To Which Partners Do Businesses Look for Help with IoT Projects?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Businesses looking for help with IoT deployments want companies with experience, in-house resources, and complete solutions.
  • When asked what they look for from suppliers for advisory, professional services, and other IoT requirements, the responses were diverse. Telecom service providers and IoT platform vendors appear to have unseated ITSPs and others for some key tasks.

A recent GlobalData survey of 1,000 global businesses deploying IoT projects included questions on the use of outside consultants and vendors to meet various requirements. The kinds of partners that were considered included equipment vendors (e.g., Cisco, Huawei), platform vendors (e.g., Ericsson, Cisco Jasper, GE, PTC), telecom services providers (e.g., AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone), IT services companies (e.g., Accenture, HPE, IBM), and software providers (e.g., Microsoft, Jive Software). The partner capabilities under consideration were technical consulting, systems integration, device and connectivity management, application development, proof of concept and testing, business consulting, and data analytics. The charts below show the full set of responses to these questions.

Key Findings:

  • When evaluating vendors overall, the most important capabilities noted were previous experience in similar projects (22%), number and quality of staff (16%), and completeness of solution (16%).
  • Telecom service providers and IoT platform vendors appear to have unseated ITSPs and equipment vendors for some key tasks in IoT implementation.
  • Findings on specific capabilities included the following:

— Equipment vendors were noted as the preferred vendor (among 34% of respondents) for systems integration. Second (with 15% each) were platform vendors and IT services companies.

— When looking for app development, the highest share of respondents (30%) used IoT platform vendors. Software vendors were the next most frequent (chosen by 16% of respondents).

— For business consulting, the most respondents (24%) chose telecom services providers. This was surprising, as fewer (21%) preferred IT services companies that typically lead in this area. Not surprisingly, telecom services providers were also chosen first (25%) for device and connectivity management.

— IT services companies were the most popular choice (preferred by 30%) for technical consulting, proof of concept/testing (23%), and data analytics (25%). IoT platform vendors were the second most common choice for technical consulting (19%) and data analytics (19%), while software vendors were second for proof of concept (20%).

— Only 6% of respondents stated that they did not use outside consultants or vendors.

Surprises? While the majority of selections for preferred vendors were as expected, there were a few points of interest. Telecom services providers should be happy that they were chosen as the most likely supplier of business consulting services, as this is generally the forte of consultants and IT services companies. IoT platform vendors were very close to IT services companies when it comes to being preferred for data analytics and technical consulting. When GlobalData asked the same question in last year’s annual IoT investment survey, equipment vendors came out on top, i.e., as the preferred vendor for the majority of functions. This suggests a shift as IoT specialists in other vendor segments are getting their message across more effectively. Ironically, the ecosystem (which stresses simplicity and ease of use and less complexity in deploying IoT projects) appears to be getting more complex.

When it comes to overall reasons to select an outside vendor, experience and resources win out. End-to-end solutions, as always, are also important, as the IoT deployment process may be costly and complicated and a one-stop shop may provide a smoother and less expensive alternative to having to use, integrate, and pay for multiple suppliers.

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