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What Does Purchasing and Sourcing Have To Do With IoT Deployment?

Headshot of a woman By Jennifer Warren January 10, 2020

Categories: IT Insights Mobile Workforce Technology

Roles Involved with IoT Deployment

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become the new frontier of business. It’s also the new frontier of threats. No matter your role or involvement in an IoT deployment, security is a major piece of the puzzle. You can avoid the most common security mistakes in the IoT rush.

Certain roles within an organization should be involved in the security of an IoT deployment. In this post we’ll walk through Purchasing, Sourcing, Finance and IT Security. Why are these involved? And where does each fit in? Let’s take that a chunk at a time.

Doing it Right: Purchasing, Sourcing, and Financing IoT

How do you find the internet of things vendor that will best serve your business and cut costs throughout your IoT product lifecycle?

The goal is to deploy an IoT product or service as cost-effectively as possible. That deployment has everything to do with the dollars and negotiations around them. But, because of a laser focus on saving money, teams often miss the mark. It’s not only about getting the best deal they can. It’s also about getting the best deal that truly meets the security needs of the IoT product or service.

The varied nature of IoT devices exposes an organization and its customers to entirely new and unpredictable security risks. This point should be thoroughly emphasized with purchasers and sourcers. First, what new bases need to be covered? And second, how do you seek out vendors who know how to effectively cover them while saving money?

IoT Vendors: Good at One Thing, or All the Things?

In looking at a domestic or global IoT deployment, you may have noticed something. A lot of IoT vendors are good at one thing… but not all things. Your specific IoT needs should be shopped thoroughly on the open marketplace. Determine whether your purchasing team has the experience and IoT know-how to do that. If not, a trusted IoT managed service provider can help you find the best deals with vendors appropriate for your industry, your specific IoT product and your business’ needs without sacrificing the security of your organization and, critically, your customers.

Before shopping around, work with your line of business and product development team (and your IoT deployment service) to identify the business model.

Are you going to use your IoT service as a product with its own revenue stream?

Are you going to include it as a cost built into the product?

It’s an important distinction to make because once the product has been sold and the bill comes in every month, it may need to be split up against multiple cost centers, back-charged to individual clients, etc.

Most businesses don’t think about this far enough in advance and end up trying too late to solve (from a cost-perspective) for who pays for what, how to track each line item, and how to find out if it has been a valuable investment for the business. If you’re working with an IoT managed services vendor, they should provide you with a single-pane view into all of that, and ensure security is a covered component.

Unfamiliarity with the IoT Marketplace

Purchasing and finance teams may not have a proven track record or even know where to start in the world of IoT. If you don’t have connections with vendors in the IoT marketplace, you could pay a whole lot more and be a lot less secure doing business from a place of comfort over expertise. Say a purchaser has a lot of experience working with AT&T on other projects. AT&T has an IoT platform. That may or may not be the best option for them. But that’s where the familiarity lies. It’s possible the purchaser signs up for a deployment that won’t be the most cost-effective or secure solution.

Where else should a purchasing and sourcing team look? Many smaller Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have buying power with the larger carriers. They can deliver you options that can be sold at a much lower price point to the end-customer (you).

The challenges can offer your purchasing, sourcing and finance teams a starting point for their work on IoT projects. They can also serve to help you determine whether an IoT managed service vendor will save you more trouble, concern for security, and cost in the end. Whichever road you take, don’t race off leaving the security aspects in the dust.

If you already have an IoT line of business or IoT is on your radar, schedule an appointment for a free one hour strategy session.

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