So, you’ve taken the leap and made the first step on your digital transformation journey. But, soon you realise that things don’t go so smoothly as expected and now you can feel that the biggest enemy of all is lurking in the shadows - the notorious scope creep.
How to prevent this enemy from turning your digital transformation strategy into the worst of nightmares?
How to be in control of your connected solution from day one?
Without a solid foundation to build on, digitalisation projects often turn out to be much more complex than estimated once the ideas are put into practice. And, the more complex a deployment is, the more vulnerable it becomes.
But, there’s a way out! We bring you a rundown of proven techniques that will help you stay on the track and prevent your digital project from hitting the rock bottom.
1. Identify a Long-Term Digitalisation Partner
Want to keep things under control? Consider the crucial questions: Do you have all the skills needed to design, develop and maintain your digital solution? Consider how much harder it would be to build the entire solution in-house as it would require a lot of research and there would be many potential setbacks to go through before reaching stability.
The most successful organisations engage the digitalisation partner at every stage, starting with strategic planning and architecture, to maintenance, technical consulting, and data analytics after rollout.
Why Choose a Specialised IoT Platform Vendor?
There’s a good reason why many organisations are increasingly relying on the existing IoT platform instead of starting from scratch. Using an already developed IoT platform solves a lot of complexities you will come across on your digitalisation journey. Instead of reinventing the wheel, let the platform vendors do the heavy-lifting and focus on adding value where it matters.
Besides providing you with an infrastructure and product roadmap that makes it easy for you to add intelligence to assets across your facilities, your digitalisation partner should be sensitive to your needs and willing to align business goals with your plans.
The bottom line: The partner you choose should provide you with all the bits and pieces you need to start, execute, maintain and support your digital solution.
2. Pick an IoT Platform That Simplifies the Device Integration
Imagine you have to build a smart manufacturing solution where each of the devices was a proprietary one which lacked standard interfaces. In this way, the integration of every new type of device becomes a new project which can last for weeks, even months. It would take a large amount of your time to make those devices talk to each other, thus making your team much busier and your project more complex.
Now picture this: What if all sensors and gateways, regardless of the make, model, manufacturer or industry were compatible with your IoT platform? You would be able to automate the entire process and track performance without having to explore each fork on the road. Put simply, you would be able to turn your idea into reality much faster.
What Defines an Interoperable IoT Platform?
As the core of your digital solution, an IoT platform you choose should support your devices, systems and workflows regardless of what forms they take. It should:
- Allow interoperability between multiple connectivity technologies
- Support various protocols including legacy communication protocols
- Support gateways because they serve as access points for systems that are not designed to share data
- Provide future-proof guarantee that you will be able to scale to new systems and devices should your requirements change in the future
The bottom line: A strong IoT platform should reduce the number of hurdles you need to jump as well as a number of sidetracks you need to take to reach your digital success.
3. Choose a Modular IoT Architecture That Fits Your Case
Innovation can be messy. Considering the multitude of technologies that make up an IoT stack and many architectural themes that have risen to the top in the recent years, knowing how to “future-proof” your particular digitalisation layout is a real challenge. Which architecture may best power your growth? The fact is that none of the IoT platforms in today’s market offers production-ready components that fit all industrial use cases. You don’t just select an IoT platform for the right here and now.
Pick the Platform Designed with Customisation in Mind
Always opt for the platform that is open to customisation. The modular architecture is what makes it flexible and extensible. It allows you to choose which capabilities are most needed in your environment. Later on, you can remove and update functional modules separately. Importantly, you can extend the Platform functionalities without configuring or modifying its core.
The bottom line: The modular architecture lets you exploit customised offerings adapted to your business needs and existing ecosystem, while reducing the engineering resources of future deployments or changes.
4. Use Your IoT Platform and Tools the Right Way
One way to make your digitalisation project easier to control is to use the digital technology of your choice the right way. For instance, if you adapt your platform in ways it’s not meant to be tweaked because you’re married to a specific methodology, you’ll probably have to spend more time maintaining the modifications than you might have needed to master a new workflow. As with any IT service, many user errors and service calls might happen along the way. But, things can get even worse if you misuse your tools.
Streamline Processes with Comprehensive User and Developer Material
To avoid this scenario, go for the technology that makes your project run smoothly. This includes installation manuals, comprehensive user guides, instructional videos and extensive FAQ. Besides heeding such tips, pointers and best practises, you should choose an IoT platform vendor that offers globally available onboarding workshops.
In addition, the best IoT platforms also offer full transparency for your developers team with documented APIs, open-source connectivity and client libraries, web and mobile SDKs. Ideally, they should offer ready-made simulators that will help you understand a system’s behaviour without actually testing it in the real world. Useful insights in the prototyping phase save a huge amount of time and eliminate the risk of mistakes in the production.
The bottom line: Through the comprehensive user guides, developer materials and simulated devices, you can improve the pilot development and reduce the complexity of putting your digital solution together.
5. Focus on the Platform That Helps You Gain Full Control of Your Digitalisation
It’s really hard to avoid scope creep when you have to manage multiple vendor solutions, validate that they work together and integrate them to ensure the right functionality. To make things even more complex, there is a myriad of industry standards and a multitude of protocols all of which have to work seamlessly. Not to mention that most IoT solutions in the market are proprietary in nature which offers little interoperability, stifles innovation and creates vendor lockin. They’re not opening their platforms to other ISVs or developers to enable third-party integration. As a result, many organisations which are locked into proprietary IoT platforms and tied to limited functionality, are now looking for more open and modular alternatives.
In addition, building a digitalisation project on top of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) may lead to complexity and total cost uncertainty at scale. The widespread PaaS adoption is being blocked because IoT solution providers can’t wrap their minds around the reliable estimation of their future expenses.
Strive for Simplicity in All Things – from Technology to Pricing
As the engine that sets your digital solution in motion, your IoT platform should provide you with complete control over your digital ecosystem, data and future expenses. That’s why you need to lean on the technology-agnostic IoT Platform-as-a-Product (PaaP).
With IoT PaaP, once you buy the platform, you own it and you can integrate your sensors, legacy and modern machines, gateways, facilities and entire systems. That’s the only way to obtain a holistic, unified view of your enterprise while keeping the full control over your ecosystem.
With the PaaP model, you can deploy the Platform anywhere you want, and most importantly, you are the sole owner of your data! There is no vendor lock-in down the road.
Additionally, you can easily predict your future expenses. There are no hidden costs or complex calculations.
Finally, you can build any business model you like - from pay-per-use servitization models to closed on-premises solutions. All without paying fees to a PaaS provider.
The bottom line: PaaP business model provides you with simple and transparent pricing and supports diverse business cases, while letting you maintain full control over your digitalisation.
Beating the Odds with WolkAbout
If you want to avoid an ultimate trip to the deep and triumph on your digital journey, don’t let the fear of failure hold you back! WolkAbout is an industry-trusted digital transformation partner that lets you gain and maintain full control over your digitalisation. With our unique approach, we are simplifying your digital application development and helping you get ahead of the curve.
Discover how to develop a solution that meets your business needs around an IoT platform built with industry in mind by trying our demo.
Contact us and learn how we can help you make your digital journey an easy ride!