Developing beneficial innovations that deliver real added value to customers and their use cases is challenging due to the lack of access to knowledge about potential customers and their needs. Existing knowledge and the degree of maturity of a product idea can be very different – from ideas that have not been fully revised to experience gained from previous projects. Therefore, a wide range of approaches to different approaches to IoT projects is very important so that you can start optimally from every starting state.
Developing Ideas: The Race of Exploration
IoT projects are unorganized at first. Officials have many ideas but no clear idea of how to implement them. There is no specific roadmap that identifies goals and spells out next steps. With the “Exploration Sprint” method, administrators can craft better ideas for data-driven products and services. This approach uses a qualitative and quantitative approach.
In an interdisciplinary group, certain creative techniques such as “story mapping” or “silent writing” are used to collect and prioritize ideas. Creative approaches like these can provide interesting insights when all levels are involved – management, technical experts, and project managers as well as sales and marketing. Through well-structured interviews with selected representative corporate clients, potential users are then asked about specific ideas and scenarios and the next steps are derived from them. The special thing here is that ideas can be validated directly based on the data. Data analysts can assess whether the synergy for new IoT applications is becoming apparent. You can infer whether the current data is suitable for predictive maintenance or targeted reporting, for example. Interview results and data analysis help the team make future business-related decisions. The question “what?” Then it becomes “how?” This new perspective can provide the first approach to a concrete roadmap. The validated data allow to draw conclusions about new capabilities and necessary modifications.
Determining Added Value: The Way to Work Backward
Usually, in the beginning of IoT projects, there is already an initial product vision. In order to satisfy the customers’ needs, the backward working method provides a good approach. This innovation process is based on existing knowledge, pen and paper. The method demonstrates the added value to customers and clarifies the chances of success in the market. In the first step, the team creates a press release for potential users of the IoT solution to be developed. The message contains the name of the solution, the target group, as well as the added value for the users. In addition, this message provides the option to include fake FAQs in order to define product visibility from the user’s point of view.
By writing a press release, the team avoids the unnecessary use of resources to create presentations that convince management. And administrators can also implement design in the innovation process with less effort. Multidisciplinary and administrative level staff inspect the transcript before the project begins. With the chosen style of the press release, the reader can put himself in the shoes of the customer and decide for himself whether his needs will be met with the new solution. In addition, this procedure ensures that all participants develop a unified understanding, come together and work on specifications with the same target image.
Setting goals: Business objectives workshop
Defining a clear goal image is a critical success factor for every IoT project. The goal represents the requirements of the solution and helps to ensure that all project participants maintain the same focus. The Business Objectives Diagram (BoC) method includes a workshop for effective solution visualization and implementation, in this way minimizing communication problems. In addition to all those involved in the project, a large number of employees also participate in the BoC workshop. The essence of joint action is a question of purpose.
All participants formulate their own understanding of goal setting and then discuss why it is important. Some central questions play an important role: What added value do participants want to achieve through the project? Is it about redesigning the entire business model or just minor changes? How big is the risk of project failure and how severe are the consequences? What does success depend on? What obstacles does the team already know? What skills and resources do we need moving forward? This workshop often lasts an entire day due to the many aspects and potential for discussion. But this is a well-invested time, because the goal developed at the end of the process can be used by the team to critically examine its product and customers in the future.
Planning and organizing plays an essential role in the success of IoT projects. Execution without a clearly defined goal is not possible. Managers and project managers need a clear goal picture in order to be able to develop smart and customer-oriented products. Several methods can help sort ideas and ideas and create structure. The relevant starting condition determines the optimal solution. Firms have to adapt flexibly to the needs of the current market and act accordingly. A wide range of styles is the perfect basis for this.
Dr. Sebastian Heiger is a solution specialist at Tresmo. It supports companies in designing, implementing and creating future-proof IoT and cloud application solutions. Previously, as a project leader and team leader in the Business Informatics project group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT), he gained extensive experience in the interaction between research and practice. Sebastian Heiger studied Business Informatics at the University of Augsburg and earned a Ph.D. in social and technical information systems design.