In surfing, the ideal is to ride your board in the surf’s most powerful place — that perfect spot just before where the wave breaks.
Proper positioning is important when adopting today’s cutting-edge business technologies as well.
Decostere describes his firm as bringing advanced solutions to clients looking for competitive advantage through digital transformation.
And for a lot of these customers, that transformation is likely to involve riding the fast-moving wave called IoT.
Discovering New Opportunities
Decostere and his co-workers at delaware have been keeping a close eye on upswelling IoT technology for some time now.
“delaware participated as an early adopter of SAP Leonardo Internet of Things so we could see firsthand the huge business benefits these capabilities can bring to our customers,” says Bruno Mommens, the Global IoT Solution Lead at delaware. “And now we are also taking a careful look at emerging edge computing models.”
Mommens – who spoke about IoT at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW and recent SAP Leonardo Live event in Frankfurt, Germany – explains that delaware focuses on specific markets that include automotive, retail, discrete manufacturing, and the food industry.
In fact, these are some of the very industries that sources such as Business Insider are describing as being transformed by IoT and its associated solutions.
The potential business benefits of using IoT technologies have been widely touted: greater efficiency, improved safety, better asset utilization, reduced costs, and increased productivity to name a few.
Still, both Decostere and Mommens foresee an even more profound impact for their clients.
“Connected devices are generating tons of data; this data combined with artificial intelligence opens new opportunities.” Mommens observes, “For many companies, the added value of connecting machines is really the ability to deliver new business models to their end customers.”
Taking the First Steps
Decostere says the product-as-a-service model is generating significant attention these days.
“Think about something as simple as your home refrigerator,” he explains. “Perhaps in the future we won’t buy these appliances anymore. Instead a dealer will install your refrigerator, monitor it for guaranteed temperature control, and replace it whenever a more energy-efficient model is available – all for a monthly service fee.”
Decostere notes that it is not unusual for the company executives he talks to these days to be rethinking their business models.
“And they expect a partner like delaware to be able to help them understand the impact of new technologies on their IT departments and help them define the appropriate strategies,” says Decostere.
But Mommens points out that companies sometimes have difficulty identifying the best business cases for their IoT investments.
“The first step we take with our customers is an intensive design thinking workshop where they can brainstorm and do the necessary ideation,” Mommens says. He then suggests starting out with small proof of concepts to validate the use cases. “Even projects that don’t go into production will often generate important insights that can lead to competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Mommens stresses.
Getting Strategy Right
In a survey of company executives conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 20% of respondents report their organization’s use of the IoT has changed their business models or strategies. Even more (22%) say it has “unlocked new revenue opportunities from existing products and services.”
In both outcomes, the common denominator is innovation.
“We believe you have to innovate to be successful in the long term,” Decostere says.
For a good number of companies, innovation and future success will be all about catching the right technology wave.