This is Part I in Axonize’s series covering the system integrator’s role in IoT. We’ll explore how to launch more and recurring IoT projects.
Gartner says IoT is moving from ‘what’ to ‘how’. Axonize believes that won’t happen without massive involvement from system integrators.
Vendors aren’t offering end-to-end solutions
IoT is complicated. It has many moving parts – the sensors, devices, connectivity, platform, business logic, applications, and users (including training and changing their workflows).
Not a single vendor in IoT can offer a catch-all, end-to-end solution, and frankly, you wouldn’t want them to.
If a platform offers devices, your IoT application will be limited to what those exact devices can do. The same is true for the other vendors – if you start with a device, your platform will be somewhat limited.
The true value of IoT lies in its unlimited possibilities. You should always be able to select your “parts” in order get the maximum benefit and customize based on your needs.
Historically, the only players who could pull together a project with multiple parts and vendors have been system integrators.
They have experience putting together networking, IT or security projects using equipment from different vendors. System operators can facilitate inter-operation and train the users monitoring and maintaining the application themselves.
According to the Machina Research report, ‘System Integrators are most trusted to deliver the IoT’, 70% of companies already work with system integrators today and consider them an integral part of their workforce.
Also, 44% of today’s IoT projects are executed using system integrators. At Axonize, we see system integrators and service operators as integral to building an IoT project. We rarely see cases where the customer can solely pull projects together.
Serving all business units and systems
IoT will have the most positive impact on the enterprise when it crosses business unit borders.
The grand vision of the smart manufacturing plant isn’t limited to the connected production line, but also to warehouse monitoring beyond the supply chain.
Each IoT application can and should connect all sources, enabling rules and actions between them and reaching correlated insights.
In addition to their project management skills, a system integrator is well placed to have smooth access to multiple business units. System integrators have historically provided integration with systems like the existing CRM, ERP, BMS, or WMS, and more. IoT data should be populated across the existing systems in order to unlock maximum value.
Is it really IoT?
Many customers we talk to don’t realize their problems can be solved with IoT. Their refrigerated goods are going bad. They think they need a better thermometer or a connected thermometer. They aren’t aware that their connected thermometer can be easily expanded to humidity and door sensors, that they can control everything remotely, monitor electricity usage, and optimize the use of refrigeration space.
IoT technology often brings so many possibilities that it becomes hard to narrow down the ones that will have a positive impact on the business and define the various project phases. This is where the expertise of IoT system integrators and service operators is invaluable.
Because of their exposure to multiple projects and industries, they understand how to build a business case, how to phase a project so that a customer can handle the burning issues, and build up to additional benefits.
In many cases, system integrators have vertical expertise and a deep understanding of the business drivers to improve IoT application design.
Start small and scale
The complexity of the IoT project and number of players and vendors involved is the reason businesses need to start small and scale. IoT is new and yet unproven.
In combination with its unlimited possibilities, end customers will have a hard time committing to anything large. The most common deployment will start with a PoC, a first step.
Vendors have a hard time starting small and scaling, while system integrators are structured to provide scale to their customers’ businesses.
So how do we move from IoT ideas to execution?
We bring in the system integrators.
Download this handy guide to learn more about why system integrators are best suited for IoT implementations.
*This blog post is based on a Machina research report titled ‘System Integrators are most trusted to deliver the IoT’ and our own experience talking to both end customers and system integrators.