Jeff Smith, corporate IoT business development manager at Parker-Hannifin, has overseen dozens of IIoT implementations around the globe. He’s seen every type of problem. He’s celebrated all of the successes of digital transformation. And he shares his perspective here:
Smart Industry: What are the greatest challenges to scaling IIoT efforts after early wins?
Jeff: In my experience the next step after early wins is a big one. Early wins place you in the Alpha or Beta phase. So, scaling up means you are now ready for this solution to be generally available. Areas that immediately get called into action include supply chain sourcing, IT support and the defined target locations for rollout.
Smart Industry: Should enterprises use early wins to validate wider efforts?
Jeff: Yes. I see no other way than being able to go through steps to prove the value of your approach on a small scale.
Smart Industry: Should the strategy for initial efforts contain scaling components? Or is a "starter strategy" different than a "rollout strategy"?
Jeff: You should have all the game pieces on the board and know that the ones used in the starter strategy will be used to inform how the rollout strategy. For instance, if you have a gateway as part of your architecture, you should be working with your best few. Out of the starter phase, the ones needed at scale will become clear.
Smart Industry: Is a team approach critical to success with IIoT projects as they scale out? Who should make up this team?
Jeff: Yes. A base team is important. Most important is the value of the tribal knowledge from the first phases. So, it is critical to keep the key start-up resources on the project through the roll-out phase. At a minimum you will need a program manager that has budget and management authority. A technical lead (this can come from IT), a lead from operations (OT). From here you can build out the additional needed resource elements.
Smart Industry: What’s at the core of successfully scaling digital-transformation projects?
Jeff: The sooner you get out of your PowerPoint slides and into the actual solution, reducing to practice the real-world elements, the better off you will be. The answers you seek are outside the four walls of your office.