New Zealand is held up as a market which defines the power of what is possible through machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, says Justin Nelson of Vodafone.\nA recent IDC study ranks New Zealand as third highest in terms of IoT connections per capita for APAC (excluding Japan), says Nelson, head of Vodafone\u2019s M2M practice in the Asia Pacific region.\n\u201cEvery business \u2013 small or big, commodity or premium, click or mortar \u2013 can leverage M2M technologies to get better at what they do,\u201d he states.\n\u201cM2M technologies can really change the game plans for many different types of organisations,\u201d says Nelson.\nFor organisations aiming to maximise their investments in M2M, he says four steps need to be in place:\nRelated: The Internet of Things outpaces other technologies: IDC\nOne: 'Benchmark your progress'\n\u201cYour response will depend on your organisation and its strategy, but we believe that the first step is always to benchmark where you are against other companies in your industry and your region,\u201d says Nelson.\n\u201cIf you\u2019re a laggard or a rejector while your peers are pioneers, is that a strategic decision, or have you simply been outpaced by the market? Does that matter to you?\u201d\n Two: 'Make M2M a strategic priority \u2013 define your use case!'\nThose that see the best ROI make M2M central to their overall strategy, with appropriate resources and funding, he states.\n\u201cOne of the companies we spoke to in the [IDC] research allocated 50 per cent of its total IT budget to M2M. There are also likely to be many projects - internal and external \u2013 underway,\u201d he states.\n\nNelson says ambition plays a big part in M2M success. \u201cThose that get the greatest ROI are those looking for significant process innovation and major transformation, not just incremental efficiency improvements.\u201d\n\u201cOur expert advice: Understand clearly what you are setting out for, and know that if you want to achieve, you need to commit.\u201d\nThree: 'Board level backing'\nCulture is a difficult thing to change. Organisations achieving success with M2M projects are those that have a champion for the initiative at a senior level on the business, he stresses.\n\u201cA strong C-level leader can help bring all the different parts of the organisation into line to make change happen, and to encourage users to adopt the new system once it is live.\u201d\nBusinesses that already have an innovation culture can drive change faster and with greater effect, he adds.\nM2M can deliver the strongest benefits when processes change, he states. For instance, how a retailer reorders stock, or how a clinician handles checkups with patients.\n\u201cBut these depend on people making full use of the opportunities these changes afford,\u201d he states. \u201c The whole organisation has to be willing to work with IT.\u201d\nRelated: Gartner executives Denildo Albuquerque and David Spaziani share pointers for effective CIO and board interactionslt;\/bgt;\nFour: 'Identify the right execution partner'\nBe realistic about the barriers ahead and how they\u2019ll change over time, he says. \u201cEvery major IT and business-process initiative involves risks and costs.\n\u201cChoosing the right provider can help manage the costs of developing M2M and overcome many of the other challenges \u2014 such as technical integration, global delivery and security. \u201c\nM2M and IoT implementations usually require a delivery ecosystem, he concludes.\n\u201cMake sure you get your top team together to ensure they help drive the outcomes your business is looking for.\u201d\nSend news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org\nFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nJoin us on Facebook.