On a recent trip I bumped into some old colleagues from a previous company, and we began to discuss what we were working on and spoke of how quickly – in only a few years – innovation and technology have come on. And this is because innovation waits for no man nor beast. “Adapt or get left behind” – and no one wants that, right?
So why are businesses talking so much about IoT? Well, in simple terms it supports the process of getting information more quickly, it embraces different technologies to collaborate, and the purpose is to deliver more value than the previous process before it. Sounds exciting, right? But why are people and businesses still confused about what IoT can do for them? In my opinion, many technology businesses believe they can do everything, and the reality is that they can’t! IoT is about an ecosystem, teamwork and capable systems.
How to shift the balance of preparing and solving?
Let’s go back to why we innovate. Humans have a built-in instinct to survive that leads to innovation to evolve. This is the same in business, as organisations want to innovate to evolve to solve business challenges quicker and faster than the competition to survive and grow. As the amount of information we generate and have to digest to get to the right business outcome has become larger and larger, most business spend more time capturing information, trying to understand it, and preparing to solve a problem rather than actually solving the problem.
So how do we shift the needle into a better balance of spending more time solving problems and less time preparing? In the first instance, it would help to know what data you have and how to get the most value from it – but don’t forget, data without analytics provides no value at all. Secondly, you need to get the right information to the right people quickly. Collaboration of multidisciplinary teams is growing, with data scientists integrating into operational teams that consistently deliver more value back to organisations than those that don’t have this configuration. Finally, provide an environment that can respond to change quickly, allowing the insights and updates to be deployed to operations as quickly as possible across the entire business.
Where does analytics play a part in the process?
Well, as you would expect from someone who works for the leading advanced analytics business in the world … it affects all aspects. 😊 Starting with the data: Many organisations are charging into buying technology and sensors to capture more data in conjunction with leveraging cloud. While this is a good start, due to the more data you have the more analytics you can apply, many businesses are not aware of the full cost of generating, moving, storing, securing and reporting on this data.
As this becomes more of a concern, the need to decide on what data your business really needs becomes very important. The advanced technologies from SAS innovations can help here, whether your data is at the edge, in motion or at rest. SAS supports industry-leading capabilities while reducing data transport and storage costs. This also highlights areas where machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to not only filter out “white noise,” but make informed decisions for better business outcomes far quicker than traditional processes and methods.
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Secondly, collaboration is one of the greatest keys to business success around the teams you form for the best outcomes. This has been a working principal for SAS for many years, with all the industry solutions leveraging a collaborative workbench to feed into what we refer to as the “analytics life cycle.” As with all aspects of analytics, this life cycle is an iterative process that provides a solid platform for consuming pervasive data to continually review, score and prioritise insight to collaborative teams to test and validate hypotheses quickly and collectively get the best decision.
This leads to the last point around the value of IoT initiatives. The large volumes of data generated from the IoT can be harnessed by AI, which can learn patterns in the data to automate tasks for a variety of business benefits in many areas, including predictive maintenance; increased yield and production quality; optimised supply chains; better customer engagement; new revenue; and better service models. All driven by the ability to leverage an ecosystem that supports speed, agility, collaboration and better business outcomes.
Who has the silver bullet?
The simple answer is no one. SAS believes that the company with the best ecosystem will win, and IoT ecosystems are deliberate combinations of technologies and companies structured to generate valuable outcomes in support of customers.