It’s no news that we have an IoT tsunami going on (Internet of Things). That situation presents an MSP (managed service provider) opportunity to move into new industry verticals.
Has your MSP organization marginalized or ignored the small to medium size business (SMB) manufacturing sector? Let’s explore.
The IoT Tsunami starts with The Cloud
Earlier this year in his Forbes column, Louis Columbus predicted that “78% of U.S. small businesses will have fully adopted cloud computing by 2020, more than doubling the current 37% as of today. The U.S. Small and Medium Business cloud computing and services market will grow from $43B in 2015 to $55B in 2016.” The biggest opportunities for adoption are in the area of financial management.
Your MSP opportunity? Consider that many of these SMBs are tiered manufacturing suppliers to large OEMs. These SMBs need to connect to the mother ship in order to remain viable suppliers of choice.
It’s a matter of understanding how Cloud applications can help these SMBs analyze and manage their revenue streams. The outcome: business sustainability.
Is your MSP intimidated by speaking to decision-makers in engineering-intensive manufacturing companies?
Don’t boil the IT ocean. Distill it.
Many of these SMB manufacturers don’t know where to start. Implementing a Cloud solution is like trying to boil three oceans simultaneously: IoT, Cloud and IT.
The size of IT departments in these manufacturing SMBs are smaller, and usually involve legacy systems which are overburdened and unable to scale. Cloud-based applications offer a valuable means of getting these SMBs out of being stuck in Today.
Like all of your customers, SMBs in the manufacturing sector struggle with unpredictable revenue streams. Their goal is to grow, expand and sustain their businesses. Your MSP opportunity starts by leading with a financial conversation, not a highly technical, engineering design one.
Ultimately, everyone’s manufacturing design output is focused on driving revenue through their SMB organization. You are comfortable having that type of discussion with their decision-makers, aren’t you?
Your MSP opportunity is to move these SMBs towards Tomorrow. Tomorrow’s focus involves the IoT conversation.
There are cans of worms in the IoT Ocean!
You now have the Cloud conversation on the business table. It’s time to do some homework on the noise created by the IoT tsunami. This noise extends deep into the infrastructure of manufacturing companies.
Clarify it. Translate it.
Your MSP opportunity is to explore the root cause of this disconnect. Your MSP opportunity is to guide and mentor these SMB manufacturing customers beyond the Cloud into weighing in on the valuable and nimble aspects offered by IoT applications.
Jeff Reinke’s editorial, The Crossroads of Connectivity, offers a stark picture of the IoT tsunami in the manufacturing sector. Compared to the rate of Cloud adoption in the SMB space, less than 20% of all manufacturing machinery is connected to the enterprise network. More than 85% of manufacturers have not invested in advanced levels of IoT.
The bigger challenge for today’s MSPs is guiding SMB manufacturing clients through two key pre-existing challenges inherent in many organizations. These customers are mired in:
1) How can I get IT to work collaboratively, productively and profitably with operations? and
2) How can I get IT to work well with the folks in the customer-facing business units devoted to new business acquisition and retention?
The greatest MSP opportunity, then, is to develop consultative bandwidth. Guide SMB manufacturers on how to communicate what’s happening in the plant with the strategic focus of the front office. You already started the financial Cloud conversation. That’s your common denominator for continuing to walk that conversation deep into the organization.
Walk the Talk. Stop the Noise. Collaborate.
Last week, I attended the 2015 IBM® Innovate for Growth event in San Francisco. There is exciting innovative potential offered by Cloud-based applications, IoT and Watson Analytics.
At the same time, we agreed that there is a lot of talk. A lot of IT acronyms. A lot of noise.
We can do something about this. Together.
Your customers are counting on working with MSPs who can bring translational and transitional clarity to the chaos of current IoT noise within the Cloud-based ecosystem.
Your MSP opportunity focuses your organization on aligning and integrating SMBs to the Cloud, then IoT. Your MSP opportunity extends by creating alliances with resources that enable you to align and integrate IoT operational processes with critical customer-focused business processes requiring real-time reporting, insights and analytics.
You won’t necessarily need to change your business model. Nor will your customers. Just make a pivot.
The greatest catalyst for transition and transformation becomes your ability to collaborate. Within your own organization. Within your customers’ organizations.
Your MSP opportunity is to lead by collaborative example. Your SMB customers will be glad to follow your lead.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Babette began her career as a scientist. Early on, she was asked to bring clarity to the chaos of stalemated conversations between engineers, sales, IT, quality, legal and marketing folks. She builds innovative, productive and profitable teams who are focused on excellence in the hand-off of strategy for execution. Her Workshops help build healthier organizations. Her Playbook on collaboration hacks and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact her here.