The cloud, edge, and fog are changing how businesses leverage the IoT (Internet of Things), but Michael Morton, chief technology officer and vice president of Dell Boomi, suggests taking a step back and identifying the business outcomes first.

“Everybody seems to want to launch into talking about devices, device data. They launch right into the technology. But the one thing we had to learn as well as talking to these customers is let’s stop talking about technology just for the moment. Everybody’s anxious to be the geek.”

Instead he suggests asking some targeted questions including:

  • What are you trying to do?
  • What is the business value you’re trying to achieve from the data coming from devices?
  • Is it to avoid loss of productivity?

Dell Boomi, which specializes in SaaS (software-as-a-service) integration and was acquired by Dell in November 2010, emphasizes it is all about helping customers integrate data between the cloud and on-premise data centers; and that ultimately the IoT should be about helping achieve a business outcome from device data.

Morton points to a few very essential examples.

Cold storage transport company: In this case, there could be either slow or fast degradation. “I have many choices. A, do I dispatch someone to work on maintenance to resolve the problem? Yes. Is it going to be resolved in time so that my cold storage goods survive? Do they remain within the temperature? Okay, one business outcome is fixed. Another business outcome is I can’t fix it in time but can I move it to another location in the warehouse so I can save the goods. Totally different business outcome.”

Construction company: For this particular industry, he notes it is not just the lowest bidder that wins a commercial project. It usually has a significant dependence on two factors: the bid and the safety record. If a construction company can prove that the right people were in the right location, doing the right job, touching the right equipment, the end result is a beautiful safety report and a more competitive advantage. Still, the challenge is so many pieces need to come together. The sensors being built for adverse conditions and the gateways, as two examples.

Smart cities/infrastructure: One of the biggest challenges in cities and infrastructure is the lack of interoperability and the large amount of data. Still, Morton says, “To me, I see things like how has your city grown; how your traffic patterns changed? Right? To me, I see the potential into that data as well. Whether it’s old or new, there’s still a lot of possibilities.”

At the end of the day, with any customer case study, Morton comes back to identifying the business outcomes first.

Going forward, he sums it up by saying, “The market is just absolutely saturated with technology now, which I’m okay with but eventually it will settle.”