Taking the Internet of Things Journey from Pilot to Program

In the services world, how can we create business value from the Internet of Things?  As I’ve blogged before, the IoT is replete with opportunities to apply the data flow among IoT devices to business processes and transform the world. Therefore, it should open an unending series of opportunities for service providers to create completely new lines of service for their customers. So why is that potential primarily resulting in disjointed pilots and not evolving to programs?

I’ve observed the same pilot-to-program problem also occurring in analytics and cloud. How can service providers solve this problem?

I think the answer in most cases, and certainly in the Internet of Things, is that the pilots are not focusing on solving a real business problem. I acknowledge that some revenue-generating programs are successfully underway in some companies. But many can’t get to programs because the pilot doesn’t start with the right focus.

Let’s use service warranties as an example and look at how to apply the right focus.

First, define the issue – a real business problem – and then ask: “How can the IoT affect the warranty of our products and solve this problem?”

The answer to the question gives focus to what you want to try to accomplish. With this focus defined, you know what signals to look for from the data. You understand what data you need to acquire, the location of the relevant signals, and how to act on those signals to enhance your customer’s warranty experience or service experience.

Then you can build warranty platforms that apply broadly across multiple companies. And you’ll be able to transform the customer service processes and the device maintenance services.

If you start by characterizing a business problem and then ask how the IoT can solve the problem, you can move from a series of disjointed pilots to a program that can capture significant funding and create robust business results, gain market share, improve customer satisfaction and potentially even lead to creating additional service offerings.

The warranty service example is just one of many opportunities for the Internet of Things. I’d be interested in your opinion as to other IoT opportunities for the services world.