We know that building a software initiative is a high-stakes investment. Since we’ve worked with some of the largest brands in the world, we know what it takes to make that investment pay off. Years of experience strategizing, planning and building software have given us critical insights into what makes an IoT solution effective – and what makes it fail. Here are four pitfalls to watch out for when you’re launching an so you can ensure your team is set up for success.
Failing to properly structure data
Imagine you’re a maker of water heaters and AC units and have a large customer base.
Your IoT system collects valuable data points from your connected products – average temperature settings, average daytime and nighttime use, times of highest usage, etc. If your data-collection system is fragmented and inconsistent, your analysts and engineers will have a hard time building important new features into the system. Data that’s cohesively and efficiently gathered, stored, and analyzed gives you the full picture of how your customers use your products.
This is just one example of why structure is key when it comes to maximizing data. If the structure underpinning your data isn’t efficient, consistent and integrated, your entire system can grind to a halt. You need to know how your data is gathered and stored, how it’s interpreted, how all the pieces fit together so needed modifications can roll out smoothly.
Ignoring structural issues can also mean your competitors get an edge because you didn’t anticipate and offer new features. Every single feature begins with data points, and careless data structure might mean, for example, that you miss information crucial to an improved product. Or – especially important at scale – you might miss when something begins to change.
Lacking the technical foundation and plan for scaling
When building an IoT platform, it’s essential to understand all the elements of the product roadmap so you can appropriately scale and commercialize when the time comes. For the proof of concept (PoC) phase, we recommend starting with an IoT dev kit board. Dev kits are a great, low-cost option in the exploratory stage, but once the viability of your IoT initiative is certain, you should shift to a custom, scalable database that can grow with your company. You don’t want to build and commercialize an inadequate system with support vulnerabilities (e.g., crashes, delays). You don’t want to risk a poor user experience or have to start all over again with your IoT initiative.
As your company scales, you need to keep the “human element” of your operation in mind. Since obviously tech is the engine behind any platform, it’s easy to forget that it’s ultimately people who are using that technology to connect with your product or service. As you scale your enterprise – and this often involves devices and technologies that are ever more sophisticated and widely disbursed – you want to be sure that your IoT solution is user-friendly and over the long haul. The last thing you want is to lose customers because the tech-human interface fractured.
Not having the right technical talent
When building a scalable IoT platform, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of having the right technical talent. Understanding how your device connects to the cloud and communicates data is crucial in creating hardware and software that’s resilient and works together seamlessly. If you have a small user base, your company might survive a few trial-and-error miscues, but if your customer base is considerable, a serious hardware mistake could cost you, big time.
Your company has the chops to succeed. Maybe you have a revolutionary idea that could take your company even further. You know the potential’s there, the opportunity, but don’t have the technical skillset to help you reach your goal. Instead of risking the future by thinking you can rely on internal resources, speak to a consultant. They have the expertise to bring your vision for your company to life, partnering to help you validate, test, and plan for scaling and monetizing your software initiative.
Not having the right organizational structure
It’s critical to the success of your IoT initiative that the right leadership is deployed at the various points of the product lifecycle. Organizational structure is just as important as the software. For an IoT platform to be successful, every department (sales, project management, software development, etc.) has to be in sync, under a unified and thoughtfully structured leadership team. If you’re further looking to commercialize your IoT solution, there has to be alignment and leadership across all those different disciplines. In large companies especially, undertaking anything new or innovative can pose challenges. A consultant can help smooth the path forward to an effective IoT solution.
Make the switch to an IoT Partner
It’s well worth considering investing in a consultant who can help you navigate the complexities of building an IoT platform tailored to your specific needs and growth strategy. Working with an IoT partner offers the advantage of creating a better organizational structure within your company, which can ultimately boost the bottom line. Get in touch so we can understand your goals, create milestones for their realization, and help your IoT solution make the most of the market.