Many European organisations are still at the very early stages of their internet of things (IoT) strategy planning. Although they are experimenting with IoT, they remain in the pilot stages, focused on internal efficiencies. Having a cohesive IoT strategy throughout an organisation is rare, with only isolated initiatives either in engineering-related functions or at centres of excellence. And for now, acting on the data insights provided by IoT sensors is a distant reality.

Most organisations don’t understand how to seize the IoT opportunity, choose the right partners and define the benefits. Understanding the intricacies of data collection, management and analysis is also a challenge, especially for organisations still struggling through the early steps of collecting data in a homogeneous format.

How organisations can move beyond this phase to derive value from implementing IoT and monetizing the data were the focus of the IDC European IoT Executive Summit 2018, sponsored by DXC Technology. A few European organisations have matured and are setting an example for how to collect and use IoT data for both internal and external benefits, such as improved customer experience and new product creation. And these organisations are eager to talk about their experiences.

For those already in the game, overcoming the complexities of integrating IoT with existing equipment and systems (enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, etc.) is still a topic they like to discuss with IoT vendors. These conversations are important, as few organisations have the necessary skills and internal resources to solve some of these complexities and therefore must rely heavily on technology partners.

Key recommendations to tech vendors

Discussions at the IoT Executive Summit covered a variety of practicalities and highlighted six actions vendors should focus on:

  • Educating and exploring. Reaching out to potential and existing customers with an exploration mind-set is key, since many are still trying to identify potential use cases that are suitable and realistic for their organisations.
  • Taking an incremental approach. Many customers are still confused by IoT and what its full stack and working framework require. Take time to explore the implications of an IoT solution across the entire organisation. And remember that not all organisations are ready for scalability in the short term.
  • Adopting an advisory role. Be a trusted partner and advise customers on potential scenarios for use cases and replicability into other areas. Some users start by deploying IoT platforms without specific use cases in mind, knowing that the cases will be identified over time. Technology partners are key to bringing those use cases to life.
  • Not underplaying security. Security is still one of the top barriers to IoT adoption. Users need reassurance about the security of their potential deployments, at all layers of the solution: hardware, software and connectivity. A micro-segmented approach to security might be more suitable.
  • Using the combined strength of partnerships. Help customers identify who’s who in the complex ecosystem, as well as who can be a potential partner for specific solutions or components of a given solution.
  • Measuring success, which should be compulsory. With almost 40 per cent of European organisations refusing to invest in IoT due to insufficient understanding of the return on investment, providing a quantifiable way of measuring success and proving the ROI from the IoT solution is a must. Establishing a set of early KPIs and monitoring their evolution should be an integral part of any proof of concept or fully commercial implementation.

There are still many questions around IoT implementations, best practices, possible use cases and benefits. IoT vendors have an opportunity to position themselves as trusted partners and advisors during the exploratory stages, educating users about the potential problems and possible solutions. Customers will value a stepped approach and a joint discovery relationship.

Interested in further exploring IoT? Check out this video on the potential of IoT to change everything we do in life. And if you are unsure about how to take the first steps, read more here on how to choose the right direction for your IoT journey.