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Considerations of Technology vs. Strategy

Most of the buzz we hear about IoT is the new product suites available from hundreds of current and emerging technology companies. These companies are jockeying for position to be ready to capture some of the $Trillions bounty over the next decade.

The multitude of sensors, edge devices and growing stack of services boils down to a very capable set of scalable options. One key issue is that the sensors and devices should and will remain “open” so that a single vendor solutions will never really exist or matter. The hardware shouldn’t drive your IoT adoption.

The most important aspect of IoT at the onset then, is how IoT can be used as a strategic weapon. Whether you are a startup or large corporation, current IoT trends and opportunities in innovation need to drive change from the top down.

The typical inroads for disruptive technology are via the IT department, where vendors constantly pitch new products and services. It’s easy to get a “freemium” account with one of many IoT SaaS companies where all that is required is an e mail address from your company name to get access.

Stealth Mode Operations-SNAFU results

As IT folks tinker with software without a strategic plan or committed pilot project resources, lots of outcomes are possible. The vendor side sales process raises the stakes with calls to the managers and C suite executives as “trial closes”. Unaware, the managers push back and shut down the discussion since they know nothing about it.

Since there are no budgets or project plans in the current KPI’s, the IT department gets either a thumbs down, or in forward thinking companies, permission to keep evaluating IoT technology.

In any case, the outcomes are randomized and minimal since no leadership approach or ownership exists.

Open Innovation- Output Driven Innovation

The proper way to approach IoT is to get a grasp on what possibilities exist in your domain and qualify what corporate challenges and opportunities exist. This is best started at the C level vs. IT department.

Some companies approach the process with a lens on innovation, where current strategies and business operations are under opportunity management. Innovation and business management already co-exist and there are capable teams in place to manage the process.

These companies typically use an “Output Driven” Innovation process where KPI’s can be measured in a linear and progressive way against status quo. Key improvements can be developed and measured against standards, such as manufacturing outputs, customer experience or improvements in efficiency.

The newer approach is under Open Innovation, where company leadership accepts and commits to a trusted and transparent use of third party inputs to accelerate adoption and implementation of innovation.

Typical cases would involve strategic partnerships and joint ventures where new disruptive business models can be co-developed. For example, a technology is core to one party and IP can be transferred and net new platforms of value creation can be brought to market.

IoT Foundry was developed to take advantage of this new model and increase IoT adoption while reducing painful startup failures.