Communicating the Business Value of IoT Analytics

Manny Bernabe2021-10-28

As your early experiments with IoT analytics succeed, you’ll need more funding and support from senior leadership. The focus up until now has been the use case, data and technology. As you ready your initiative for the next level, the business value of your initiative increases in importance.

Like most innovation, getting support for IoT analytics has its challenges. Firstly, status quo bias can keep companies from appreciating the value of the new opportunities; their preference will be for existing ways of doing business. However, as many industries are impacted by technological trends like IoT and AI, maintaining the status quo is the surest path to extinction.

Secondly, IoT analytics is confusing and full of hype. Your executive team will not have the context, lexicon or understanding to appreciate the promise of your IoT analytics initiative. That means you won’t get the questions, prodding and discussion you need to secure the full backing and confidence of your leadership team. You’ve got to be able to open their eyes as to why it’s a good idea.

The “Why” of Your Iot Analytics Project

You can get past these hurdles by making the business objective front and center as you rally support for your project. The business objective for your IoT analytics project effectively answers the question “Why are we doing this?” In The Amazon Way on IoT, John Rossman highlights three ways in which IoT can be leveraged to generate business value:

  1. Enhance Customer Experience — Enhance the value of your products and improve customer experience.
  2. Improve Operational Effectiveness — Improve quality, decrease waste, and reduce cycle times.
  3. Develop New Business Models — Create new products and innovate on business models.

Whatever option you select, analytics and data will play a crucial role in executing your plan. Let’s go deeper on each.

Enhance the Customer Experience. IoT analytics track how users interact with your product. This is a bounty of information that can be used to anticipate customer needs and be aware of friction points your customers experience with your product or service. For example, does your product require regular maintenance? How might your machine automatically order new parts or services at the right time?

Improve Operational Effectiveness. Operation improvement methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma have been around for a while. With IoT analytics, you can supercharge the data collection of these strategies. Real-time and granular sensor data can provide tremendous gains to your company’s overall operational efficiency programs.

Develop New Business Models. IoT analytics help companies create new services and outcomes-based business models. By being able to remotely monitor and analyze data in real time, you can unlock new and interesting ways to service your customer. Let’s say your company sells industrial air filtration systems. Now you can sell air quality monitoring as a service because IoT analytics provide the necessary data and insights.

Your project may tap into one, two or all three of these strategies. Regardless of what technology you are trying to adopt, you should be able to link it back to one or more of these objectives. If this is difficult, that’s a strong signal that you need to spend more time thinking through the business value of your project. By leading with business opportunities, you can:

  1. Communicate the value of your project to non-technical colleagues
  2. Develop project success metrics
  3. Rally support from key company groups and resources.

Data and technology are important for your project. However, your ability to communicate the business value of your initiative is essential for others to appreciate and support your vision. In doing so, you’ll be able to ignite the necessary support to continue to lead your organization into a position where IoT analytics is a core competitive advantage.

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