Customer Centric IIoT Projects are the Key to Success

For more than years, I have had the opportunity to work with almost a dozen multinational companies on IIoT projects.

Not all were successful. 

Based on these wins and losses, I have formulated a proven, customer-centric IIoT approach. To make smarter IIoT investments try these 5-steps:

1. Know Your Customer

Asking “who are your customers?” typically elicits a wild variety of responses.

As a result, start by gaining internal agreement on your target customer.

  1. What are their demographic and firmographic attributes?
  2. How do they measure success/value?
  3. How do they expect to purchase, on-board, and use your products or services?
  4. What business outcomes do they expect from your IoT-enabled products and services.

2. Segment Your Customers

Not all customers (and customer segments) are created equal. Ultimately, limited budget dollars and time will dictate what you prioritize.

Therefore, targeted segmentation will deliver more engaging customer experiences, higher customer lifetime value (CLT), and more valued customer outcomes.

3. Create Segment “Playbooks”

Playbooks define segment-specific value propositions and customer lifecycle management approaches.

These playbooks are living documents. You don’t need a perfect playbook. Start simple.

As you bring your products to market, learn from your wins and losses. Continuously flesh out user issues, new product features, and integration requirements. Also, improve your messaging and sales enablement capabilities over time.


Use KPIs and pre-defined measures of success (for you and and your customers) as guideposts.

Finally, playbooks should provide the foundation for your decisions.

Ultimately, and architecture decisions should align with the targeted customer lifecycles, user value outcomes and business metrics.

4. Empower Integrated (The new IT)

IIoT projects are not traditional IT projects. Recently, these cross-functional teams were nicknamed “digital factories” by McKinsey.

Consequently, they are likely a significant change from existing organizational structure, culture and approach. They require a broad cross-section of roles and expertise. In many cases, with teams that have not worked together.

At first, new levels of information and process will make some teammates uncomfortable. So be prepared for some initial pushback.

5. Ensure Management Buy-In

This is where the rubber hits the road.

Clear and consistent top-down management support is critical for success. Experience also shows that new leadership will be required.

New “IT” teams must also be truly empowered. They will need to create, deploy, deliver, improve and even pivot. Management should provide oversight based on performance against target metrics.

Customer Centric Approaches Work

With the right approach, everybody wins – manufacturer, customers, dealers, and other partners.

As a result, customer-centric IIoT projects have been successful in the following ways:

  • Uptime increases up to 50%
  • Cost reductions up to 30%
  • User engagement improvements up to 50%

Put The Odds of IIoT Success In Your Favor

Pressure is growing to invest in IIoT, and for good reason. However, IIoT projects are failing at an alarming rate (more than a 70% by some accounts).

So put the odds of IIoT success back into your favor. Take a customer-centric, integrated team (IT) approach.

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