Even as the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a part of many enterprise’s strategy, some still debate whether all of the promise of connected infrastructure was really just hype. But that’s no longer the case. Today, companies are clamoring to create IoT solutions that will not only provide greater efficiency, insights, and innovation, but that will also provide a competitive edge for the future. Still, as many have discovered, building an IoT solution can test even the most capable among us.
IoT initiatives can be hamstrung by conflicting business and technology goals, a lack of clear collaboration, and the challenge of choosing the right technology. Here are three common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Lack of alignment between business, Operational Technology (OT) and IT on technology deployment
Business is moving faster than ever, and the expectation of agility isn’t just found in technology, but across the organization. The need to meet pressing business challenges, along with the lower cost and ease of deployment of line-of-business technology solutions, has created friction between business leads and IT—friction that can put the success of an IoT solution at risk. Business leads must recognize that IT has well-founded concerns about the technical challenges involved in executing on your IoT project. And IT should embrace the need for greater agility to help the business thrive and meet its goals.
For example, on the factory floor, or within operations management, OT leaders often have a mandate, and a firm handle on their technical requirements and capabilities. But for business stakeholders with fewer resources, IT can serve as an effective partner to create IoT solutions that protect the business, leverage current assets and provide long-term management and support for new technology.
Though this kind of collaboration may slow down deployment in some cases, having an outside perspective can be especially helpful. Microsoft’s extensive partner ecosystem enables customers to develop industry-specific solutions that address their unique business and IT challenges, and execute quickly and with a clear objective.
Trying to do too much, too quickly
Companies often attempt to tackle too many business problems at once. But the most successful IoT projects are specific and targeted. The long term vision may be big and expansive, so the key to success is to start small; begin with a proof-of-concept, then a pilot, and then to scale. The lessons learned on the first project will inform the project to come, and help you foresee challenges as you scale across other lines of business.
This can be especially challenging for overachievers, but it’s essential to your success. In the case of IoT, companies need a clearly defined business goal, along with a commitment from each stakeholder about the way forward. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the potential. Don’t get impatient and go rogue. Instead, work to find agreement on the end goal, who is in charge and get clarity on each party’s role. The Azure IoT platform is designed with this in mind, providing the resources and tools you need to get started, and the ability to expand and scale with your business.
Choosing the right technology
IoT has lots of moving parts, and means different things to different people. Do you start with devices, the data, or the platform? And what do you need today versus what you will need five years from now? With this in mind, picking a solution is about finding a provider that can work with any device, that can oversee large-scale data management and advanced analytics solutions, and that can build or manage your solutions regardless of where they are deployed.
While your IoT project may be simple and seem small at the beginning, keeping up with the pace of innovation and the value it creates can quickly outstrip the ability of your technology provider. It’s critical, therefore, that you pick a provider with the scope, strategy and expertise to meet your company’s needs today and into the future.
At Microsoft, our goal is to simplify IoT and it starts by meeting our customers where they are at today, and providing tools and resources to scale for the future. Whether you’re looking for an on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid solution, the Azure IoT platform offers truly global scale and a comprehensive portfolio of IoT software and services to meet your company’s needs.
To hear more about how to move your IoT project forward and create the Internet of Your Things, sign up for our webinar, “How to Tackle the Top 3 Challenges of IoT Projects.”