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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic these days. Analysts, such as Gartner, have made many forecasts, as have hardware and software vendors. All see a great future ahead for IoT.

There remain however a significant number of questions and concerns that put many customers off taking their first steps on the journey into the IoT world.

My aim with this series of blogs is to explore the characteristics of an enterprise IoT strategy, which is obviously an essential part of the journey. I want to identify parameters, methods, approaches and strategies that can help us to make the IoT journey more successful.

In my current involvement in IoT content, I cooperate a lot with my colleague Smitha Rayala. It’s therefore perfectly natural that we planned to come up with a set of blogs that complement each other over the coming months. We will of course also continue our work on SAP Enterprise Architecture Explorer, our short video series and other activities, focusing on IoT.

So far, the following blogs of this series are available:

The following, complementary blogs for this series are available as well:

 

Why I believe that expertise in user experience improvement projects can help IoT

Those of you who have been following my blogs over a longer period of time will know that I have a technical background and spent the last few years focusing on user experience (UX) and its positive impact on enterprises. You might wonder then how I can relate my expertise and know-how from UX to IoT. Many of you might think that UX and IoT are totally different fields.

If people look at UX as a pure design topic, and at IoT just as a technology topic, then yes, they are totally different. From the perspective of business and IT decision makers however, the truth is that there are many important similarities between UX and IoT projects.

The basics of how to create a strategy is the same (for example vision, mission, KPI definition), and some of the methods used to identify improvement potentials for the enterprise are the same (for example design thinking). Technologies we use in the context of UX are also relevant for IoT, such as SAP HANA Cloud Platform. In addition to this, IoT-relevant applications need a good user experience too (for example SAP Fiori UX).

What’s more, I believe that IoT inspiration can most definitely be drawn from content created earlier with UX in mind. In the appendix, I have added a selection of blogs, videos and content from SAP Enterprise Architecture Explorer created by myself over the last two years [1]. The methods and approaches used are still valid sources, even for IoT.

What I’d like to stress here is this: If you have experience in creating enterprise UX strategies or running user experience improvement projects, you are well placed to expand into the IoT world.

The big picture of the journey

So what is the journey that lies ahead of us? The image below provides an initial idea.

 

Enterprise_IoT_Strategy_Journey_Pic.png

 

This is obviously just a simple, high-level view of the journey. Your journey might be very different, or you might want to do undertake a shorter journey at first, before diving into a full-blown journey later on.

As your journey will be influenced by your company’s boundaries, such as a business strategy and IT strategy, it is obviously difficult to draw up a “one size fits all” guideline. At the same time, Smitha and I aim to provide you with enough material to help you plan your personal journey.

So, expect details about every step of the journey in subsequent blogs. For now, it might be enough to focus on step 1: Identifying the relevance of the Internet of Things.

Identifying the relevance of the Internet of Things

Many people still wonder what the benefits of IoT are, and how these can be connected to their company’s business. This therefore is the very first thing we need to look at. Why is IoT of interest for the business?

Basically, the Internet of Things goes well beyond just making your business more efficient. It also has a huge potential to help you build completely new business models. With all these “Things” providing detailed insights into the state of machines or devices, together with endless conditions, such as temperatures and geo-locations, there are endless possibilities for improving businesses, or for creating new ones.

From my point of view, a good example is refrigerators that are connected to the internet. For some of you, this might seem like old hat, as it is a well-known usage scenario for IoT. In fact, it has been well covered, notably however from the consumer’s perspective only.

Looking at it from the business side is much more interesting however. Why? Imagine refrigerator vendors who were traditionally focused solely on their product. There were what you could call product-centric, so in many cases it took them a long time to see a customer again, as a refrigerator usually works without problems for a long time.

IoT-based improvements could allow them to monitor energy consumption in order to see if fridge needs to be defrosted and provide a service to inform customers accordingly. They could even provide a service where someone comes over and packs the customer’s goods in a temporary replacement refrigerator during defrosting. They could provide services to food suppliers to order new goods and to help them with their services. Imagine you buy something at the supermarket, and the bill indicates which temperature zone of your fridge each item should be stored in. You might not think that these examples are big business changers. These are just a few ideas I thought up myself. Imagine what potential for innovation there is by market experts.

I believe that interesting IoT-based business improvements can be created easily if both the business, its processes and the target customer group is clear. I also believe that there are many methods that can help us get there. We will return to this topic in the next blog, where we are going to talk about finding the right starting point.

Outlook – What comes next in this blog series?

Let me stop at this point and ask you for your opinion. As mentioned before: The plan is to provide a series of blogs over the coming months. This series will focus on a decision maker information level. Complementary blogs like those from Smitha will cover both high level and deep level information, depending on the topics.

I can envisage our future blogs covering questions such as the following:

  • How can we find areas in the enterprise that provide starting points for our IoT improvements?
  • How can I identify my options to improve my enterprise with IoT?
  • What are the typical challenges in IoT projects, and how can they be tackled?
  • How can I persuade my management to adopt IoT?
  • What should I consider when creating my IoT roadmap?
  • Which resources and skills do I need to develop and execute my IoT strategy?


Please let me know your interests and concerns in the context of your enterprise IoT strategy. I’m always interested in topics for upcoming blogs.

With regards,

JJ (@JJComment)

 

PS: The next part of this series is at Characteristics of an Enterprise IoT Strategy – Part 2: Defining where to start

 

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Appendix:

[1] Selection of available enterprise UX strategy content

 Blogs

 Short Videos

SAP Enterprise Architecture Explorer content

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