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Compelling ways the C-level can leverage the IoT

May 31, 20185 mins
Internet of Things

The C-level is rapidly getting their hands on IoT data. What they are doing with it might surprise you.

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Across a variety of industries, corporate IT and operations teams are rapidly deploying IoT to meet core business objectives. The aim of these deployments can vary greatly, from monitoring device health, to reducing operating costs, and increasing production volume. Yet there are a number of other areas throughout an organization, with initiatives of equal importance, where stakeholders have yet to leverage the value of connected device data to achieve their goals. One such example is the C-level. While generally not designed with executives in mind, IoT technology can provide value to the C-level that’s on par with the advantages their IT and operations counterparts stand to gain.

In many ways IoT data is perfectly matched to aid CXOs in their pursuit to maximize business performance. This could be in the form of increasing a total addressable market, driving up customer loyalty, enhancing products, or something else altogether. One of the most unique qualities associated with IoT data is that it can verify how a product is being used after a customer has taken it home. This data can be analyzed and leveraged to improve a company’s customer satisfaction, product mix and design, and more.

Alternately, a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at an air conditioning unit manufacturer might discover a new addressable market after reviewing customer usage data. If the data indicates entry level units are oftentimes being used beyond capacity and their next level unit is rarely leveraged fully, they can make the case that a mid-grade product would better address customer needs. Creating this new SKU can lead to new revenue. It can also help avoid warranty service and parts costs associated with customers misusing a product. This helps create happy customers that are more inclined to recommend the brand or purchase from the business again.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a Chief Product Officer (CPO) at a home appliance business. Knowing exactly how customers use specific product features, or if they aren’t using them at all, is key to enhancing satisfaction. With IoT data, a CPO can document feature utilization (or lack thereof) on a washing machine. In the case of unused features, the business can follow up to learn if the feature effectively fulfills its intended task, or if the lack of utilization stems from the customer needing more education on how it works or a clearer explanation of the benefits.

By closing any existing education gaps, customers can experience the full breadth of benefits of a product. However, if it’s determined the feature doesn’t work well enough or is of no value, organizations can take steps to improve it, replace it, or eliminate it to save on production costs. Also, discovering the most popular features can provide the added benefit of helping product designers zero in on where to focus value-added improvements.

Furthermore, IoT data can prove highly valuable in extending service level agreements (SLAs) to satisfy both the vendor and the customer more effectively – enriching an important revenue stream managed by the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Because the service provider can better foresee what is most likely to need service and how often, as well as verify products are being used as recommended, they can confidently lower SLA prices, creating a more attractive arrangement for the customer. This is a win-win for the business and customer. The business can increase SLA revenue and the customer has insurance for their purchase.

These examples illustrate just a few of the ways C-level stakeholders can utilize IoT data to fill in a missing link between their businesses and their customers. Traditionally, a business only hears from a customer when something has broken, or service is required. This can lead to an abrupt interaction between the vendor and the customer. But now, it’s possible to avoid unnecessary friction by proactively serving customers – whether that’s quickly fixing a known issue or anticipating work levels for seamless maintenance visits. IoT data is an untapped resource the C-Level can employ to make smarter decisions around what customers want, and to keep track of changing needs over time.

As time goes on, we’ll continue to see the adoption of IoT increase as different business units realize its potential to help maximize operational capacity and increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience. We might see a skyscraper’s facilities management team use IoT to identify impending issues with an HVAC system, so they can dispatch maintenance to correct problems before they occur. Or, the logistics division at an airline might use IoT data to inform gate agents in real-time when overhead bins reach capacity or if luggage needs to be organized more efficiently, helping optimize the customer experience. The opportunities to incorporate IoT across an organization to enhance business outcomes truly are limitless.


Dave McCarthy is a leading authority on industrial IoT. As vice president at Bsquare Corporation, he advises Fortune 1000 customers on how to integrate device and sensor data with their enterprise systems to improve business outcomes. Dave regularly speaks at technology conferences around the globe and recently delivered the keynote presentation at Internet of Things North America.

Dave earned an MBA with honors from Northeastern University.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave McCarthy and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.