To construct or not to construct? That is the question that many businesses face when they begin to develop plans for an IoT project.
Because each use case is unique to a specific business, the building appears to be an appealing option for getting exactly what you need out of a large investment. However, securing the in-house talent required to pull off a massive undertaking like IoT takes time, money, and commitment. It is critical to determine whether the project is worth the time and effort required to build an infrastructure from the ground up.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying and building to help you decide what’s best for your company.
Build your Own IoT Infrastructure:
Dedicated in-house team: Building the team in-house means you’ll have salaried employees to assist you not only during the construction process but also during the project’s maintenance and lifecycle. This is useful when an IoT project needs to be flexed to meet a new business requirement or patched to address a new vulnerability that wasn’t present during the initial deployment.
Fully customized solution: An in-house build allows for a fully customized IoT solution to your use case. Do you require a specific protocol to assist your sensors in collecting data, communicating it to the cloud, and then delivering it to a custom app optimised for iOS and Android? An in-house build by an in-house team is in sync with your internal business goals and can be built to assist in meeting them.
Finding talent takes time: Finding talent takes time. Furthermore, because no IoT solution is the same as another, it’s more difficult to determine whether someone’s previous experience will lead you to the best current solution. Add to that the rapid pace of innovation, and even the most talented IoT professionals must constantly update their own skills to stay on top of the latest and greatest.
Problems with customization: A fully customised in-house solution has not been vetted for quality and assurance. On paper, it’s perfect for your use case, but are there gaps in your implementation that you can’t see because you’re too close to your business needs to balance them with industry best practises? It also restricts your IoT knowledge to those present in the building, with little validation of assumptions.
Buy IoT Infrastructure:
Strategic partners shorten time to market: Distributors provide both fully built and semi-built IoT strategies. These provide clients with a balance of tried and true infrastructure solutions with customizable points that still make a purchased solution adaptable to your business needs. This allows you to set up an IoT instance more quickly and beat the competition to the market.
Global footprint, broad knowledge: The collective knowledge of a global network means that someone somewhere in the world is keeping up with IoT deployments and solutions from competitors in your industry and innovative companies in others. This built-in competitive intelligence can assist them in objectively vetting your business case, running diagnostics to prove ROI to top executives early on, recommending the best solutions during the development phase, and ensuring security and maintenance not only with an on-site deployment but also with a lifecycle management engagement.
External partners are vetted: A one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to work for your implementation due to the complexity of IoT, which necessitates deep expertise and experience in both operational and information technology. It’s unusual to find those two skills—along with specialization in hardware, software, and data science—at the same company in such depth. Close collaboration and communication are required for IoT solutions. Though the hype may seem exaggerated, there is a lot of opportunity in the IoT space, so competition is fierce. Having more partners increases your risk of failure and cost because it reduces your ability to collaborate and communicate effectively, and thus your agility.
An external partner requires assistance: It will take some extra time upfront, just like hiring an advertising agency or an outside research firm, to get an external team up to speed on your specific business objectives. For executives who want to see new solutions put in place as soon as possible, this can add weeks to the consultation phase of a project they don’t want to shortchange. Don’t do it. Allowing this time upfront with the right partner can pay for itself tenfold when the C-suite sees the ROI of the new IoT project in the field.
To build or not to build?
When it comes to the difficult decision of whether to buy an IoT infrastructure or build one, each company will have to reach their own conclusion (or vice versa). In any case, make sure you plan, develop, and deploy with a team that can produce real results, and that you back them up over time—whether they work in your office or not.