It’s a marathon, not a sprint: How to successfully cross the IoT finish line

Anthony Sayers of Software AG.

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, warns Anthony Sayers, Internet of Things evangelist at Software AG.

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% of enterprises will adopt IoT products, it is crucial that businesses stop trying to cram IoT adoption into a short space of time.

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. As organisations gather more data and insights, often they will find that the strategy needs to be adapted to meet changing business needs.

Stage one: Don’t bite off more than you can chew

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 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 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.

Stage two: Where is the value?

Once the data is understood, then, and only then, can businesses begin to see 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 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.

Stage three: From process to success

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. OCTO Telematics is doing just that. The telematics company analyses contextual data from vehicles, location, crash data, and driver behaviour information.

It provides insurance and automotive companies with 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.

Overtaking the competition

Ultimately, organisations need to stop viewing IoT as a general technology issue by looking at the business needs via an industry lens. The best way to avoid project failure is to take your time. If you want to cross the finish line and win the IoT race, you need to align your IoT project with the long-term goals of the business. Then, and only then, can your business reap the benefits of long term IoT success.

The author of this blog is Anthony Sayers, Internet of Things evangelist at Software AG.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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