Joined Up Thinking: Delivery Excellence in the Digital & IoT Era

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Not since the launch and adoption of the Internet in the 1990’s, has a new technology provided as many opportunities for growth, improved customer service and increased operational excellence across the complete spectrum of companies and industries. Unfortunately, given the business, organizational and technical challenges involved in delivering Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives successfully, it is also one of the biggest threats for many.


The Internet's impact to the global communication landscape was massive, with only 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunications communicated over the internet back in 1993. By 2000, this figure reached 51%, and subsequently by 2007, more than 97% of telecommunicated information was exchanged over the Internet.1

And just like the Internet of yesteryear was easy to underestimate in its early stages, this “Connected World” through IoT, is merely a representation today of what it might become tomorrow.

“If you don’t innovate fast, disrupt your industry, disrupt yourself, you’ll be left behind.”
John Chambers – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CISCO USA

A 2016 CompTIA Internet of Things and Opportunities survey showcases that a solid trend of enterprise wide IoT adoption has been set in in motion by many organizations.  As reported by Forbes, “60% of organizations have started an IoT initiative (45% of which were funded by new budget allocation) and an additional 23% of companies plan to start an IoT initiative within a year.”

The remaining 15% who ignore IoT, like those who dismissed the Internet in the late 90’s, will stand no chance of being a key player tomorrow.

Within this context, Tom De Winne, Pcubed’s Practice lead for Digital Transformation in North America begins the first part of our series around Joined-Up Thinking, sharing insights on achieving delivery excellence in the Digital & IoT era.  
What does it take to rapidly and effectively transform your business and operations in a Connected World?

In our experience, successful execution of any strategic IoT initiative requires three core ingredients to be present in order to deliver its desired impact. First, organizations need a crystal clear IoT directive inclusive of a long term IoT vision and strategy. Second is the adoption or embracement of a strategic and enabling IoT platform and its associated technology and standards. Third, is the importance of leveraging historical strengths when establishing overall organizational capability to transform and deliver IoT within the enterprise.

1) Establishing a clear IoT directive… You can't know where you're going until you know where you are

It may be an old adage, but if executive leaders don’t understand and communicate the why behind their IoT initiatives, then the how doesn’t even matter. An IoT vision and the why thereof may differ depending on the type and nature of business it applies to, but possessing a strong ability to articulate one is absolutely crucial.

The IoT vision and strategy also needs to be underpinned by a set of key strategic enablers. Examples may include the adoption of an open innovation framework and approach combined with a concerted effort to complete an in depth value chain analysis to identify key IoT opportunities.  Another example could include the building of an open partner ecosystem in one functional area, while only allowing selected partners to participate in another functional area.

Last but not least, you will want to see several of your senior executives take personal ownership and accountability for activities with strategic importance. The CEO may choose to personally lead these strategic IoT partnership discussions aligned to certain services and/or products or may rely on the COO, CIO or CTO to engage in fast-tracking the acquisitions of a few key players, critical in establishing further IoT capabilities.

2) Adopting an enabling IoT technology platform

Most organizations starting or expanding their IoT efforts have multiple business units and cannot afford to build multiple IoT platforms. Therefore, establishing a common approach that is flexible enough to grow and change with the business as it evolves while meeting the needs of each business unit is key.

In doing so, two factors are of particular importance. The first is commonality and reusability, the second is not to re-invent the wheel and leverage what already exists.

Commonality and reusability - Successful organizations maximize effort and investment, while minimizing the need for costly, one-off solutions. This should be enabled through following a standard process for reviewing and selecting IoT solution ideas, allowing for the gathering of further insights around common and/or similar technology or architecture components across the organization. Those insights can then be leveraged in developing standardized, reusable components to enable an IoT framework that the entire organization can benefit from.

Leverage the playing field - Don’t re-invent the wheel. Smart make versus buy decisions have become a critical time to market (TTM) differentiator in delivering IoT solutions. Companies that only look within their own organization to define and develop IoT solutions are missing the big picture and will lose critical time and/or momentum. As technology is changing more rapidly than any one company can keep up with on their own, smart companies make informed decisions around make versus buy, and look to partner for or acquire those components or skills which they don’t have.
In essence, you become the winning team by looking for strong players out there and making them play together on your field.

3) Leveraging historical strengths when embedding overall organizational IoT capability

Those organizations who are successful in gaining quick IoT momentum tend to focus on business or operational model changes that enhance their current capabilities because of their historical knowledge, strong product, or superior service performance. Where that is not the case, the implementation of potential IoT solutions should be considered through either acquisitions and/or strategic partnerships.

It is also very important to understand the nature and degree of business change and the delivery and/or implementation capability required, which will result from launching into the IoT space.  If you embark on a major IoT business change effort in an area where you have a limited delivery track record then, per definition, that initiative, before you have even started, carries an increased risk for a higher degree of failure. Ultimately, successful delivery of the desired business outcomes is directly correlated with what we call IoT delivery maturity (unique from the typical traditional or agile delivery capabilities required).  We will highlight delivery maturity achievement in a follow on post.

The Internet of Things creates major opportunities for value creation but only those who will be able to rapidly transform will be successful. 

Establishing a clear vision and strategy, building and/or expanding a technology platform and leveraging your historical strengths are all key components required when embarking on a major IoT Initiative.

At Pcubed, we have tied those components back to a simplified Transformation Model that enables the mobilization and delivery of an IoT Initiative. First, you IDENTIFY your desired (needed) IoT efforts, second you DEFINE the blueprint and associated business outcomes (and what it takes to get there) and third you focus on what is required to DELIVER successfully (i.e. the need to build and embed – both internal and external – organizational capability).

Pcubed’s Program Diagnostic and resulting Business Transformation model provides a heat map of the critical drivers, along with disruptions and opportunities to act on, to rapidly shape and deliver your IoT transformation efforts across the enterprise.

With the why behind the IoT initiatives understood and articulated, successful IoT execution shifts to the next stage – delivering and managing the change to the impacted business, operational and delivery functions across your enterprise.  Stay tuned for our next post in our series on Delivery Excellence in the Digital & IoT era.

1 "The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information", Hilbert and López, Science Magazine (2011)

Pcubed is the largest global management consulting firm uniquely focused on program, portfolio and change management. In today’s business environment of Digital Disruption and the Industrial Internet of Things, Pcubed assists Automotive, Aerospace, Energy and High-Tech companies establish and improve their organizational delivery capability, leveraging our methodology and technology agnostic delivery framework and approach. Pcubed’s focus is on improving end to end delivery speed and effectiveness in context of desired business outcomes.

Tom De Winne is Pcubed Vice President and Head of NA Digital Transformation. He has over 20 years of experience delivering disruptive change and innovation for clients globally.  He has worked with a diverse range of Fortune 500 companies including Vodafone, British Telecom, Alcatel Lucent, CSC, Chevron, General Motors and Siemens.

For further information on this article or to inquire about the Program Diagnostic, please email