Choosing an IoT provider: assessing time to market opportunities

If you’re considering implementing an IoT solution in your enterprise, chances are that one of your goals is a rapid return on your investment. Whatever your industry, your competitors are probably at least evaluating if not already using these technologies, so a quick time to market is critical for you to remain competitive. Here’s the next in my series of questions to ask a prospective IoT solution provider.

Question #4. Does the provider accelerate your time to market?

Even a capable solution from a credible provider can come with hidden complexity around such issues as determining a use case, customization and fine-tuning — not to mention changing needs in your business. It’s important to make sure that this complexity doesn’t prevent you from seeing a fast return on your IoT investments.

First, make sure that you can get started quickly. While every solution requires a certain amount of customization for your business, some providers cobble together your solution from scratch, sometimes on-site. Even with their army of consultants, getting a proof of concept off the ground — let alone a fully integrated solution — can take a long time when the provider isn’t building from a pre-developed platform.

Microsoft helps businesses get up and running quickly by offering IoT “Quick Start” consultations – half-day sessions that offer businesses a personalized, accelerated introduction to IoT. Participants in the consultations will spend time diving into their business needs and goals, exploring the tools and resources available to them, and learning about what their industry peers are doing to implement IoT in their businesses.

Once your solution is up and running, make sure you can fine-tune it to your specifications without adding complexity. Each deployment is different, and it may take time to configure everything to meet your needs. Make sure that the configuration time required by a one-off, custom-build solution doesn’t keep you from fine-tuning it until it is right.

Finally, when your needs change, ensure that you can modify the solution quickly, without massive re-work. Adding new capabilities or addressing new business scenarios shouldn’t require re-designing or rebuilding the rest of your solution.

In my next post, I’ll take up the important topic of flexibility. In the meantime, you can read my previous posts in this series, which discuss ways to find an IoT solution that is comprehensive, proven and scalable.