At the National Fluid Power Association’s Annual Meeting last month, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Jeremy Drury, Vice President of IoT Diagnostics. Drury opened his talk with an old roadmap, comparing the opportunity to plot your own IoT course versus opening up an app on your phone.
“Some years ago when we had to go on a road trip and we had to go see a customer, we had to literally get out an atlas, right? We had to sit down in the car and think strategically about where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, what are we going to try to avoid? Are we going to stop and see any other people along the way? There was a lot of creative skill associated with plotting a course, figuring out where you’re going.”
Modern map technologies probably get you where you need to go faster, but at what cost? Is it at the cost of critical skills, Drury wondered. “For the first time, we literally are looking at an open white space for how we’re going to adapt technology — the Internet of Things — in our business to dramatically change and grow our company over the next two, three or four generations,” he said.
IoT requires almost a leap of faith into an unknown chasm, he said. And when fluid power manufacturers and users look at this chasm they need to leap over — even though they can’t see the other side.
Drury advised listeners to think about an open roadmap and plotting their course while they’re setting up their IoT plan. You need to consider what you’re going to do inside of your organization and find the right people to lead you and your customers across the chasm. “I can tell you, from experience and people inside of our network, customers are looking to be led right now. More than now, all of our channel partners and customers are coming to this and saying, ‘hey, we’ve got an IOT initiative this year,’ and we say, ‘great, what do you mean by that?’ And they say, ‘help us define our IOT initiative.’”
“If you are willing to embrace the long sales cycle, if you are willing to find the right people, if you are willing to sit with your customers in this space, it’s a rare opportunity. If you prove worthy of a seat, it’s there for you, at their table. And we’ve never been in a spot before, I would argue, that we’ve actually been able to sit down, and be the guy in our customer’s car, telling them where they’re going,” Drury concluded.