It’s 2018. The Internet of Things (IoT) has well and truly arrived, and numbers show businesses are optimistic about its potential with many start-ups exploring IoT innovation to build a competitive advantage. At the same time, deploying end-to-end IoT solutions remains a key challenge for many companies.
So what’s getting in the way of IoT success? According to the IoT Alliance Australia, it’s all to do with ‘the human factor’ (or lack thereof). Co-founder Geof Heydon says the secret to IoT success is collaborating with the right people.
“Businesses need to work with the right people to build an interdependent ecosystem in which connected devices, infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI) work together,” he says.
Defining IoT success
Before creating a partner ecosystem, it’s important to clearly identify what IoT success looks like. This will vary from business to business. As a channel partner, you can help guide the conversation by asking your customers the following three questions:
- What are the key business outcomes they hope to achieve through IoT? This will determine the measurable objectives. Some examples might include operational efficiencies, new revenue streams, reduced operational costs and better customer service.
- What are the current challenges of achieving those outcomes? This will help determine what technologies or processes can be integrated or need implementing to drive more productive workflows and improve performance visibility. Three key areas to cover here are security, business intelligence and data management.
- What in-house skills and capabilities do they currently have for IoT implementation and lifecycle management? This should cover migrations, refreshes and secure data removal to ensure compliance with the GDPR and the NDB Scheme.
Once you have worked with your customer to create an IoT strategy for success, you can start identifying the skillsets, resources and expertise needed to build the right partner ecosystem.
Identifying necessary skillsets
At Arrow, we have identified the following capabilities as critical to building a skills-based partner ecosystem:
Engineering: depending on the solution, you may require electronic or electro-mechanical engineering skills.
App developers: as more IoT solutions are managed through smartphones, you may require bespoke applications to interpret data in the field.
Data analytics: to interpret and analyse the data coming from IoT devices to help make informed decisions.
Technology specialists: to integrate new or legacy IT infrastructure with your IoT solution. This could cover everything from edge computing, networking and infrastructure, storage and cloud.
Cybersecurity experts: IoT gives way to a host of new security considerations. In our rapidly connecting world, devices previously dormant can pose unique vulnerabilities. In an IoT deployment, it’s crucial to engage security experts. This will go a long way in reducing the risk of a cyber attack.
Post-sales support: for comprehensive technical support and enablement to maintain the effectiveness of the IoT solution and to provide regular reviews to ensure the solution is optimised.
A collaborative vision
When establishing an IoT partner ecosystem, it’s important that all stakeholders maintain the original focus of the IoT project: that is, the customer’s objectives. A successful IoT partner ecosystem has a united vision that should ultimately create the solution the customer needs and is prepared to pay for.
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