In an enterprise environment, IoT is very complex, not only because IoT deployments in large organisations will almost certainly need to quickly scale to very large numbers of sensors and devices, but also because the solution needs to work across all other enterprise systems and comply with specific enterprise software requirements.
As a technology provider of IoT software to large enterprises, we are making sure that the Waylay IoT orchestration platform ticks all the boxes when it comes to all the non-functional requirements that make a software application enterprise-grade.
What is an enterprise-grade IoT orchestration platform?
An enterprise-grade platform is a platform that has developed all non-functional requirements that make it work at an enterprise (read: very big) scale. Being enterprise-ready just means that the platform is ready to support big enterprise customers, who have unique requirements because of their scale and risk profiles.
These non-functional requirements define system attributes such as security, reliability, performance, maintainability, scalability, and usability. Also known as system qualities, nonfunctional requirements are just as critical as functional requirements. They ensure the usability and effectiveness of the entire system. Failing to meet any one of them can result in systems that fail to satisfy internal business, user, or market needs, or that do not fulfill mandatory requirements imposed by regulatory or standards agencies. (definition source)
What makes an IoT orchestration platform enterprise-ready?
Security & user authentication
Enterprises are naturally very sensitive to security issues, so robust security is one of the top requirements that an application needs to meet in order to qualify as enterprise-ready. At Waylay, security is number one in terms of architecture, development, deployment and processes, with such features developed as per-admin access keys and key revocation mechanism, API-key and OAuth 1 and OAuth 2 authentication/authorization.
Being active across the globe but with our HQ in Europe (Belgium), we are 100% GDPR-compliant. We take the privacy needs of Waylay users and of their customers very seriously and, as such, have implemented — and will continue to improve — technical and organizational measures in line with the GDPR to safeguard the personal data processed by Waylay.
Role-based access control is also highly important, as the larger the organisation is, the more users it will have, and each user will need access to only certain parts of the application, matching their specific role in the organisation. At Waylay we provide enterprises with the ability to grant very granular functional permissions for users.
Moreover, the Waylay platform can integrate with enterprise LDAP servers for delegated authentication. What this means is that users can login to the Waylay application using their corporate login and password, which makes it a lot easier for the organisation to manage users and to deal with situations such as user onboarding or offboarding.
Due to the implied size of enterprise-level deployments, scalability is a key area where IoT software vendors need to prove their technology’s reliability. With close to 500,000 connected devices in production and nearly 50 live customers, the Waylay orchestration platform has field-proven scalability and due to its horizontal scalability with failover, customers can run hundreds of thousands of rules in the engine at the same time.
A PaaS model, offering a managed service with extensive monitoring, is preferred by enterprises, who appreciate a solid SLA and not having to worry about uptime and prefer using a managed system rather than one they have to maintain themselves, saving significant additional enterprise resources. This should be of course accompanied by multiple support options and available 24/7 support is often times a mandatory requirement in enterprise-level deployments.
Explainability & usability
With regards to logging and diagnostics capabilities, these are crucial features in real-life use cases, as they are necessary for root cause analysis of incidents in production. Waylay has precise diagnostics with extensive logging, where users can access task, sensor and actuator logs to be able to see what went wrong. Traceability of what users do on the platform is important for enterprise customers that have to manage large numbers of devices, and an important feature is metadata change audit log, that enables customers to be able to track changes in a device’s metadata and identify when, how and by whom that precise device’s metadata was changed.
Simulation and debugging capabilities are very important to provide insights to users in both testing and production enviromments. Waylay offers a Simulation Labs feature, where users can for instance perform A/B tests of their IoT business rule logic.
And finally, with agility being the name of the IoT game, enterprises often choose to employ readily-available talent for their digital innovation projects, that can help to significantly accelerate time to market and stay ahead of the competition. A strong professional services team is an important marker that enterprises are looking for when assessing the value of a potential technology partner.
These are some of the most important software application requirements that make a platform enterprise-ready. Waylay’s technology checks all these boxes but is also constantly being updated and improved with both new functionality and non-functional system attributes.