The value of IoT won’t always be self-evident, but getting a few key things right in the beginning could make it a powerful asset for your organization.

The ever changing conditions of today’s global business environment continue to make leadership decisions challenging and difficult. Adding to the complexity is the fact that many factors affecting business are beyond an organization’s control. This all demands a leadership style that is agile and willing to take on risk. Leaders must be comfortable with change. And they must be comfortable trying new approaches in order to remain relevant and keep innovating in a complex world.

One of the biggest factors adding complexity to business decisions today is the Internet of Things (IoT). There seems to be an overwhelming consensus that IoT is a good thing—that its ability to integrate the physical world with a global digital network can transform lives in tangible ways. Do you want your refrigerator to tell you when it’s time to buy milk? Your IoT refrigerator can do that. In a more critical example, picture a device that can inform you when your blood sugar or blood pressure is too high. High tech health devices are seeking to revolutionize the health world by connecting your vital signs to IoT and, in the process, helping to save your life.

Those two scenarios are well-known examples of the promise of IoT. But how can IoT work for your own business? It’s easy to get excited about IoT and run with the first idea you have, yet the relevance to your specific goals won’t always be easy to deduce.

To unlock the power of IoT, there are some key things you can do while always keeping the most important IoT beneficiaries—your end-users—in mind.

Make IoT Work for your Business

First, think about your dream IoT scenario. Then ask why. Are your people or your customers even driving a demand for IoT within your organization? One of the best things you can do at the beginning of your IoT journey is to confirm your concept and back it up with rigorous research, data, and testing of the execution. These are the areas where we tend to see organizations stumbling the most—when, ultimately, strategy is not playing a central role. Proving your concept can mean the difference between a successful product and a total failure. Simply wanting IoT to work for your organization is not enough—you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, collect and analyze data, and manage it in order to understand the overall value and transformation that IoT could potentially bring to your business.

Create Value for Consumers

That brings me to your end-users. Let’s be clear—jumping on the IoT train does not create automatic value to consumers. In fact, it could turn your customers off, and we’ve worked with many global brands already who are worried that adding new-fangled IoT features will do exactly that. The takeaway is to always have strong consideration for the value IoT brings your customer in order to keep building client trust and your corporate brand. An exemplary illustration of this on the market today is what Samsung has done with its ‘smart’ service. Samsung examined how it could make its customers’ lives more efficient and, well, smart. They then developed IoT products to do exactly that, and, in the process, created something simple and powerful that their customers can’t live without. Ask yourself when it comes to a new IoT product: Is someone going to use this every day? Will it improve their lives? Or will they play with it, brag about it, and then abandon it?

To unlock the power of IoT, there are some key things you can do while always keeping the most important IoT beneficiaries—your end-users—in mind.

Kurt Steckling

Collaborate with Experts to Support your Efforts

Be realistic about your internal competencies—know what your teams can and can’t do, and seek expert support to fill the gaps that you will inevitably see as you embark on making IoT work for your organization. This is where collaboration with an outside firm could add real value to your IoT project in order to help you manage the change that will be required. As you go down this road, you may find that your organization is unprepared for the onslaught of IoT in the enterprise and all the opportunities and challenges that come with it. By hiring an external firm to help with everything from proof of concept to communicating the business case for your IoT idea, you’ll be starting with a solid plan to see the concept become reality.

Consider Security

Security must also play a huge part. Nest, the company that in many ways pioneered the idea that your home could be “smart” by being connected to the Internet, is still grappling with this. Users of their product have become wary of the idea of IoT knowing everything they do inside their private dwellings. Poorly executed privacy and security features could make even a great product bad for end-users if they feel like their privacy is being compromised.

Banish Fear

By letting go of any fear that might still be lingering over the potential for IoT in your organization, you’ll guarantee your ability to perhaps develop something truly life-changing for your end-users. To that end, your internal strategy for implementing IoT, whatever that might mean, must be just as rigorous as proving your concept. Make sure you have executive sponsorship and advocacy to support your program. Top-down buy-in is essential, or your project could risk being rejected or put on the back burner before it even gets a chance to shine.

Making IoT work for your organization will no doubt be a complex undertaking, and we’ve discussed just a few of the considerations here. But we believe that IoT has the potential to transform your business if there is the willingness to come at it with intelligent thought and execution.

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