How do you implement IoT?

Now that we’ve defined IoT, reviewed its benefits, and discussed why IoT deserves the hype, you may be persuaded: you need IoT in some form or fashion. But, where to start?

Or, perhaps IoT sounds all well and good, but you’re wary of the obstacles you may face implementing IoT, such as cybersecurity.

So let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of how to implement IoT in your organization.

Managing IoT implementations

Because IoT can utterly transform some existing business processes, it is best to take a change-management approach to all IoT projects — big and small. The small projects give you practice for the big ones — those that definitely requires you to manage change effectively — and help to create a change-ready culture so those big changes don’t hurt as bad. A change management approach also helps you to unearth and address concerns, such as cost, privacy, and/or cybersecurity.

Our preferred change management approach has six stages:

  1. Establish the need to change
  2. Create a coalition
  3. Develop a plan
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  5. Celebrate wins early & often
  6. Reinforce changes

The remainder of this post will explore where to start your IoT project: by establishing a sense of urgency around adopting IoT. The next post will dive into how to obtain leadership buy-in and build your IoT coalition, including how to address common concerns about IoT. Future posts will get into the specifics of how you procure, implement, and integrate IoT into your organization. So, without further delay…

What’s the best place to start with IoT?

Most organizations have already implemented technologies — such as instrumentation, SCADA, and enterprise asset management or computerized maintenance management systems — to provide near-real-time visibility of their processes and operations. So, what’s the most cost-effective way to add IoT to the mix?

The answer depends upon two things: 1) the urgency of the need to adopt IoT; and 2) your organization’s technology maturity.


The first element of change management involves identifying a problem and establishing the need to adopt a change. The bigger and more painful the problem, the more urgent the need for change becomes and the more persuasive your vision for how IoT will address the problem will be.

To identify your problem statement, ask yourself:

  • How will IoT affect your industry?
  • What are your industry peers and leaders doing?
  • How can IoT take your existing technology investments and business processes to the next level?

The first question helps you identify and prepare for future threats; the second focuses on gaining or retaining competitiveness. Helpful resources include consulting firms’ industry-specific analyses and IoT solution providers’ case studies; also check out earlier posts (and works cited) on why you need IoT for use cases and industry-specific examples.

The third question — how IoT can take your organization to the next level — seeks to uncover pain points, such as process inefficiencies, where IoT presents an opportunity for a quick return-on-investment. The answer here generally relates to your organization’s technology maturity.


Depending on your organization’s technology maturity, there may be some logical next steps for IoT adoption. These steps leverage your existing technologies to implement more integrated, IoT-driven business processes.

What do we mean by technology maturity?

Let’s take an example focusing on the maintenance and reliability side of your organization. We first published a version of the following maintenance maturity curve in our condition-monitoring white paper.

Where does your organization fall on this curve?

If you’re at the low end of the curve, with few formalized business processes and basic, if any, work management technology in place, jumping straight to a predictive approach will cost A LOT of money. While you may envision a future where you’re firmly in the predictive camp, think of IoT investments like climbing a staircase: rather than leaping to the top, you take a series of small, discrete, and cost-effective steps.

First, put in place internal work management processes, aided by technology, such as a computerized maintenance management or enterprise asset management system; these processes and systems will help you better manage work and identify problem assets. Next, as you start getting a handle on what’s causing your work, add preventive maintenance tasks.

Many Motors@Work clients come to us at the scheduled stage, looking for an asset performance management solution that’ll move them towards predictive maintenance. To take the step from scheduled into performance- and condition-based maintenance, we integrate run-time and load data from their SCADA system — or IoT-enabled sensors — into their EAM/CMMS. Tracking KPIs and trends help us identify opportunities for continuous improvement, while our motor management best practices from the US Department of Energy, NEMA, IEEE, and others help us recommend prescriptive maintenance to correct nonconformities before your assets fail. And we’re working on machine-learning algorithms and analytics to help us provide more real-time decision support — and embedding our intelligence within your EAM/CMMS.

So how will IoT benefit your organization? For more practical ways to use IoT to make smarter asset management decisions, email us at

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