Not a day goes by without an article or blog outlining the technology stack and security requirements for enterprise IoT solutions. During hypercycles like this, the immaturity of the technology and the general lack of knowledge definitely requires education and even evangelism.
However, continued reporting of high project failure rates should raise significant concerns. There are three foundational elements which seem to be consistently ignored in social media, popular and industry press, and most importantly, from IIoT projects themselves:
- A clear understanding of the customer (value proposition, lifecycle management, etc.)
- Organizational and process alignment to support these new offerings
- The delivery of sustainable, valuabl,e and measurable outcomes (not just information)
1. The Customer
Previously, I have been on my soapbox trumpeting about the importance of the customer as the starting point for IIoT projects.
This means starting with a clear understanding of the following:
- Who: target segments and buyer/user personas
- What: solution, business model and value proposition
- Where: new or existing channels
- How: deployment, on-boarding, training, support, and billing
- Why: measuring success for you and your customers
Per my earlier blog on this topic, this provides the foundation for targeted segmentation, more engaging customer experiences, higher customer lifetime value and more valued customer outcomes.
2. Organizational Alignment
Because the buyer and user of your new products are going to be different than legacy products, it makes logical sense that your existing sales, support, operations, and other teams are likely not the best suited to deliver your new digital initiatives.
Accordingly, your customer analysis from above should drive the requirements for the:
- People: not individuals or title but rather skills and expertise
- Processes: changes, enhancements, additions and subtractions to existing ones
- Systems: driven by the information requirements
- Technology: additions to your IT/OT infrastructure
Per my earlier post, this does not mean fire everyone and build all new systems. It means you must establish a target organizational end-state and a roadmap. Start with a minimum viable organization (MVO) to get started and make course corrections as needed.
Access to information, even information that was not previously available, that does not result in specific customer outcomes will severely diminish the value of connected devices, equipment, and vehicles.
Be sure that valuable and measurable outcomes are not only delivered to your customers, but also to your employees, your company, and your partners.
- Employees need to know what’s in it for them and how they will be measured.
- Companies should have quantitative measures of what it means to be successful.
- Customers should have clear outcomes with measurable value.
- Partners should have identifiable and tangible benefits which can also be measured.
IIoT’s Great Promise Is Within Your Grasp
I am all in on IIoT.
I believe, like some others, that it will be one of the most transformative technologies ever.
However, if you try to shortcut the process, precious time and money will be lost, and employees, business partners, and customers will become disillusioned.
- Keep up the education.
- Make sure the technology is robust, secure, reliable and manageable.
- Start with a clear target customer and value proposition.
- Have plan to ensure organizational alignment.
- Deliver valuable and measurable outcomes.