The New Financial Realities Facing IoT
CBT Presents at IoT Day Slam 2022
Abstract: Whether you’re in the financial industry or not, IoT professionals are currently faced with unprecedented hurdles as well as new opportunities. Learn how IoT companies can turn challenges into opportunities from Link Labs’ CFO, Jennifer Halstead. The Women in IoT Center for Excellence is hosting an interactive panel with practical solutions for the IoT professional to address supply chain visibility, labor shortages, tightening capital markets, inflation, stimulus funding, tax credits, digital transformation, and risk management.
Speaker: Kelly Ireland, Founder, CEO & CTO
Michele Null, Red Hat: Happy World IoT day, it’s great to be celebrating another one with this fabulous group of IoT community members. We’re excited about our panel session today. And really, whether you’re in the financial industry or not, you know, we know IoT professionals across the board are faced with really continue to be faced with unprecedented challenges. But with that, a lot of opportunities are presented. And so we have a fabulous panel of women today that are going to be able to share with us practical solutions, addressing things like that we all are top of mind for all of us supply chain visibility, labor shortages, stimulus, funding, etc. So we’ve got a really great lineup scheduled. If we move to the next slide, we’ll take just a quick step back and do an overview for just a couple of moments here on the Women in IoT Center of Excellence. So as Kevin mentioned, I am Michelle Null, one of the co-chairs, and currently leading The Edge Initiative in the Ansible business unit at Red Hat, I’ve had the privilege of working with this IoT community for about five years now. And I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I, in fact, think this is what I was trying to remember I lose count. And I think it’s maybe my seventh or eighth celebration of world IoT day. So I’ve been in this space for a while I know a number of us on the call who are on the panel have and so it’s just really awesome to see how things are evolving within the community, as well as just the IoT, you know, at large, so I am co-chairing with Amanda Healy. she’ll introduce herself in a moment when I turn it over to her. And then Kelly Ireland on the panel is our vice-chair. And we’re super excited to have two leaders step up for two of the pillars that we’ve identified. Our pillars for the COE are awareness, pipeline, and education. And so we have Jane Howell from SAS, a fabulous colleague who I used to work with, and she’s leading the awareness pillar. And then Jennifer Halstead, who is going to be leading this panel today is leading the education pillar as well. So and we’re with the CEO, we were really focused on, you know, just really, we really want to embrace that thought leadership, but these diverse perspectives that that, you know, everyone brings to the table with various backgrounds with, you know, with various experiences in the industry. So we’re really excited to continue to evolve and move forward with the COE. What I will do, I want to do on the next slide, is just a quick overview, we did take some feedback, and a poll that we did last for those of you that may have joined us for the December slam event. And there was some feedback that we wanted to have sort of a more technical focus topic for the COE. So we have taken that feedback. And that’s today is our first of four in the series of four slams for the year. And that this is where we are embracing that that more technical focus, and then we just are going to do a quick kind of shout out that please join us for the next three, there are three more awesome events that Kevin in the IoT community have planned on the next one being in June. And so we have some exciting topics coming up with respect to the IoT world and per view around marketing, a great session around personal branding, networking, social media, and then we also have one that is going to be entirely focused around leadership. So please do join us for those. I do want to go ahead and turn it over to my co-chair, Amanda Healy. She’s going to talk a little bit more about the pillars quick overview, and then we’ll do the round of intros and jump into the panel.
