These Boots Were Made For Walking: A New Look at the Path to IoT Success
Last year, I wrote a series of blogs exploring the various technology and business factors to keep in mind while considering an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment. Since then, IoT has continued to accelerate its drive toward transformational change across industries. And I have continued to log in thousands upon thousands of miles meeting with people around the world to discuss their unique IoT successes and challenges.
The culmination of all these experiences is my forthcoming book, Building the Internet of Things: Implement New Business Models, Disrupt Competitors, and Transform Your Industry. It’s a practical guide to IoT deployments, firmly rooted in the experience of walking a few miles in our customers’ shoes. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you some of the principles for success that have emerged from this IoT journey.
In recent years, there has been a lot of hype around the promise of IoT to transform everything. In this series, I’ll go beyond the hype to share the real, here-and-now potential of IoT.
We’ll look at IoT not from the standpoint of big numbers and bold predictions, but from the perspective of thousands of customers who are deploying IoT today. We won’t just discuss the promise of IoT, but the reality: how people solve real business problems, improve their business outcomes, and transform their business value. We will view IoT as a journey not just a one-time event.
American motorcycle maker Harley Davidson is a good example. A few years ago, when this iconic company found itself facing intense global competition and changing buyer expectations, it pulled together a cross-functional, cross-organizational team to converge its isolated systems and connect its factory. The results were impressive:
- 80 percent faster decision making
- Dramatically reduced costs and setup time
- 8 percent increase in production throughput
- Reduced build-to-order cycle times from 18 months to two weeks
- Profitability increase of 3 to 4 percent in just one factory
Similar results have been repeated over and over around the world—by manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, and energy providers. No matter what industry, IoT success is rooted in eight principles that I’ve identified in my experiences with customers on factory floors, deep in mining operations, and in the buttoned-down world of corporate headquarters. The specifics of their challenges and business models vary widely, but these principles apply across the board:
- Build a partner ecosystem; learn to co-develop with them
- Attract and train new and existing talent
- Focus on solving real problems
- Prepare for a journey, not a one-time event
- Integrate technology solutions with business processes
- Start with low-hanging fruit
- Make security everybody’s top priority
- Transform culture along with technology
Check back here from week to week as I dive deeper into each of these topics, as well as updates on standards, best practices, and the emerging class of employees, customers, partners, and innovators I call “Generation IoT.”
Welcome to the road to IoT success.