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.
IoT opens up new areas of innovation, business models, and revenue. Rather than how to collect data from your devices, prototype, manufacturing units, and field services, your challenge is how your IoT platform contributes business context across data sources and data types.
Avnet’s IoTConnect® Platform enables you to quickly connect, collect, and generate valuable insights from data across your enterprise. You can also create new revenue streams and service models by quickly deploying solutions that scale across production environments.
Our IoTConnect Platform is time tested. Having been in the technology business for 99 years, and the IoT platform business for six years, we can combine best-in-class expertise in hardware, software, and operations. Using the latest and most advanced technologies from Microsoft and others, we provide clients with an IoT platform that is and will always be agile, reliable, and secure.
We do all this so you can focus on things that your customers value most. You can dedicate your resources to new applications and services — elements of IoT that are best suited to you — without having to worry about the underlying IoT infrastructure.
So before you say, “We can do that!” I encourage you to reflect on what you might be getting yourself into. And while you’re at it, check out the IoTConnect Platform along with all the offerings in our IoTConnect Solutions Suite that are enabled through our IoT partner program. See how our ecosystem partnership model is helping us accelerate and scale IoT solutions for our customers — so you don’t have to go it alone.