Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: 'Building the Internet of Things: Implement New Business Models, Disrupt Competitors, Transform Your Industry' by Maciej Kranz

Building the Internet of Things: Implement New Business Models, Disrupt Competitors, Transform Your Industry
By Maciej Kranz

Review by Robert Morris

Opinions are divided as to the origin of the term “Internet of things” (IoT), probably in combination with the emergence of RID (radio frequency identification device) but I much prefer the term “Internet of everyone and everything” (IoEE) because of a personal aversion to the word “things.” but, more to the point, it is more accurate and more inclusive.

That said, I agree with Maciej Kranz that the Internet of Things “will significantly impact and change how global companies conduct business. IoT technologies will transform the manufacturing environment; it will change more than it has in the past 50 years.” In fact, that is already happening. In an article for Forbes magazine, Jacob Morgan notes, “. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices...That's a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion). The IoT is a giant network of connected ‘things’ (which also includes people).”

The building process is now underway and Kranz offers a uniquely helpful briefing on how to design and then implement business models that will disrupt competitors while transforming the given industry or professional service segment. He cites dozens of examples, including Harley-Davidson’s strategic business outcomes from IoT-induced changes:

o Eighty percent faster decision making due to workforce enablement
o Dramatic reductions in costs and set-up time
o Continuous asset management, enabling even better decision making
o 6.8 percent increase in production throughout due to asset tagging
o Ten to 25 times improvement in build-to-order (BTO) cycle times (18 months reduced to two weeks)
o Seven to 12 percent increase in IoT automation-driven equipment utilization

“All this led to a profitability increase between 3 and 4 percent. And that was just one factory! Harley-Davidson bet its future survival on IoT and, from its first IoT-enabled factory, it began paying off big [see Figure 1.2 on Page 8]. This same future attracts what I refer to as Generation IoT everywhere.”

Kranz also has much of great value to say about mistakes and challenges that are usually experienced when implementing an IoT solution. Table 8.1 (on Pages 175-177) features seventeen. Here are the first two:

1. Starting with technology instead of business opportunity

How to avoid: “Focus on a business-relevant problem you want to solve, and learn from others. Remember: The primary goal of IoT is to solve business problems, not enrich technology vendors or excite the company’s tech geeks with a cool project.”

2. Approaching a technology solution in isolation without considering integration with the business process and its evolution

How to avoid: ”IoT projects are rarely implemented in a vacuum. If you don’t examine existing workflows and how to changed and integrate your IoT solution with them, you’ll likely see diminished ROI at best or a complete lack of business contact at worst.”

Maciej Kranz would be among the first to suggest that it would be a fool’s errand to attempt to apply most (if not all) of the information, insights, and counsel that he provides in his brilliant book. Each reader must decide which of that material is most relevant to their organization’s current and imminent needs, issues, values, concerns, resources, and strategic objectives. Only then will they be able to design and implement a business module that can disrupt its competitors and (perhaps) transform the given industry.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Robert Morris. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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