Internet of Things (IoT) projects come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps you’re a designer or manufacturer seeking to bring a brand-new connected device to market, or improve an existing one. Perhaps your project is on the deployment side – you’re introducing an IoT product or suite of products to your existing operations. Or perhaps you’re thinking more in terms of data – IoT-enabled devices that are part your existing setup, and you want to work harder to translate the data they capture into strategic decisions.Believe it or not, there is more continuity in terms of ensuring success across all these different permutations of IoT project than you might think. In this blog, we’re calling on you to remember one simple strategy, whether you’re a product designer or developmer, a recent IoT convert or an old hand seeking new ways with your existing data.
Here it is.
Focus less on the technology – more on the business value.
This might seem counterintuitive. The Internet of Things is, after all, a technology-driven phenomenon. It’s built on technology. It’s about hardware, and software, and connectivity. Getting the technical elements of the IoT Is vital, no matter where on that spectrum your project falls.
But think about it. IoT projects aren’t launched for the sake of engaging with new technology. They’re launched to solve business problems, to improve business performance, to increase businesses competitiveness. It’s just that these realities are all too easily forgotten in the enthusiastic rush to play with the latest smart device or analytics engine.
By retaining a sharp focus throughout the entire lifecycle of your IoT project on the business value to be gained from that project, rather than the precise tools and technologies being used, you will automatically free yourself up from restrictive thinking. You’re less likely to be locked into particular technologies or approaches, and, most importantly of all, your project remains targeted throughout on benefits for your organisation.
That’s the theory, anyway. But what does a focus on business value look like in practice? Here are the key elements:
Set out the goals of your IoT project before you begin.
Each should be a clear business benefit that you hope to achieve, from a new revenue stream to greater visibility into a particular dataset, from a speeded-up business process to a longer asset lifespan. These goals should be precise, and they should be measurable.
Communicate those goals to all the project stakeholders and participants.
No matter how minor or precise someone’s role within the project, they should understand from the outset what the business value being sought is. This is essential for helping each individual workflow within your project to build towards those value-driven goals.
Revisit the goals at regular intervals throughout the project lifecycle, and measure your project’s progress against them.
There may, of course, be times where you need to update the goals in line with lessons learned or changed business priorities. But returning to them regularly helps to retain your focus, and remind your organisation of why the project was undertaken in the first place.
Evaluate your project’s success at completion by referring back to those goals.
If you chose goals with tight metrics attached, then measuring the impact of your project on those metrics should be relatively straightforward.