April 10, 2012

The Next 20 Billion Node Survey Update: Bridges to Build

As published in CW Weekly on 3.8.2012
INEX Advisors’ survey is producing some interesting data.  The data is hinting at the potential value of this work to help identify opportunities to focus the industry’s collective energy to create more value. It is too early to say for sure what this means for the industry, but these early findings beg to be shared and tested.In the current survey of the connected-device solutions market, technology suppliers are rating 11 barriers to growth in their served markets. The rating is on a five-point scale, with five being equal to “the single most important consideration.”

The average rating across all 11 barriers was 3.02. The two highest-rated barriers, scoring approximately 20% higher (+/- 3.6) than the average, are:
1. Cost of solution services
2. Cost of solution operations

At the same time, the lowest-rated (or weakest) barrier to market growth cited by these suppliers was “ROI is too low.”

This reads a bit incongruously. Service and operation costs associated with connected-device solutions are key inputs to any reasonable ROI (return-on-investment) analysis. How can it be that two key inputs to ROI are barriers, but, ROI is not?  So, what does this mean? Let’s first consider one more data point.

When asked about their solutions’ impact on customers’ information effectiveness, suppliers cited “new information as a critical decision-support tool” as the most powerful, highest-rated factor. This is surprising on a couple of dimensions.

During the past four years, some of the most powerful drivers of B2B technology investment have been rooted in realtime access to data and information from existing systems, not deployment of new systems creating new data.

In order to get new data-producing solutions installed, suppliers must prove strong ROI. If this is true, it would help explain suppliers’ position that too-low ROI is not a material barrier to growth.

However, how do these facts tie with the solution service and operations cost ratings as the most important barriers to growth?

The bridge between these two findings might be found in a powerful nuance: the costs customers are assuming for PED (processing, exploitation, and dissemination) of the new data that those connected-device solutions are providing. These are real costs to be sure, but quite possibly outside the domain of inputs suppliers consider when they define ROI for THEIR solutions. In other words: Costs are too high, but they are not “my costs.”

INEX is early in its process, but it is eager to share findings as soon as possible. If the trending holds, the company says it will have found data that helps to define a critical requirement for every stakeholder group to pay closer attention to: PED costs for connected-device solutions.

INEX’s advice? Don’t wait. Elevate your work building bridges between solutions and customers’ platforms. Address PED costs now. To help make this survey as valuable as possible, please invest 10 minutes to share your ideas.

Take the survey. Access the results. Make better decisions.

April 10, 2012