Despite enterprises, particularly larger ones, developing skills and building expertise in IoT solutions, they still look to suppliers for support on key issues. It is important that suppliers understand enterprise thinking on where this support is likely to be most important for them going forward. Furthermore, their needs do change over time as this very dynamic market evolves. CSPs need to pass on their knowledge and expertise to the enterprise.
Different segments and enterprise sizes have particular needs that IoT suppliers need to address. Thinking about IoT CSPs, application needs may be around the degree of mobility required, the degree of latency required. Some applications are by their nature very mobile, such as in transportation, logistics or automotive. At the other end of the spectrum, an application like smart metering is very static. Suppliers need to be flexible around their IoT offerings to deliver the functionality that the enterprise needs on issues such as coverage or traffic levels and traffic patterns. Flexibility is a word that comes up time and time again.
There is often a marked difference between what the enterprise believes it needs and what CSPs think is most important. Enterprises do not always place a high enough value on having a consistent quality service, clearly a very important factor in the IoT CSP offering. Simply put, if you don’t have a high quality of service then your IoT application doesn't work. It can be even more critical in some applications – for example, healthcare – where the applications needs a high grade of service being constantly on and transferring critical data constantly. Clearly it’s a very different to say a vending machine that only sends data intermittently.
Enterprises needs also include simplicity for procurement, purchasing from a single supplier, and efficient onboarding of devices. Needs may extend to having fully managed solutions that include non-connectivity services such as security, analytics and identity and access management. So enterprises need to look at the overall capabilities of IoT providers and find ones that best match their requirements in terms of service delivery. And CSPs need to be telling the enterprise about the relative importance of these factors.
The best way forward is the creation of a true partnership between the enterprise and the CSP. Enterprises should harness CSP knowledge in planning, launching and managing their IoT services, but they also value the flexibility of changing connectivity providers and do not want to be locked into contracts for years to come.