Amanda Healy, Cisco: Perfect. Thank you so much, Michelle. Happy IoT day. And welcome to our panel. So excited to have everyone here. My name is Amanda, I run digital marketing for Cisco IoT. And by night so to speak, I have a side hustle in public speaking. So as you saw on the previous slide, I will be leading a session on personal branding and social media hope that you can join us for that, but with that, I’d like to get into some of our pillars. So as you see here, we have three pillars for our center of excellence around awareness, pipeline, and education. If you could advance the slide, I’ll give you a little bit more info on each of that awareness. So awareness is probably what you expect. It is driving awareness, not only for the Women in the IoT Center of Excellence but for women in IoT at large, elevating one another. Women that are in our industry that are you know, might be in a wide variety of roles, as you saw from our board and our center of excellence, I should say, each of us is in a different area. We have women in IoT who are in finance, who are in marketing who are on the more technical side, the product side so elevating these leaders in their respective domains, increasing awareness have women in IoT through things like newsletters, point of view articles, elevating individuals through social media. And what I will say here and you’ll hear this, from me often is, I would challenge any of you that are on the line today to get involved. If you have a point of view article that you’d like to write, reach out to us. If there’s a technical topic that you’d like to cover for a future slam, we are always open to bringing guest speakers in as well. The pipeline is about the next foray of women in IoT, how do we build a strong pipeline of females in IoT, as leaders as passing on kind of the torch in identifying high-quality talent early and often, this is also around changing the perspective of what women and IoT mean what a female and IoT look like sound like behave like really smashing through that perception and showing to the earlier generations that being a female in IoT is an incredible opportunity. I think, you know, STEM is an important element of this as well, as well as looking, you know, for those in the community to inspire the next generation. And perhaps this will evolve to be a sort of mentorship program for emerging talent. And then if you could go to the next slide, this is a pillar that we are focused on today. So these technical tracks are a direct derivative of the education pillar, really looking to get deeper into topics that you all care about. Again, if there was a topic on there that was not listed, that you are keen to learn more about, please let us know we will put together a slam around it if there is enough interest. So education is really three pieces of skill-building. Again, this is me soliciting all of you as well. If I firmly believe that every single person has a superpower, something that they can pass on something that they can teach to others, think about what yours is, and if you’d like to share it, we would love to have you whether that’s on, you know how to be a strong public speaker, how to network, how to build your social presence, etc. Diversity and Inclusion are really around Partnering for research and identifying, you know, what are the challenges to women in IoT or other topics like that. And then next-gen STEM is really that partnership with organizations, whether it’s big sister tech, tech Girls Rock, who I’ve worked with, personally, to reach out and to start to educate young women on you know, not only what is it like to be a female in this industry but what is IoT? What are the, you know, foundational elements of it, and starting to ignite that excitement in the next generation of STEM as well. So with that, I think it would be probably a good time to do a quick round of intros. I’m just looking at the panelists right now. So let me pass it over to Jennifer. And then if you could just pass it to our next round of intros.
Jennifer Halstead, Link Labs: Sounds good. My name is Jennifer Halstead. I am the CFO for Link Labs. I’m excited to be joining you today as we talk about new financial realities. Link Labs has an IoT platform for real-time asset tracking and monitoring. And I’ve come from a background of about 20 years in the finance industry. So glad to be with you today. And I’ll pass it to Kelly.
Kelly Ireland, CBT: Founder, CEO, and Chief Technology Officer for CBT. All that off to Diana.
Diana Rothfuss, SAS: Hi, everyone. I’m Diana Rothfuss. I’m the global marketing lead for fraud and financial crimes at SAS. I have been in the finance industry for over 18 years combination of actually sitting within a bank and working for a B2B product development and compliance. And now in my role at SAS, which I’ve been in almost five years, I really helped drive data and analytics and organizations. I work with our IoT departments, and really just help better streamline decisions and results for organizations. I specifically work in financial services. But as we said before, a lot of this can be applicable across many industries. So I’m happy to be on the panel today.
JH: All right. So let’s get started. We’ve got a lot of challenges and opportunities facing IoT companies, whether you’re a large company or a small company, we’re facing a lot of the same things from a macroeconomic perspective. And so we’re going to dig into some of these and give some practical solutions. Feel free to chat in any questions that you have as well. And if they’re relevant to the topics, we can try to address those as well. But the first one we’re going to talk about is supply chain disruptions. So you know, we are really seeing some challenges here. Particularly if you’ve got hardware in your IoT platform, from finding parts to increased costs, and changes in payment terms with suppliers. Suppliers, who maybe didn’t have down payments are now requiring some payments in advance given all of these supply chain disruptions. We’re seeing delays in shipments with increased air and freight costs and things getting through ports, there are a lot of challenges around getting your IoT product to the market that we weren’t facing, you know, 12 or 18 months ago. Along with these challenges, though, we are seeing some additional opportunities, we’re seeing the opportunity potentially, for some increased revenue, as you are having to pass those additional costs on to your customers, it is raising the top line a little bit. There are additional revenue opportunities from providing IoT solutions within these Logistics and Distribution space. Because of these challenges, companies are needing even more visibility, and we in IoT have the solutions for them, we can help provide that visibility throughout the entire supply chain process to help our customers get their products to market even faster. And then we also have an opportunity, as we think about tariff management, tariffs are up to 25% on goods coming from China. And so having a tariff strategy is one way that companies can mitigate some of the supply chain disruptions and mitigate some of those additional costs that they might be facing right now. So with each of these, we’re going to talk about just the general idea, and then open it up for the panel to provide some input. So Kelly, what areas have you seen IoT companies be able to help manage some of these supply chain disruptions?
