet, as companies race to adopt this technology, it is no secret that many IoT projects are struggling to get off the ground.
In fact, research from Cisco highlights that as many as three quarters of all IoT projects are failing. This is primarily because they have been designed to solve individual problems, meaning they become siloed. With Gartner predicting that, by 2020, more than 65 per cent of enterprises will adopt IoT products, it is crucial that businesses stop trying to cram IoT adoption into a short space of time.
The implementation of IoT is a marathon, not a sprint. Businesses ought to be training for the race ahead, learning the best techniques and processes to reach the finish line. Trying to connect everything at once will lead to inevitable project failure. So, what can organisations do to take the lead and win the IoT race?
There are three core principles that businesses must adopt to ensure IoT projects are successful. For most organisations that fail at the first hurdle, it’s usually because they have a ‘single step vision’ for a long-term project. They focus on achieving a predictive maintenance solution whereby they can pre-empt a breakdown or failure, but often fail to recognise that the process itself is part of the success story. The IoT is continually evolving. As organisations gather more data and insights, often they will find that the strategy needs to be adapted to meet changing business needs.
Step #1: Start small and scale fast
Many organisations have tried to take shortcuts, sprinting to pass the finish line as quickly as possible. They are rushing to achieve real-time predictive maintenance, whilst skipping out the necessary preparation and processes. It may sound obvious, but it is crucial to start by taking the time to understand your own environment. This should be a data-driven, educational exercise to understand and analyse the historical information that you currently have access to. This means stepping beyond purely the IT domain and into a more operational environment.
A good example of a company that showcases the benefits of connecting an IoT strategy with a business’s goals is Gardner Denver Air Compressors. The industrial manufacturer chose to start small and scale fast to secure an IoT monitoring solution to its compressor distributors and service partners. This allows it to offer a higher-quality and real-time monitoring solution to its customers. In doing this, the company was able to redefine its relationship with its partners and customers by ensuring equipment downtime was minimised. By taking the time to analyse its data on a single dashboard, the company was able to spot trends and patterns to form customised dashboards. The benefit here is the ability to meet the requirements of customers for new, innovative services for air compressors and other equipment.
Step #2: Understanding the value
Once the data is understood, then, and only then, can businesses begin to understand the value of what they can gain from IoT projects. As businesses move to the second step, they can start reaping the benefits of better time management, gathering information in real-time and receiving alerts to when something has gone wrong.
In the case of The Winora Group, the bike manufacturer implemented IoT to provide digital, connected, smart eBikes to its customers. By connecting the bikes to the IoT platform, Winora is able to see and handle service-relevant information. This means it is able to provide customers with online views of available routes, theft alerts, GPS monitoring and crash detection, with emergency notifications sent to friends and relatives.
By gathering insights in real-time, organisations can analyse data on the go. Step one of the process is to connect the data and provide insights to businesses, to help them understand why something broke down or what patterns their existing data shows. Step two is about driving the IoT project to the next level and looking at the additional analytic capabilities. This helps to build out a framework to move the project from a purely reactive one – to a more predictive one.
Step #3: Moving from processes to successes
Typically, businesses begin to see the return on investment following a six months’ implementation period. They are able to operate in a much more agile and competitive way and provide more relevant products and services to the market.
Data-driven insights can help businesses make more informed decisions for the future. One of the key benefits of IoT is the ability to connect all the data points to achieve a predictive maintenance strategy. This unique capability helps shape the business vision and to provide new opportunities for innovation that align with new customer expectations.
OCTO Telematics is doing just that. The telematics company analyses data from contextual vehicles, location, crash data, and driver behaviour information. It provides insurance and automotive companies the unique ability to develop usage-based insurance policies for drivers. The pay-as-you-drive concept means that each customer receives the appropriate coverage package according to their personal needs. This is a great example of how IoT can be used to deliver notable benefits directly to customers.
Ultimately, too many companies are signing up for the IoT race without the training, pace and dedication to make IoT really work for them. This is because they haven’t implemented the necessary steps to prepare for the big race.
It is important that we stop viewing IoT as a general technology wave by applying an industry lens to look into specific business needs. Avoiding cramming everything into a short space of time is the best way to avoid project failure. To remain competitive in today’s connected landscape, and to win the IoT race – it’s time to align your IoT project to your business goals for maximum business success. Only then, will you be able to implement a successful and long-term IoT project that will enhance the future of your business.
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