By: Larry Bellehumeur | Feb. 26th, 2018
Based on the huge popularity of my last post, Top 10 business reasons to deploy an IoT Solution, we decided to do another Top 10 list.
Traditionally, “SCADA” solutions (what we used to call IoT many years ago) were deployed by the Operations team and there was little, if any, distribution of the valuable data that came from these solutions to other departments. In contrast to days gone by, today’s IoT solutions are now often linked to a company’s billing, CRM or other platform to maximize its value.
If you’re still skeptical and still asking, “What’s really in it for me?” or “How does all of this data help my department day to day?”, please keep reading because, without a doubt, IoT can help your entire company.
Having been involved in Sales for the better part of two decades, this one is near to my heart. Salespeople are always looking for an edge….what angle or approach can they use to differentiate their product? IoT solutions give Sales real-time information when they need it….are my client’s systems working when I am about to meet them in person, are they using our products as expected and can we use their utilization data to find a more compelling billing method?
The other department that is close to my heart is Marketing since it goes hand in hand with Sales. Marketing teams want to know “why”…why is a product preferred, why are customers not buying as often as expected, why is certain product placements working more than others. The problem is that these questions are often next to impossible to get accurate and honest answers to. IoT lets you get hard facts….you get better understanding to a products use, why customers are making the decisions they are and real-time feedback as to the effectiveness of your work.
Many of us, including myself, started out in “CS”. It is a thankless, tiring and often frustrating job. What usually makes it frustrating is a lack of information….not knowing when a key system is down, not knowing when a repair person is arriving and not having the ability to fix things remotely. IoT gives that information….you know what is going on, often before the customer does. This allows CS to fix things quickly and on the first call (sometimes, even before the customer calls!).
Another one of the thankless jobs in a company is Operations. When things are running perfectly, everyone takes you for granted….and you are the first one yelled at when they are not. IoT has been heavily adopted in the “Ops” space because information has shown to be vital to their success. Today’s IoT solutions take what you already had and make it better…..better sensor data, better tracking, better reporting and better awareness of uptime brings Ops to a whole new level.
I’ve always joked that getting customer usage data from a Salesperson is like trying to ask a 2-year-old to describe something….tough to make out real info from gibberish. Engineers are expected to make products faster, lighter and more efficient, but often don’t know exactly what the customers may want or how they use products. IoT allows you to get real-time usage data that makes their job easier.
“Design a product that our customers want” is often heard from management down to product teams. However, people’s usage of your products may change….they may use it less, meaning that you can use a less powerful battery, they may use it in colder temperatures than you suggest which may hurt some parts or they may now be using it on battery power when you recommend wall plugs. Either way, better usage data = better products.
You base the return on investment on an expensive purchase lasting five years….what if it is 90% worn out in three years? Finance departments rely on accurate data for everything, and IoT helps you better insight as to how productive your spending is. In addition, it helps you change your billing models for customers, such as a move from an outright purchase by a customer to a monthly recurring revenue.
Executives are supposed to see all and know all, but they are only as good as the people who work with them and the information they provide. Bosses are always concerned about macro things such as worker safety, productivity and improving the company’s image. IoT solutions do all of those things, meaning that your company can do more with less.
The customer says “something is making a funny noise” and you have to go fix it. Doesn’t it always seem that the part you need is not one you have in the truck? Getting things like error codes, sensor readings and run time before you go will help you better diagnose the problem….by letting you fix it remotely, by knowing what parts to bring and by knowing if there is a likelihood of a dangerous situation that can cause injury.
Doesn’t IoT just make IT’s job harder…..by adding more devices to manage? Well, it does increase the workload in that way, but it also allows for a more efficient network. Smart IT companies use IoT solutions to understand work environments (such as when a high temperature may result in equipment damage) to make quick adjustments (like turning on a UPS remotely during a power failure) and to detect major issues (such as a vibration alert that lets you know of an earthquake at a remote location).