Note: This blog is intended to be a part of a set of reference materials. It consists of this introductory post with each of the seven sections below linking to another blog that will be released over the coming few weeks.
When you take the time to clearly map it out, an Internet of Things (IoT) solution is generally not that complex to understand. However, as you embark on the journey of selecting the right solution, you need to be very careful especially if you want to build it yourself. This can be a very challenging process and I would urge you to take the decision to do this very carefully.
I’ve built up substantial experience from both the buy and sell side of the IoT, which allows me to share what you must get right to succeed and how to assess solutions.
Buying a commercial IoT solution is most likely a safer and more easily realisable approach, but the problem is that the market is littered with IoT solutions from large number of companies, including a vast number of startups. So most likely you will find a long list of solutions to meet your needs which likely makes it even more confusing to choose.
However, in order to compare apples to apples, the journey I will cover below is something to consider as you work through the process of selecting your preferred IoT solution. As I discussed in my previous post, the first critical step is to have a full digital strategy in place. I consider this essential to making such a success of an IoT transformation.
As you approach IoT solutions vendors to determine which is best for your situation, these are the key areas you need to assess:
- Preparation challenges
- Hardware challenges
- Information challenges
- People challenges
- Implementation challenges
- Solution Maturity / Stability
- Ease of deployment & scalability
- Technical Integration
- Operational challenges
- Service Support & Maintenance
- Multidisciplinary skillsets
- Interoperability & Standards
- Future Proofing challenges
- Adaptability / Evolvability
- Product Roadmap
- Service Model / Affordability
In beginning this journey, don’t let initial excitement about the IoT blind you, nor let your excitement die. The IoT promise is real but the path is full of issues and challenges to manage and overcome. It will, no doubt, get better over time and you may choose to wait longer before beginning. However, it is the pioneers who dared to be early adopters, that tend to be rewarded with ‘first-mover’ advantages.
Around the world, companies of all sizes are using IoT solutions in many creative ways to drive critical tasks, introduce new products, derive whole new levels of services, transform their operations into real-time and predictive models. But it is important to note that it is in our nature to resist change, and some traditional business thinking is stuck in the “if not broken why fix it”. Yet looking around we have enough evidence that the world is changing around us, our business survival cannot stay put and we need to change and evolve to the new digital realities of business in the 21st Century.
I urge you to embrace this change but I equally urge you to not do it lightly. Have your whole organisation understand the value, buy into the journey, be aware and prepared to face the challenges that you will certainly face, knowing that the finish line is worth it for your company, your employees, customers and stakeholders.