Tuesday, 12th November 2019
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10 key considerations before going DIY on your IoT

By Ryan Lester, Director of IoT Strategy, Xively by LogMeIn.

There is a romance to most DIY projects that can be difficult to ignore. Completing a project on your own comes with a lot of pride but, quite often, these projects can take significantly more time, end up being more challenging than envisaged and they can cost considerably more than if you had hired an expert to do the job.

This phenomenon is the same in business as it is in life. In our interactions with businesses, we are seeing more adventurous DIYers who have taken up the challenge of building Internet of Things stacks for themselves without fully considering some of the challenges and risks involved before setting out. As a result, businesses spend a significant amount of time and resources addressing the challenges rather than reaping the dividends of a connected business.

A connected business presents many opportunities for business integration and enhanced efficiency. However, taking the DIY route could expose businesses to some dangers that could ultimately be counter-productive. These dangers include:

1.Loss of focus on business strategy and problem – Conquering technical challenges may sound fun, but solving the business challenges is what will ultimately drive success. Too much focus on the technology can distract from important things like service automation and customer support

2.Internal investment can be time consuming and expensive – We estimate it can take over 150 employee-months of development work and 11 unique long-term roles in order to sufficiently support an IoT connected product solution stack. Needless to say that this is not the best way to deploy resources.

3.Security is no joke – There are multiple vulnerability points in an IoT system that most companies do not have the internal expertise to manage. Working with an external partner with expertise in connected product security can save you from the headache of getting hacked.

4.Identity management is an often- overlooked stumbling block – Yet it is crucial when launching a product. Not only so your end users can control their own devices, but also so you can limit who can make changes, updates, etc.

5.Scaling brings new, unanticipated challenges – As companies attempt to scale by adding features or expanding product lines, the demands on the system change. Future-proofing your system from the start by building for scale is important, but also complex.

6.The volume of data can be unmanageable – Connected products create a massive amount of data. Organizing and integrating that data into existing business systems can be challenging, but it’s imperative to the success of any connected business.

7.Building your own system also means maintaining that system for years to come – Including updating standards, adjacent systems, and products over time. A built-in-house system can quickly eat up entire budgets and cripple an organization.

8.Time spent developing leads to delayed time to revenue – Time-to-market is king. Getting your product into the hands of your users will give you a huge advantage – not only financially, but also against the competition.

9.Limited interoperability leaves you stuck managing it all on your own – Companies find it appealing to build a solution in- house because they wanted to maintain full control of their technology. As soon as standards change, or new integrations are requested, the modifications can become unmanageable.

10.Managing an in-house solution distracts from service optimization – Once your products are in market, the data they generate can provide a rich picture of your usage, feature adoption and customers. If you’re continually troubleshooting your hardware or software, it’s hard to focus on growing your business.

To make the most of opportunity presented by IoT, businesses need to focus on building the applications that make a big difference to customers and leave the development of the platform to the experts. This way, businesses can reap the full dividends without having to deal with the complexities and challenges.

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