What Will it Take to Get Real ROI in M2M?

By Carl Ford January 02, 2013

This week I wrote my first set of articles for the M2M Evolution Magazine. I may have gone a bit overboard. I focused on Fleet Management and visited over 200 Fleet Management websites. 

I was shocked at how many there were and how good some of them were. I was particularly impressed with the simple ROI Calculators available for many of the sites. You could tell a lot about the way a company’s software works, based on how they calculate the ROI. For example, many of the sites were specific to route efficiency management and the price of gas was all that was in the assumptions. Others were about optimizing the Less than Truck Load (LTL) with some being clearinghouses for independents and others being about getting more production internally. Additionally, a few websites tried to manage the overall complexity of the ROI calculation. These included fuzzy logic embedded in the software for things such as maintenance and insurance reductions.  

Overall I was very impressed with the attempts but it made me think of the discussion with James Brehm about the failure rate of M2M implementations.

For the rest of M2M I don’t think the calculations can be as clear and the fuzzy logic has to be tested to avoid the missteps.

For that reason, I think the best way to get the ROI figured out is to become agile in your development and to have a prototype. 

The assumptions about where efficiency and costs can be saved have to be tested with some real data and trial implementations before you can be sure that the ROI is not elusive.

One advantage M2M has is the fact that it can be developed using data that requires less human intervention. This means you can prototype around the existing systems before trying to interface with the existing systems.

The good news there is that corporate culture can be managed later once some real facts are in.

Many war stories exist of flash cuts gone awry and eventually the status quo winning.

Often, the problem of implementation is that interfaces to the existing systems are too hard to integrate and do not bring the benefits of information into the right hands. Again this is an opportunity to take advantage of the Web and to rapidly prototype the solutions.

In general my advice for implementation is to treat it like a twelve step program: 

  1. Admit that you can be helped by outside information
  2. Believe that the information is available
  3. Make a decision to gather the information
  4. Take an inventory of what exists
  5. Look for guidance from outside people with experience
  6. Recognize the old ways may have been part of the problem
  7. Look to implement the changes
  8. Understand this may impact other job functions
  9. Make them aware and implement when the opportunity arises
  10. Expect that it’s a process and things may need to change
  11. Share the experience with upper management
  12. Impact the culture.

Of course if that doesn’t work, send me a note and we will introduce your team to Al-Anon.Happy New Year!

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

Partner, Crossfire Media

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