IoT, or the Internet of Things, might have adopted the consumer-facing sheen of refrigerators that send owners a text message when it’s time to buy milk, or televisions that seamlessly interface with online content providers, but for businesses, the story is significantly different.
The key concept for the corporate deployment of the Internet of Things is visibility — as in, pulling back the curtain on the nitty-gritty details of how technology is used and quantified on an operational level.
A full 66% of executives surveyed indicate that IoT has already made an impact on their customer experience processes, according to the research study, “The Impact of Emerging Technology on CX Excellence“, conducted by Oracle in partnership with ESG. It’s a growing concern, too, what with Bain & Company predicting that the current Internet of Things market will more than double to $520 billion by the year 2021.
Looking behind the curtain
Whereas some data-driven initiatives focus on information external to an organization, one of the strengths of implementing an Internet of Things strategy is that it allows for insight on both sides of the customer/corporate line.
Well over half of current customer experience IoT programs implemented by the 500 executives surveyed as part of the Oracle study are concentrated on the real-time performance monitoring of products and services. A close second? Using that same data to improve product quality assurance.
The ability to receive and analyze a steady stream of information about not just how a product is performing either in the hands of an employee or a customer, but also exactly how it is being used, provides value that was impossible before the advent of IoT. This gives engineers, designers, and product planners far more than what’s available from individual surveys and instead offers real-world direction for how an item or process can be improved.
It also allows for the accurate diagnosis of problems that might occur with a given device while simultaneously factoring in how the end user is integrating it into their own work flow.
Fly on the wall
Following up on that last point — a full 88% of those responding to the study indicate that IoT will provide better insight into customers than any other method of data gathering. This breaks down further into a number of key points:
- Better differentiating customer experiences. With a clear look at how customers are using a product, it’s possible to further tailor that solution to their needs rather than rely on a one-size-fits-all solution.
- Increased operational efficiencies. Engineers can be there alongside customers every step of the way as they move through a task, which offers streamlining opportunities that would be impossible outside of an exhaustive job-shadowing initiative.
- Development of new products and services. Seeing what’s missing from a product deployment is key to the next generation of offerings.
The big payback
The Internet of Things might seem like a non-trivial investment in infrastructure, know-how, and data analysis, but the pay-off appears to more than balance out the initial outlay. Specifically, 85% of companies surveyed indicate that they either achieved, or expect to achieve, payback on their IoT initiatives within the first year, with a third of those reaping the rewards right upon deployment.
Who says immediate gratification is impossible in the business world?