Blog | October 16, 2015

IoT Mistakes That Can Destroy ROI

By The Business Solutions Network

6 IoT Predictions For 2015

This week I was in Philadelphia to play host to our Smart VAR Summit. The event, entitled “The Age of Intelligence: IoT, Cloud, and Mobility Convergence” was held by ScanSource, Zebra Technologies, and Business Solutions magazine, and featured a full day of education for resellers and integrators on the topic of IoT (Internet of Things). Our goal for the event was to connect the dots between what we’re hearing about IoT and how to actually have success with it.

One area of discussion that I thought particularly interesting was on common mistakes that are made with IoT deployments. The first common mistake is related to the Big Data that can come from having so many connected devices constantly streaming data. With all that data, it’s easy to take on too much at once with a deployment. Instead, a best practice is to deploy IoT to address a single pain point. Rather than bite off too much, just collect the data related to that pain and get it solved.  Then you can look to different ways you can use data coming in to do other things. You can collect new data to predict product failure points. Maybe you can look at data to make improvements for next gen products. The key is to start simple. Often your customers and you won’t be equipped to handle all the data and can get overwhelmed and then either not fully leverage the solution or let it bog you down.

Another mistake is not preparing for process changes going to be required. If your customers have a business model where techs are going out and responding to failures, their whole model will shift. The process will change. With IoT, they might have a process to just monitor incoming data and then have a tech respond based on the data. So, it’s not just knowing how to handle the data coming in, but what they need to do with it from a process standpoint. IoT deployments require big changes in customer processes and the model of doing business. With field service, often the processes center around staffing, scheduling, and dispatching. Look at how those areas are affected and help your customers.

Also, you’ll need to get closer to your customer than you’ve ever been. There could be internal things you aren’t aware of that can affect the outcome of an IoT deployment. Don’t assume that your one customer is the same as one of your others even if they’re in the same field and do the same thing. It’s the details and nuances among customers that will create problems if not caught.

Internal communication is often overlooked as well. For deployments like these, there will be disruptions and inconveniences. You must explain to the affected employees why the changes are important to the business and their everyday tasks. They must understand their personal ROI for the inconveniences. The end customers should also understand what’s taking place.

Finally, another mistake is automating the exact processes that have been in place for years, without truly looking at what new IoT solutions can do to actually transform business processes for efficiency and value. Create a team of stakeholders to research and evaluate how the business can truly get the most benefit from all of the new tools at their disposal.

By being aware of these common mistakes, you can take the necessary actions to ensure your first IoT baby steps have the outcomes you desire.