Originally published in Digitalisation World
The changing dynamics of today’s digital world are pushing enterprises, irrespective of industry, to adapt not only products and services, but also business processes. Technical innovations are constantly evolving and driving digital assets to become a key priority for businesses. Research estimates that B2B spending on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, apps and solutions will reach US $267 billion by 2020. IoT is on the path to rapid growth, therefore it’s critical that enterprise leaders consider how to measure the full impact of their IOT investments, as well as remaining relevant and sustainable.
IoT is just one of the ways that companies can digitally transform to improve customer experience and to undertake new ways of working. A recent study conducted by Wipro Digital found that 94% of C-suite leaders surveyed believe that investing in IoT, data and connectivity will save their company more than US $50 million over the next five years. Nearly 40% believe the savings could even total US$100-$250 million. However, the potential rewards of IoT investments can – and should – go beyond money saved. To define an accurate image of return on investment (ROI) success, companies should also consider, and potentially even prioritise; efficiency gains, improved customer service and technological investment.
Business functions ripe for efficiency gains
The recent study also found that 58% of respondents felt increased operational efficiency was the greatest benefit of investments in IoT, data and connectivity. This is likely because IoT has enormous potential to increase outputs while lowering inputs across multiple departments and industries. An example of IoT in practice can be seen in recruiting services. A recruiter will speak to a candidate, and then input data into a specific portal, filling in lots of different forms and perhaps repeating information. This process takes time and requires accuracy. By implementing a digital automation process and streamlining this task, the business can improve efficiencies, whilst at the same time using data collated to understand customers better. To increase ROI on IoT investments, leaders must closely examine which areas of their business stand to gain the most when it comes to gaining efficiency. This will likely differ not only industry-to-industry, but company-to-company.
Leveraging IoT for improved customer service and experience
Businesses should constantly be asking themselves how they can create an experience that continually adapts to changing customer needs. An organisation that can enhance their current value proposition, by tailoring it to the individual wants and needs of their customer, will ultimately create an overall positive customer experience.
Most companies are lagging when it comes to delivering better customer experience in the digital age. Getting customer experience right is paramount – especially for a customer base increasingly comprised of millennials, a generation that has come to expect a customised, seamless customer experience at all touch points. IoT has the ability to make strides in customer service quality, yet nearly half of respondents (46%) in the survey believe innovation of products and services is a major beneficiary of investments in IoT, data and connectivity.
To drive customer service and experience-related ROI, companies can implement IoT to streamline customer service and iron out pain points in several ways. The most significant of which being the ability to collect data continuously and in real time. When customers interact with an IoT-connected product, the item gathers detailed information, allowing companies to deliver highly customised customer service and eliminate previously unseen experience-related issues. By leveraging typical technologies and data that they may already have, and then morphing these into the technologies of tomorrow, this can reinvent any enterprise.
Delivering a secure digital vision for the future
As companies strive to compete in an increasingly digital world, investments in IoT, data, and connectivity are the key to exceptional customer experience, streamlined operations, and self-innovation. These types of technologies bring a whole host of benefits, especially the potential to improve a company’s security. According to the survey from Wipro Digital, many leaders are confident in the security benefits of IoT, with 58% of respondents from multinational tech companies seeing security and safety as one of the top areas benefitting from IoT, data and connectivity.
IoT systems, for example, deployed with real-time analytics and intelligent access control, such as sensors and cameras, can prevent a security breach by alerting the relevant administrative personnel for appropriate action. Additionally, understanding potential security risks ahead of investments in IoT can help companies prepare for possible attacks, as well as lowering the costs associated with the aftermath of an unforeseen attack. Pre-empting attacks may initially require companies to invest more on defence, however in the long run, installing this type of technology will ultimately help a business save money by avoiding damage-costs and preserving the valuable data they own.
Each and every business, no matter what size, must understand its own wants and needs when it comes to adopting IoT methods into their business model. Digital is a way of working, and along with process, products and services –becoming digital successfully is in essence, a huge brand change, but one that has many benefits. The survey from Wipro Digital emphasised that a staggering 80% of respondents cited data and connectivity as their top strategic priority, highlighting that IoT is a clear driver for digital growth within all industries. Businesses considering investing in IoT technology need to think not only in terms of funds saved, but also in terms of efficiency gains, improved customer experience and technological investment.