Many who have written a procurement for Internet-of-Things (IoT) projects, have found it extremely difficult. Partly because IoT is relatively new and therefore not as familiar as finding a new IT consultant, nor as straight forward as seeking a new supplier of telecom services. IoT has a tendency to encompass many disciplines and departments in an organization, making it harder to do a procurement that lives up to everybody’s expectations. Since there seems to be a demand for help in this area, and to forget asking the important question can be very costly, I decided to share some of my learnings working as BID Manager at Tele2 IoT.
How asking the right question in IoT can be worth millions
I am blessed to be working with many of the pioneers and experts in the IoT industry. People who have helped some of the biggest brands to set up IoT in many different verticals and countries. In their experience a weak procurement can cause big problems down the road. Slowing down a project or even leading it into a dead-end, making it impossible to scale up. Not asking the right questions can be extremely costly.
Two main recommendations, think big and start small
Having a clear IoT vision and strategy is vital to be successful, but when it comes to procurements, you also need to focus on concrete needs that you have in front of you today. It forces the incoming tenders to be very specific in their solutions, which also makes the tenders easier to compare. This is difficult, to be long- and short-sighted at the same time (I can recommend this video with Rami Avidan on IoT Strategy). But, with the right type of questions you can make sure that the solution will be scalable and flexible enough for your current and future needs. Thinking big, but starting small.
Another recommendation is to avoid bundling the IoT procurement together with other needs, such as telecom services or IT consultants. You won’t gain much by making IoT a part of a larger and more complicated procurement. In our experts’ opinion, there’s more to lose. A dedicated IoT procurement gives your initiative the attention it needs from the start and will lead to better tenders with a clearer understanding of the ambition of your IoT solution.
There isn’t one-million-dollar question, there are one hundred!
After interviewing our experts, going through data from incoming procurements and successful IoT implementations, we ended up with a checklist covering 29 topics and over 100 questions! Yes, IoT solutions are often more complex than we think. But if you start in the right end, asking all the right questions, you will be able to launch your first small IoT solution faster than you think, and scale sooner than you think.
These are a few of the areas that your procurement should cover:
- IoT business model
- Need of partners
- SIM Management platform demands
- Specify needs of IoT support like language, availability and level of hands-on support
- Level of responsibility for the entire IoT solution
- The process of collecting and reporting data
- Recommended security solutions
- Data protection
- Financial reports
- Cost efficiency
- System for updating clients regarding outages and maintenance
- References from current and former clients
For more help and inspiration, you are welcome to download the IoT Procurement Guide that I put together with all topics and over 100 questions to ask in your next procurement. My hope and intention is that you will find this guide helpful and can use it as a hands-on tool for your next procurement, making it easier to pinpoint your specifications and of course enjoy better and more comparable tenders for a successful IoT deployment.
Click here and get your copy now.
Is there something I missed? I would love to get your feedback!