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Selling IoT and the Vertical Play

451 Research's Christian Renaud at Channel Partners Evolution

CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Just about all partners have heard about digital transformation and Internet of Things (IoT), but what they’re probably less familiar with is how it could impact their business and what they need to do to seize IoT opportunities.

During Wednesday morning’s keynote session at Channel Partners Evolution, Christian Renaud, research director for the IoT practice at 451 Research, talked about today’s IoT use cases and applications, key purchasing factors, the decision maker, and IoT sales actions. What’s critical for partners to know is that while IoT is comprised of technology and software, IoT sales differ from the IT sale.

“IoT is the how, digital transformation is the why,” said Renaud.

IoT might be an overhyped area, but use cases are starting to emerge, and the pace of IoT adoption is expected to pick up over the next 12-24 months, according to 451 Research on IoT.

What might surprise partners to know is that equipment, devices and endpoints used for IoT initiatives today are commonly found in the data center. In fact, nearly 60 percent of respondents in a recent 451 Research IoT survey said that they gather data or information from equipment, devices or other connected endpoints from their data center IT equipment today — this figure topped the list of responses. Forty-one percent gather data from their data-facilities equipment.

“Today I’d go after data centers and factories, automobiles and fleet equipment,” Renaud said.

A key driver for IoT today is taking cost out of the bottom line.

As partners build their IoT practices, and sell across verticals, they will find that the decision makers that they’re used to selling to – i.e. the IT department – is going to shift. Selling data center IoT today may be familiar to partners, but they will likely find some crossover as they move to the operational side, or facilities, which is outside of the data center use case.

When it comes to selling IoT outside of IT use cases, to verticals such as transportation, manufacturing or utilities, for example, the decision maker is not IT but the person responsible for P&L.

Again, in the 451 IoT survey, respondents when asked, “Which groups at your organization are influencers in IT purchasers? — what popped up is business decision makers or executive leadership, because IoT is a function of digital transformation.

“The IT piece is an afterthought,” Renaud stated.

Why?

Because what these buyers are accustomed to buying is outcomes, whereas IT is about a components-based sale.

A number of professional services are or will be utilized for IoT initiatives, according to IoT survey respondents: topping the list – deployment and integration services, ongoing maintenance support, security such as vulnerability testing, pre-deployment IT architecture and planning, identifying/defining/and-or documenting business needs, outsources, etc.


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