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4 questions to ask as you decide on an IIoT solution

Guneet Bedi GM of the Americas Relayr
By Guneet Bedi GM of the Americas, Relayr

You’ve done it: Everyone is on board with a digital transformation. So where do you go from here?

The next major decision in the process is determining whether you build an IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) solution or hire a solutions provider to complete the project on your behalf.

Some questions to ask as a starting point to determine which route is best for your business:

Can you lose time to save some short-term money?

A digital transformation is no easy feat. Doing a project yourself may appear to be the cheaper option, but you will likely spend more time on the project in the long run. If you have the time and resources and think your company’s scenario is bespoke, then building an IIoT solution in-house might be feasible.

Can you hire the right staff or afford to dedicate staffers?

To build the most basic IIoT solutions requires engineers, software developers, technicians, estimators, skilled floor staff and potentially more experts to install the systems and devices. In many industrial mid-market companies, these roles do not exist. If this is the case, you will have to hire and retain additional digital talent.

Even if you have the right mix of staff in place, those employees may already support other initiatives that keep day-to-day operations running. Can you spare taking those individuals off of existing work to support the transformation project?

Can you afford to fail?

A high percentage of IoT implementations fail, with a Cisco survey revealing nearly three-quarters of all IoT projects fail to some degree. The reasons for these failures can vary, and this statistic isn’t meant to deter you. Instead, it’s a sober reminder of how complex and intricate such projects can be.

Given the time, effort and resources that go into any digital transformation, you need a high level of confidence it will succeed.

Which path is right for you?

Your implementation is about creating new efficiencies and improving your business. No matter which solution you pursue, be sure to have everyone on board with the business outcomes you’re trying to achieve from the beginning.

If you can confidently say you have the time, resources and personnel available to undertake a digital transformation, then in-house might be the way to go. However, if you’re not feeling certain in your answers, it may be time to look into third-party partners who can support this initiative.

An example of a business that went through this process is Coborn, a British supplier of machines for the diamond tooling industry.

Traditionally, its machines were purchased outright—a significant upfront expense for its customers. For Coborn, this business model also meant unstable and unpredictable financial forecasts if a machine broke down or had issues.

To fuel new growth and improve customer satisfaction, Coborn wanted to offer a decentralized, pay-as-you-go system.

By working with an expert partner, Coborn could quickly transform and also appropriately communicate the switch with its customers.

The company now can expand into new markets, such as automotive, construction and healthcare.

A digital transformation is more than using tech to connect devices and read data. Experts, trained personnel and time are needed to implement an IIoT solution.

As you decide whether to build in-house or use a partner, be sure to think about all the tools and resources you have available to determine which project path will advance your business and help make your job easier.

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