Building your own IoT Product: Is your IT team ready?

Geoffrey Parker | January 19, 2015 | 3 Min Read

Follow these three steps, and you've begun your IoT journey. Never forget that technology is just a portion of the overall experience that a customer and/or user will have with the IoT device you are creating.

We recently published a paper called “The Six Oversights to Consider Before Creating an IoT Product,” which was a primer to some deep issues that organizations will have to face and conquer in order to get their feet wet in the IoT ocean. Let’s look at one of these “sins” in more detail: your own internal IT abilities.

Before you start down any path, you need to spend some time introspecting on your business’s capabilities. These projects are fun, but fun doesn’t mean you should or that you are good at it. Failing in a fun way is still failing. You will indeed learn so learn something from it, but in all likelihood, you will have also missed the window to get your product to market.

Here are three steps to follow when assessing your internal IT capabilities:

Step 1. Evaluate your internal IT capabilities.

Is your organization’s IT team currently set up for internal-only support? Do you have clear service level agreements (SLA’s) that have your desktops, laptops, and phones fixed and returned to you within a few days? Does your IT team also keep servers up and running and internal tools in use for a few thousand people?

Now, imagine taking all the devices that your IT team supports and multiplying it by at least a factor of ten. That’s what IoT will do. If you are building a customer facing product, it could be 100 to 10000 times their current workload – not to mention the different types of work your IT team will be supporting. Seriously assess if your team can handle it. In all likelihood, it can’t. So, find help. But, before you do, go to Step 2.

Step 2. How does your IT play into customer experience?

Now, how does your IT team and ongoing support play into your overall customer experience?  When will they be interacting directly or indirectly for or against a customer’s experience with your product? Think of it this way. If your server goes down, can’t handle extra load, is slow, or gets hacked, etc., how does this adversely affect your IT team? This is where a strong overlap with the overall customer experience journey map makes lots of sense. Finally, once you have a clear idea of how the support will be done and the scale, ensure that the product is built with these decisions in mind.

Step 3. How will you scale quickly in the case of success?

Finally, your IT team will need to handle growth. That growth is unpredictable, so plan for it with a few scenarios. IoT devices will put additional load on all your systems – people included. A few scenarios worth looking at are:

  • Target Success
  • Overwhelming Success
  • Not Successful, but not a failure

In each of these scenarios have a clear definition of what the metrics are for success. Obviously, money or the ability to generate income are key, but what about how many customers, number of active devices, devices sold, and device deactivations. And, from this model, how much and how frequently data will be transmitted.

Follow these three steps, and you’ve begun your IoT journey. Never forget that technology is just a portion of the overall experience that a customer and/or user will have with the IoT device you are creating.

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