KI: So I’m going to take a little unique approach. And I’d say it’s in distribution because what we’ve seen is the influx of tracking and shipments which has gone off the charts, if you ever look at Long Beach Harbor and see 72 boats that are sitting out there waiting to offload and the number of trucks that have to pick that up and distribute it across the United States, what we’ve seen is the aspect of maintenance on those trucks. In some cases, we’ve had solutions with connected worker remote mentor of not having to fly specialists that maintain certain truck parts certain you know, specific things with the trucks, that they will be able to have the subject matter expert in some specific thing about that, that you could have a mechanic under the truck or over the engine, being guided, instead of having a specialist have to be there or have to be flown in the return on investment in this in IoT is sometimes almost instantaneous, because the cost of entry is so low that, you know, one trip could pay for the solution. And then you have the rest of the year to gain even more return on investment. That’s, you know, just one unique thing that we’ve seen so far.
JH: Diana, do you have any thoughts on addressing some of these disruptions?
DR: Yeah, so, you know, just as Kelly said, I kind of have a unique view myself, sitting in our seat, you know, really looking at the data and analytics, that helps support a lot of our IoT technologies and how that really relates to a lot of the challenges and potential opportunities that we’re seeing. You know, for me, it’s a lot around fraud, too. I mean, if you have, you know, the right conditions, if you have IoT and the technology within your organization’s being able to, for example, track shipments or payments or things like that, versus, you know, just wondering where things are at. I know that we’re a little bit further than that. But I mean, studies show that implementing technologies is one of the biggest financial costs and burdens and I know that, you know, implementing IoT devices and things like that to help better stream your processes, and, you know, even changes and like how we do payments in general, all affect everybody. But I would just say from my perspective, I think what we’re seeing is an increase actually in people wanting to spend. No, it’s not that they’re actually spending. It’s really interesting we do a study every year at the ACFE and organizations, in general, spend the most on data analytics In this end disbursements and purchasing, so the need is there, it’s just I think there is a challenge around funding and proving a case for funding in order to, you know, get the support. However, I think if you can prove that case, and I think there are many ways out there that you can do that it can really help better monitor and track goods, helping out with some of those supply chains, you know, problems and improve visibility to the overall supply chain, I think, would really help in the end.
JH: Now, one of the things we do is an ROI model for our customers to kind of walk them through, yes, there is an upfront investment in your IoT. But here’s how that pays itself back and actually increases your bottom line over time. So you know, the finance team helps work with that, but then it’s also a matter of training the Sales force, and having them be able to speak to how these investments can really help, you know, lessen the disruption and increase profitability for our companies.
KI: Jennifer, one quick note, when it comes to IoT projects, that’s probably one of the simplest things that you can hone in on is the ROI on every project that we do. There’s so much visibility to how it actually helps the customer and the use case and what that produces, you know, you’ll always want to have an outcome. But in many cases, with IoT, you can come out with that ROI right up front, like you said, have them understand what it will bring to their company. Yes, is there an investment upfront? Absolutely. But when you are able to show them a quantifiable ROI, right from the get-go, and then prove it quite quickly, it really makes it you know, increasingly important for the clients to take a look at this and understand this integration of technology is only there to help them no matter what the goal is or the outcome that they’re looking for.
DR: I’d like to say, you know, I 100% agree with the models. And, you know, that’s why one of the important things you know we do in our role is helping support that with the right data and analytics so that you can get the models and you can show things upfront. And that’s, you know, some of the things you look at for those is definitely real-time. I mean, you want to make sure if you’re investing in a data analytics model, that it has that real-time feature, because other than that nowadays, if you don’t have that, I mean, you’re talking delays and drags in, you know, proving those ROA models, or also, you know, in how you’re doing losses and thefts, even within, you know, your supply, I think we’ll be facing these, you know, supply chain issues for a little while. So definitely an advocate for that.
