Keep on running: IoT service delivery shouldn’t be an afterthought

IoT service

IoT service

We’ve started the new year with a surge of Internet of Things projects for customers – underlining that IoT is now widely recognized as a must-have business imperative. This is good news since it means IoT initiatives should now be able to command the all-round support they deserve.

Many IoT projects have ultimately failed because they lacked the strategic recognition to put them on the boardroom agenda. Others have become mission critical by stealth, but without a clear service delivery plan to support them, they result in chaos when something goes wrong.

The landscape is changing. Organizations are recognizing that digitally transforming their business is a pressing imperative, and the IoT is a key enabler in driving this change. The IoT provides the fabric to support a hyperconnected business: one where a corporation can rethink how it operates, how it delivers value to customers and, ultimately, how it can retain relevancy.

Growing demand for just-add-water IoT solutions

As IoT projects enter mainstream business, we’re progressively seeing more examples where the customer loves the technology and is delighted by the outcome. Nevertheless, this satisfaction is tempered by the complexity  that results from using a patchwork of components from different suppliers to create a working IoT solution.

In the digital world, customers are moving away from this “tower” approach, in favour of solutions implemented and managed by a single service partner.

For IoT projects in vertical markets like healthcare, agriculture and manufacturing, that service partner’s role is to put horizontal services and support arrangements in place to ensure the “things” part of the IoT solution keep on working, and therefore deliver value to the businesses.

For an IoT project to succeed, you need to consider the service and support model at the conceptual stage. Then, when things go wrong, it’s easier and faster to put them right. Murphy’s Law of course dictates that things will always go wrong at the most inconvenient time.

Co-creation for the mainstream IoT world

The value in this approach is inherent: Organizations ultimately want minimal disruption to their business, plus peace of mind. They want the confidence that their IoT applications, devices and gateways are developed and managed professionally. They need to know that data and devices are secure, that services are always available. And they expect that incidents are minimized and changes handled effectively. These are all signs that IoT projects are mature enough for the mainstream.

However, IoT implementations also demand that service providers are agile, proactive, cost-effective and take a partnering approach. These requirements can present headaches to traditional IT service providers. IoT needs partners who can roll up their sleeves and co-create solutions, rather than simply relying on a service provider to deliver the solution (and the invoice at the end of the month).

Service providers must establish IoT teams with the appropriate skills and expertise – and at the right price. They must be able to co-create, leveraging the plethora of technology options out there. They need to be familiar with agile project delivery methods. They’re expected to offer cost-effective approaches to IoT application developments with a laser focus on helping their customers prove business value.

End-to-end service accelerates IoT project success

Taking end-to-end service into account also helps accelerate IoT project adoption success rate. In general, a proof of concept only runs for eight to 12 weeks, and during this time, they must show proven ongoing improvement. There’s precious time to waste on troubleshooting.

In my next post, I’ll explain why field service and data are key to keeping an IoT project alive.

Learn more: IoT Service Management must be a key component of any IoT strategy, says Dr Alex Bazin at Fujitsu Forum 2016. Watch here:

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