Salesforce’s IoT Cloud: A New Method for Closing the Experience Gap

January 9, 2020 Michael Collins

The phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) was coined in 1999 to describe scenarios where everyday physical objects are connected to the internet and other things. By 2008, more devices were connected to the internet than people and that same year IoT was even referenced in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. 

The IoT enthusiasm has been followed by significant investment and spending. A recent IDC study estimates that 2019 global spending on IoT grew by 15% to $745 billion. They expect IoT spending to maintain a double-digit annual growth rate over the next three years, passing the $1 trillion mark in 2022. 

Use cases 

Feeding this continued growth are numerous IoT use cases across a variety of industries that result in higher revenues, profits, and customer loyalty. 

As discussed in a Forbes article, over half of healthcare organizations (55%) are putting IoT to use to handle a number of different functions. Internet-enabled medical devices are capable of sending alerts and updates to a mobile app used by doctors and staff. Patients are also being outfitted with wearable devices that monitor specific functions and then relay the data to physicians. Hospitals and clinics are also using IoT to monitor employees and facilities. 

Manufacturing is also gaining some major benefits from IoT capabilities. According to the Forbes article, 51% of manufacturing executives report that IoT is creating new business opportunities. Over a quarter of the executives polled said that they’ve been able to develop new products or services based on the advantages IoT provides. In day-to-day operations, companies can pinpoint equipment that needs repair or maintenance, determine where inefficiencies are taking place, and create safer work environments, all of which contribute to increased productivity. 

Customer experience and Salesforce IoT 

Broadly speaking, an IoT solution consists of the following: 

  • Things: These are devices, apps, and other objects with embedded electronics, sensors, or software. Once connected, these things can send and receive data. 
  • Connectivity: This refers to how things connect to each other over networks and other systems. Wireless connectivity for devices, sensors, and software is usually provided by the wireless carriers and companies that specialize in this area. 
  • Device management: It takes sophisticated software to manage connected devices, keep their firmware up-to-date, and store all the data they transmit. Do a simple internet search and you’ll find more than 300 IoT device management platforms. 

With IoT, sensor-generated data gathered from products provides better contextual information, leading to a deeper understanding of a customer’s use of products and the customer journey. This offers enormous opportunities for a company to have a smarter engagement with customers and provide better service through proactive customer support. 

Many companies with an IoT strategy have invested in things, connectivity, and device management, but relatively few have achieved great success in IoT without connecting these investments to systems that touch the customer. In fact, improving customer experience and increasing customer loyalty is one way for companies to build the business case for their IoT investments. 

This is where Salesforce IoT Cloud comes in. This platform enables companies to integrate the data from their network of connected products with their CRM system, such as a Salesforce cloud. With this data accessible in one location, they can gain valuable insights that allow them to reimagine the way they service, sell, and market to their customers. The result is a whole new kind of customer experience. 

For example, here’s a high-level overview of how IoT Cloud would connect an IoT platform (such as AWS IoT) to a CRM solution (such as Salesforce): 

Appirio’s approach to IoT: Closing the experience gap 

Better customer experiences lead to increased brand loyalty, greater customer lifetime value, and more revenues and profits. When it comes to investments in CRM and IoT, Appirio’s focus is on helping clients achieve four pillars of success: 

Implementation success: A project that’s on time and on budget 

Implementation success in a Salesforce IoT effort is about delivering a project on time and on budget; that’s a standard baseline. But it’s more than that. Implementation success is also about integrating the right technology — Salesforce IoT Cloud, plus connections with IoT platform and CRM clouds — at the right time. Achieving this success requires a laser focus on your business goals as well as the needs of the customer. 

User success: A user-centric approach to change enablement 

User success is measured by the level of user adoption. To achieve a high level of user adoption, choosing the right IoT technology for your organization requires you to take time getting to know how your workers work. What does the end user’s daily workflow look like? What will his or her workflow look like in an integrated CRM-IoT environment? Understanding this change is crucial to achieving user success. 

Operational success: Process improvements to improve efficiency 

Operational success means your users get more done faster. The goal is to have your users work smarter, not harder. Achieving this goal requires you to streamline key processes. But focusing only on your team and how they work gives you only a partial picture of what’s happening in your organization. How do departments across your organization work? How do they collaborate? And how will this change in an integrated CRM-IoT environment? 

Financial success: Show me the money 

Financial success is when your investment in Salesforce IoT yields the ROI you’re looking for. Achieving this requires the development of a comprehensive IoT business case, followed by the tracking of business metrics over the course of project phases and releases. This approach allows you to perform course correction along the way. It also reduces the risk of you missing the mark on implementation success, user success, and operational success. 

The number of internet-enabled products is continuing to grow, and organizations across the business spectrum will be seeking to gain useful customer insights from their IoT data after being integrated with their CRM platforms. Partnering with our team at Appirio can help your company stay in step with the latest IoT developments and develop effective strategies that will deliver a 360 view of your customers. 

Contact us to learn more.

About the Author

Michael Collins

Michael Collins is a Management Consultant in our DSX Strategy Consulting practice. He has more than 20 years’ experience helping companies with large-scale business and technology transformations. Michael specializes in developing experience-driven CRM strategies that lead to positive business growth.

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