The next wave of technology is upon us – the Internet of Things (IoT) is coming fast and furious and all of the talk is turning to action. Wow, you’ve just barely started to figure out what you’re going to do in the Cloud and now this! What’s a technology service provider to do?
Well, first and foremost it’s to ensure you’re going to be a player in the Cloud Service arena. Without a play in Cloud you’ll be hard pressed to take advantage of the IoT explosion based on the sparks that are flying now.
Look no further than all of the announcements from major technology vendors such as Cisco (@CiscoIoT), Microsoft Azure (@MicrosoftIoT) , Amazon Web Services, PTC ThingWorx (@ThingWorx), IBM Bluemix (@IBMBluemix), Google, Oracle (@IoTAdvice) and Intel (@Inteliot) as they announce new platforms, enhancements and acquisitions.
Obviously, the telecommunications world is pushing hard into the IoT space and provide a slew of solutions that will change the IoT landscape dramatically. Company’s such as Intelisys (@IntelisysCorp), Verizon (@VerizonIot ) and Orange (@orange) who’s pushing the bounds of machine-to-machine (M2M) Services. In short, they’re all running hard to grab a piece of the IoT pie.
In addition, the pace of merger & acquisition activity in the space has dramatically increased as larger players gobble smaller boutiques in an attempt to expand their portfolio’s and provide end-to-end solutions.
New start-ups are entering the marketplace on a daily basis and a truly fascinating trend is legacy manufacturers looking to become technology companies and build new business models that lean heavily on recurring revenue streams where none existed in the past.
Now Back to the Cloud
So as a value added reseller (VAR) or Solution Provider who wishes to capture their fair share of IoT business over the next twelve (12) months you need to be aware that a high propensity of IoT solutions require cloud expertise that includes:
Cloud architecture expertise
Cloud integration capability
Cloud management & monitoring skills, etc.
If you have a solid cloud business – great! If you don’t it is imperative that you begin the process of evaluating your current readiness posture and then immersing yourself and doing the hard work necessary to build out a successful cloud practice.
Don’t lull yourself into thinking the cloud is not affecting your legacy business – it is! Now use the IoT catalyst to get your Cloud on and exploit the enormous market opportunity that exists today and will grow exponentially well into 2020.
We could all use a piece of the anticipated $235B in revenue that will be created in 2016.
Creating a cloud services practice that is capable of providing a steady stream of monthly recurring revenue is an imperative for any business looking to create sustainable value for the long-term. But remember growing a recurring business too quickly can also inflict harm as your revenue, gross profit and cash flow are suppressed in the short-run as your business mix changes. A great strategy and plan reinforced with a slow and steady discipline is the winning formula.
When your business mix and the impacts described above are understood, it’s of utmost importance that you understand that creating a cloud services strategy and plan should force you to:
Assess and alter your business model…
Change your Sales Model and perhaps your Sales Team…
Create a new Sales Plan that truly rewards building a monthly recurring revenue stream…
Develop an operational framework that retains and grows customers…
Now Back to the Internet of Things
Once you’ve created a solid cloud services practice that can be leveraged as a core discipline and vital piece of your business, you can begin defining what your Internet of Things (IoT) business will look like by determining where you fit within the IoT solutions value chain. As always, it begins by defining what you intend to provide to the marketplace and determining why it is unique and different.
After you’ve defined who you are and why you’re playing in the IoT marketplace, it’s imperative that you proactively define, codify, and share your Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy with your customers and vendors so they better understand your areas of expertise and differentiated value propositions you provide.
In addition, you need to begin validating your IoT business model and the market segment(s) you’ll look to exploit. In doing so it will lead you towards making specific strategic decisions that focus you on one or more of the following areas:
Remember – play to your strengths and leverage what you already have in place to make your mark within the IoT space. The great thing is that many of your core capabilities will allow you to develop strong foundational skills quickly.
As you can imagine, it is an imperative to spend the time and effort necessary to correctly package and price your solution offerings to ensure they are impactful and can be profitably monetized.
How you bundle and combine and wrapper your services around the offerings coming forth from the vendor and distribution community is essential. Your services and intellectual property ultimately provide you with the thickest margins and the shortest path to profitability when driving a new line of business.
The Cloud truly is the gateway to a solid and impactful IoT business that in most cases is very complementary to your pre-existing business. As mentioned above the Cloud and its fundamental monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is disruptive, but better you disrupt yourself than your customers or the marketplace doing it for you – that would be a horrific outcome.
So, get moving and create or enhance your great cloud-based monthly recurring revenue business and then look to leverage it to drive new opportunities that will place you at the center of the biggest shifts in computing since the dawn of the Internet.
Keep Calm and Cloud On and get ready for the Internet of Things
Hope you found this brief insightful and as always, I’d be interested in your feedback. Please stay tuned for my next brief on the importance of creating Software Defined Network (SDN) capabilities to reinforce your entry into the Cloud and IoT arena.