IoT Platforms: Build, Buy, or Both?
With the accessibility, affordability and overall democratization of technology, it is tempting today to try and do everything yourself. But the keyword in the growing category of DIY or “do it yourself” is the word “it.” “It” is not “everything.”
That is particularly true when your company or organization is thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT). Faced with increasing competitive pressures and the mad rush to digitize, monetize and continually transform every aspect of business, we are often tempted to try and go “it” alone — that is DIY IoT.
It is tempting to think you can do it all. You know your business or organization. You know its assets and liabilities, strengths and weaknesses. And, as I noted, technology is becoming more and more affordable.
But just because you can build something doesn’t mean you should. That is particularly true for the most critical and complex part of an IoT system: the platform on which the IoT system runs.
IoT platforms aren’t a “thing” in the ordinary sense of the word. They are more like animate beings. Once IoT platforms are developed, they require constant care, feeding and nurturing. They need to be scalable, flexible and adaptable all at the same time. They need to continually develop, grow and adapt to an ever-changing technology and business environment.
Some of the common pitfalls I’ve seen in attempts to “DIY” an IoT platform include:
- Underestimating the cost. An IoT platform can be a budget-buster. Most people underestimate the cost of constant maintenance, upgrades, security, stability, reliability and a host of other factors that come with ownership of an IoT platform.
- Underestimating the time. Closely linked to the above are staffing and time. IoT platforms involve dozens of different systems and technologies. In trying to build, secure and maintain these platforms, you instantly become a general contractor with the responsibility of managing and juggling multiple vendors and contracts.
- Underestimating expertise. Building and maintaining an IoT platform goes well beyond the ability to code software. It requires not just knowing and having immediate access to the latest software and hardware technologies, but also the implementation of best practices in the areas of operationalization, logistics, maintenance, system reliability and data security.
We believe there’s a better way. It is why we have applied our technology ecosystem to build an advanced IoT platform that gives every client a competitive edge.