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The Biggest Digital Value Chain: Leveraging the Transformational Power of IoT


By Yanick Pouffary

Chief Technologist

The Internet of Things holds incredible promise for business transformation. Case studies of the opportunities and successes of IoT are popping up all over the place. At our most recent HPE Discover event, I was impressed by the almost palpable sense of excitement around the new technologies, the new revenue streams, and other possibilities that IoT opens up. Personally, I was at the event to talk about how organizations are building their to link people, places and things in ways that create new transformative business value, and I couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic response. 

Business leaders are starting to realize that the IoT has profound implications for the way we do business. While technology is important, it is equally important to look beyond the details of sensors and systems and see the IoT for what it really is: a truly transformative way to drive business outcomes in an accelerated manner. By giving you visibility into sources of value that were hidden and untapped before, the Internet of Things lets you run your business not just more efficiently, but more intelligently. It enables you to innovate faster; respond to, or create, market changes with great agility; and grow your business in new ways, consolidating a leadership position in your industry or disrupting competitors.

Uncovering the data beacons

pexels-photo-IoT 1500.jpgThink of the IoT as a massive digital value chain that can reach deep into all of the data that’s available to your organization to bring to the surface entirely new reserves of value. And I do mean all of the data: the power of the IoT is that it enables you to access valuable information that’s currently locked within data-generating elements of all shapes and sizes. Medical devices, turbines, manufacturing facilities, hospital wards, cities, even people – they can all be considered “things” in the IoT-world sense. Think of all the data generators that you can harness to your organization’s specific business goals – beacons of information that have always been there, but were just not visible before. Or you might not have considered them before. With IoT technologies, you can harvest that data and make it available for analysis and analytics of all kinds, including the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence systems. The insights it produces can be profound.

It's hard to overestimate the potential of the IoT, in my view the most powerful transformational lever that’s available to businesses. Indeed, the danger is that organizations will underestimate it, squandering opportunities and exposing themselves to unnecessary risks. A new IDC white paper Prepare Today for the Next Wave of Digital Transformation puts it this way: “Today’s IoT implementations are barely scratching the surface of the transformative promise they have to offer. Future solutions, however, will fundamentally change the way businesses operate. Businesses with the vision to lay the groundwork for that future will thrive in the digital economy; the rest face an existential threat.”

That may be putting it strong terms, but it’s no exaggeration. In fact, I would argue that the IoT is already changing the ways businesses operate, and that’s only going to accelerate.

Reusability: Adding new links to the value chain

One huge benefit of a strategic understanding of IoT’s transformational potential is that it helps organizations make the right decisions at the tactical level. Companies determine IoT initiatives from a variety of perspectives. They may be looking to drive new efficiencies; or spark innovation with a new product or business model; or enhance customers’ or employees’ online experience. But they rarely want to touch all of these objectives at once; they generally enter via one specific use case.

That’s an entirely sensible approach, and it has the great advantage of delivering results in a timely manner – the time to move and engage on the IoT journey is definitely now, and nobody wants to wait around to harvest the benefits. But here’s what almost inevitably happens: As soon as a solution is deployed and operating successfully, project leaders start looking for ways to extend the solution to areas they hadn’t previously considered. That may or may not be a practical proposition. Businesses often start out with a turnkey solution highly targeted to a particular pain point, only to find that it doesn’t allow them to address important adjacencies.

It’s better to think from the start in terms of reusability. By all means start small, but keep the big picture in mind. Look for open, standards-based technologies that won’t lock you in to a particular infrastructure approach. Think of the components of the project as building blocks that you can recompose for your next use case. That way you can get the most mileage out of the foundational capabilities of any IoT initiative: connectivity, compute, analytics, security, and control (the ability to sense events and act on them). You can add length and strength to your IoT value chain as you extend it, link by link, to new areas.

HPE Pointnext can help you leverage the transformational power of the IoT to accelerate your business. To learn more, read this overview of our HPE IoT Transformation Workshop, I’d also recommend my article How to Drive Business at the Network Edge.

If you'd like to see more, check out my video below on the Internet of Things Strategy Workshop.

About Yanick 

Yanick Pouffary-final-MidRes-SQUARE.JPGAs Chief Technologist and Strategist with HPE Pointnext, Yanick is responsible for driving technology transformation in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), software-defined networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and IPv6. Yanick is tasked with developing strategic vision and roadmaps with a focus on innovation and emerging trends. She is a strategic advisor to governments, enterprises and service providers. She helps organizations successfully adapt to, and take advantage of, the ever-changing world of Internet technologies.


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