January 24, 2019 - As you deploy some form of Internet of Things within your business – perhaps to better understand your customer, offer more specialized features and services, or explicitly to cut your competition off at the pass– you should be thinking about how to get the most out of the new technology. This much is true, though: the lion’s share of the IoT’s return on investment is due to the data it delivers from your network of connected devices.
Think about it: whether you’re building an IoT in the warehouse and delivery trucks to create a smart supply chain, in the retail space to better interpret customer buying habits, or within the products you sell to collect information about customer behavior, IoT’s value is in the data it generates. So you should plan now on ways to optimize how you use that data if you want to maximize your ROI.
Determine your objectives for the data
This falls into the same category as “know your destination before you start driving,” and is overlooked more often than you might expect. Do you know exactly what you want to get out of your IoT? What business goals will the data streaming out of your smart devices and connected sensors address? Make sure that you develop a plan and ensure that your tactical approach to deploying your IoT, collecting data, and analyzing the results contributes to it.
Make data from IoT more accessible
If your business has established Business Intelligence tools and processes, you might find the arrival of new IoT datasets jarring and challenging. It can take time to establish the right way to integrate all this data into your existing data warehouse and build views into this data into your tools.
And if that’s your entire approach, you’re probably using your IoT wrong. Many IoT users establish data lakes – data repositories where you can house your new and unfiltered IoT data for analysis and dissemination. The advantage of a data lake is that it doesn’t require you to structure your data in a way that fits in with all the legacy data you’re already collecting and warehousing. Instead, you can store the data however it arrives – structured or unstructured, in whatever data and file format it happens to arrive in. And your data experts can massage, interpret, and analyze that data quickly and efficiently without a lot of administrative and IT overhead. Will you eventually organize some or all of that data in your existing data warehouse? Of course. But don’t let the long term compromise your effectiveness in the short term.
Ensure you build a self-sufficient organization
Your IoT is delivering a wealth of data that you’ve likely never had access to before. And that means you need to make data available at all levels and across disciplines within the business who have never had access to such data before. Consider democratizing your business with self-serve analytics; your analytics team can offer tools, training, coaching, and insight to the entire organization, but make the data and analysis tools available at every level. Long gone are the days when a small group of analysts can deliver all the information everyone needs. The IoT offers the potential for far too many insights in niche categories–only people already well-versed in domain knowledge will even know the right questions to ask and get the most out of this data.
Find out how an IoT platform like Canopy can help your business realize a return on investment from its data.