Preparing your company for the IoT trend – in three steps

The following steps will help you assess how your company might benefit from the IoT according to Forbes.

Step 1: Revisit your business strategy

If you’re going to implement new business processes or perhaps even alter your business model to take advantage of a tech trend, there has to be a valid reason for doing so. And this is where your overarching business strategy comes in. Therefore, before diving into any tech trend, it’s worth taking a step back and revisiting your business strategy. In other words, remind yourself of what it is your business is trying to achieve and then consider how the IoT could help you achieve those goals.

For example, if one of your strategic goals is to increase manufacturing output, you could consider installing smart sensors on manufacturing equipment to monitor machine performance and predict maintenance issues before they arise. Such “predictive maintenance” often helps companies reduce machine downtime.

Step 2: Consider opportunities for smart products

If you already make products, think about how you could make those products more intelligent. In an age where pretty much anything can be made smart, you may find your customers don’t just want more intelligent solutions – they may well expect them. 

And what if you’re a service-based company? Well, I still wouldn’t overlook this step. Many companies are finding ways to deliver a more intelligent service, thanks to the IoT. One health insurance company is incentivizing customers with free Apple Watches that track their health and activity data. Customers benefit from personalized health recommendations and financial rewards, while the insurer benefits from healthier clients who make fewer health insurance claims. Win-win!

Step 3: Think about the data involved

The IoT creates enormous amounts of data, so you’ll need to consider how you’ll prepare for and cope with that data. This includes:

  • Storing data – do you have the computing power to store all that data?
  • Analyzing data – how will you make sense of the data to deliver business advantages? Thankfully, there are many off-the-peg analytics solutions designed for IoT-related data.
  • Sharing data with those who need it – if your company is going to capitalize on all this data (for example, to improve manufacturing output or perhaps better understand your customers), then you must consider who within the company will need access to the data.
  • Securing data – one of the biggest disadvantages of IoT devices is the security risk they pose. The spread of the IoT has been a boon for hackers who can easily target these devices (many people neglect to even set a password on their IoT devices). You’ll, therefore, need to consider how best to secure your devices, how to help your customers be more secure, and what to do in the event of a breach.

By following these three steps, you can begin to work out how you might capitalize on the IoT trend – in a way that best benefits your business and your customers.

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