In its Quick Guide series, CompTIA offers some excellent advice for managed service providers on getting into the Internet of Things market. Vendors should take note, too, since IoT is not a new product or service – it's an entirely different business and operational model.
Success in the IoT space will require vendors and channel partners to work more closely together than they ever have before. Solution providers will be critical enablers that help vendors take different technology pieces and put them together for customers as an end-to-end IoT solution.
Here's what CompTIA advises for companies getting into the IoT market:
Be honest about your abilities and where you need partners to help. Do you specialize in hardware, software or services? Few companies can master all three without some help and lean on specialists can help you get to market more quickly.
Target groups willing to imagine and create a budget for real IoT solutions. An honest assessment of the market is critical to finding customers who will pay for solutions now and avoid cases where the learning curve is too steep.
Look for ideas that differentiate your company from others. This may sound a bit obvious, but lots of companies are using sensors to collect data about their customers' business. Having a truly differentiated solution helps you stand out as more valuable and avoids forcing you to compete on price.
Work in industries that match your abilities. CRN recently reported on GrayMatter Systems, for example, which is an operational technology specialist. Because of its expertise, it was a natural fit for the company to develop a drinking fountain IoT solution that measured water flow, water quality and could report back when lead levels reached a point where maintenance was required.
Hire and train the right IoT specialists. There's a shortage of skilled IoT specialists, but that also provides an area where vendors and solution providers can complement one another's core competencies to offer end to end capabilities. On CRN.com, we've detailed five skills needed for IoT success and cited industry experts in articles relating the importance of vertical expertise and application development.
Investigate new ideas and be flexible in execution. Solution providers that have had success in IoT have noted that a critical reason for their IoT wins is that they've helped clients interpret the data that IoT devices provide. That alone can point to other areas in the business where IT helps is needed.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. CompTIA's advice on getting started with an IoT practice is worth noting. IoT presents vendors and solution providers alike with a myriad of opportunities, but they need to be honest about what fits for their business. "Throw your full support behind a single endeavor or participate in multiple areas so you can be well-positioned as the landscape shifts. If you’d rather have help pulling off impressive IoT initiatives, offer your specialization to companies looking for the right partners," CompTIA writes.