Like many others, you may be considering ways to leverage new IoT technology to advance your business. Whether that means buying new sensors, servers, routers, or other devices – that depends on your goals and expectations. No matter what you envision, though, you are very likely to need some sort of software platform to enable it. Your software is what will transform your operational data into meaningful information, and your software will provide the interfaces your staff will use to interact with the information provided. Ideally, your software platform will provide many other benefits as well, including an ability to archive data, a way to automate certain tasks and enforce rules, and an ability to be customized and/or scaled to meet the needs of your growing business.
How do You Start Your Search?
Before selecting a software platform, it’s good to start with a clear idea of your needs, expectations, and goals. Then, when evaluating different platforms, see how they measure up against your checklist. This won’t necessarily help you choose the right platform, but it can certainly help you identify the wrong ones.
There are countless things to consider if you want to be rigorous to the point of decision paralysis, but if you’re eager to move forward, here are 3 important things to consider:
Think About Security
Every organization has a particular structure that must be maintained. Staff members need to have access to certain information to do their jobs and nothing more. This is not just a matter of security, but simple efficacy. There is no reason to burden someone’s mind with information that has no impact on their personal responsibilities within the organization.
It’s important that your software platform provides a means of managing user access. A maintenance technician logging in should not see the same information as a C-level executive. The technician does not need to see a graph depicting recent trends in discretionary spending any more than the executive needs to see a list of open work orders.
Of course, this should not be a matter of simply directing a certain user to a certain dashboard. The system should include the ability to completely lock down certain sets of information so that they cannot under any circumstances be accessed by another user.
Think About Your Existing Systems
Is this new system going to completely replace all your existing management systems? Or is it being installed as a supplement to what’s already in place? It may be possible to enhance and add value to your existing systems if done correctly. Will the new system communicate with your old systems and devices? Will it be read-only or bi-directional?
Unless you want to do a full replacement of your current systems, there will be many questions to ask about how all of these moving parts will fit together.
Think About the Future
Implementing your new IoT system will require some significant investment – both in resources and time. It’s important that the work done today doesn’t need to undone tomorrow when your work practices or business processes change. Ensure that the system you put in place today can be extended or modified as needed.
Assuming everything goes according to plan, it won’t be long before you’re thinking about expanding. Make sure your IoT software system doesn’t handcuff you.
Excerpted from the whitepaper “Choosing the Right IoT Platform”, downloaded at www.scada.com.