May 04, 2016
So you've read the articles and blog posts, and you're convinced that it's time for your business to jump on the IoT (Internet of Things) bandwagon. But how can you begin? The first thing to do is relax and pace yourself. Becoming a part of the IoT is more like a marathon than a sprint. It takes time to determine what IoT items best fit within your overall business strategy, get the business side and IT side of the operation aligned, and begin making sense out of all the data your IoT items generate. Here are some steps to help you along the road to IoT adoption.
|An IoT initiative can begin with something as seemingly insignificant as connected security cameras or other sensors. The point at the start is to learn how to leverage the IoT and manage connected devices. Greater insights for useful connected devices might come later.|
1. Start Small and Give Your Initiative Time to Grow
A successful IoT initiative begins with a single connected item and a well-defined purpose for that item. With a small start, you have time to address issues like building and honing your algorithms, dealing with data collection issues, and beefing up your networking infrastructure to accommodate a growing number of connected devices and users.
2. Determine What Aspects You Will Need Vendor Partnerships to Handle
As your IoT project grows, you will find that some aspects of handling it are best left to vendors instead of handling it 100% in house. For example, the cloud is a far cheaper and easier way to store rapidly expanding data sets. As your IoT initiative grows, add the partnerships you need to make it successful, affordable, and scalable.
3. Open Communications Between the Business and IT Department
A common issue that stands in the way of successful IoT initiatives is an unwillingness for IT and the business side to collaborate. It requires IT to become somewhat expert at understanding the business' goals, strategies, and operations, and it calls for the business side to open up and share things that are normally closely-guarded trade secrets. This issue is further complicated when outside vendors are added to the mix. You can overcome this by carefully choosing the people to be a part of the initiative and giving them the time and resources they need to forge the right relationships to make this initiative work.
4. Decide What IoT Items Make Sense
It seems like you've put a whole lot of work in already and have nothing tangible to show for it. Now it's time to determine what connected items make sense in your business. Could you use sensors to monitor and report on operations and make recommendations for improvements? Does your business lend well to mobile apps or other connected devices? Perhaps your foray into the IoT is best done via your logistics teams.
5. Determine What Data Makes Sense to Collect
What if the data you receive indicates that you need to make radical changes in operations? Is your business ready and willing to respond to that information?
As you consider what connected items to invest in, decide what data you most need to collect in your IoT initiative. Do you need more data from your customers, your operations, or your partners? Do you need operational intelligence, market insight, or predictive capabilities? These answers help determine what connected items will make the best investment.
6. Minimize the Need for User Input
If the device calls for too much input from users, it likely won't be successful. Connected devices must be simple, unobtrusive, and convenient to be successful. Decide how you can collect the most data while bothering the user the least.
7. Make Sure the Organization is Able & Willing to Change Based on IoT Data
Usually, data that streams in from the IoT is going to cause you to realize that you need to make some changes. Perhaps it indicates where you can eliminate waste or speed up processes. It might call for a different approach to marketing or customer service. If your organization isn't ready and willing to make changes based on the data collected through the IoT, then the initiative likely isn't worth the cost.
One of the things you will almost certainly need to address to leverage the IoT is your networking capabilities. Is your network robust and secure enough to take on all the new connected devices, users, and data? Take advantage of the informative Borderless Enterprise Playbook from NETSCOUT to prepare for your IoT initiative.