Facing an IOT Selection? First, Know Thyself. (Part 1 of 2)




This article was written by Keith Gargiulo, Vice President, Customer Success. Keith has been with PTC for over 20 years, and has extensive experience with high-impact technologies that are changing the world of business for our customers.

We’ve all heard that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a game-changing technology for industries across the board. Verizon’s “2017 State of the Market: IoT Report” asserts that 73% of executives are either researching or currently deploying IoT. Too many of those companies get trapped in research, never reaching deployment at meaningful scale. This article is the first in a two-part series discussing how to identify and understand the “IoT trap” and how to gain rapid value from IoT.

As a panelist in a large Executive Event on Industrial IOT at MIT, I noticed a common theme of questions emerged from almost all participants. People wanted to know how to “make an IoT platform decision.” Most were taking a traditional software vendor selection approach without having first established any framework for how IoT was going to deliver immediate value in the business. It is that combination of factors that creates the trap referred to above. The trap has roots in basic human nature.

Humans consistently overestimate near term technology impacts, underestimate long term business and societal shifts, and default to think linearly. The vendor-first approach leads teams to chase a vision that is both too mature for a first step and not nearly aspirational enough for the long term. A lose-lose emerges, favoring an ideal state over actionable, production-focused, foundational IoT applications. Teams will also work linearly, seeking to make one “right selection” for “all time.” This leads to an interminable evaluation process because the exponential growth of the domain means there is always something new to evaluate.

To avoid the trap, and with apologies to Socrates, first, know thyself. You can successfully lead IoT into your business by first building a framework that prioritizes the sources of rapid value and provides a backdrop to evaluate future trends. You already own the most valuable commodity that IoT needs to create new value – the data that comes from your “things,” your employees, and your field service. Allowing your existing data and your customer’s current needs to guide your framework is the fastest path to first value from IoT. This approach does not demand you to make one “right selection” for “all time.” Your framework should make use of that existing data and your customer’s needs to name and prioritize the experiments to run, how success would be measured, and who the market is.

Changing the approach is not as difficult as looking at the opportunities with new eyes. It is often beneficial to seek outside assistance in building the IoT value framework. With that framework in hand, you will typically find the vendor selection process is vastly simplified.

Good is better, and much faster, than perfect

It may sound trite, but it’s true – a good IoT solution that supports a majority of your business needs is going to offer more value than a perfect one that you can never actually find. There’s no rule that indicates that you need to only use one IoT solution. In fact, in some cases, it may be more impactful to use multiple platforms that address different use cases. You can start right now. Capture value, differentiate your company, monitor the maturation of industry, customer awareness, and other trends, and adapt from your initial foundation without fear of outrunning your technological headlights.

Want to hear more from Keith? Read part two of the Facing IoT Selection series here.