Leveraging the value in IoT

Aaron Gette, CIO, The Bay Club Company
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The decisive move of Internet of Things (IoT) from the manufacturing and supply chains into the consumer market has to have every technology leader wondering how best to tackle the real value of IoT and effectively integrate it into their business. There are more than a few notable paradigm shifts in the technology industry. From DOS operating systems to Windows, the Internet has revolutionized furthered by the search engine revolution at Google, eCommerce and online payments, the cell phone to iPhone and Android. All of these changes have introduced new opportunities for those who are eager to adopt and adapt to the changes that give them an edge over their competition. IoT is one such paradigm shift that provides those opportunities at both the hardware and software levels. With the standards formulating and the push from consumers, specifically around wearables, IoT will eclipse the popular current computing platforms of today. IoT truly brings limitless opportunities for those willing. Harnessing IoT’s real value to your business can drive reduction in cost, efficiencies in process and innovation across what were stagnant and less likely areas to contribute to the bottom line.

Projections for the IoT market vary, but most analysts believe that it will soon dwarf every other market. But while the overall scale of the opportunity has been established, what remains less clear is where the greatest opportunities for technology leaders lie? Although IoT and M2M have been around for a long time, the hype around the opportunity is greater than ever. With that hype comes a lot of noise that centers on the technology and complexity of an implementation piece. Cutting through the noise and finding the right place to start can be difficult. As you look to implement an IoT solution, it’s critical to keep your customer at the center. Ensure that your strategy actively pursues an experience that is exciting and keeps them engaged. The touch points make for a passive way to collect some incredibly valuable data. Practically collecting and then actively using that data to shape your customer’s experience is what will separate you from your competition.

"For IoT solutions to deliver efficiency and growth, data from multiple sources must be pulled together and operated on open and connected environment"

Smart technology requires smart business models too. Building an IoT solution is a collaborative effort, and no single leader or IT organization can do it alone. With the changes in IT culture we find ourselves having to adapt and be collaborative leaders in the business, truly understanding how every project makes a difference in the ultimate success or failure of the business. The old school command and control relationships no longer works, we have to forge collaborative communities and partnerships that bring players together. Building bridges across business units to drive the innovation and market development needed to successfully deploy your IoT strategy. The end result is a clear ecosystem that brings value and establishes where the revenues derive from in an integrated platform. This lends itself to making the most of cloud and SaaS based products that can keep your infrastructure light and establishes an open, more friendly development environment.

Unfortunately the lack of understanding about the opportunities in IoT technologies is widely reported by senior level decision makers. Most solution providers have done a poor job of explaining to executives how IoT projects can benefit an organization. It’s our job as the technology leaders to establish a committee and bring about the conversation that focuses on the business benefits of IoT. We have to cut through the technical jargon and demystify the complexity of IoT. Assess the IoT activity in your industry and explore how IoT is transforming your market. Provide real-world applications and practical uses in the consumer market that are disrupting established business models and providing clear competitive advantages. All companies are going through a critical transformation into software companies. The data we are collecting drives the transformation and leveraging IoT to both actively and passively harness that data to provide an exceptional experience to your customer is what will set you apart.

For IoT solutions to deliver efficiency and growth, data from multiple sources must be pulled together and operated on open and connected environment. For most of us, this can be a heavy lift in terms of integration, particularly in a context where real-time data requires a real-time response. Acquire the right techniques to build a platform that  enables the business to transform raw data into actionable insights and master the ROI metrics that justify investment in data integration tools and services. Eliminate the barriers to effective data integration and develop a holistic solution that supports both end users and customers. To do this you have to solve the challenge of legacy database integration and utilize best practice to connect legacy systems with an agile data warehouse. This will improve the impact of analytics projects by developing a go to market strategy that monetizes data assets.

IoT technology alone is not enough to realize the full potential of the data, and companies who are searching for IoT solutions need to understand how to apply the data to innovate their business. This data effectively converts to dollars; capitalizing on these new data streams unleashed by IoT technology helps the enterprise take a more data- centric view. The key is to understand how real-time response can transform business process. Build the business case for IoT solutions that streamlines efficiency and reduces cost first. Establishing a platform that can directly affect the bottom line leads to more opportunities to leverage IoT in order to innovate other areas of the business. You have to master the data-driven business models that create new revenue streams and empower end users to monetize data assets. In order to truly reap the benefits of a new intelligence at the edge, technology leaders must define an IoT strategy that will support the connected enterprise into the future.

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