Getting Started with the Intranet of Things

Nope – not a typo!

When I speak to groups about Smart Connected Products, I specifically call out the use of the term from Porter’s HBR articles in 2015. We are talking about adding information as a new and differentiating product feature, adding data about how those products are operating as new, value adding services for our customers.

797px EBR I   Cutaway view of the power plant 01
What's going on in the inside shows on the outside (Nightingale)

We are specifically not talking about using sensors and smart devices to measure and monitor processes our own shop floor – the M2M world grown up, gathering data to drive down cost and drive up utilization. Valuable, for sure, and focused on the bottom line – but you can’t sustainably grow earnings by focusing on cost cutting alone.

Listen carefully when vendors and pundits want to talk about the Internet of Things, and quickly parse out which of the two ideas they are focused on – creating organic growth with new products for your customers, or cutting costs and optimizing assets for your operations. I am a fan of the latter – more and better metrics and measurements, in the right hands, will drive shop floor productivity. But I want to provide that kind of visibility to our customers, and our customers’ customers – driving healthy organic growth and profitable revenue.

Internal Systems for Practice

Easily said, but where might I develop this product applications brilliance? How can I learn what to do?

I have written in the past about building systems for internal use as a great way to practice on new technology. The best part of this approach – your learning events (i.e. mistakes) impact internal operations, and not customer systems. It’s also a great way for key folks on the product management team (especially the engineers!) to get their own hands-on experience, to demystify this magical technology, and make it digestible for for the conservative organization.

If you are looking for a way to dip a toe in the IoT ocean, give some thought to your own “intranet of things” – using sensors, collecting data, and bundling analytics for internal use only. It’s a great way to pay for your early stage design and development education, and may even help get research time prioritized over some of your other work.

Full credit to Rob Moore of Denver, CO for the term – not sure if it is original but I’d never heard it before. Wit should be recognized …

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles

Resistance to Digital Change: The Fear Factor

Digital Products and similar initiatives are stalling in many companies. A root cause is "fear of the unknown" - here are some ways to recognize the symptoms and pivot to overcome these fears.
read more

IoT Field Notes: How to Identify Customer Value

A practical method for zeroing in on where value is created by digital products and services; it depends a lot on the Value Chain (how products eventually get to the End Customer). (Updated)
read more

IoT Field Notes: Four Ingredients for Transformation (Pick 2!)

To get your innovation idea off the ground, there are four important ingredients that can make the transformation happen. Not all are required – but you need at least two of these to have any chance of getting things moving. If you have only one? Here are some ideas to fill the gap.
read more

Digital Business and Products: Changing the Game in a Big Way

The changing nature of 'product' is disrupting industry in completely different ways than innovations from the past. This component of your Great Digital Business is often the catalyst - and here are some ways to think how it will connect with other Digital efforts in your business. (Part of a series)
read more

James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.