JH: That real-time data can really make a difference in managing the supply chain making, you know, it doesn’t matter if you have plenty of sales if you don’t have the product to deliver behind it. And so, as IoT professionals look to, you know, manage the cash flow related to that and manage the timing of, you know, shipments; real-time data, and analytics can really be helpful for companies. Great. Alright, labor shortages, here’s another big one that we are all seeing. I’ve really seen a large increase in the cost of talent in being able to recruit and retain employees. There’s a just a lot of openings in the marketplace across IoT companies. And so as companies look to recruit for their growth, or motivate and retain employees, this is really becoming a challenge for IoT companies. It’s taking longer to hire you when you post a job out there, the process is taking longer because there are just it for some positions, very few people available for those things. And then entry-level labor is particularly challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for IoT companies. Because I think what we can offer that a lot of entry-level positions can’t is a fantastic career path. And so as we look for the individuals who are coming up through high school and through college, there are so many opportunities within IoT companies to really provide them a motivating career path that can really help them long term. And so even as we think about the pillars for this group and how we want to educate and we want to bring a pipeline of young people. I think that is one area that IoT companies can utilize with intern programs and other items that can help challenge and train the next generation of IoT workers so that we don’t have some of the labor shortages that we are facing right now. Opportunities around labor shortages, well for yourself, maybe ask your manager for a raise, it does increase your market value and your own marketability. I’m kidding on that one, don’t go in and do that for real. But you know, when it comes time for your annual review, you know what your market value is worth because it is definitely, it has increased. For companies, one thing we’ve implemented really successfully is interning programs but do entry-level training. It really provides great careers for people who want to develop themselves in IoT. And it’s been a great way to help supplement our labor shortage. And then remote workforces; many of us have done a lot more remote work in the last 12 to 18 months than we have in the past and not can be both a challenge as teams have to learn to work together in remote environments and keep up productivity. It can also be an opportunity, particularly with the labor shortage and that opens up the availability of the workforce. Whether that’s you across the United States, or whether it’s a global workforce, there are additional opportunities because so many positions have moved to a remote workforce. So let’s hear from the panel. What are some practical tips that you’ve experienced or seen well working for hiring or retaining employees, particularly in the current environment?
KI: One of the things I’d say is what we’re seeing in labor now as well is it’s a rich environment for resources to move to other companies. And I really kind of applaud that when we look back, you know, 40-50 years ago, it’s like, get into a company and stay there for forever. And we’re not seeing that it’s a whole different environment. And you see young employees that want to reach out and experience different things. And I think that’s great. It’s a hardship for us of replacing them. But then, you know, we always know that there’s, you know, there’s the next step for us. And what we’ve looked at is a few different things we’ve looked out completely outside our industry, we’ve looked out, we’ve brought in people into sales that were in medical, you know, that we’re in completely different environments, and we brought them in to, you know, what we’re calling our IoT practice. So I think that’s something else to broaden your horizons of how to do that. The other thing is, we’re seeing community colleges we’re seeing, even colleges come up with micro-credentials. So those, you know, entry-level, resources, you’re now seeing being nurtured at the education level where you had that in IT, but you certainly haven’t seen that in OT/IT or IoT. So I’m seeing more and more programs. I’m actually working with community colleges and universities to help bring OEMs and ISVs into integrating with them so that we can get these people nurtured at that level and brought into our companies. So at least they have, you know, such a broad range of business understanding, you know, into IoT, even, you know, specifically in IoT, networking, and everything else. The other thing I’d say is if you look at IoT, it is a great way to train people, there are so many great packages out there. And if you look at connected worker, you could have a remote workforce, that may be in some cases hasn’t really experienced how to do something within the company, when you do whether it be laptop desktop, that but saying, say being a mechanic, being something where it’s hands-on, being able to have that connectivity through IoT solutions, is giving these resources that almost you know, a mentor sitting right over their back watching what they’re doing, help guide them through different things. So you can get those entry labor personnel who can be trained, even AR and VR, you know, realities that put them almost into that situation. I sat the other day watching where there’s a program where a state is addressing this by creating VR episodes where they’re taking a workforce that has been in something completely different, bringing them into the reality of here’s new, different positions that you can take that might be medical, you know, could be something different. And I got to put on the headset and actually stepped through a 15-minute class of what it would be like to be a dialysis technician, to the point of this reality, virtual reality put me inside the dialysis machine and showed me exactly what was happening. It was fascinating. And I was like, oh, I want to be one of those, you know, it enthralled me to go, I love this, this is so cool. You know, and giving them that perspective of this is what it’s really about sitting in, you know, a room and having patients everywhere and connecting them and then seeing exactly what the technology does.
