“All for one and one for all” was the rally cry for the Three Musketeers. That same sense of commitment and teamwork is critical for building a successful IoT program.

The Internet of Things often appears as a technical challenge. What sensor data to collect? How to communicate to the cloud? How to present data and integrate into other applications? So many technical issues that the project is often handed to a development or IT team with instructions to make something great.

Without more guidance, they will go away, research the options, build something, and proudly return claiming victory. It is only at that point that the rest of the organization wakes up and starts to consider how IoT will impact customers and the business. This starts another cycle of requirements gathering, change management discussions, and new marketing collateral. Only after this second round is the IoT offering handed to sales with the mission to get customers signed up for the new capabilities or paid service that is enabled by IoT.

It can take 18 months or more, burning money and time, to work through this serial process. Only when the end customers are approached and asked to accept an IoT connection do the gaps in thinking, security, and packaging become visible.

There is a better way and most companies already know how to do it.
IoT is not a project. It is a strategic program. One that will change the way the business delivers to and interacts with its customers. It’s a lot like a new product feature!

New product features need to be researched, requirements gathered, and business case defined. This process should include talking to customers and all other stakeholders that will be impacted by the connected product or service. This early feedback will provide real insights into how customers will accept and respond to a connected world. (E.g., think security and privacy.) These learnings will influence the value proposition, packaging, and presentation to customers. Building that understanding will provide guidance to the development team so they can produce something that will be immediately accepted and used.

It will feel uncomfortable. It is new. It requires change. The key to success is having that “all for one” mentality. Strong executive commitment, focused on clear business objectives, and supported by a cross functional team will insure that your IoT program has the elements it needs for success.