The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

158 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om I spend a lot of time talking about the internet of things (IoT) with leaders in the health and life sciences industries. I typically start with dis- cussions that highlight trailblazing companies or new technologies which can be used to solve specific problems, improve patient outcomes, uncover new revenue streams or reduce costs. Invariably, these lively discussions result in the customer asking, “Well, that sounds great. How do we get started?” For many organisations and their leaders, the first IoT project is crucial to long-term success, both personally and organisationally. So, how does a team at a health provider, medical device manufacturer or pharmaceutical company get started? As the health and life sciences indus- tries seek to be more effective and efficient, and keep workers safe in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the desire to apply IoT technology to tackle these new complexities has soared. However, the devil is in the details when mov- ing from vision to reality. In my experience, there are several characteristics that lead to suc- cessful IoT projects, including: building an inter- disciplinary team, selecting a problem that IoT can solve, identifying consistent and repeatable patterns, integrating applicable regulations at the design level, and ensuring accountability. Building an interdisciplinary team Technology people get inspired by technology – it’s in their DNA; however, a successful IoT pro- ject is a transformational project that affects how the entire organisation runs, which is why all the process owners also have to be part of the solu- tion development effort. On so many occasions, a purely technical proof-of-concept (POC) is initiated and fails because there is no business driver or sponsor. The result is a disenchanted technology team, uncertainty about the technol- ogy itself, and time and money wasted. But including your business peers may not always be enough. I encourage my healthcare and life sciences customers to also include clini- cians and end users, especially for any solutions that may ultimately affect patient care. Selecting a problem that IoT can solve Once you have your interdisciplinary team organ- ised, the next important factor leading to success is certainty that the technology can actually solve the problem. This means that your teammembers need to share their perspectives and agree upon how success is defined. This can include docu- menting key performance indicators , whiteboard- ing workflows, cataloging expected improvements or savings, and surveying key stakeholders. If the team’s expectations fit the capabilities of the tech- nology, then you have the right tools for the job. Integrating applicable regulations at the design level Those of us applying technology to the health- care and life sciences industries must work under greater regulation and scrutiny than in other sectors. Therefore, when building solutions, it is imperative that these regulations are integrated into the design and timeline. Implementing IoT in health and life sciences Many healthcare providers, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies are looking to IoT technologies to reduce costs, improve patient outcomes and keep workers safe. But how can they ensure successful deployment? S A L LY F RANK : M I C ROSOF T V I EWPO I NT