JH: Any other thoughts on things you have experienced that may help with labor shortage challenges?
AH: I can share a bit too, I think it’s all about career pathing, I run a team of 10. And a lot of them at this point report directly to me. And of course, you know, as with any team, you have people that are really content and happy to be, you know, producing in their current role and doing a good job and you know, maybe their compartmentalizing work and personal life, and they don’t have any, you know, initial ambitions of changing their role. But you also have those people that are hyper-ambitious, and you have to career path alongside them and understand, okay, where are we today? We’re where do we want you to be in a year from now? Where do we want you to be in five years from now? I think the other key for me and running a team is keeping things flexible, I will always hire for a given role that, of course, has outlined responsibilities and skillsets, but I leave the fringes or purposely frayed, so that that person if they get into that role, and then they identify something that they want to do a stretch assignment and has the ability to do that. I know in my own career, there were so many times when I was in a role, but then got exposure to a new role that ended up driving me towards a different path in my career. And I want to provide that to my employees so that they’re not pigeonholed in their current roles, but are instead exploring what else is out there? What could they go and shadow someone within the team to learn more about, and then from there, foster that, you know, initial interest, aid, and development, etc. That’s for me. And in the team, those two things have really been key to retaining high-quality talent, career-pathing, and keeping the rules a bit fluid and open to evolution.
JH: Great, thanks, Amanda. All right, our third one is inflation. Labor shortages and supply chain disruptions are a few of the culprits of rising inflation. But we’re also seeing inflation from stimulus spending increased demand in global economic conditions. So whether you’re a finance professional or not, this is putting additional pressure on cash flow management and visibility within IoT companies. And we’re seeing that monitoring cash flow planning is more critical now than it ever has been in history. So we put together some suggestions for you on how you can know and manage your cash flow, and things that you can do to offset some of these impacts. There are too many, we didn’t actually list them out on the slide here. But we want to give you some suggestions, and then talk to the panel about it as well. So know your cash flow, what’s coming in? What’s going out? What can be moved from a timing perspective? And what’s absolutely essential? You know, are there supply chain payments that you’ve got to make today in order to meet your supply chain demand? Which payments are absolutely critical for making right now? Which ones do you have flexibility on? Work with your vendors looking to extend your payment terms, or reduce the deposits that you have with them. Another one would be to change your customer payment terms. Can you structure your contracts so that maybe your customers pay upfront? Or do you have recurring revenue? Do you have your customer’s deposit in advance? Do you discount if they pay in net 10 days? There are lots of ideas around changing your customer payments, to increase your cash flow and get those items in a little bit more quickly. AR follow-up, this sounds really basic. But you would be surprised how many IoT companies just aren’t following up on their AR. And so as they run into cash flow implications downstream, they could have avoided these, if they had followed up with their customers and made sure their customers were paying timely. Think about automatic payments. Can you use ACH instead of credit cards? I think Diana, you’re going to give us some ideas around some new payment types and things that are in the marketplace that may help accelerate some of those payments into the company. Financing if we have time, we’ll talk about different ways to do financing. But think about whether you can do factoring or finance the receivables or finance the recurring revenue, we’re also going to hit on stimulus funding, look to maximize your vendors. So just as you might give a cash flow discount to a customer for paying early, your vendors may offer that to you as well. And so it might mean your cash is out the door a little bit quicker. But it does reduce your costs, often they’ll give you 2% if you can make that payment more quickly. Or if you can do it in such a way that they’re not incurring credit card fees, they may give you a discount there as well. Look to reduce costs across the board through an RFP process. I think smaller companies struggle with this a little bit more than some of the larger ones. But if you’ve got large expenditures out there, rebid out some of those contracts when they’re up for renewal and see if you can get a more competitive price. We touched on managing your tariffs that could reduce up to 25%. It could potentially also give you the opportunity to produce in the US, which has some advantages for certain types of products or if you have government types of clients. Look for additional ways to motivate and incentivize your employees. So we’ve talked about how important those employees are and how difficult it is to bring in new employees. Are there noncash ways that you can motivate such as stock options and additional time off? Look for some of those out-of-the-box ways that you can help do that that don’t necessarily have a cash flow impact. One item would be to consider is a PEO, a professional employment organization. For small companies within that 10 to couple 100 range of employees. A PEO acts as your employing organization and it helps cut down on all your administrative costs. It saves big time on health insurance, it lets you sometimes manage all of your payroll taxes and your sales taxes up through that. So if you’re not using a PEO, you might want to take a look at that as a cost-cutting measure. And then we’ll also be going to be talking about digital transformation, what that’s done in the industry, and use that to increase productivity and reduce some of those manual tasks. That’s a lot of practical solutions. We ran through those really quickly. Diana, do you have any thoughts around additional ways that companies can monitor their cash flow and kind of reduce those impacts of inflation?
