Opinion: Knowing when to change strategy

  • 20 Oct 2021

By Emma Mahy, CEO and co-founder of IoT Solutions Group

This year marks the third birthday of IoT Solutions Group, the company I co-founded with Neal Forse. We use remote sensor technology to collect data, provide insights and improve decision-making for clients. 

The idea for IoT Solutions Group came when Neal and I had a conversation while driving from a global network conference. Both of us had experience delivering client projects and were excited by the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) – a digitally connected universe of everyday physical devices and people. Despite the opportunities and solutions IoT provides, its adoption across business and society has yet to reach its potential. 

We went from pondering what could be done about this problem to the realisation that we could help drive awareness of the IoT as a business solution across multiple sectors. There’s a lesson here: by opening up to a like-minded colleague in the spirit of collaboration and problem-solving, I was able to find the inspiration to begin a successful business.

 

Having decided to take action, we began planning. We identified gaps in the general awareness of IoT and a lack of deployment infrastructure, then found ways to fill them. This kind of planning is essential to any business undertaking. Creating a viable business model involves forensically detailed analysis and research, complete with roadmaps, timelines and a strong understanding of the market and its appetites.

Dealing with curveballs

If the business was born from planning, we survived the pandemic by knowing when to put those plans to one side. Everybody has been affected by Covid-19, and we were no exception. With priorities changing, budgets reallocated and diverted and some projects postponed, we had to reconcile the loss of potential business. At the same time, we swiftly learned to recognise new opportunities. 

By applying our agile business principles to socially responsible fields – for example, developing technology for the adult social care sector – we learned that it’s possible to turn challenging circumstances into fresh opportunities.

Key takeaways

During the past three years, not a day has gone by without me learning something new, and many of these lessons will apply to an array of companies and organisations – adapting to pandemic life has been a universal experience. 

Some key things we have learned are:

Agility with principle. It is vital to remain adaptable. Rather than sticking doggedly to pre-determined plans, it is crucial to re-prioritise, establish alternative solutions and ensure that change happens in the appropriate places. 

 

Listening is everything. Changing priorities is only effective if you understand what matters most. In client-facing businesses, this can only 
be done by listening to clients and responding to their needs. Great customer relationships and client input are vital for companies providing solutions.

Tech for good. Working in the tech industry, it’s key to maintain an ethical dimension and ensure the benefits of technology are clearly communicated 
and demystified. By encouraging councils, businesses and individuals to remove barriers that prevent technological progress, society will be all the better.

These lessons have seen us through an amazing three years. There is no question that many in the technology sector will find that these values of adaptability, listening and ethics resonate with others’ experiences from the pandemic.

Emma Mahy is CEO and co-founder of IoT Solutions Group. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of FSB.

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