Organizations today are under tremendous pressure from management and customers, to deliver higher quality products and services at lower costs, using existing resources. Any expenditure that the companies undertake to help them achieve this goal is expected to deliver a measurable, hard-dollar ROI – and to deliver it quickly. For product manufacturers in particular, ROI has traditionally translated to ‘reduce costs.’ However, cost is just one piece of the ROI equation.
Today’s market leaders understand that ROI is multi-dimensional and that, in many cases, the cost-savings component can be secondary to other returns, such as improving customer satisfaction,
brand differentiation, and the collection of accurate data, all of which can also drive increased revenues.
As companies do everything they can, to retain and expand relationships with existing customers – their most valuable assets – new business models and value-added services are coming to the forefront, and bringing with them significant new opportunities for the enterprise.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating new opportunities for companies to enhance their services, gain business insights, improve business processes, and differentiate their offerings. In fact, connecting machines is bringing companies closer to their customers while delivering real ROI and payback.
With all of the industry buzz and vendor movement around M2M, the Internet of Things, and the Industrial Internet; it’s time for business leaders to understand how connectedly the machines and assets can improve efficiency, provide a competitive advantage, drive revenue, and potentially transform their businesses. For simplicity, think of the first M in M2M as connecting ‘your machines.’ The second M in M2M is connecting machine data to ‘your computer systems.’ If you know what your products are doing, and how your customers are using them, you can then unleash the resulting data into your enterprise and unlock the value of that data.
The value propositions are straightforward and fall into several buckets of capabilities that differentiate your products, including remote monitoring, remote service, usage analysis, ERP/CRM integration, and value-added services.
Connected machines enable remote monitoring and remote service that drive both, a reduction in the costs of services and an improvement in the level of service. Analysis of machine data can improve business decisions, product design, and manufacturing processes. Core business processes like billing, field service, product registration, compliance, consumable management, recalls, and warranty management can all be improved with machine data. And, finally, the selling and marketing of connected products, which include new applications for end users, can deliver a competitive advantage and drive revenue growth.
The Value of Machine Data Integration and Business Process Efficiency
Organizations that were early in bringing their products online, are now realizing that the real “gold” in M2M is taking data and integrating it with enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, PLM or data warehouses – optimizing critical business processes, reducing service call times and warranty claims, and enabling an efficient product recall process.
M2M data from connected assets, in collaboration with other enterprise systems, can provide visibility and automation across organizations, which was not possible previously. For example, product data flowing through a CRM system can also be sent to billing or into a supply chain management system – helping to eliminate error-prone manual steps and providing new sales opportunities for things such as consumable replenishment or warranty renewals. Additionally, integration with quality assurance or product lifecycle management (PLM) can help enhance product features based on real-world data that shows usage patterns or equipment issues – helping to improve customer satisfaction and streamlining beta programs.
By monitoring consumable levels in machines, operations can resupply in advance to avoid downtime. Service and sales and marketing can observe consumption over time and deliver the right service at the right time to avoid costly delays to a client. Measuring critical data points in a device allows for notification to the service team if there is a risk of failure, and, simultaneously, the finance department can be informed when warranty guidelines are not being upheld.
Why it is Time to Connect Your Products Now
The bottom line is that connected products offer companies the ability to provide better service at a lower cost, minimize response time, and maximize the use and reach of their resources. At the same time, they are looking to improve revenue, margins, market share, and most important, customer satisfaction. Connected products can be the key to providing world-class service, gaining business insights, improving business processes, and differentiating your offerings.
Leading companies consider M2M/ IoT and use of the Internet for remote monitoring important or essential to business operations and as key enablers to increasing customer satisfaction. Furthermore, they demonstrate a strong understanding of what IoT is, have succinct expectations for the delivery of business benefits and ROI, and are well on their way to adoption.
Every company, depending on its applications and types of devices, will have different pain points and business needs for implementing IoT and different expectations for where and how they expect a return on their investment. The reality is that high, measurable cost savings, topline growth and increased customer satisfaction – which ultimately translate into increased market share – are being realized today by companies across industries that are using IoT, with payback being measured in just months.