DR: I think you brought up so many good points. And the one thing that I will say is obviously, in this world of going digital, you know, with everything that happened with the pandemic, it just pushed us into that. I would just highly recommend that companies look towards their digital options. So whether it’s ACH, whether it’s through payment gateways, like I mean, you can use things like PayPal, buy now pay later things. There are so many different digital options for payment. And along with that a lot of these systems that you can implement that have the data and analytics like we were talking about earlier, can help better manage their back-end systems. So if you have, you know, systems that can alert you as to you know, what customers are late on a payment, or, you know, when you do need to approach somebody to maybe, you know, reassess their contracts. And I think that’s a big thing to keep in mind, too. I think every organization is going through a lot trying to bend so I mean, just going back and looking at what payment options you have set up with your customers and see if there’s a better way that you can do that. There are a lot of easy ways that you can do you know, email invoicing, and having that digital-based system not only will keep track of things for your customers knowing when payments are due knowing they’re behind in payments if you need to adjust the payment schedules. It will also help in the long run honestly with fraud so being able to track what’s coming through. And having that security. I know a lot of people are very concerned about going digital, and, you know, really implementing AI and data analytics. But there are so many fraud controls out there that can actually better protect your business than if you’re using a credit card. I mean, credit card fraud is one of the number one instances of not only fraud but identity theft in the world. So I would just really advise people to move in that direction. And you know, obviously, we have organizations like SAS, but there are many other ones out there that you can speak with to talk about what it’s like to implement a system like that into your organization.
JH: Kelly, any thoughts from the CEO’s perspective?
KI: What I would say completely different aspect is to first diversify your offerings in your company, if you’re an IoT company, a tech company, in most cases, historically, you would have been heavy in hardware, right. And hardware supply chain right now we have some orders that haven’t been filled in over 200 days, you’re looking at 200 to 300 days to fulfill orders, and no one can live on that. What we were lucky to do is to jump into IoT very early and start honing our services side. To create a mix of not just hardware and software, but the services, the integration, and anything else you can do on the services side. Because if you’re delivering IoT, you should understand that side anyway. And it just allows you to have a more current revenue stream, it will give your cash flow, that bump that it really needs right now. I can tell you that from experience, where we had the hardware side, basically fall flat at COVID, and the service services side, just ramp very, very quickly.
