IoT process flow for industrial companies

The IoT Process Flow: Why the Internet of Things Is not a Project

Adopting a processual definition of IoT implementation and a foresight-first approach

IoT implementation is a highly complex, costly, and time-consuming effort. So why should it make sense for so many companies to throw themselves into the uncertain journey of implementing on-premises IoT? When it comes to the IoT implementation process, we are not talking about a project that will extend over a quarter or two. It is not even about a one-year horizon. We talk about an ever-ongoing IoT process flow.

The average IoT implementation effort takes between two to five years. Even after that, it remains an ongoing task of fine-tuning and keeping current with a tumultuous market. Added to this are the high costs. This especially applies to hidden or unexpected costs that pop up constantly once your project starts unfolding.

Why do IoT projects fail?

According to Gartner, 60% of adopters anticipate that IoT will transform their organizations for the better over the next five years. At the same time, companies tend to skip the thorough research and planning stage, leading to delays.

For 2018, Gartner projected that 75% of IoT projects will take about twice as long as initially planned and a great portion will fail at the pre-launch stage.

Extended completion times due to organizational issues

Implementing IoT in an organization with ineffective change management practices in place can significantly slow down and eventually sabotage your efforts. Also, implementing IoT within structures where the organizational processes are obsolete can be a major hurdle to streamlined implementation. Before starting, it would make sense to make sure employees at all levels have been informed of the steps and necessities within the IoT process flow–both in the short and in the long term. Meticulous planning on the people and the organizational level will help everyone see the value and potentials of IoT.   

Limited expertise and/or overcautious handling

Limited on-premises know-how can be an enormous challenge. Lack of knowledge and modest in-house competencies in IoT implementation can be a hurdle because a lack of knowledge leads to a lack of confidence. This makes companies overcautious. 

Extreme caution may eventually kill many exciting implementation prospects or simply replace a high-potential solution with something conservative and/or obvious. Many organizations will not even see this as necessarily a bad thing. The rationale: the non-innovative solution would still be “working well” and “doing the job”. On a more fundamental level, however, this is a missed opportunity to ride the waves of innovation. 

To overcome the lack of expertise, organizations can turn to careful planning and incremental approaches. Here you either collaborate with external consultancies or make use of an online IoT platform.

Poor quality of the collected data or not enough data

Poor data quality or insufficient amounts of high-quality data translates unto truncated decision-making. For successful IoT implementation, you need to guarantee that you will have both high volumes of data and that your data will be of consistently high quality. 

Communication failure at the integration stage

Making sure that the communication between different departments is working well can make or break an IoT implementation initiative. The IoT integration stage requires that many different functions within an organization work in concert. You also need to have policies in place from the very beginning. Separate teams and departments need to have an overview of the various stages and task assignments companywide so that everyone knows how their work fits into the bigger picture of IoT integration. 

Collaborate with your peers on IoT initiatives

Budgeting without foresight

IoT implementation usually takes much longer than expected. Unforeseen hurdles and inefficient organization are just one part of the picture, however. The extended completion times often consume huge resources. In the pursuit of short-term goals and instant ROI, some companies may drop the IoT implementation effort altogether once they see that it is simply consuming budget with no foreseeable outcome to anticipate over the next two years.

This is why IoT implementation is not just about being thoroughly thought out. It is also about crafting a budgeting plan that leaves room for unforeseen challenges. You need to have the possibility to change direction should the circumstances dictate it. 

IoT as an ongoing capability of an organization

Many of the situations sketched out above are the products of a faulty mindset. Most organizations tend to see IoT as a project that has to be finalized within a given time frame, while covering a number of pre-established milestones and ticking off items on a checklist.

The problem with projects, however, is that they are closed, rigid systems with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Once you have ticked off all the boxes, the project comes to an end and you can move on to other things. Handling an IoT implementation effort cannot be further removed from this mindset. 

The Internet of Things operates within a dynamic ecosystem. As such, it has to be perfectly elastic and attunable to its fluxional surroundings. 

Once organizations come to realize this, attitudes to IoT begin to change. More and more industrial manufacturers will begin to see that IoT is not just another “project”. Rather, IoT is an ongoing process flow that, by dint of its very definition, remains constantly open-ended. As an emergent property of an organization, IoT can rather be seen as an evolving capability that needs constant fine-tuning to adapt to changing conditions and remain viable.

It is exactly these properties–openness and elasticity–that guarantee your IoT process will remain alive and in flow so that you can continually build on it. Capability, at the end of the day, is about potentials. The focus is not so much on what is achievable in the short-term but on where your IoT capability can get you in five or ten years.  

Long-term implications 

We don’t have to tell you that IoT is the future. With the soaring value of connectivity, more and more IoT use cases will be deployed globally. We are already experiencing a major shift in perception towards connected technologies, making IoT an everyday reality in both consumer and industrial settings. The current trend towards large-scale adoption of multitudes of simultaneously connected IoT devices already speaks for the creation of massive IoT ecosystems. 

But how do you get there as a company with modest in-house know-how and limited resources? Many companies have been turning their attention to a recent phenomenon: the user-centric IoT development platform where you have the whole infrastructure to build your own IoT solution. IoT development platforms are scalable, allowing you to test an incremental approach towards IoT adoption. You can start with a limited number of devices, and eventually grow your fleet. Further, you write your own IoT apps, create device groups, and manage your devices on the platform. 

For an in-depth discussion, do not hesitate to contact one of our IoT experts. We would love to hear your thoughts.

You can also test out our IoT development studio with device management and app development functionalities.

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