Connected devices powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) technology have become ubiquitous in businesses in the recent past. Businesses that were skeptical of the hype around IoT are now beginning to see the merit of it. The early adopters did not have well-developed platforms and systems to fully take advantage of the technology. However, thanks to the cloud, IoT technologies, platforms, and systems have become cheaper, smarter, standardized, and stable in the past decade.
Today, organizations are initiating IoT implementation with specific objectives powered by effective technology. IoT is being used to fulfill an array of objectives of businesses including asset monitoring, fleet management, sales force management, quality management, and the list goes on. Organizations are reaping many benefits out of IoT, below infographic shows a few of these benefits.
Benefits of IoT implementation
- Improved process efficiency – IoT enables businesses to intelligently integrate processes across the organization creating an ecosystem that is flexible and efficient. The core part of this integration is the data that is collected and shared across the organization. From ideation to product delivery, the insights from all the processes help businesses to become more responsive and adjust their processes to improve efficiency and productivity.
- Improved asset utilization – Companies’ bottom line and operational productivity depend heavily on effective asset management. Traditional methods result in poor management of asset usage and result in ineffective monitoring. With IoT, businesses can continuously track multiple parameters that contribute to asset utilization without any manual intervention thereby enabling them to optimize equipment efficiency and rightly manage the asset lifecycle. Moreover, IoT enables connectivity with the remotest assets and collects the data which was never made possible by traditional approaches.
- Increased visibility – With global supply chains becoming increasingly complex it has become imperative for businesses to improve the visibility of their operations. From inventory management to last-mile delivery IoT brings transparency to every process enabling businesses to gain a detailed view into the system to maintain effective control.
- Reduced risk and costs – The granular level of analysis provided by IoT helps businesses to detect threats in operations while still at a manageable level. IoT-powered businesses can reduce the costs associated with preventive maintenance, employee safety, managing bottlenecks and downtime, and energy consumption.
- Improved analytics – To make decisions, businesses need the right data at the right time in the right format. The manual data collection process for analytics is not only tedious but also prone to errors. In IoT, Sensors do this job perfectly without any manual intervention and with higher accuracy. This data is then put to use with the help of advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence to gain actionable insights.
- Improved Quality and Customer Service – The real-time data helps businesses to gain a holistic view of the customers. This provides businesses with an opportunity to respond faster to customer inquiries, issue resolution, and manage changing preferences.
Challenges in Implementation of IoT
While implementing IoT is beneficial for the organization in many ways it is equally challenging. The below infographic depicts the challenges in the implementation of IoT.
- Legacy Systems – IoT requires systems with high computational power, flexibility, and scale. The requirements to power the IoT applications cannot be met by a majority of the legacy data infrastructures. As the data generated by IoT devices increases it becomes extremely challenging for businesses to handle it with legacy systems. Businesses can tackle this challenge by moving to cloud platforms that are much more agile, handle the high volume of data, lower the costs, and can be built to scale.
- Data Security and Privacy – This is one of the top-rated concerns related to IoT implementation. While it is good to have a well-connected value chain, IoT opens up the value chain for cyber threats. Every endpoint within the IoT network might become susceptible to cyber-attacks if neglected. To prevent this, businesses need to focus on the development of a robust network that enables the early detection and elimination of cyber threats. It is extremely critical to have a well-defined cybersecurity framework and make it an integral part of IoT solution development.
- Data Integrity – With multiple devices being connected and data being shared across the network, there is a high probability of data being manipulated. Inaccurate data results in inaccurate monitoring and prediction. Businesses can tackle this challenge by having a single source of master data and have authorization mechanisms in place to handle transactional data.
- Return on Investment (ROI) – Most businesses falter in their IoT implementation attempts because they fail to estimate the factors that contribute to the Return on Investment. To quicken the ROI on IoT investments it is advisable for businesses to not start IoT implementation until they have well-defined business objectives, an action plan with a timeline, a team of knowledgeable resources, and the right infrastructure in place. Digital transformation is an organizational level change that consumes a considerable amount of human and financial resources. So, to prevent the investment in IoT from going down the drain businesses can build pilot projects and then build solutions to scale. Businesses should note that though IoT can be a game-changer not all businesses processes need to be a part of it. Management practices such as precise ROI projections and well-framed change management strategies will be the difference between true transformation and wasting money on the hype.
- Lack of Knowledge – Many Businesses planning to implement IoT are facing a significant skill gap in the market and are also plagued by their lack of understanding of the subject. Since IoT requires knowledge and skill in a variety of domains including software development, cybersecurity, cloud technology, machine learning, and electronics it has become increasingly difficult to spot the right talent. A new Canonical study found 68% of surveyed IoT professionals, developers and vendors are struggling to find and recruit employees with relevant IoT expertise.1 Upskilling and retraining the workforce can help businesses to tackle this challenge to some extent.
How to start and not stop at the end of this article piece?
I would recommend starting simply by just taking this approach, which has negligible risk, simple and yet an amazingly effective positive step towards our goal of a proactive strategy
A) Take pen-paper or manual method (start now)
Start implementing the recommended strategy using your existing technology resources for a known and low-risk segment of products within your supply chain Business to find out what works and what doesn’t. Indeed this causes efforts, but this will pave the way for better clarity around unknown risks.
B) Take help from technology
Work towards making it unattended, assisted by using Super-fast digital solution such that it works autonomously without losing its efficacy by engaging a solid, affordable Business and Technology solution partner.
If you are a CEO/COO/CIO/Managing Director/General Manager who is spending more time in reactive/preventive mode than future-facing, please reach out for an exploratory conversation.
Our Contact details
Pradeep Mishra (Director and Co-founder)
Ashok Mulchandani (Partner – Business Success and Strategic Transformation)
Amit Bhagat (Director – Business Strategy)
Please feel free to leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comment box below!