Over the past several years, I have met with dozens of customers around the world who are starting to implement the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve their operations or to offer new value propositions. As expected, some of these efforts have delivered spectacular success and others have resulted in disappointment. And no wonder—IoT is a complex, multidimensional transformation, demanding new skill sets, technologies, and business models.
So how can you increase your chances of success? Over years of working with companies at various stages in the IoT journey, I’ve developed a “recipe” for IoT success, with eight essential ingredients. In this eight-part series, I will detail each ingredient. First up: “Build an ecosystem of partners; learn and co-develop with them.”
In the technology industry, we are used to seeing multi-billion dollar businesses built on open systems, open standards and collaborative partner ecosystems. Many “traditional” industries, however, are still structured in a 20th century model of one vertically-integrated vendor offering a complete custom solution based on proprietary or semi-proprietary technologies.
Now, IoT—with its high-velocity technology evolution and the end-customer expectation to take advantage of ICT cost curves—is driving a fundamental market structure transition. IoT is making every industry a 21st century technology industry, founded on openness and collaboration. Co-innovating with a wide range of partners has become an essential part of a successful IoT deployment. End-customers are no longer accepting custom, high-cost solutions that lock them into vendors and their often out-dated proprietary or semi-proprietary sets of technologies.
IoT is creating a world of partnership ecosystems and customer co-creation. In this new “co-economy,” companies partner with other companies that contribute their unique capabilities and combine their skills, talents, and resources for anything from a one-off project to ongoing strategic initiatives. Many organisations are working with their end-customers to develop optimal solutions based on horizontal reusable modules that are both open and interoperable. The result is an open ecosystem of standards-based contributors of IoT solutions.
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