Industrial IoT is no longer a business trend but the need of the hour in pandemic times. It connects industrial assets, reducing dependence on the human workforce by automating operations. The transition makes sense in the era of social distancing when you expect to do more with less and have fewer people around. Moreover, connected devices yield massive amounts of valuable data that can drive smarter decisions.
The technology opens myriad opportunities for any business, from higher productivity to lesser wastage and fewer breakdowns in industrial settings. Not surprisingly, small and big enterprises are more than keen to join the IIoT bandwagon. If you haven’t embraced IoT services and technologies yet, now is the best time to do it. But before you leap, you need to understand that the route isn’t going to be easy. Here are some lessons that can help you drive the change for your business successfully.
Start with the problem, not the solution
The worst way to adopt industrial automation is back to the front. Many organizations start developing connected machines, tools, and infrastructure without research. They do it in a hurry only to keep pace with the trend and competition. But it is vital to conduct an analysis of your clients and business model first. Not understanding the problem statement elevates the risk of wasting time, effort, and money. Moreover, the solution may not even impact your operations and profits in the long run. The best lesson is to start with thorough research of the problem you want to solve and work your way up to a viable solution.
Learn from your failures
The adoption of industrial IoT is a big move, and there are chances of making mistakes down the line. It makes sense to start with a miniature version and validate the idea to ensure fewer and smaller mistakes. Big corporations tend to think big, but they may end up delaying the initiative. By the time they do it, the technology is already outdated. Starting small helps you get the valuable feedback of people who use automation. You can understand your mistakes, learn from the failures, and adjust your products to scale. It also helps you engage with internal stakeholders and retain their interest in the technology.
Embrace the right platform
The most important lesson for automating operations with IIoT is to choose the right platform. Ideally, you should look for one that enables the transport of data from any source to any destination. Further, it should ensure flexible and secure networking for the entire ecosystem of connected devices. A reliable SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system takes the platform a notch higher. It should be flexible and adaptable enough to align with the evolving needs of a scaling business. Once you check all the points, you are all set to go ahead.
Break the silos of data and departments
When it comes to designing and executing an IIoT project successfully, it is vital to break the silos of data and departments. The senior leadership team should drive collaboration, involvement, and support of stakeholders from all departments. It enables the business to access the expertise of different fields and ensures the continuous commitment of different departments towards the initiative. Also, each department must have the same format of data and provide it easily and securely for analysis. Integrating data from different departments lead to helpful insights that can get you ahead of the curve.
Explain the data with storytelling
Collecting data from sensors and integrating all these datasets is only half the work done when it comes to industrial automation. You need a system that analyzes data and presents it simply. It is crucial to get the format and context right so that these insights are useful for the audience, both internal and external. Using storytelling combined with proper visualization is a good idea. It helps employees, clients, and decision-makers to understand data and use the insights better. Ensure that your IIoT platform offers data stories rather than random numbers because they become more actionable in the visual form.
Train and empower employees
Not even the best technologies give the desired outputs unless people can use them effectively. The IoT is entirely innovative, and you need your employees to have a comprehensive understanding of data, software, connectivity, and more. The key lesson here is to invest continuously in the training and development of your employees. You need to cover topics such as business, data, and technology to provide a broad understanding of IoT applications, their implications, and benefits for your business. Training also reduces the silos culture. It keeps the workforce inspired and motivated so that they give their best and embrace innovation without barriers. Consider it as an incentive that drives long-term retention of employees.
Prioritize the implementation of IIoT
It is a no-brainer as missing out on the implementation of IIoT can leave your business far behind in the race. Technology is evolving and opening new opportunities for businesses, so you shouldn’t have second thoughts about investing in it. Business needs and clients change rapidly, and so do technology and regulations. It is vital to stay a step ahead of them and prioritize IIoT for your company. But you must not look for the easiest and most economical projects. Start by defining criteria like competencies, long-term impact, and integration with existing solutions. Once you have the clarity, prioritize accordingly.
Typically, IIoT and data projects are long and complex to implement, and they evolve gradually. It is vital to understand these facts right from the start so that you have the patience and commitment to carry the project through. You have to follow these lessons continuously and consistently throughout the project. Forgetting them down the line makes you vulnerable to big mistakes, and you may even end up losing good opportunities. A reliable automation software solution has you covered on all fronts, so make sure you pick only the best one. Apart from the right features, look for one that is cost-effective and easy to implement.