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Questions to ask when developing an IoT strategy

The journey of a thousand miles

Begins with a single step. If you’re beginning your IoT journey, it’s good to start with an overarching strategy. You probably want to build one that will meet the needs of your business for years to come. To get you thinking, here are some key questions to ask when developing an IoT strategy for your organisation.

Why do we want to invest in IoT?

Before you go any further, make sure that you’re considering an IoT deployment because it’s going to help your business reach its goals faster. Never do it because it’s a popular trend or your team expects digitisation. As a significant investment, you want to make sure the money is most useful as an IoT spend. An expert partner can help you scope your requirements for forecasts and budgets.

Does IoT make sense for our product or service?

IoT is right for you if you could improve your service or product if you just knew more. This knowledge might be about the location, temperature, usage or performance of your product or service. Since IoT includes user terminals, actuators and sensors; all networked together, your data landscape could really expand. If that would help you sell more products or retain more customers, then it might make sense for your business.

How will you prioritise use cases?

You could decide where to start first by looking at what the competitive landscape is, what your clients need or what your team’s skills are. According to Cisco, “Companies who have been successful with IoT began by targeting their solutions toward existing customers, rather than new customers. In this case, a top consideration was to strengthen relationships with existing customers. Strategic priorities can include other more proactive elements such as an enterprise’s desire to transform its business model, accelerate product innovation or create new revenue streams.” So, it might make sense to start there.

“For your IoT strategy, you’ll want to prove that every pound spent on the IoT ecosystem wouldn’t be better spent on marketing or some other improvement”

How will it help customers, clients or employees?

Ideally, you will understand right away how your stakeholders will see the benefits. According to TechRepublic, “First, when products are connected, customer relationships can become real-time and immediate – and even proactive. Second, the data collected from connected products and services enables not only building new and better products but also allows the anticipation of customer’s needs and development of smart products and environments.” Remember to include these benefits in your IoT strategy document.

How will IoT drive profit or reduce costs – ROI?

Here is where you work out the figures. For your IoT strategy, you’ll want to prove that every pound spent on the IoT ecosystem wouldn’t be better spent on marketing or some other improvement. Define how many hours of human labour will be saved or what new revenue streams will be opened by investing the budget into IoT. Oh, and plan for a small-scale rollout first before making the primary investment. This will allow you to test your assumptions in a real-world environment.

What does success look like?

According to InVMA, “it is always wise to understand exactly what the company wants an IoT solution to achieve. Perhaps it is to track assets or to change the business’s model from selling products to selling services. Then, it’s [a] question of identifying the stakeholders within the organisations that can benefit from the data, in what form and understand how long the data should be kept for and why.” Without an end goal or future state in mind, it is impossible for you to know if the project is successful.
Hopefully, these questions have helped you get started on a comprehensive strategy document.