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Written by Matt Winkler
on 13 Mar 2019

A recent Forrester report, Internet-of-Things Heat Map 2018[1], noted that industrial products lead all industries in IoT adoption at 45%, with an additional 22% planning to adopt IoT in the next 12 months. However, even as organizations continue to realize the upside of connected devices, many are learning that attempting to transform a business with IoT connectivity can be a huge—and quite challenging—undertaking. That’s because, unlike software initiatives, which are often owned and controlled by IT, connected equipment deployments span multiple business and operational teams.

The Best Path Forward: A Sound and Inclusive Approach

First and foremost, without a solid roadmap to connectivity, an organization will not have a successful journey. Building an approach that identifies what an organization wants out of connectivity—along with formulating the plan to get there—is the foundation of a comprehensive connectivity approach.

Secondly, the business will need to implement a well-thought-out company structure and transform the way it thinks about connectivity to efficiently execute the strategy. The required interactions between multiple departments—from engineering, software/hardware, and networking to finance and accounting—will demand cultural organizational changes across the company. In short, everyone will have to work together in new ways to drive success through connectivity.

Lastly, leveraging advanced analytics, IoT connectivity, and asset health monitoring to integrate the benefits of machine-to-machine data into a company’s operations provides real-time insights that better inform business decisions and ultimately improve customer experience. Predictive maintenance is a powerful result of the equipment connectivity formula, and is a great example of when different data types (such as engineering and finance) must interact. Through the IoT, data is gathered, transferred, and stored; insights are generated; and then data-driven actions can be prescribed.

The Role of a Connected Equipment Strategy Specialist

At a very basic level, partnering with a connected equipment specialist to build and execute a connected equipment strategy provides a much-needed outside perspective. A trusted external view often enables organizations to identify unique pitfalls or reimagine a connectivity strategy they otherwise might have viewed as unchangeable or impossible. A connected equipment specialist with industry experience in creating digital transformations also has the know-how to channel the right technology for optimal implementation.

To be effective, a connected equipment solution provider must offer a consultative approach that is both vertical and lateral. It must understand the unique needs, current capabilities, and structure of an organization. In addition, by sharing a deep knowledge of the various transformation possibilities that a connected equipment approach can deliver, a specialist firm can help organizations explore avenues they may have overlooked.

From a technical perspective, the connected equipment specialist should be able to define and outline all necessary technology components required for implementation. This includes input on hardware, software, network architectures, and cloud infrastructure. Furthermore, business value must be clearly defined by developing and gathering predictive and prescriptive analytics that yield beneficial business insights. An ideal connected equipment strategy includes the following six key phases:

  1. Consult—Define the current state of connectivity and the client’s unique business problems
  2. Connect—Build a cross-organizational solution and carry out detailed engineering and integration activities
  3. Store—Design and develop appropriate data storage solutions
  4. Create—Enhance business intelligence with deep data analysis
  5. Consume—Deliver generated business intelligence and insights
  6. Maintain—Manage the connected equipment platform life cycle 

Successfully Maintaining a Connectivity Platform

The success of a connected equipment strategy largely depends on the organization’s ability to effectively maintain a connectivity platform once it has been implemented. Based on a detailed understanding of the system and its components, the organization must set practical maintenance schedules. Organizations also must stay on the forefront of the constantly changing technology landscape.

A third-party provider is most apt to fulfill the maintenance role as it can suggest best practices based on past experience, provide the right tools and timelines, and ensure an organization is on track for future improvements, including rolling out updates and maintenance for upcoming software and firmware deployments at application sites. Executing the right strategy with an optimal roadmap helps equip organizations to meet evolving business goals.

Cyient’s connected equipment offering helps clients find success with the right strategy and roadmap to define, build, execute, and maintain their connected equipment strategy. Read our connected equipment fact sheet to learn more.

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