How do you make your digital transformation sustainable?

Now you know all about IoT: what it is, where to start, how to build it, how to procure it, and how to secure it. You’re ready to roll, but first want to make sure your IoT investment is sustainable.

With an ever-evolving platform like IoT, don’t expect a one-and-done project to remain sustainable. As new technologies and service models emerge, you’ll need to adapt intelligently to an increasingly interconnected and digital world.

In other words, creating a sustainable digital transformation in a quickly-changing IoT world will require you to flex three key change management skills:

1) Communicate, communicate, communicate

Share your vision. Share your project plan. Share your progress reports. Share your go-live. Publicize your results.

Communicating at every stage isn’t just about transparency in the process and inviting input, it’s about reinforcing how this IoT project supports your organization’s mission and vision and identifying how this discrete piece fits into your overall digital transformation.

Communication is also key to managing stakeholders’ expectations — such as what’s included in this step of your overall plan, and when you’ll role out that feature they’ve been waiting to get their hands on (but you needed some less exciting infrastructure in place, first).

2) Celebrate wins early & often

You just installed the first site for your remote sensor pilot: announce it. You got results from the first month of using your new condition monitoring software: highlight some engagement KPIs, such as number of alerts generated, or failure modes corrected, through early intervention. A few months into using your new asset performance management software? Quantify and publicize the operational savings from increasing the availability and efficiency of your assets and making smarter asset management decisions.

For example, many Motors@Work’s clients first highlight how quantifying their inefficiencies helped them to identify energy-savings opportunities; then, they publicize how our condition-monitoring software saved their motors from premature failure. Finally, after implementing any capital projects designed to eliminate inefficiencies, we can quantify their energy and other operational savings.

Celebrating wins during and after a project generates a positive narrative. In turn, that positive narrative creates momentum for future project phases — something very important in large, complex, multi-phase, and possibly multi-year IoT deployments. Whether you call it positive momentum, goodwill, or a proven track-record, celebrating your wins early and often throughout a project keeps stakeholders excited, attracts support from throughout the organization, and, most importantly, helps you obtain and retain project resources.

3) Reinforce changes

While it’s tempting to hang up your laurels after one IoT project and monitor progress — to not change too much too fast — organizational psychology tells us that it’s easier to habituate change: to make your team accustomed to making continual improvements and adjustments. Continuously implementing successive steps in your digital transformation plan creates a change-ready organizational culture.

The need for continual change is particularly acute where the landscape keeps changing, as it does with IoT. Those who fail to stay abreast of IoT’s evolution will necessarily fall behind; or, as Unruh & Kiron put it in a recent Sloan Management Review article, “The proud legacy assets of market giants quickly go from a source of competitive advantage to the proverbial albatross around their neck.”[1]

So, reinforce previously implemented changes by identifying a change that builds upon your success. Just upgraded to an EAM? Take advantage of new scheduling functions and efficiencies to implement new preventive maintenance routines. Just installed new sensors? Identify some condition-monitoring software. Or, use your momentum to digitize another aspect of your business, wherever you find the best business case.

What will be the first IoT win you celebrate? For more practical ways to use IoT to make smarter asset management decisions, email us at

[1] G. Unruh & D. Kiron, “Digital Transformation on Purpose,” MIT Sloan Management Review (6 November 2017).

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