Building an IoT Strategy: 5 Steps to Plan for SuccessRita Mailheau
We’ve spent plenty of time discussing IoT and its rising popularity in recent months. And with good reason. It’s a complicated and nuanced landscape with great potential yet to be realized.
When it comes to a B2B perspective on the internet of things however, we (as installers and technicians) need to think less about the market trend, and more about the effect this technology has on end users.
How can we drive better results for the people that are going to use the powered and/or connected devices in their home or in their businesses? Here are just a few of the high-impact ways in which we can improve experiences with connected devices.
- Live Healthy: Monitoring heart rates and more during workouts.
- Improved Service: Balancing loads in the cloud during peak usage periods.
- Encourage Safety: Turning off devices remotely if accidentally left running.
Of course, in order to achieve these goals (and more) you’ll need to have a plan built out before diving in headfirst. Let’s take a look at the 5 initial steps to take when building your own IoT strategy, to ensure employees will actually follow along and be successful.
Step 1: Vision
One industry that is quickly moving forward with IoT technology is energy. Our existing power infrastructure is so expansive that small problems can have quite a sweeping impact.
Utility companies are already using tablets to give technicians real-time access to identify and correct trouble areas on the grid. They can also access historical information about the grid and enter updates as they go. The administrative backlog has all but disappeared because of this newfound mobility.
By granting stakeholders access to the information they need to manage responsibilities, unnecessary steps have been eliminated. Productivity increases, and costs decrease accordingly.
Step 2: Investment
It’s an age-old problem for management: how do you get your employees to stop resisting change?
According to an interesting read on Entrepreneur, one of the key principles of project management is getting input from your team before implementing. In fact, if you’re able to, it’d be even better if you can do it before the ink is dry on your initial plan drafts.
By allowing dedicated and knowledgeable employees a say in what they’ll be responsible for doing, you can obviate and avoid future problems and delays.
Present a clear vision for what your policies and programs will include but stay open to feedback. Acknowledging concerns will build loyalty and commitment to your vision amongst the entirety of your staff.
Security is important, but it’s not the whole picture. Ease of use will ensure that people don’t cut corners on security guidelines.
Your people know their jobs. They know the challenges and can eliminate unnecessary steps. When people have invested in something, they are much more likely to adopt it.
Last but not least, always leave room in your plan for further development and improvements.
Follow up with your team members to ensure any adoption problems are being handled as quickly and accurately as possible. No matter how well you plan, there will inevitably be hiccups.
Step 3: Implementation
Before you can implement your IoT Program, you’ll want to clearly and specifically define each phase of its implementation.
In the case of the utility company mentioned earlier, each of their technicians needed:
- His or her own tablet
- Software training
- Contacts and support during initial days of use
It should come as no surprise that once they had tablets in their hands, they needed some hands-on time to get comfortable with the functionalities and software. From database updates, gps or grid issues, to how and when to recharge the devices, support was needed in a variety of capacities.
Fuzzy vision yields fuzzy outcomes. Disciplinary Leads can define how the IoT rollout will impact their business silos, so be sure to clearly outline the implementation strategy before rolling anything out.
Step 4: Initiation
So with all of this talk about planning, it might seem like we’ll never be ready to get moving.
Of course, you can’t wait until things are perfect. If you take that approach, you’ll likely never gain any momentum.
In his Psychology Today article “A Cranky Pessimist’s Guide to Getting Things Done” Oliver Burkeman makes the following two predictions. First, you’ll find it hard not to exceed your mediocre targets. Second, you’ll enjoy the experience more than you would otherwise.
“Try deliberate mediocrity. Try for 80%, 60%, or 40% of whatever you think you’re capable of [….].”
When your employees know you aren’t expecting perfection out the gate, they’ll grumble less and focus more on the process and spend less time obsessing over the outcome predictions.
When you’re trying to get started on a new process, the last thing your team needs is a panel of judges critiquing their every move.
Once people begin to apply change, stretch goals become necessary to achieve the full benefit of this change.
Step 5: Inspiration
At some point early in your rollout, you will need to communicate the delivery metrics to your team.
It’s important to clearly state how your organization defines success when it comes to your IoT strategy, policies and process. Also, be sure to reward those who are enabling the success of this new culture of connectivity.
Try to do it in such a way that multiple opportunities to achieve recognition are possible. That way others can learn from and repeat the success of earlier adopters.
Financial incentives are always appreciated, but if you are not in a position to bonus top performers, other things can work. Public acknowledgement of work well done and other privileges let your team know you are serious about excellence.
Putting It All Together
When you’re sitting down to build your own IoT strategy, remember the five key steps we discussed today. But keeping them in mind you’ll be all set for a smooth rollout with minimal obstacles to success.
- Vision: Find examples of success
- Investment: Consider how to achieve buy-in
- Implementation: Define intended outcomes in incremental steps
- Initiation: Take the plunge
- Inspiration: Incentivize implementation
If you need help with connectivity in your organization, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of technicians who can help you develop your plan with maximal efficiency in mind.