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Your Business Things

May 9, 2017

We’ve all seen the headlines, no matter what industry we’re in there will have been an “Internet of Things for ……………” (fill in your industry/market/name).

The noise level continues to rise unabated. If you attend conferences, receive presentations from Carriers, or Hardware/Software/Middleware providers, or IOT Platform providers (you gotta have a platform!), you’ve heard the message.

The future of your business, no matter what it is, is in peril if you do not grasp the Internet of Things for your business. Really! Really?

If we look back across all new technology introductions we here the same kind of people beating the drum for immediate adoption – steam, electricity, computing, personal computing, mobile working…

The drum beaters all have something in common, whatever the age. They’re selling! It’s about what they’re selling, and it is not about you and your business! It’s not that there isn’t truth in the message, it’s just not about you and your business.

Electricity, Computing, Communications, you really do need all these thing for your business, even steam is still critical in many a context (certainly for my coffee addiction). But! (the first and only), you need these things as inputs and tools within your business, they serve, they do not command.

Over the many years, and across the several industries I’ve experienced, some challenges were always present when looking forward to how we make a better product or service, how we engage with and support customers, how we improve efficiency. Whatever the need the biggest challenge was knowledge. Reliable information on where we are, where best practice is, measuring performance and change. The information challenge.

I firmly believe you always need more information about your business, driving the decision-making and the development of your products and services. Information should underpin your product, fulfilment and support processes.

For many businesses the most important information that is lacking is the pervasive knowledge of what is actually going on in all of these processes.

The Internet of Things journey is predicated on connected devices, cloud based data storage and analytics, evolving into AI enable machines and so on. To bring this home to you and your business it is about the integration of “Things” into your core business processes and decision-making. This integration encompasses status & monitoring information, actuation, through to autonomous action.

So here I am joining the chorus, beating the drum! But NO! The IoT industry is full of consultants and IoT product component companies (from hardware to software to Carriers) shouting “You Must”.

  • You Must have an IoT plan for your business

  • You must measure everything!

  • IOT Cloud services are the future!

I don’t know about you but my gut reaction to “You Must”, is usually, Really!, I don’t think so (often put more crudely). And yes, I am a consultant, though not one that says Must!

For you the business owner or leader the questions to be answered are the same ones you face every day. If I invest what do I get?

  • What does it mean for my “Product”? Can I make a better/cheaper product? Can I improve my distribution process? Does it change my customers relationship with my product?

  • What does it mean for my business processes? Does it impact who I sell to and how I sell to them? Does it change my product fulfilment model? Does it change how I service and support my customers?

  • And of course, what does it do to my cash-flow and profits?

Let’s abandon this internet of things and leave it to the consumer world. For us in business it is quite simply the Business of Things!

So what are the questions for my business?

  • What are the things that are core to my business – presses and compressors through to espresso machines and fridges, and everything in between. What are the specific things for your business?

  • What equipment support my work-spaces – heating, cooling, hot and cold water, lighting, etc. – and are they delivering the optimal environment for work and customer spaces?

  • What are the metrics for customer fulfilment – whether products, services or in life support. What measurements inform me on efficiency and productivity, customer experience and promise fulfilment?

In your business tomorrow you will be measuring and monitoring more. You will have a higher level of automation, including AI based operations. The Business of Things will be a seamless part of your business operation.

For the successful business this will be undertaken not as a knee-jerk reaction to the new world but through the same disciplined decision making and change management processes that underpin a good business.

If you want to discuss the business of your "things", and how you improve their contribution to your business, let's talk.

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