Building an IoT Strategy for Predictive Maintenance – Part 1


An Internet of Things (IoT) strategy for predictive maintenance (PdM) need not be that different from any other operational technology strategy, or for that fact, any business-related strategy or implementation plan. These are the basic building blocks, stock phrases and truisms one finds in most of the business strategy literature. They are legitimate, unoriginal pieces of advice. None of it is contradictory or controversial, and these behaviors have been cited by those declaring success.

Internet of Things Planning Recommendations

Predictive Maintenance IoT
Predictive Maintenance with IoT Can Prevent Equipment Lockout (Image courtesy of Safety Supply House)

These are the crucial things to consider as you plan your foray into IoT-based predictive maintenance:

  • Obtain C-level buy-in before you start
  • Think globally, act locally
  • Go for low-hanging fruit to obtain the success and enthusiasm needed to obtain approval to achieve more expensive goals
  • Remember that no one vendor can do it all; pick those that have a track record or commitment to working together
  • Understand the value PdM will bring before you start
  • Always include change management activities into your plans
  • Understand which equipment is worth a predictive maintenance investment
  • Understand which equipment failures can be forecasted versus those that cannot

IoT Implementation Suggestions

Once the vision is clear, follow these recommendations to minimize risk and facilitate rapid payback from your IoT predictive maintenance investment:

  • Start small, then expand
  • Deliver iteratively
  • Avoid obscure standards
  • Choose popular technology backed by a solid name, but on their emerging, relative to your situation, platform.
  • Avoid technology lock-in
  • Ensure security is a priority for any IoT project and build depth as well as coverage
  • Start with telemetry before moving to control
  • Always include upgrade and configuration management requirements into your plans
  • Understand the warranty consequences of fitting sensors
  • Develop an archive strategy early
  • Embed the PdM into your standard workflows and operations

With so many decisions, some of which are separate some of which are dependent on one another, and with an ever-increasing list of low-cost-entry options, it may help to cross-check your thoughts against this one idea: know what you want to know and the value of knowing it.

Knowing What You Want to Know

Predicting equipment failure isn’t particularly easy, so unless you know what you are going to do about a forecasted failure, perhaps it is best not to start.

Once you know the value of knowing, then calculating the maximum amount you are willing to invest in your IoT predictive maintenance program may help shed choices and allow you to focus on the few tipping points – those few decisions, once made, shed even more choices and allow you to concentrate on the customary sequence of implementing IoT for predictive maintenance.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how your IoT strategy should follow the basic progression from data to wisdom, with no shortcuts or diversions.

Peter Darragh

Peter Darragh

Vice President of Delivery at Mariner
In his business development capacity Peter helps executives evaluate the impact digital investments can have on their business models and operations. In his delivery role, he manages the teams that apply their data integration, analytics, process automation and machine learning expertise to make our mid-market customers digital masters.

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