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The benefits of
IoT for business:
What can be
learned from
small businesses

Author: Kristine DePippo

The benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) for business are many. But when it comes to IoT for business and IoT business applications, the natural assumption is that large organizations have an advantage over their small business counterparts. After all, large enterprises have bigger budgets, more staff, and the reach to incorporate new thinking, new technologies and new processes. So it stands to reason that when it comes to reaping the benefits of IoT for business, large companies have the upper hand, right?

Traditionally, only large companies with massive IT budgets could access advanced technology systems. However, the rise of flexible and scalable IoT business applications have changed the landscape and helped to level the playing field.

So, regardless of an organization’s size, the benefits of IoT for business can be enjoyed by all, including small businesses, which have access to IoT business applications such as mobile point of sale, real-time asset tracking, and even fleet management solutions that were once only thinkable for large companies. 

The benefits of IoT for business: The small company advantage

But the benefits of IoT for business have given small businesses an advantage over their large counterparts. They have something large organizations can seldom match: agility. An innovative small business, for example, can have an idea, test it out and refine it before many enterprises can even organize a kickoff meeting to discuss the idea. Small companies nowadays can build best-in-class technology without having to make a large capital investment.

Furthermore, small businesses have the added advantage of not being encumbered by the limitations of large corporate bureaucracy, politics or siloed departments. This frees them up to focus on their core business instead of the chore that can come from building out the complex technology infrastructure large enterprises often need to operate.

The benefits of IoT for business also allow small companies to take their business to the next level by enabling them to provide innovative new services and experiences. Connected mobile point of sale solutions, for example, are making it easier for small companies to manage inventories, accept and process payments, and implement customer loyalty programs.

When considering IoT for business applications and the many benefits of IoT for business, small companies can create a force multiplier by using automation to match the scale of the enterprise. The more an IoT for machinery and sensors can work directly with each other and use data to make decisions without human intervention, the quicker a small business can strike when a new opportunity to outflank an often slower-moving enterprise competitor presents itself.

A good example is that while connected devices allow both enterprises and small businesses to track inventory and assets in near real-time and shift them to where demand can generate revenue, a small business is often better positioned to pivot quickly on the intelligence gleaned from the technology.  Here, IoT for businesses is a reality and advantage for small businesses as much as it is for enterprise organizations.

What enterprises can learn from small companies

Of course, enterprises can reap the same benefits from new technology as small organizations, and many already have experienced the benefits of IoT for business. However, because small businesses don’t have the legacy infrastructure or inertia of their enterprise brethren, they are freer to experiment, explore and adapt more quickly, which can give them a competitive advantage.

Large companies can take a lesson from their smaller counterparts. To compete with small companies, which are often more nimble, innovative enterprises must internalize these two key lessons:

Seize the opportunity

Change is hard for most companies. While technology may be leveling the playing field, both small companies and enterprises can make swift and small changes, even for something as basic as fleet management IoT solutions. Quick optimization of vehicle routes based on traffic patterns is nearly instantly accomplished with a fleet management solution. Whoever can deliver to a customer first, wins the business.

By adopting this mindset, anyone can be a disruptor, but everyone needs to innovate. Enterprises shouldn’t let their sheer size breed complacency or false security, especially when the digital landscape is changing so rapidly. Enterprises need to be willing to try new ideas, even small ones, scale quickly and not rest on their laurels as they recognize that many small businesses have to adapt or die. Here, IoT for business and the benefits of IoT for business can help transform an organization and help improve productivity.

Engage the C-level

Large enterprises often find their efforts to innovate held up by bureaucracy as IT and business units battle over budgets and turf. Meanwhile, many small companies have only a layer or two between the CEO and the staff, making it easier to quickly elevate, evaluate and implement new ideas. For enterprises to achieve that same level of agility, the C-level needs to be engaged with the digital agenda and work together to deliver it.

IoT for business and IoT business applications are leveling the technology playing field between small businesses and large enterprises and enabling everyone to experience the benefits of IoT for business. Digital transformation, anchored on IoT solutions, is unlocking new process efficiencies, allowing for cost and risk reductions, and facilitating innovation.

This transformation creates huge opportunities for all business types to enhance customer experiences and deliver new value. As a result, small companies can reach for business not available in the past. Additionally, large enterprises have new reasons to embrace a more agile culture in order to pivot to new business and innovate like a small organization.

Learn how IoT for business can help transform your business, regardless of size. 

Kristine DePippo is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Verizon, specializing in small business solutions. She is known for creating simple solutions to small businesses biggest problems.