Previous posts explained why IoT needs a change management approach, how to recruit your coalition, and how to address stakeholder concerns about cost, security, feasibility, and more.
As discussed in our last post, one key challenge to implementing IoT is that it often involves procuring products and services that don’t have IoT in their name—making it difficult for those less familiar to understand how the project comes together. So, this post tackles the who and what of procuring IoT: what components you need and which specialists or subject-matter experts you need to hire or contract with to put it all in place. In other words, your plan.
Coincidently, developing your plan is the third element of change management.
WHAT TO BUILD
As Porter and Heppelman put it in their Harvard Business Review article, every IoT installation has four components that work in tandem: 1) the physical, or operational, technology — i.e., the device’s basic function; 2) the smart component, or brain, such as software; and 3) connectivity — wired or wireless communication between the product and its user, the device and similar devices, and/or the device and the complete system. The fourth component, data, resides at the core of this IoT system.
Exactly what you’ll need to build depends on where you’re starting.
Again, implementing SCADA, EAM, APM, AIP as a series of successive steps will help you to manage costs, mitigate risk, and get a few wins for tackling bigger projects down the line.
WHO TO HIRE
Implementing IoT typically involves procuring the services of three types of actors:
- Systems integrator
The front lines (or edge?) of any IoT implementation, systems integrators typically work directly with the end user to identify the best instrumentation for their situation, procure and install those devices, and finally get those devices online. Systems integrators can also help with integrating any new instrumentation into your SCADA system, should you choose to go that route — just be mindful of the pros and cons.
- IoT Provider
The foundation of the any IoT implementation, the IoT Provider supplies the platform and infrastructure that houses your data. Platforms also generally perform some basic analytics and reporting and manage notifications and work flows. Rather than building your own private cloud, many organizations today rely on more cost-effective public cloud services organized as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS), depending on the level of support you desire. IaaS providers simply manage the hardware: servers, storage, network. PaaS both manage the hardware as well as basic software, such as operating system, basic database structures, and middleware.
- Service Provider
Finally, the IoT Service Provider brings it all together, helping the end user to use the data posted to the IoT Provider. Most often, Service Providers include both Software-as-a-Service analytics products, as well as consultants who map your data and align the SaaS’s analytics and insights to your business processes. Note that some consultants will subcontract with systems integrators and IoT Providers in order to provide seamless turnkey IoT implementation services.
What level of support do you need to implement IoT? For more practical ways to use IoT to make smarter asset management decisions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.