How to Accelerate Commercialization
In a previous blog entitled, The Stages of the IoT Project Lifecycle, we walked through all of the stages each IoT project faces. In this blog we highlight the final stage of your IoT journey, known as the Commercialize stage, to give you the questions you need to have answered and some tips to avoid the common obstacles many organizations face so you can successfully commercialize your IoT product.
Assuming that the business concept has been thoroughly explored and validated, any go-to-market hurdles should be largely identified or anticipated. In the Commercialization stage, organizations should be focused on ensuring all bases are covered from a logistics and operational perspective before, during, and after the launch. Commercialization also includes all of the ongoing commitments to software iterations, enhancements, and support.
Common Pitfalls and Their Solution
- The first IoT project sets the tone of all future IoT projects. For many organizations, the most common pitfall of the Commercialization stage occurs when teams push their product directly into the market in place of a formal Validation stage. If the organization has never launched a connected-product or is looking to overcome the baggage of a past failure, it’s critical that the next project is successful because hope is not a recommended go-to-market strategy. Launching a connected-product that fails to perform on multiple levels is the organizational equivalent of poisoning the well.
- Solution: Get early user feedback with prototypes, integrate feedback from lead customers prior to final production, and involve user-experience design, quality-assurance, and other software development professionals early and often.
- It seems like the project is done, but it’s not. Manufacturing organizations often take for granted that once hardware products are shipped, they are done. With IoT products, there is no end in sight because of necessary ongoing server maintenance, data management, bug fixes, and security patches.
- Solution: Account for new staffing needs that include individuals who can help with software product management experience. This is critical in anticipating future needs and providing support and maintenance for products once they are launched.
Questions to Create Traction
Below are questions to help organizations prepare for the most common logistical surprises in commercialization.
- Who will provide product support?
- Will the product need installation setup and by whom?
- Will invoices need to be done differently for the product?
- How will upgrades and fixes be distributed?
- Who will manage the sales channel and supply chain?
- Who will support and train users and installers to ensure reliable service?
- Who is responsible for ongoing product iteration and improvements during and after the initial release?
By taking the time to think through and answer the above questions, organizations can avoid costly surprises and confidently move forward with commercialization. Successful IoT programs are a result of thoughtful consideration of common pitfalls and understanding what questions need to be addressed at each stage of the IoT journey. To learn more, download your own copy of our free Understanding the IoT Project Lifecycle white paper. If you’d like to learn what the next step is in your IoT journey, download our IoT Readiness guide or connect with one of our IoT experts.