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Tony Shan

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IoTification

According to a Gartner survey, the IoT market is estimated to reach $14.4 trillion by 2022. 6.4 billion connected "things" are projected by the end of this year. Almost two-thirds of companies either have, or soon will have, IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. Though, IoT is far more complex than most companies expected. A lot of firms are unmindful of the hidden barriers and pitfalls. How can you not be trapped? What’s needed is the effective IoTification.

IoTification is the action of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and apply IoT. The IoTification method consists of several modules for transformation and enablement: Anatomy, Ramp-up, Use case, Business case, Architecture, Technology selection, Implementation, and Platform (ARUBA TIP). The modules are described below:

  • Anatomy: Comprehensive examination of the concept and detailed analysis of characterization and aspects
  • Business case: Investigation of drivers and imperatives, and assessment of impacts and risks to justify the efforts and benefits
  • Use cases: Focus on business problems and technical issues to identify simplest or easiest work first
  • Architecture: Defining the conceptual, logical, physical, and operational models
  • Platform: Design of a foundational stack composed of building blocks with end-to-end integration
  • Technology selection: Mapping technology products to the IoT elements and bake-off of different packages with tradeoffs
  • Ramp-up: Setup of CoE to jump-start the development of IoT solutions with the competency model and skillset retooling
  • Implementation: Leveraging engineering practices in SDLC for effective transformation and rollout


The IoTification method helps organizations ride the IoT wave smoothly. It combines cross-disciplines and best practices in the field to facilitate the IoT initiatives and migration. These modules must be used in the right order, as illustrated in the diagram. The step-by-step sequence is the best route in most cases, although the routine can be streamlined and customized to be tailored for a particular business scenario. There are a couple of anti-patterns you should be aware of.

  1. Haste: Some teams care too much about the time-to-market. They can’t wait to jump from “Business case” directly to “Ramp-up”. Like the old saying of “Haste makes waste”, this kind of short-sighted attempts simply thrash the golden opportunities and time/resources. This is not “fail fast”. Rather, it slows things down as you have to undo and regroup. Often times, the damage is irreversible. 
  2. Paralysis: Some groups prefer to have a thorough analysis and design to ensure that they have a solid foundation built. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem emerges when they can't handle the complexity and immaturity in the right-side stages. They end up with being buried in the loop of “Use cases” – “Technology selection”. This kind of paralysis will derail the IoT undertaking. You ought to be pragmatic in this young and continuously-evolving space. Balance is the key in the journey.

Ditch the ad hoc trial-and-error way. Embrace the IoTification method, which provides a lever to IoTifiy in a systematic and progressive manner. A set of artifacts and tools have been developed to guide the wise use of the method. They help practitioners set a viable path, save time, increase productivity, reduce risks, overcome roadblocks, and improve the output quality.

For more information, please contact Tony Shan (blog@tonyshan.com). ©Tony Shan. All rights reserved.

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Tony Shan works as a senior consultant, advisor at a global applications and infrastructure solutions firm helping clients realize the greatest value from their IT. Shan is a renowned thought leader and technology visionary with a number of years of field experience and guru-level expertise on cloud computing, Big Data, Hadoop, NoSQL, social, mobile, SOA, BI, technology strategy, IT roadmapping, systems design, architecture engineering, portfolio rationalization, product development, asset management, strategic planning, process standardization, and Web 2.0. He has directed the lifecycle R&D and buildout of large-scale award-winning distributed systems on diverse platforms in Fortune 100 companies and public sector like IBM, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Honeywell, Abbott, etc.

Shan is an inventive expert with a proven track record of influential innovations such as Cloud Engineering. He has authored dozens of top-notch technical papers on next-generation technologies and over ten books that won multiple awards. He is a frequent keynote speaker and Chair/Panel/Advisor/Judge/Organizing Committee in prominent conferences/workshops, an editor/editorial advisory board member of IT research journals/books, and a founder of several user groups, forums, and centers of excellence (CoE).