Business Process Inversion — The Real Internet of Things Revolution

I am very excited about the impact of the Internet of Things — the IoT — promises to make on the way we do business. While the technology itself is exciting and impressive — the sensors, the communications, and the reliable management of these networks over vast spaces — people are starting to realize that the potential of the IoT is far more than just the initial rush of enthusiasm to collect these streams of data into a store, or to present it on some pretty charts. The potential of IoT is no less than to revolutionize the way we do business. I call this revolution “Business Process Inversion.”

Think of all the business processes that involve people serving things: filling the copier with paper; replacing the oil in the car, emptying the dumpster, servicing the machine. Someone goes around on a schedule — every week, every other afternoon, every 7,000 miles — and cares for the machine whether it needs it or not! But is the printer out of paper? does the car need oil? is the dumpster full? No one knows. Think of all the dumpsters that are not full when they are picked up. Think of all the machines that are serviced when they could have run for days or months more without attention? Think of all the wasted trips, wasted parts, lost output. IoT allows us to invert this process. Instead of people coming to the machines whether or not they need care, IoT allows the machines to tell us when they need help, and what help they need. The really exciting role in the IoT revolution will belong not to the technologists, but to those people with the vision to see where the relationship between people and machines is all wrong, and the imagination to see how it can be reorganized — inverted — to provide new and better services at dramatically lower costs! Helping these pioneers reshape the economy through Business Process Inversion is going to be very exciting!