Preparing for the Next Set of Applications
Enterprises are full of IoT application opportunities. Their complex structures allow for this. Enterprises are often closely aligned with a specific industry vertical such as retail, healthcare, or construction, and IoT application opportunities are explored as enablers of operational or business process improvements and enhancements and competitive differentiation. Ultimately, the IoT will become an integral part of workflows.
Looking deeper into the structure of an enterprise, the organization is made up of multiple departments and functions such as sales, operations and manufacturing, logistics, administration, finance, customer services and so on. Each of these support business areas may in fact benefit from a range of IoT applications in their own way. For sales, it may be an IoT application that measures footfall in shopping malls. For facilities’ departments, it may relate to security and access systems. For manufacturing, the range of supply chain, warehousing and equipment monitoring IoT applications are but a few examples. More examples are shared in Figure 1 below.
Embracing a Process of Enterprise IoT
IoT application opportunities can be identified in a host of core operational and support business processes. This richness in opportunities underpins a key recommendation for enterprises: start the Enterprise IoT journey with an IoT roadmap rather than a single project.
M2M and IT programs should be well-resourced and well-planned projects. IoT is about agility and flexibility, learning and investing as you go, and building on the modularity and scalability of the architecture that has been implemented. Enterprise IoT should reflect this agility and flexibility, but starting with an IoT roadmap is an essential tool when undertaking Enterprise IoT programs.
As more and more Enterprise IoT projects are progressed, enterprises will begin to embrace a process of Enterprise IoT innovation as part of their core business development processes, and preparing for the next set of applications will become an integral part of the selection, prioritization and development process of IoT applications. Some applications will require reassessments as projects progress, or further scoping work may reveal that an application is unlikely to deliver the expected benefits, and enterprises must be prepared to let these go quickly. In some instances, the definition and scope of IoT applications may need be revisited and reprioritized as projects are progressed, all part of a healthy business process. And finally, new ideas for IoT applications will also emerge as part of the development process of any specific IoT project and these may be fed back into IoT project identification, selection and prioritization processes.