Accenture and Avanade won the 2019 Microsoft Internet of Things Partner of the Year award this past spring. At the Microsoft Inspire partner conference in July, Brendan Mislin, Managing Director, Industry X.0 IoT Lead at Accenture, shared some insights and best practices that have helped this award-winning partner unlock the value of Azure IoT for our mutual customers.
Figure 1 Petrofac, a leading oilfield services company, leverages Accenture’s Connected Construction solution
Five of the best practices Mislin shared are below. For the complete discussion, view the interview.
1. Expect IoT opportunities in all industry segments
Partners should expect to use IoT technology in every industry from retail and manufacturing to energy and health. “Accenture doesn’t have a typical IoT project,” Brendan stated. “In the last 12 months, we’ve seen IoT technology used in many of the 40 industries in which we deliver business transformation solutions.”
Connected operations is the highest growth IoT segment for Accenture. “If I had to identify where IoT is really crossing the chasm and where Accenture has seen the most growth of its IoT implementations, it’s in connected operations,” Mislin shared. Accenture defines connected operations as connecting equipment within a factory or other industrial environment to the Cloud – or connecting multiple factories within the same company to the Cloud and then providing dashboards & advanced analytics that bring to life specific insights for various roles within each factory.
2. Market and sell business transformation—not IoT
Many IoT customers get stuck at the proof of concept stage. Observing this pattern resulted in Accenture shifting its approach.
“A few years ago, we made the conscious decision to stop selling IoT,” Mislin explained. “To move our clients forward, we realized we needed to help customers transform their businesses.” As Accenture delivered business transformation solutions, they implemented the best technology from IoT to artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cybersecurity, or augmented reality (AR/XR).
Real-life example: Accenture enabled PT SERA, an auto rental and leasing provider in Indonesia, to transform their rental services and be positioned as a digital visionary and leader in mobility through Accenture’s Connected Fleet solution. While the solution is IoT-based, Accenture leveraged technologies like AI and machine learning (ML) to maximize business value from the platform. “We’re using advanced analytics to build in native use cases like driver scoring (safety and eco index), driver fuel optimization, route optimization, vehicle predictive maintenance, geofencing and route violation, and more,” stated Mislin.
3. Understand and articulate project value
“In the early days of IoT, customers focused on running proofs of concept to test out IoT technology. In the early days of IoT, we thought it was great to get data in real-time from a factory and see it on our phones,” noted Mislin. “However, these projects seldom progressed to production.”
In today’s market, Accenture starts by articulating business value. Accenture first determines what insights can make positive changes to the way a client operates. For example, there might be several pieces of information that factory operators could leverage to increase the number of widgets produced on each shift.
Then Accenture looks at a client’s business to make sure the IoT improvements translate to increased revenue or profit. Just because the client can now produce more widgets, does not mean the client will automatically make more money. As more widgets are produced, for example, Accenture may work with a client to revamp its supply chain.
4. Leverage the Microsoft Azure IoT partner ecosystem
When it comes to IoT projects, one partner cannot do it alone. This is where a vibrant partner ecosystem is key. Mislin used the example of Accenture’s Connected Construction work at Petrofac, a leading oilfield services company, to illustrate the importance of a partner ecosystem.
“On the Petrofac Connected Construction project, Accenture worked with a wide variety of partners,” shared Mislin. “We had multiple hardware partners for tracking people and equipment indoors, outdoors, on sunny days, on cloudy days, near big steel objects, and out in the open desert. We had a partner providing the LoRa base stations, a partner for fiber optic cable transformations, and more.”
5. Innovate with Microsoft
“The pace of innovation from Microsoft has enabled us to deliver solutions that would have been previously unthinkable,” offered Mislin. In the Petrofac project, for example, Microsoft’s advances in Azure IoT Edge and Azure Stream Analytics gave Accenture the technology needed to build out a Connected Construction solution that would have been impossible last year.
These are five of the best practices shared by Brendan Mislin, Managing Director, Industry X.0 IoT Lead at Accenture, during the recent Inspire partner conference. For more, view the complete interview.