When it comes to enterprise technology, a wide gulf exists between the exciting technology that vendors and thought leaders like to promote, and the practical technology that businesses know will cut their costs, increase their profits, or otherwise deliver tangible value to their organizations. (Case in point: SDN. It sounds so cool, but how many enterprises have seen enough of a business case thus far to actually deploy it in a production environment?) The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of those technologies that enterprise IT decision-makers may agree is exciting but not see the business case for buying. As you make your forays into Internet of Things platform sales, keep these three benefits in mind to build the business case for an Internet of Things platform.
1. Manufacturing: Optimize operations on the plant floor
Organizations in the manufacturing sector know how critical it is to maintain every component of the manufacturing process in good working order. Should one device or component go down, all productivity may go down with it. Transitioning to an IoT-enabled system that connects all manufacturing components with an Internet of Things platform, as Italian company Lido Stone Works did, can prevent such disasters. Sensors in the manufacturing components can send constant performance, output, and other readings to the centralized IoT platform, which in turn can detect developing problems or anomalies in real-time and instantly alert technicians. Rapid response will preserve productivity and keep the entire plant running at optimal capacity with minimal downtime.
2. Retail: Know where your inventory is on an item-level basis
Sales and shrinkage are two of the biggest concerns in the retail industry, in which sales must be maximized and shrinkage minimized in order to maintain a healthy bottom line. Shipping logistics and ecommerce—an arena into which more and more retailers are entering—further complicate matters. Ultimately, it boils down to a distinct set of needs. Retailers must:
- Know where in-store items are going, whether into a customer's shopping bag or elsewhere
- Know where in-transit items are and when they can be expected, whether to the store or to the customer
- Know what's selling, what's selling in conjunction with other items, and how sales can be increased
Internet of Things technologies that place sensors, including RFID tags, on individual items and then track them across their retail lifecycle can aid in this information-gathering processes as no other technology has before by providing a granular, real-time snapshot of in-store item status. And when it comes to sales, beacon technology that interacts with customers' smartphones can drive greater sales and volume.
3. All verticals: Increasing business efficiencies and generating actionable insights
Retail and manufacturing are the two most commonly discussed sectors when it comes to the Internet of Things, but in reality, any business in any vertical can benefit. Much like big data business analytics, an IoT implementation can generate clear and accurate insights into the current state of the business, whether on the customer side or the operational end. Those insights can then be leveraged into new strategies that will increase success in whatever area the business prioritizes—whether it be market share, customer engagement, internal productivity, or something else.
When you speak with IT decision-makers, you'll find that the most important thing on their minds is value. What value can the technologies you offer bring to your customers? As it happens, the Internet of Things can bring significant value. All you have to do is tailor it to your customers' needs—and as a VAR, you are already well versed in that.
Are there other benefits that you share with your customers when building a business case for an Internet of Things platform? Tell us in the comments.