Tanja Rueckert, president of IoT and digital supply chain at SAP, writes for Internet of Business on the importance of connecting up people, processes and things in IoT projects.
Connected devices are definitely the things of the future, but when it comes to adoption and use, some industries are much farther ahead than others.
According to IDC, companies in manufacturing and logistics top of the list of those spending, because they have created direct connections between device data and business results, impacting results like delivery times, product quality, predictive maintenance and customer satisfaction.
These industries lead the way for the IoT and show what can be achieved when we connect people, processes and things.
Here are some examples of how I believe businesses can use IoT to provide real-time visibility and drive informed decisions:
Planning Before Implementation
Most business leaders understand they need some sort of IoT initiative, if they are going to stay relevant and beat competitors, but many are falling short in the planning stage.
It’s important to take the time at the beginning to really define how IoT can support your business goals and where it can potentially provide the most value from production to engagement with customers. Looking at business issues or challenges is always a good way to start – fixing or enhancing something that is not working well is often the best way to get support for change internally.
Also, using a design thinking approach is a very effective way to figure out new methods to produce tangible business value. Your IoT plan should address topics like IoT security, streaming data capabilities, which IoT platform works best for your business, and what IoT-related applications, cloud solutions or data management technologies make sense for your company.
Connecting people: talent matters
You also have to think about your people. Without the right development and training, IoT efforts can be tough to implement. Employees need to be trained on the collection of data, as well as the proper analysis of relevant information. Each step is really important when it comes to tying IoT and business process data together.
It may also make sense to look outside your organization to find the right skill sets to manage your IoT technology and data. Data scientists are becoming highly sought after in all industries. According to strategy firm McKinsey, global demand for data scientists is projected to exceed supply by more than 50 percent by 2018. These individuals are especially poised to draw actionable insights from the huge volumes of data produced by IoT.
Putting connected assets to work
Many companies have invested a considerable amount of money over the past years in smart devices and new technology solutions. Unfortunately, many of these solutions are unrelated and function independently of one another. This does not hold a lot of promise for IoT and certainly does not allow for the connection of things and business processes.
Instead, data must be shared. Information from sensors in a manufacturing setting can help plant managers monitor production and adjust processes in real time, so that quality remains high, production and assets are optimized, and customers get the best products. Digital manufacturing insights tools can also help bridge the gap and ensure all systems are operating in alignment. Having technology work together leads to better business outcomes and potential marketplace innovations.
Executive buy-in: embracing an IoT culture
As I mentioned before, realizing the value from IoT will require a change in company culture. Just as devices are becoming connected, previously siloed departments must be connected as well – individuals and departments cannot operate in a vacuum. The good news is IoT inspires collaboration. Data is collected from many different sources, affecting every part of business operations. It’s important that this type of collaboration starts at the c-suite level to facilitate the change that is required across the organization. Demonstrating effective use cases is vital to c-level buy-in.
Selecting the right platform and applications
Not every IoT platform or application will work for every company. It’s really important to examine all the options and understand the fit and benefits for your organization. When considering IoT applications, technology needs to be able to capture, collect, interpret, and act on vast amounts of information – detecting connectivity gaps, handling interruptions, and meeting specific business and industry requirements.
IoT data management technologies are great for ensuring that the right data is collected at the right time, even when connectivity is interrupted. Take a look at your organization’s needs and work with different team members to make sure that whatever IoT platform you choose works for your business.
Many predict that the size of the digital market will double every two years; therefore, to ensure that no analyzed data or valuable insights get lost, it’s important to put in place a system that streamlines the process from collection to action. Ultimately, this ability to connect IoT with people, processes and things will enable companies to really see the benefits of digital innovation.
Read more: SAP shifts gears of IoT into business ERP