As a sales organization, we work with many different companies across the world, helping them getting their devices connected. We have customers in many industries such as; telematics, smart metering, asset tracking/monitoring, security, health care, automotive and so on. Working with such a mix, gives us an opportunity to analyze what companies do with their IoT initiatives in different industries. In this article, we will share what we see is happening in real life based on our own experience.
From products to services
First of all, many companies are talking about IoT and dreaming of getting their business model changed from selling product to selling solutions/services. They want to differentiate their products, get closer to their end customers, better understand how/when/where/why their products are being used. There is a lot of focus on the technology side of IoT and a many of companies are lost when it comes to what type of sensory data to be collected and how this data will be converted into increased revenue & reduced costs.
Just to connect things will not be enough to differentiate yourself from your competition. IoT should always be tied into a commercial goal. What we see in “real life” is that most companies start with solving a simple problem, which is nice – as they start small, but missing the big picture of the potential savings/improvements that could be achieved with that specific IoT solution.
For this reason, let´s divide our seven real life lessons into two categories; technology insights and business insights.
IoT technology lessons
Lesson 1: Well defined processes will save you time
Most of IoT solutions are unique, in a way that companies put a HW/Sensor together with a SW/Platform and connect devices with an SIM card (hopefully). This is a complex ecosystem and needs proper processes to keep these parts work together. So, the very basics of an IoT solution is to make sure different components work together. That your suppliers understand each other and are ready to help you solve issues when you come across them. So finding the right partners and to have a well defined processes, are two important key to make an IoT project success.
Lesson 2: Engage all teams; sales, marketing, product, support etc when setting the technical requirements
Do your homework well before starting with the technique. The technical part of the IoT solution must be built based on stakeholder needs. So, talk to your sales team, product, support and marketing teams to scope the needs right from the beginning. We don’t mean start with the big vision, but at least have a clear understanding of what type of sensory data you need to collect in order to meet your business goals. Then find out which suppliers can deliver those components to meet your requirements.
Lesson 3: Involve more people to share knowledge faster
We also see that organizational competence development has not been performed well enough. This is a big mistake, involve people and let them play with the new solution. Don’t lock down IoT into a small project team. Work with suppliers who can bring you best practices and guidelines based on real life experience, not only power point presentations with big numbers.
Lesson 4: Complex technology requires skills
Technical malfunctions and limitations reduce IoT development speed. IoT solutions are relatively complex. Make sure you have skills internally or hire external skills to make sure your team can manage your IoT solutions. Equally important, your suppliers understand the bigger picture and can help you solve issues. In this respect, Tele2 IoT is very skilled when it comes to connectivity and related services, we help our customers optimize, improve and further develop their IoT solutions. Don’t work with suppliers who is not flexible and skilled enough to help you down the road.
IoT business lessons
Lesson 5: Align with over-all business strategy
Every big consulting & strategy house agree that the future of the business will be based on new offerings and improved internal processes based on connected devices. Most of the future looking companies know this and they start with trials and POCs. It is good that they start small to learn and crawl before they walk. However, most of these initiatives are technology focused and not really well combined with the commercials.
Lesson 6: Where is the money?
There are so many different components to a technical IoT solution and business challenges out there so companies can spend years of investigation to find the “best” technical way forward but how to make money is still a mystery. Most of our customers are quite lost in the commercial side and don’t really figure out a proper business model. At the end of the day, changing from product selling to solution selling is a big step forward and will take some brave/serious efforts from whole organization.
Lesson 7:What to do with the data?
The potential improvement of company offerings, based on sensory data, has not been explored. Companies continue doing business as usual and it is not easy to convert data into actual revenue yet.
First of all, every IoT solution is unique in a way. This requires a custom solution. By working with experienced people, you can learn from others’ mistakes to save years of trial & error and start making money faster out of your IoT initiatives. At Tele2 IoT we even have an evangelist/consulting team to help you run complete business requirements. Maybe a chat with them is a good start?