It all starts with a vision. Without C-level engagement, IoT risks being sidelined as ‘just another project’. Each IoT process should start with the following question: 'How can the technology help us to better meet the (future) needs of our customers?'. It should revolve around the added value for the customer rather than the technology itself.
Next, you need a dedicated team comprising a mix of IT and business specialists who can translate the vision into a solution: a lean, hands-on team that can set to work quickly. Agile development plays an important role in this because speed is imperative at various levels – not only in terms of practical testing and timely adjustments, but also in order to obtain a clear view of the feasibility of the project as soon as possible.
Furthermore, speed is important in keeping your C-level management on board. The more engaged and involved they are, the less likely it is that the roll-out will come under pressure in a later phase.
Besides the vision, another important key to success is of course the data itself. In the longer term, we may well see connected devices becoming cheaper to buy than non-connected alternatives. The focus is shifting from the device itself to the associated service and the resulting data. The value of that data far exceeds the cost of the electronics needed to make a device intelligent. However, in order to unlock the value of the data, organizations must first do their homework in terms of advanced analytics, real-time data collection, data ownership and privacy. Each of those factors creates extra complexity and challenges, so they need to be carefully considered.