Identifying Gaps in Your Endpoint Lifecycle Management Strategy

Bill Kramer, EVP IoT Solutions
May 23, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Every IoT solution has an endpoint device out in the field collecting and transmitting data via network connectivity to a cloud platform, data center, or back-office system. While there are many IoT solution components, everything centers around the endpoint – which is key to data collection – and that endpoint has a lifecycle, which is something many organizations struggle to manage.

In the next installment of our IoT Insight Report series, I share some critical ways that your organization can improve the deployment, operational management, and maintenance of your IoT solutions. The first step in ensuring long-term success of your IoT solution is identifying the potential knowledge gaps within your organization:

IoT Lifecycle Understanding

You may have put a great deal of thought into choosing the endpoint that best fits your solution’s needs. But what happens when that device breaks down or your connectivity technology becomes obsolete? If you’re not fully aware of each stage in your endpoint’s lifecycle, you likely haven’t made provisions for the parts of it you’ll need to monitor. At its core, an endpoint’s full lifecycle is described in three terms: deploy, operate, and sustain.

Outline your plan for each phase of the lifecycle to minimize downtime and deliver maximum return on your IoT investment:

  1. Deployment (aka Forward Logistics): This stage encompasses everything related to successfully launching, installing, and activating your solution.
  2. Operations Management: In the second stage of your endpoint’s lifecycle, you have to ensure the IoT solution is online, available, collecting, and transferring data as designed.
  3. Sustainment & Support (aka Reverse Logistics): When an endpoint stops working, breaks, or needs to be upgraded, there should be operational processes in place for replacement and solution continuity.

 

Internal Resources and Technical Knowledge

IoT solutions are comprised of  highly complex technologies and while most organizations can conceptualize and even implement their solution, they often lack the expertise or internal resources to fully understand the complexity of post-deployment lifecycle management. Does your organization thoroughly understand IoT technology and does it have the appropriate vision as to how to successfully apply it to the business? Ultimately, without these skills, you might see a delay in solution launch, inability to realize ROI, or a stall – or even failure – of your IoT project as a whole.

The key is to work through all the issues you are trying to solve and prioritize the business processes your organization is targeting. This will lead to the next step of ensuring you make strategic IoT technology choices, considering the implications of those choices on the entire lifecycle of the solution. Failure to do so will result in a solution that is not operationally scalable, and your project is at risk of becoming a stranded investment.

Lifecycle Monitoring and Modification Agility

Keep an eye out for red flags at every stage of the lifecycle. In the deployment phase you may struggle to find the resources to manage processes, such as inventory management, fulfillment, or logistics around the IoT endpoint. If so, it’s best to engage an experienced partner to help manage these processes.

After deployment, if you are seeing insufficient response times, you have likely selected the wrong device or network technology. If poor data transfer reliability is negatively impacting your user experience, it’s probable that your application requires more than your selected technologies can support.

Benchmarking and Ongoing ROI Assessment

How do you determine if your IoT solution is successful? Well, that depends upon your business goals. As you design your solution, identify and benchmark your goals. You want your IoT deployment to grow, scale, and help you transform your business, based on your pre-determined strategy requirements.

Seek a Trusted Partner

If you recognize any gaps that will prevent your organization from effectively managing the entire lifecycle of your IoT solution, it’s a good idea to ask for help. Seek a trusted partner to help you understand your choices and how they best meet your business process requirements. The partner should understand the implications of various technology choices, provide vendor-agnostic recommendations, and have extensive experience in deploying solutions that function to optimal levels.

To learn more about navigating the complexities of lifecycle management and managed services, download the full IoT Insight Report: Endpoint Lifecycle Management and Managed Services.