How To Develop a Comprehensive Enterprise IoT Strategy
by Josh Simi, on August 17, 2015
The ability to connect, remotely manage, and monitor networked devices via the internet, known as the “Internet of Things” has created one of the biggest threats and opportunities for product manufactures in recent memory.
However, building an IoT solution is complicated. Sensors, short-range RF networks, gateways, security concerns, web services, information technology (IT) maintenance and monitoring, web and mobile application development, and enterprise integration are all parts of the system that must be solved. Enterprises seeking to enter the IoT space often have expertise in building durable goods, but not networking, sensor networks, or IT. Additionally, these enterprises are often very diverse, with numerous divisions, product families, and business models that only further complicate the already-complicated world of IoT.
Considering the complications, we have recommended that enterprises first develop an IoT framework to cover how the data off the device is collected, stored, and shared. After your technology framework is selected, we advice the development of an initial IoT prototype that can be used to prove the functionality out and reviewed with internal stakeholders.
After these steps have been completed and a post-mortem has been conducted, it is time to develop a comprehensive IoT strategy that covers the following:
Business Modeling and Options:
Identify the business model or combination of business models that adequately supports the purpose of the product, goals of the enterprise, and needs of the target market.
Conduct research to understand which competitors have or are seeking to enter the IoT space, what their product offerings include, and who their target markets are.
Intellectual Property Portfolio Strategy:
Develop a strategy to grow and protect the intellectual property associated with current and future connected product deployments.
Identify how data must be collected, stored, and shared to suit the purpose of the product and provide high value to customers, distributors, dealers, and service personnel.
Create concrete multi-team plans to show how product development, manufacturing, pricing, distribution, sales and marketing, enterprise integration, and long-term product support will be conducted.
Create checklists for IoT deployments so that each new product or division can follow the same set of steps to ensure that enterprise IoT strategy policies are maintained. Examples include creating a business model, conducting a focus group, creating plans that integrate major business units within the company, and adopting/tailoring the corporate IoT security model.
Operational Readiness Items:
Ensure plans are in place for manufacturing, distribution, installation, and end-customer billing.
Enterprise Web Service Federation:
Plan how enterprise software packages will be integrated into IoT solutions, and what aspects may or may not be customized per division or per product.
Voice of Customer:
Conduct user research, focus groups, and surveys to understand customer needs and expectations.
Address the engineering function in the overall IoT strategy to ensure that key intellectual property and other technology elements are leveraged in the best way possible.
Develop a strategy, content distribution plan, and brand collateral to capitalize on product features and capture target market interest.
Ensure programs are in place to train sales staff on product features, differentiators, troubleshooting, and support options.
Business Unit Leaders:
Ensure roles and responsibilities for business unit leaders are well defined. Examples include checklists, business model guidelines for creating return-on-investment models, and device volume/sale projections.
Develop a strategy to provide first-tier support to end customers, including a support website, support hotline, and end-user documentation.
For a comprehensive outlook at developing an enterprise IoT strategy, download our IoT white paper: IoT Strategies for Diversified Businesses: