How to leverage IoT effectively and avoid pitfalls

How to leverage IoT effectively and avoid pitfalls

We’re living in a digital age of connected devices and data sharing. Every facet of our lives is now embedded in a network around us, ready to collect, share and employ data to help us become more efficient.

This Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming ever more popular in business, especially when it comes to manufacturing. But in our experience, there is still some confusion about how to deploy IoT effectively. Which has led to some companies failing to get the value their investment deserves.

Here’s a quick look at where we think they’re going wrong and how you can do better.

“A journey, not a destination”

We’ve all seen that motivational poster hanging around the office somewhere. But when it comes to IoT, the process really is about the journey, not a single specific destination.

Unfortunately, too many people see the deployment of IoT as a project. A one-off event, after which business efficiency has been improved and you can simply carry on as normal. Easy, right?

Yet the truth is that IoT can only be effective if it’s treated as an ongoing transformative process for the entire business. It isn’t designed to improve efficiency just once. It’s designed to keep improving it year after year, using the continuous stream of collected data to help steer strategy, systems, and staff.

Why IoT is an ongoing process

At its core, the value in IoT is in recognising how you can improve customer satisfaction, which in turn will enhance and transform your business. Because of this, it cannot be regarded and deployed as an isolated entity. Your customers will always be there and will always be demanding the best. This means you need to be consistently honing your delivery to meet their expectations.

An effective IoT is there to help you to manage the variety of moving parts in your end-to-end supply chain. It allows you to identify issues with, and improve, each stage in the process—as well as how seamlessly they work together—to enhance overall performance and produce an optimal output.

By seamlessly connecting your devices, applications, systems and smart products, an IoT can help you harvest the right information on an ongoing basis. Giving you a constant pool of data to draw from to generate actionable insights, which can then drive performance at every level. 

Any business that approaches this strategy as a one-off event is therefore missing endless opportunities to improve their performance, products and services in future—thus losing any competitive advantage that IoT would otherwise deliver.

Tips to approaching IoT as a transformative process

To ensure your business has the right mindset for an IoT deployment that delivers real value, here are 3 tips to give you the best chance of success:

  1. Identify your goals—your IoT journey needs a direction. So while there might not be a definitive ‘end result’ to aim for, you should still have a good think about an overall vision. Ask yourself where you can draw value in connecting things? What you can do with the information you get? Do you just want to improve customer satisfaction or is there merit in scoping out areas for revenue generation too? Be sure to revisit this vision and these goals on a regular basis to keep yourself on track or adjust course where needed.
  1. Create a team of IoT champions—being a transformative process, IoT will need a lot of support within the business. It is common for employees to resist change (especially of this cultural magnitude), so you want a team in place who can help champion the cause on a daily basis. The team doesn’t need to consist solely of c-suite management either. The more on-the-floor staff you have on board the better. They should also reflect as many departments as possible, which will help to break down any silos and encourage an attitude of cooperation across the business as you move forward.
  1. Start small—we may all be used to living in a digital world, but the concept of IoT can still take a while for some to get their head around. We suggest picking a relatively easy and self-contained goal for the first deployment, to give everyone an idea of what’s possible. It will also give you the opportunity for an easy win to get the ball rolling. This small step could be as simple as connecting all existing devices in your facility to a single IP network—after which you can shift focus to things like remote monitoring and management, predictive analysis, and predictive maintenance.

 

Quantifying the Business Case for the IoT

Companies today are under tremendous pressure to deliver a higher quality of products and services at lower costs. Any expenditure companies do make is expected to deliver a measurable ROI. For product manufacturers in particular, ROI has traditionally translated to “reduce costs.”

However, cost is just one piece of the ROI equation. The IoT is creating new opportunities for companies to enhance their services, gain business insights, improve processes, and differentiate their offerings. In this ebook, you’ll learn;

  • Metrics for integrating smart, connected product data,
  • Translating product data into value,
  • Connecting data and business process efficiency,
  • Differentiated products that change the customer experience.
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