When you hear about the Internet of Things, you often hear about how trillions of things can be connected: people, processes, data, and devices. When all of these "things" are connected to the Internet, your business can turn the information generated into insights and action.
According to McKinsey Global Institute, the Internet of Things has the potential to create an economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025. So while the Internet of Things may just sound like the latest buzz concept, 75% of companies are already exploring or using the Internet of Things. That's because it's easier than ever for your business to connect the devices you already have with the services you already use to make a big impact on your bottom line. But where do you begin?
The good news is that while it may seem overwhelming, the Internet of Things doesn't have to start with everything you've got. By focusing on what matters most, and starting small, your business can immediately gain access to new data that can help you respond to customers in real time, discover new business opportunities, or streamline processes that make your organization more agile and efficient.
For example, starting with just one piece of data, rather than all the data that exists in your organization, you can start optimizing key areas of your business. Maybe you connect machines on the factory floor with back-end systems, and suddenly production has more continuous uptime. Or maybe you connect devices to save valuable hours of restocking inventory, or days of system upgrades. Upping the efficiency of your business gives employees more time to focus on innovating rather than just on routine tasks.
Use what you've already got
Rather than thinking about the Internet of Things, think about the Internet of Your Things. Start by connecting your existing investments—the devices, services, applications, and data you are already using. This can help you identify patterns and better anticipate trends. You may even find these connections help you use familiar devices in new ways.
These insights can then help you respond more quickly to your competition, supply chain changes, or customer demands. Essentially, you can spend less time figuring things out and more time making them happen. Take for example the savings realized at Microsoft’s Redmond campus where an Internet of Things solution has reduced systemic inefficiencies, saving both money and time.
Add the right technology as needed
Once you've connected your existing things, you can identify areas that could benefit from additional technology. At that point, add key devices and services that work with the systems you already have in place.
A great place to start is by getting connected to the cloud. The cloud can collect, process, and analyze data in ways that scale up or down as your business needs it. Or you could add one handheld device to your inventory system, instantly enabling real-time customer service on your sales floor. New technology can inspire new ideas, generate new data, and create efficiencies that will help grow your business
Remember, as you add new devices and connect more of your things, it always helps to go back to the first point: start small. By focusing in on one area of your business at a time, you can slowly start to make the Internet of Your Things a reality—and leave that overwhelmed feeling to the competition. Learn more about the Internet of Things