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A research framework to find a gap in the Enterprise IoT market

Questions that TecFutures are regularly asked include:

· Which market sectors offer your business the best IoT opportunities?

· How are you positioned to deal with rising competitive intensity in IoT markets?

· Are there new adjacent IoT opportunities you can address?

Finding that elusive gap in the enterprise IoT market can be hard, so supplement your insight and reduce risk with a structured research plan such as this. Use these steps as a starting point and adapt to your unique situation to build on your competitive market position.

1. Review your IoT strengths and capabilities

You need to know your capabilities. These aren’t necessarily limitations, but you need to know what skills gaps you have that might limit your market offering.

· Make a candid review of strengths and weaknesses in relation to your IoT experience and existing market positioning.

· Cover all aspects of supply, sales & marketing, pricing, support and service wrap.

· Where do you need more / better capabilities?

2. Macro research – map your market

Make a structured analysis of your IoT market, products and competitors. Create one or more intuitive ANSOFF matrices or something similar to help organise your thinking.

· Use desk research and internal brainstorming.

· Are you getting feedback from the market already? If so, build this in.

· Think about how you want to analyse your market: revenue, market size and sector segmentation, growth potential, geography, hard vs easy, innovation, competitive intensity.

Create different analyses to highlight different market perspectives, as well as how these aspects of the market relate to your business aspirations.

3. Innovation and understanding unmet needs

You need input from the market: what do customers want, what do they think they need?

This means primary research – market surveys, focus groups, and in depth qualitative interviews.

· Really dig into what customers want, what problems they have that are not yet met?

· What is driving those needs?

· What do current solutions not do?

· And, how are these needs evolving?

Analyse and pick a range of ideas, develop them, revisit capabilities and cross check. What capabilities are you missing? What are the easy wins?

4. Digging out pain points and problems

Customers don’t always know what they need, so different research is needed to uncover issues, problems, and pain points that customers don’t recognize as a need (yet).

· Define sets of interesting customers (while understanding what sets them apart)

· Create a program of in-depth one to one discussions that focus on context, and background. Talk about their processes, bottlenecks, and what is holding them back.

· Develop design innovation workshops based around critical customer issues and themes related to the previous research and analysis.

· Allow respondents to create ideas rather than presenting your internal thinking.

5. Double check, re-prioritize, and review

Analyse and review, pick front runner ideas. If these are fundamentally different from where you started, consider well targeted customer research to validate your conclusions!

· Feed your preferred ideas into qualitative research to unpick and refine them.

· Use research to find uptake triggers and barriers.

· Markets are evolving so keep a finger on the pulse all the time!

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