Although the technology is difficult, technology is not the hardest part of driving innovation like the Internet of Things in an organization.  Among hard things that IoT will often drive are creating empowered cross-functional teams empowered to make fast decisions, channel conflict caused by products now with sensory information, changing from “transaction sales” to “outcomes based busines models”, and creating partnerships that integrated customer experiences across enterprises.

This article by Steve Minter in Industry Week was based on both reading The Amazon Way on IoT, and an interview.  Here are some highlights.  Read the entire article at Industry Week HERE

Starting Out

Companies should start their IoT journey with awareness, Rossman recommends. Even if they decide not to jump into IoT at this time, they should be well-informed about what is going on in their industry, in other industries and where investment money is going.

As with Amazon, Rossman suggests thinking about how your company can experiment with IoT. “How do I do little bets so that even if now is not the time, I am building my experience base?” That experience includes developing not just new technology capabilities but also working, for example, with partners on new business models.

Some of the best IoT ventures, in Rossman’s view, involve multiple organizations working together to deliver a new customer experience. One example is the partnership between Amazon, DHL and Audi to develop a way to deliver packages to a car. Managing a partnership such as this, he notes, involves strategy and business skills that many companies don’t have and need to develop.

Avoid the Pitfalls

Rossman emphasizes that IoT is not solely a technology project but many companies treat it that way. They assign it to IT rather than create a cross-functional team that includes input from legal, security and others from the start.

Companies can also fail to distinguish between an investment, which should have a well-articulated business case and expected ROI, and a bet. Treating a bet as if it will have an assured outcome puts undue pressure on teams and hampers innovation.

“That is probably the most essential aspect of innovation that gets lost on many executives and boards,” says Rossman. “It is a game of failure. You have to play the odds and have a big portfolio of innovation bets in order to hit the home run.”

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