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4 Factors You Can't Ignore When Introducing IoT to Your Business

11th Oct 2019

To understand the impact of IoT in the service and maintenance industry, we need to turn our focus away from the sensors and data. Instead, let’s explore the new workloads and cash flow it can create.

IoT is unavoidable, but you can make it work for you.

It is important for owners and operators to start considering the role IoT can play in their business.

Otherwise, they could lose valuable contracts to commercial customers seeking independent asset management with IoT.

While many customers are tempted by the level of control IoT offers, they don't realise the considerable level of work required to keep sensors and devices live.

Nor do they fully understand the technology needed to interpret and analyse the data being transmitted from different assets.

And they won't unless businesses are able to grab them before they drift away to the assumed greener pastures of IoT.

Incorporating IoT hardware and software into service offerings is the key.

This enables businesses to create service-based revenue through monthly recurring charges for data monitoring and sensor management.

Businesses can offer the visibility of assets that commercial customers are chasing while they continue to maintain the sensors and also manage the data.

Charging a monthly fee that sees service businesses handle the back-end of IoT workflows for building and asset owners, allows them to maintain a solid cash flow.

So, how can you make IoT work for your service business?

When introducing IoT, make sure to consider these factors:

1. Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

IoT at the centre of Service Level Agreements, impacting manpower, callout, response times and rates

What is actually in the contracts that you're going to be handing out?

When it comes to uptime, technology like IoT will keep businesses accountable.

Be cautious when nominating response times in contracts. If you have a one-hour response time but an asset fails at 2 AM, is your team going to be able to make it onsite in time?

Consider charging a different rate in your contracts for after-hours attendance, or creating contracts specific to IoT-monitored assets.

When hours of attendance and rates are impacted, so is your manpower planning.

You need to consider how many men and women you'll have available in the field at any one time when it comes to your SLAs for IoT.

If your sensors are detecting failure, do you need more estimators on call to get a quote to a customer in the nominated response time? Or do you state in your contract that quotes will only be completed during normal business hours, Monday to Friday?

The point here is to make sure that you understand how IoT technology is going to change the nature of your business' maintenance work, and make sure you cater to that in your new contracts.

2. What data is being measured? How is it being monitored?

Monthly Recurring Revenue stream is made up of monitoring, sensor management and data management.

It is important to work with your client to help them understand what data should be measured and monitored.

Most will want you to record anything and everything! They'll be under the impression they need to know every possible piece of information available when really they don't.

When drawing up contracts make sure you understand their needs around asset monitoring. You can then use this information to decide what should be measured.

For example, a customer may say they want to know a building's environmental data. However, what they won't understand is that data will only change after an asset has failed.

Access to information is great, but in this context, the customer won't be able to harness the true power of IoT as a warning system for asset failure.

As an industry expert, however, you can warn customers of this. You can explain that, for a more proactive model, clients should be measuring the status of certain parts within a heating or cooling unit.

Being a specialist in the field means you’ll need to be there, with the right information, to manage customer expectations and ensure they're within service limits and price range.

3. Choose your technology wisely

Blue icon of a building sending out a signal, indicating the transfer of information via the Internet of Things

When it comes to the technology you use to enable your new IoT-based contracts, consider these questions:

  • Is your IoT technology open architecture?
  • Can it be used by anyone if your business is taken off the job?

Locked in, proprietary technology is not considered cool anymore - if it ever was!

Also, consider a solution that offers the ingestion and allocation of third party data and your own data, into a single monitoring dashboard.

This will greatly benefit you when it comes to monitoring and keeping customers happy.

4. How you pitch new contracts to your customer

IoT for your customer vs IoT for you

Make sure you define what's in it for you and them.

For customers, it might be better uptime, more proactive repairs and cost savings when compared with a standard PPM service contract.

For you, it could be better response times, improved level of management of remote assets, and better maintenance control.

It's important to consider these things as otherwise, all your new contracts and work could go to waste!

Don't disregard IoT as a fad. Grow your business and remain up-to-date with some valuable and exciting changes!

New sensors and data streams is certainly exciting. The opportunities they create for better maintenance and a more predictive approach is brilliant!

They present a chance for new, more profitable revenue streams and a closer relationship between customers and operators.

Want to know more about simPRO's IoT capability? Check out our website to learn more.