The Internet of Things (IoT) presents profound opportunity, but at the same time potential threat, to businesses across all industries, so it is essential to prepare for the change.
As organisations in Australia and internationally attempt to exploit the capability IoT provides, industry disruption will occur in unprecedented ways. Market dynamics will change as competitors utilise IoT and customers adapt to new IoT-enabled services and products.
No industry will be immune from IoT, with manufacturing, automotive, energy, telecommunications, retail, banking and insurance, transportation and agriculture industries all facing change. As businesses commence their IoT journey, here are a set of principles to consider to help capitalise the opportunity, whilst keeping risk manageable.
1. Define the business problem
Clearly define why you are looking to utilise the IoT. What’s the business problem to be solved and the benefit sought – in terms of cost reduction, customer experience, quality, productivity, growth, improving products or risk reduction? Define a clear problem statement, use cases, value statement and success criterion.
2. Collaborate to create value
IoT’s power is when talking, sharing and connecting happens. From devices to people, processes and data – the richer the sharing, the wider the span, and the more benefit that will be achieved. Open standards and interoperability play a critical role, reducing cost and improving success. Know which ones exist and apply to you.
3. Re-think skills and culture
IoT will disrupt the way your business operates. New experiences, new processes and new products will emerge. Don’t assume your current team has the all skills or mind set to work optimally in this new environment without extra training. A balanced mix of creative, analytic, data, technical and business process skills will be critical – with the ability to span silos and functions.
Apply the adage ‘think big, start small’. Develop a richer understanding of IoT benefits and risks for your business through testing and learning solutions. Assess successes and failures. Measure the value and degree of disruption. Run gradually bigger experiments as you learn – building stronger capabilities.
5. Know the risks and rules
With value comes risk. IoT will likely take your business places it’s never been. Understand any regulations or risks associated with your initiative. Security, privacy, safety are important (but are not the only things) to consider. Ensure you are thinking across customers, employees, assets, partners and all other stakeholders.
6. Establish your ecosystem
IoT requires a connected ecosystem of ‘components’ to deliver value. Your solution won’t rely on one vendor or product, but many working together. With your problem in mind, create a clear view of who your partners need to be in each area, and how you want them to work with each other.