The Internet of Things (IoT) connected customer is the new business norm catalyzing IT channel dynamics. This new norm impacts how we think about the Buyer’s Journey: today, tomorrow and in the future.
This new norm impacts how we identify opportunities to do business with our customers. This new norm impacts how our own businesses are modeled as well as how our clients’ businesses are modeled: holistically.
According to Louis Columbus, based on a Deloitte Global and Council on Competitiveness study, the future of business, especially of manufacturing, rests firmly in the hands of the IoT connected customer. 4.9 billion IoT-enabled connected devices were predicted to be in use by year-end 2015, rising to 25 billion by 2025. Predictive data analytics now is considered to be the single most critical factor for advancing business competitiveness in the US manufacturing sector.
The IoT connected customer experiences a holistic Buyers Journey. These customers are doing more than going online to get static information or speaking with their peers for referral about our companies. These buyers are talking to their machines as well.
The connected customer seeks IT channel partners who can help them select tools, systems and platforms to implement algorithms and keys (API keys, literally) which translate data into meaningful insights to catalyze growth. This information is dynamic and non-linear, being generated across corporate silos, business units and geographical locations. This information is assimilated into transitional and translational business process management systems.
Our current MSP (managed service provider) business models and channel partner relationships must dynamically and predictively position our companies to deliver on these new Buyer expectations.
The IoT connected customer focuses on holistic execution of strategy. A SAP-sponsored Forrester Consulting Study offers a new roadmap for creation and execution of strategy. The focus: customer experience, clear leadership, transformative business models and capture of top and bottom line business improvements. That execution, for now, primarily involves operational efficiency, as the title of the report implies: The Internet of Things has the Potential to Connect and Transform Businesses. But Early Adopters Have Focused Mostly on Efficiency Plays.
In short: “most companies see IoT as a means for operational efficiency, and many have not yet tapped into the potential for IoT solutions to transform their business models.”
Understandably, connected customers initially are more comfortable focusing on low risk areas of their business. These areas stabilize operations and involve description of historical trends, such as Ford is implementing in their connected vehicle platform model. However, these stabilized operations are injected into a marketplace that is dynamic. That is where predictive analytics are required to catalyze business growth and sustainability.
Are our current MSP business models, hiring practices and channel partner relationships focused on seeking and delivering on bimodal opportunities on both sides of the IT fence, factoring in the impact of supply grid dynamics?
The future of the IoT connected customer journey is holistic: non-linear, collaborative and dynamically connected just like their supply chain grids. A recent IndustryWeek article considers that IoT connected customer-facing business units of the future will require faster response from both stable (historic, descriptive) as well as less stable (predictive) data sets. It will not be a matter of either-or.
The business model of the future for connected customers will morph into corporate cultures that hire for cross-functional collaboration. The dynamics of these corporate cultures will allow for simultaneous access to and interpretation of real-time data. All aspects of the manufacturing plant will be connected to each other. All employees will understand the critical aspects of their job functionality in driving revenue through their organization and their customers’ organizations as well.
The new holistic norm for the IoT connected customer is seamless and non-linear. Today still looks bimodal at best.
This scenario offers opportunity to enlightened MSPs who have staffed up to function as high-value consultative integrators focused on creating cross-functional business process management outcomes.
The IoT connected customer calls for a shared, hybridized and holistic leadership model. Just as corporate silos are being challenged by the connected customer, so are business models. Today’s channel partner leadership may not have been hired for the dynamic, collaborative and non-linear connected ecology of the Internet of Things marketplace.
In the future, leadership teams and company teams (ours and our customers) will be hired for hybridized skill sets and mindsets functioning in agile environments and collaborative corporate cultures. Channel partners will assist clients in creating and implementing cross-functional, integrated and connected business and operational processes. Internal teams and external teams will be as connected to their leadership strategy as those sensors are to machines.
“What’s Next?” for the channel is holistic. The IoT connected customer concept will quickly impact our clients’ business models and how they execute strategy. The explosion of the IoT connected customer has huge implications for our own MSP business models in terms of how we: 1) hire and partner for, 2) sell to, and 3) deliver against dynamic client expectations.
Is your own business model up to that holistic challenge?