Picking the right vendors: a part of IoT success
March 16, 2020
Not all IoT vendors are created equal. There are several considerations when evaluating the vendors competing in today's IoT solutions marketplace.
Not all IoT platforms are created equal—and the same can be said for IoT vendors.
The entire IoT market (hardware, software, systems integration, and data and telecom services) is expected to grow to $520 billion by 2021, more than double the $235 billion spent in 2017, according to Bain & Company, a Boston-based management consulting company.
With more than 75 billion IoT connected devices projected to be in service by 2025, solution providers are already attempting to navigate a hazy IoT landscape for end-to-end solutions designed to produce better business outcomes for clients. The challenges and complexities inherent in IoT are best managed through meaningful partnerships with the right vendors, particularly those with both robust IoT roadmaps and thriving channel ecosystems.
Depending on the results you're looking to achieve for your clients, there are several considerations when evaluating the myriad vendors competing in today's IoT solutions marketplace.
Compare and contrast vendor offerings
There's plenty of confusion in the market today about IoT solutions, and there isn't even universal agreement on just what makes something a bona fide IoT offering.
While some vendors claim IoT platforms that deliver end-to-end solutions designed to provide all of the tools necessary to connect, track and monitor IoT devices, more often the pitch is confined to some specific aspect of IoT, such as applications, customer engagement, data analytics or security.
Evaluate the features of every IoT vendor product or service you consider and determine how well it fits into your own end-to-end solution before committing to one.
Evaluate IoT vendor partner programs
Many vendors now boast specific partner programs built around their IoT solutions. These programs—typically tiered—provide channel partners with the resources vendors deem necessary to help channel partners deploy IoT-enabling technologies for end users.
Many of these programs offer training, tools and other resources such as case studies, sales aids and marketing funds. When evaluating a vendor's IoT solution partner program, consider whether it's truly aligned with your IoT practice goals and strategy and whether it's designed to assist channel partners with building and scaling IoT practices. If not, ask why.
A vendor that's sufficiently focused on the channel should have an IoT program that provides enough support to its partners while also offering solutions that are right for your clients. Not all vendors will have both.
Time spent evaluating those that come up short isn't wasted. Use what you learn during your vendor due diligence to improve the assessment of the next IoT vendor's partner program on your list.
Learn your clients' IoT use cases and plug-in vendors that fit
There's no one-size-fits-all strategy for IoT.
For example, while many industries use sensor technologies, end goals vary. Healthcare professionals use sensor technologies - such as wearable sensors and devices - to monitor patient health. Manufacturing companies use sensors to assess whether parts need maintenance. Farmers use similar devices to evaluate weather conditions and soil quality.
Sensors are commodities. In IoT, it's the purpose—not the product—that makes the difference.
Before selecting a vendor, understand the verticals in which your clients operate and how they're using IoT technologies to improve business outcomes. Vendors best able to customize solutions to specific industry needs should rise to the top of your list.
Turn to Ingram Micro for pre-vetted partnerships
Another way to meet the challenge of reviewing, understanding and assessing IoT vendors is by working with distributors like Ingram Micro. IoT vendors participating in Ingram Micro IoT Marketplace and distributing products through Ingram Micro are fully vetted for product quality, functionality, value and applicability to solution providers. Partnering with them eliminates the burden of doing your own legwork and provides a level of assurance that speeds time to market.
Even though IoT has increased the complexity of an ever-changing technology landscape, partnerships with the right vendors can assist you with developing data-driven solutions for clients.
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