IoT Confessions from the Boardroom

IoT Confessions from the Boardroom – A Content Marketing Experiment

In Content Strategy, General, Opinion, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Please read my article “A Content Experiment in Corporate Blogging – Introduction to the IoT Confessions Series” to better understand the context of this article. This is part 1 of a series about IoT (the Internet of Things). It’s an example of how alternate content styles can be used for corporate blogging initiatives. After reading this “screenplay,” you can continue on in the series and read “IoT Confessions from the War Room – A Content Marketing Experiment #2.”

IOT CONFESSIONS FROM THE BOARDROOM

By

Michael Sheehan

IoT Confessions from the Boardroom

FADE IN:

INT. EXECUTIVE BOARDROOM — DAY

Various business executives are seated in an executive boardroom around a large conference table. Some are shuffling papers, others checking their smartphones. A few are talking to their neighbors in hushed tones. There is an empty seat at the head of the table.

CEO walks through the door and takes a seat at the head of the table.

CEO

Thank you all for coming on such short notice. As you may have heard, Acme Corporation has just announced their new IoT initiative. It’s going to save them millions and put them ahead of the competition…like us!

What I’m struggling to understand is why we didn’t have this on our radar earlier. And where is OUR IoT strategy?

COO, Chief Operating Officer, leans forward in the seat looking frazzled.

COO

I have been hearing non-stop from our factories about IoT. Questions like ‘when will we have an IoT solution’ and ‘how can we improve our automation’…and I keep telling them that it is on the roadmap.

CEO

Yes, we need automation. We need our business lines to be cutting edge and hyper-efficient. This should all be part of our Digital Transformation efforts. I already told the board that we are changing our business and technical processes…but that’s only a start.

CEO turns towards the CMO, Chief Marketing Officer, with a questioning look on his face.

We recently issued a press release that we are streamlining our supply chains and creating new business efficiencies, right? But I didn’t see a mention of IoT anywhere.

CMO

Well, my understanding is that we don’t have any type of story to tell about IoT yet. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure if we want to publicly discuss something we haven’t embraced. And if we do PR on it right now, the market would read it as a reactive response to the Acme announcement.

CIO, Chief Information Officer, clears their throat and looks a bit sheepish.

CIO

My team has been evaluating some new IoT technology over the past few quarters.

We have a bunch of legacy hardware and older systems and networks. In our current state, I’m not even sure we could support an IoT initiative.

And…if I can be completely candid here, we aren’t exactly the most agile of companies…

CTO, Chief Technology Officer, interjects.

CTO

Oh, it could be done if we make it a priority. But any type of implementation of that magnitude would require some pretty heavy lifting and shifting.

And on top of that, our products are so highly specialized, it would be an extremely complex project to undertake.

COO

And who would lead the IoT initiative? Which team has the most appropriate skill set?

CSO, Chief Security Officer, shake head.

CSO

You know I’m going to say it. IoT is plagued with security issues and concerns. We have to think about security and data protection.

I read a report from Gartner that says that worldwide IoT security spending will reach $1.5 billion in 2018.

In my book, IoT security is going to demand a big chunk of the overall budget.

An awkward silence. A few executives are instant messaging on their laptops.

The COO IM’s the CTO.

[Note: Instant messages are in italics.]

COO (INSTANT MESSAGE)

This couldn’t happen at a better time. I haven’t released the numbers on our recent assembly line failures. They are up! This would be a great deflection.

CTO (INSTANT MESSAGE)

Probably don’t want to mention that right now. Maybe an IoT initiative would be a good distraction or savior???

CFO, Chief Financial Officer, closes notebook and pushes it away.

CFO

Before we start carving up a budget that doesn’t even exist yet, let’s be sure we fully understand the ROI on doing IoT. We don’t know the short- nor long-terms effects of implementing IoT.

Is this going to be a new business model? Will it be augmenting our EBITDA or do we need a bunch of new line items? What’s the cost center? How will this help profitability, or will we be taking a loss, and if so, for how long?

COO instant messages a reply to the CTO.

COO (INSTANT MESSAGE)

Yep, those questions are spot on. And we could fold automation upgrades and maybe get ahead of those failures.

