Three Common IIoT Mistakes

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Three Common IIoT Mistakes

Not a day goes by without an article or blog outlining the technology stack required to build an enterprise IoT solution. During hype-cycles like this, the immaturity of the technology and the general lack of knowledge definitely requires education and even evangelism. However continued reporting of high project failure rates should raise significant concerns.

There are three foundational elements which seem to be consistently ignored in social media, popular and industry press, and most importantly, from IIoT projects themselves:

  1. A clear understanding of the customer;
  2. Organizational and process alignment to support these new offering; and
  3. The delivery of sustainable, valuable and measurable outcomes (not just information)

The Customer

Previously, I have been on my soapbox trumpeting about the importance of the customer as the starting point for IIoT projects. This means starting with a clear understanding the following:

  • Who (target segments and buyer/user personas)
  • What (solution, business model and value proposition)
  • Where (new or existing channels)
  • How (deployment, on-boarding, training, support, and billing)
  • Why (measuring success for you and your customers)

Organizational Alignment

Because the buyer and user of your new products are going to be different than legacy products, it makes logical sense that your existing sales, support, operations and other teams are likely not be best suited to deliver your new digital initiatives. Accordingly, your customer analysis from above should deliver the requirements for the:

  • People (not individuals or title but rather skills and expertise)
  • Processes (changes, enhancements, additions and subtractions to existing ones)
  • Systems (driven by the information requirements)
  • Technology (additions to your IT/OT infrastructure)

This does not mean fire everyone and build all new systems. It means establish a target end-state, a roadmap and a minimum viable organization (MVO) to get started.


Access to information, even information that was not previously available, that does not result in specific outcomes will severely diminish the value of connected devices, equipment and vehicles. Be sure that valuable and measurable outcomes are not only delivered to your customers, but also to your employees, your company, and your partners.

  • Employees need to know what’s in it for them and how they will be measured.
  • Companies should have quantitative measures of what it means to be successful.
  • Customers should have clear outcomes with measurable value.
  • Partners should have identifiable and tangible benefits which can also be measured.

IIoT’s Great Promise Is Within Your Grasp

I am all in on IIoT. I believe, like some others, that it will be one of the most transformative technologies ever. However, if you try to shortcut the process and not focus on the business basics, the sellers, buyers, users and ecosystems of IIoT initiatives will become frustrated and precious time and money will be lost.


  • Keep up the education.
  • Make sure the technology is robust, secure, reliable and manageable.

But first….

  • Start with a clear customer and value proposition.
  • Have plan to ensure organizational alignment.
  • Deliver valuable and measurable outcomes.


Michael RiemerThis article was written by Michael Riemer, Managing Partner, New Urbana, and originally it was published here. Michael is an “accidental” entrepreneur with 33+ years of successfully building things – products (SaaS, IoT, & hardware), services (communications networks), and companies. A three-time co-founder with five patents (NLP and transporation safety), and three exits as well as being an early executive at Nextel leading the go-to-market strategy and product management.