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How can you ensure you’re ready for machine to machine (M2M), and that you’ll achieve maximum return on investment? There are four key lessons enterprises driving strong ROI from M2M can teach us

1.    Culture and People: get the board on board

If you already have an innovation culture and workforce supportive of technology, the ROI from M2M implementations, which connect machines and devices to the internet, can be fast and dramatic.

However, culture is a difficult thing to change. Enterprises that do well with M2M projects are those where a strong board member, ideally the CEO, champions the initiative.

A strong board-level leader can help bring all the different parts of the organisation into line to make change happen, and encourage users to adopt the new solution once it’s live.

The whole organisation has to be encouraged, motivated and willing to work with IT. M2M can deliver the strongest benefits when products and processes change – but changing processes depends on your workforce making full use of the opportunities presented by M2M.

2.    Process and Strategy: make M2M a strategic priority

Enterprises that experience the best ROI make M2M central to their overall strategy, with dedicated resources and funding.

One of the companies we spoke to while researching for The M2M Adoption Barometer 2014 allocates 50 per cent of its total IT budget to M2M.

Ambition also plays a big part: enterprises that get the greatest ROI are those looking for significant process innovation and major transformation, not just incremental efficiency improvements.
The lesson is clear: if you want to achieve, you need to commit.

3.    Technology: be broad- and open-minded

Nowadays, no aspect of technology can be considered independently. M2M generates huge amounts of data, which presents a significant opportunity for insight when integrated across your enterprise.

Data about fleet movements can be combined with weather trends, social media and order data and used to plan staffing schedules, vehicle purchases and new depot sites.

To do this, the data has to be gathered, aggregated and analysed before being integrated into existing business process applications and made accessible to users and customers.

So as well as the M2M terminals, sensors and networks, you’ve got elements of big data, cloud platforms, applications, and probably mobility and collaboration tools too.

Enterprises that are open-minded about solving their technology needs, and think broadly about the opportunity, are those most likely to maximise ROI.

4.    Don’t forget: be brave

While not an official ingredient for M2M success in ‘The M2M Adoption Barometer 2014’, we believe brave enterprises will win the day with M2M.

M2M, while not a new technology, is still young. With that comes potential challenges – security, privacy, ROI concerns… and what to do with all that data.

However, none of these concerns was enough to stop the implementation of M2M at the majority of enterprises we’ve spoken to. In fact, 77 per cent of enterprises (1,000+ employees) confirm that they expect to see significant ROI from M2M implementations within two years.

Clearly the rewards outweigh the risks for enterprises and many see potential challenges as just something that they need to address – and that’s true of cloud computing, mobility and many other technologies that were once young and now benefit thousands of enterprises worldwide, not just M2M.