The Three Things You Need to Consider when Embarking on an IoT Project
How do you drive forward an IoT project without neglecting your core business? The key lies not in the technology, but the way you work together.
The sensors are inexpensive, IoT software solutions have reached maturity, so why is digital transformation such a stop-go process? Because many companies lack three things: creativity, urgency, and time.
Creativity because decision makers don’t think outside the box; urgency because business is booming and they’re too busy thinking ahead; and time because their IT departments have so many other projects to roll out.
The last of these issues is symptomatic of a more deep-seated challenge: traditional project methods – where one department runs everything – do not work so well with the Internet of Things. It’s time for new forms of collaboration and partnership.
Renegotiating Responsibilities for IoT Projects
Even the best technology will not work without the right skills and processes. It’s all very well having machines churning out terabytes of data, but you still have to analyze this and draw the appropriate conclusions. Digitization isn’t an end in itself: it must be done with specific business processes in mind, which is why your IT department should play a supporting role.
It’s important to bring together IT and business skills. Especially when you’re working with external products and partners, which is usually the case with IoT projects. Pay-Per-Use services come to mind where you are billed for using a machine. Such services also require suppliers and customers to rethink their whole approach to doing business.
Building On Everyone’s Expertise
One key priority for IoT projects is bringing together the right people.
Digital transformation affects your entire business so instead of using traditional project methodology, you’ll need to draw expertise from inside and outside the organization; bringing together a wide variety of skill sets to the same table. IoT basically involves three roles:
- Architects take a bird’s-eye view, talking to decision makers and coming up with creative and feasible ideas in consultation with decision makers. Rather than simply offering specialist advice, they need a can-do outlook and the courage to experiment.
- Process specialists have a clear idea of what makes the organization tick because IT is only as good as the underlying business procedures.
- Hardware experts know the ins and outs of sensors, actuators, logs, and other physical components.
The innovation will work if the experts have identified all the risks and opportunities, but it’s important to demonstrate that it can be implemented and will add value.
Providing Proof of Concept
During the IoT testing phase, many companies set up hived-off innovation labs, using their own staff to come up with pioneering ideas, while others use incubators.
Ideally, the lab will become a breeding ground for new ideas that benefit the parent company. Other companies separate the two by creating their own highly independent specialist business units, which operate far from the standard business. Either way, the labs must exert a direct influence on real processes and add clearly defined value, so proof of concept is a must.
Once the project shows quantifiable benefits, it leaves the lab and is rolled out across the entire organization. As a result, companies attain tangible added value using their IoT project without disrupting existing business processes.
Get Your IoT Project off to a Flying Start with an Innovation Workshop
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