3 Ways to Champion IoT and Build a Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Your Industry

IoT is growing year over year but there’s still a long journey ahead of us to the forecast trillions of connected devices and billions of new dollars resulting from the Internet of Things.
Many understand the benefits of a more connected production line or operating room, but few have managed to implement these technologies at scale with the success businesses expect from investments in IT related projects, for example. This leaves a number of industry players skeptical in their willingness to embrace IoT with open arms. But the alternative: waiting for the technology to mature, security to improve, or the number of documented successes to grow – could result in far greater consequences in the long-term.
Those who will benefit most from the IoT have recognized its essential role in the evolution of their business and started investing in it already.
A wise man once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Treat IoT as it should be, as the author of that quote Warren Buffet would: an investment for the future.
If your business has not yet started an IoT project, then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are the steps we recommend you follow to plant the seeds of your digital transformation, champion IoT, and build a sustainable competitive advantage for your company:

Table of contents:

1. Execute successful pilot projects

Your first IoT project should focus on being successful rather than groundbreaking. Which means starting small.
Choose a project that you can achieve within a reasonable time and budget that will demonstrate the clear value for your business. A small win demonstrates potential, builds a case for other departments and board members, and provides crucial momentum.
Yet most companies do not have the knowledge or resources to do this alone. Building a dedicated IoT team prior to attempting a pilot project is frankly a waste time and resources in most cases. Don’t worry, there are hundreds of IoT solution providers that offer a varying range of services and expertise. There’s one out there for you, too.
Find the right partner to work with. One who is specialized in building and deploying IoT projects in your field. The right partner will work with you to succeed in steps 1-3; to identify areas in your business that can benefit from IoT; to jointly create and execute your business goals.
But don’t be fooled: no single organization can do it all. IoT is complex. The range of software applications, IT infrastructures, WiFi networks and other workflow systems in use at your average company is numerous. Therefore, the right partner should have a strong ecosystem of business and technology partners and can demonstrate experience and consistency throughout a variety of use cases and deployments.

Looking for an IoT partner who will make your IoT solution as easy as consumer applications? Contact us and let’s discuss how can help you become a champion.

Select the right technology. Another characteristic of the right partner is their knowledge of the technology stack to achieve your set business goals. There are many technologies and protocols being used in the IoT today so it may seem difficult to determine which is best-suited for the present and the future. Do your research and discuss with your partner on which is right for you.
[Read: Integrating WiFi and BLE to Drive Rapid IoT Growth]
We recommend choosing technologies that are open, not proprietary; cost-effective at scale and able to integrate easily with your existing infrastructure. Deploying an IoT solution with minimal complexity is intrinsic to its long-term success.
Focus on business outcomes. Achieving a healthy return-on-investment (ROI) in your IoT initiatives is what will propel your organization quickly and successfully forward. It will help win the support of your organization, validate your projects, and create additional shareholder value.
Make sure you have considered the following checklist prior to your pilot:
– ROI calculated, business outcomes defined
– Success metrics defined
– Infrastructure audit (technical feasibility check) conducted
– Timeline defined

2. Develop an IoT strategy

A digital strategy will be the guide for your organization to create value from the IoT. It will act as a roadmap for enhancing your business today with connected technologies, and transforming it in the future as these connected technologies uncover new business models.
Approach IoT as something your business will grow and evolve with overtime. How can you create a unique advantage that your competitors can’t? Many industries will soon see an IoT strategy as synonymous with their core business strategy. You should too.
When planning your strategy, consider participation from all relevant stakeholders, particularly those in areas of digital focus, to be important. Surprisingly, this has been a challenge for many different companies. In a recent article, we examined the Supply Chain Paradox according to Deloitte to highlight where many businesses have gone wrong in planning strategic digital projects:
“The Supply Chain Paradox is based on the fact that in 2019, Supply Chain is a top priority for digital investment and innovation, yet is not seen as an area capable of driving that innovation nor worthy of participation from the CSCO [Chief Supply Chain Officer] in the discussion of how the budget should be spent.
According to the survey, “Only 22 percent of the overall respondents said that the CSCO was either a key decision-maker or highly involved in the decision-making process.””
What this paradox illustrates is an interesting phenomenon that seems altogether too obvious yet easily overlooked. A well-informed strategy should be created in coordination with the stakeholders most affected by the changes.
How do you determine which areas are worth investing in?
The right partner and the initial pilot project will help determine where IoT can deliver the most value for your business.

3. Communicate your success

It is essential that relevant internal and external audiences understand the changes your business is undergoing. From shareholders to employees, partners to customers, each party needs to be informed how your business and their relationship to it will be impacted. And each requires a different approach for communicating this successfully.
This is a great overview for communicating with different stakeholders connected to your business. Each stakeholder is in need of a slightly different approach but all benefit from clear, timely communication that takes into consideration how the changes will affect them.
By executing successful pilots and developing an IoT strategy, you have become a leader in your industry. Be a leader in your communications too.
Even though IoT may seem to move gradually, 2019 will see further advances in the IoT stack, more companies will begin their digital transformation, and competition will power on. Following these steps, begin your pilot project now and in a matter of months, with the help of the right partner, strategy and communication, your business will accelerate ahead to harvest the early and sustained rewards of the IoT.

Ready to join IoT champions? Contact our team and schedule a demo.