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Are your IoT initiatives doomed for failure? A recent study by Cisco suggests that 75% of IoT initiatives will fail. But with an estimated 80+ billion connected devices over the next half century, companies cannot afford to ignore the opportunity. Based on learnings from both wins and losses over the last 10 years, an integrated, customer-centric approach will help ensure smarter and more successful IoT investments. Here is a 5-step approach to consider:

1. Know Your Customers

Amazingly, when many enterprises are asked "who are your customers", the responses are, in many cases, not well informed and out of alignment across functional areas. So to begin, understand who your customers really are: 1) what are their demographic and firmographic attributes; 2) how do they measure success/value; 3) how do they expect to purchase and use your products or services; and 4) what outcomes do they expect from and what value is being delivered by your IoT-enabled products and services.

2. Segment Your Customers

Not all customers (and customer segments) are created equal and ultimately limited budget dollars and time will dictate that your prioritise. Grouping your customers based on the attributes from above will help you drive better customer experiences, higher customer lifetime value (CLT) and more valued customer outcomes.

3. Create Segment "Playbooks"

Start with simple "plays" but overtime add more details as you learn. Your segment playbooks should provide segment specific, customer lifecycle management tools that define the user experiences, products, programs, actions, outcomes and metrics for success (yours and your customers) of your IoT initiatives. From online "micro-moments", user support issues, product features, and integration with legacy applications to offline sales presentations, eventually every customer interaction and data source should be carefully defined as part of your segment playbook.

4. Empower Integrated Teams (The new IT)

Well defined segment playbooks require a broad cross-section of roles and expertise. In many cases, these individuals or departments have themselves traditionally operated in silos and in many cases at cross purposes. It is not unusual to initially experience push-back from new team members as they may be fearful or uncomfortable with new levels of information and process transparency. These integrated teams, recently nicknamed "digital factories" by McKinsey, are not just cross-functional teams that come together to work on a project but instead represent a significant change in organizational structure, culture and approach.

5. Ensure Management Buy-In

This is where the rubber really hits the road - clear and consistent top-down management support for these integrated teams and their mission is critical for success. These new "IT" teams should be empowered to create, deploy, deliver, improve and even pivot the segment playbooks (including the required changes to products, marketing, support, sales/channel and other operational initiatives) based on customer usage, performance against target metrics, and other inputs.

Customer-Centric Integrated Teams (IT) Drive IoT Success

In today's rapidly evolving digital business world, there is growing pressure to invest in IoT. Ensuring the success of enterprise IoT initiatives is definitely not easy given the lack of technology maturity and the inherent culture obstacles of traditional organizational structure. So put the odds of success back into your favor using a customer-centric, integrated team (IT) philosophy.

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- Delivered >$625M in equity raised for leading Tech / IIoT startups, including 3 exits.
- Launched 20 product/company including 5 patents and management of 100's partner/alliances
- Managed marketing + business development/sales + product management teams of up to 35
- Co-produced >$150M, personally >$35M, in contract value for early/growth stage + Large Cap ventures.
- Recognized IIoT thought leader, published author, speaker and blogger

Serial entrepreneur with a proven track record of delivering award winning products and go-to-market sales, channel and marketing programs that deliver valuable customer outcomes and drive significant shareholder value.

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