CTO (INSTANT MESSAGE)

Yeah. I know my team would love some new upgrades.

CEO

There is no question as to IF we will embrace IoT, but WHEN. This is a priority for us now. The fact that Acme is already ahead of us and making announcements means we must give IoT top priority.

CMO

What about our cloud-first initiative? We just announced that program two quarters ago. Does that get put aside?

CTO

You know, we may be able to leverage some of our existing vendor relationships we are using for cloud networking for some of the discovery and heavy lifting. And they may have some IoT solutions already, or could provide us with some direction.

CIO

I agree. If implemented properly, IoT could help us get more insights into our usage patterns and get a tighter control over production.

I remember a Gartner report from a few years ago that IoT could bring new revenue and cost-savings opportunities in the longer term, something like 60 percent, after five years.

COO

I’m all in favor of it, especially for preventative or predictive maintenance on our assembly lines. Maybe to better track our assets…

CFO interrupts COO.

CFO

Or how about reducing the energy costs in our factories. Can we just automate the lighting and HVAC systems like the way I have my home set up?

COO instant messages the CTO.

COO (INSTANT MESSAGE)

Like how I dropped that in? Preventative maintenance = lowering costs!

CTO (INSTANT MESSAGE)

Yeah, nice one! Seems like we will get buy-in from the finance side.

CEO focuses the conversation back.

CEO

All great ideas. Like I said, we need to start on this yesterday. Here’s what I’d like to have happen.

Talk to your business units and start mapping out a plan. Do we need to get a consulting firm to help us? Can we leverage any of our existing vendors? I know you all have friends in other companies…find out if and what they are doing with respect to IoT.

And we need to identify who’s going to drive the IoT initiative, which departments will be involved, how the teams will be set up…you know the drill.

And yes, disruption is scary, but if we don’t innovate, we will be left behind. Frankly, I’m tired of chasing Acme.

I’d like each business unit to report back by the end of the week on progress, questions, concerns, and next steps.

DISSOLVE TO:

IoT Confessions from the Boardroom - in the hallway

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE OF BOARD ROOM — DAY

The board room meeting has just ended and some of the executives have broken off into smaller discussion groups or pairs. Conversations continue.

CIO and COO are talking together.

CIO

You know, some of my people were talking to their Riverbed reps on some of the new upgrades coming to their WAN Op and SD-WAN devices and software…I’m thinking that they may have some good ideas on a new IoT process.

COO

That might be a smart thing to do actually, especially since we are already in discussion with them on some WiFi implementations in our warehouses. Aren’t some IoT implementations being driven by WiFi? You may want to get your team to do a deeper dive on that aspect.

CTO and CSO joins the CIO and COO.

CSO

You know what I’m going to say about this. We need to have the right security…things like network isolation and data segmentation. It’s going to be a nightmare if we don’t do this properly.

While my team is ready for it, we can’t let this get away from us.

CTO

Somehow, we have to marry the cloud-first and IoT initiatives. We must figure out how to share resources, budgets, and planning.

COO

I’m sure we can figure this out. Otherwise we can probably say goodbye to those holiday bonuses.

DISSOLVE TO:

IoT Confessions from the Boardroom - execs talking

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE OF BOARD ROOM — DAY

CFO and CMO are speaking together further down the hallway.

CFO

We are going to need to spin this new IoT initiative to the board. Yes, I get that IoT is something that should be done. But we need to better understand our estimated time to profitably and how it will build and improve our business.

CMO

Well, here’s my take on it. You mentioned you already have IoT set up in your home. Has it made your life better? I know that I’m no longer yelling at my kids to turn out the lights or lowering the thermostat…I just do it remotely or automatically. Here we do it at a larger scale.

We need to think bigger picture. Our customers will view us as being innovative and cutting edge. And, we’ll gain some efficiencies in the warehouses and cut some costs in the process.

CFO

Yeah, I know you are right. But it’s a big sell. And all of the pieces have to fall into place. It will be interesting to hear back from everyone later.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE OF BOARD ROOM — DAY

CEO is watching all of the smaller discussion occurring. CEO smiles.

CEO (to self)

Here comes the Internet of Everything.

FADE OUT.

THE END