Never Waste Money
Over my career, I have run many types of organizations and it always bothered me when people built one-off projects, proofs that could never be used in real life and so forth. I think many startup companies implicitly face this issue when attempting to break into enterprises and, in most cases, an initial pilot just proves the startup is not worthless. Companies performing upfront evaluations are attempting to determine how much money to waste on a given idea completely separate from the cost of the solution if it is implemented.
It is almost as if the customer is being charged twice – and that is a tough sell.
Bear is currently focused on industrial customers and we have actually spent a ton of time of this very issue. We want to provide value from day one and we think we have finally figured out a solution.
What we have discovered is that many industrial customers have one system – Production – and any changes made are done on that system, in real time with a ton of thought and a collective prayer that things do not break. Obviously nothing frivolous is ever done, no testing can be completed and only necessary changes can occur. What these customers need is a reference system that can mimic the production solution at scale without incurring the costs of a full-scale solution. Going one step further, this reference system really cannot exist on premise given, space restrictions, but it needs to be accessible to on-premise personnel.
Bear is providing centralized, cloud-based, control over both legacy industrial and IIoT systems at scale. Our very path into these customers consists of building out a reference system for a small number of devices, utilizing standard tools to simulate scale and then performing all security, configuration and certification tests on that reference system as a pilot. Assuming success, then that fully-tested solution would be rolled out and a new set of devices would be added to the reference system.
Over time, the reference system would actually become a replica of the industrial production system that would be accessible at any time but could be hosted anywhere. We feel that building this system from day one will enable industrial customers to obtain an instant value add as they will get a system where they can test out configurations, disaster recovery failovers and other production operational IT exercises before moving anything into Production. This system becomes the sandbox system they need to get ahead of the maintenance curve and truly optimize operations in a safe and secure manner.
We are not sure if this approach will prove effective in lowering the barriers to entry for enterprise adoption. If you are such a customer, or somebody experienced in this space, please let us know what you think! Once we have sufficient information to evaluate this approach, we will let you know how it went.