JH: All right, thank you, that actually goes, I’m gonna skip through this one very, very quickly. So that we can get to the next one on digital transformation and new business models, because that goes really well with, you know, what companies can do to look to diversify those streams. But I do want to point out there is still stimulus funding available. A lot of people probably did PPP early on, make sure you get your forgiveness there. But there is still availability for things like employee retention credit, which I’ve seen even larger than PPP for companies. And you know, we’re in a great space that is constantly developing things. And so research and development credits are another big source of cash flow potential for IoT companies. So be sure to talk to your tax professionals and see what you might be able to utilize around some of these, and they’re available at federal and state levels. The last one for today is digital transformation and new business models. We’ve talked about a lot of the challenges that we’re facing in IoT. And in response to that, many companies are adopting additional digital transformation, and even using that transformation process to launch new revenue models. And that’s been a great way for IoT companies to redesign themselves and add additional revenue streams within just these unprecedented times that we’re seeing. So we can look at this from a couple of different perspectives. You know, if you’re a finance professional, there’s a lot of digital transformation that you’re seeing. A lot of people are starting to work remotely. And so offices are going paperless. We’re using software for automating and improving our processes, improving the data and the analytics that we’re monitoring on a regular basis. And we talked about how important that real-time activity is in using the data to be able to make better decisions within our finance department. We’re also you know, if we step back and we look at it from the perspective of the IoT company, we’re seeing different opportunities for being able to transform our revenue models. Recurring revenue is becoming more and more important. We’re seeing, you know, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service. How can we convert hardware sales to a recurring revenue model that increases our valuations, it increases our cash flow, there are a lot of different benefits to that. And so we’re seeing a shift in how IoT companies approach the revenue models. It’s a great time to take a look at your pricing models, are they per asset? Are they per platform? Are you invoicing monthly? Are you doing it annually? How can you convert those pricing models to more of a recurring revenue stream? We’re seeing digital transformation across Lean Six Sigma processes, we’re seeing, you know, companies use the IoT that we’re providing to be able to increase their productivity and to reduce manual efforts. And then we’re seeing people use it to drive new business models. So we’re having customers I know, at Link labs, you know, think about how they can take the IoT solution, and maybe offer a new service that they couldn’t offer before. They’re using technology to increase the offerings, and the services that they can provide to their customers across all sorts of industries, from manufacturing to logistics, and distribution to health care. And so as companies are being faced with some of these problems and challenges, they’re using that to reinvent themselves and really provide new growth opportunities for the companies. Diana, what thoughts do you have here?
DR: Oh, I have a lot of thoughts on this one. No, I just, I mean, honestly, just in the interest of time, and I’d love to dig into this deeper, you know, in another session. I mean, really, in the financial sector, I mean, the digital transformation happened quickly. Financial institutions aren’t necessarily the first to jump into the cloud and embrace data and analytics. But the force and movement into this digital transformation that everybody really had to do, I think, has actually pushed us into a good area. I think, a lot of what we’re going to start seeing, and again, I know, I keep saying this over and over again. But I think the biggest gap is, you know, now that we are in the digital transformation is really just having organizations embrace that. So you know, really just come to terms with the fact that this is how it’s going to be and I need to start looking about my internal business models, how I talk to customers, how I, you know, work my products and solutions, and how does that fit into the digital transformation piece of things. I think a lot of that does result in new business models. And I would highly suggest that everybody revisits their business models, their risk management models, and plans on a yearly basis, because things are changing so frequently, that I think just taking an introspective look at that as an organization will really help, you know, propel you into the future.
JH: Kelly, any last thoughts?
KI: Yes especially on the new business models, because we’re seeing clients integrate IoT, integrate these solutions, not only changing the way they do business internally, but changing externally, combining these technologies with their own services and delivering them to their clients using it, as you know, another line of business, which I think is really interesting, and it just makes it expand companies beyond what they ever thought they could do. So that’s a really fun time to be in tech, for sure.
JH: Absolutely. Well, that’s all we have for today. I hope that was helpful for this group. Michelle, I’m gonna pass it back to you. Thanks.
MN: Yep. Thank you so much, you three are just phenomenal. We, Amanda and I were super excited about, you know, this topic. And I know we’re getting some great feedback from the audience as well. I think digital transformation is I agree with Diana, an awesome topic for the future so much we could dive into here, in particular, Kelly, I saw your answer in the chat to Scott’s question, which was a great question. And I love IoT, and we talked about it with our AI tools and so forth is really, these projects essentially become self-funding. And it’s sort of like the self-funding model so that we’re seeing companies, in fact, invest more in IoT for a plethora of reasons. So thank you so much to our audience. We have if you want to jump to the last slide, we do have a quick call to action for our audience. We thank you for being here. We welcome you. If you’re not already, please join the IoT community organization. We would love to have your support as Amanda plugged earlier on any of the pillars that you may have expertise in or that you want to become more involved in. Please reach out to us and continue to join us. We hope that you’ll join us again for our next session in June where we will be back sharing another topic thanks, everyone.