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An Interview with Matt Hatton

by | Aug 9, 2022 | Interviews,

Matt Hatton

Matt Hatton

Founding Partner at Transforma Insights

Key Topics:Internet of Things
Location:London, UK

Matt is Founding Partner at Transforma Insights. He is a well-respected commentator and technology industry expert with over 20 years of experience at the cutting edge of technology research and consulting. He is a thought-leader in Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things. He is widely quoted in trade publications and a frequent speaker at conferences. In 2020 Matt co-wrote a book 'The Internet of Things Myth'. Matt was formerly a Founder and the CEO of Machina Research, which was acquired by Gartner in 2016. Matt holds an MSc in Telecoms from University College London.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I’ve been a technology industry analyst for almost 25 years. I spent a little time working as a mobile network operator, which was an invaluable experience, but I love the analyst life. My first analyst job was with a company called CIT, which isn’t around anymore. I started off working on research of the cable market, which was in the process of being liberalised in lots of countries.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

The Internet of Things has been my focus for the last dozen or more years. I’m now onto founding my second analyst firm (Transforma Insights, which started in November 2019) focused on the topic. My previous firm, Machina Research, was so successful we sold it to Gartner. It’s the diversity of IoT that’s most interesting. You’re dealing with hardware, software, connectivity, and various other elements. Plus you need to build a good understanding of what the pressures are in each of the vertical sectors that are using IoT. There’s never a dull moment. Particularly within IoT, I tend to gravitate towards the connectivity topic. Which networks and technologies will be used to connect things? Much of my background is in telecoms, my Master’s degree was in telecoms, so I find that area particularly fascinating.

Who influences you within these topics?

Everyone! I spend an inordinate amount of my time speaking with companies at the coal-face. I seek out new and interesting vendors to find out about their new tech, technology adopters who can talk about their issues, and I talk to the big tech vendors regularly. I’ll also go to pretty much any and every IoT conference in order to understand what’s going on. That’s how we differentiate ourselves: the degree to which we’re truly immersed in the IoT space.
It’s very important to us that we’re present in the space. Sure, we’re an analyst firm watching objectively, but we also realise that we’re a part of the IoT community, and we like to play a part. For instance, we get involved with a lot of the IoT-related communities, things like the IoT London Meetup, the M2M & IoT Council, the Industrial Internet Consortium, and so forth.
The pandemic has been a bit challenging, but we’re getting back to face-to-face events now and I’m delighted to be getting back out on the road.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

In a word: complexity. For everyone involved, the sheer complexity of all the moving parts in IoT is a headache. It’s transformational when done well, and irrelevant when done badly. We spend quite a lot of our time working with technology adopters or three main things: understanding the use cases (i.e. what can I achieve), selecting the most appropriate vendors (despite what they might say, not every vendor can really provide everything you need for your IoT solution), and navigating the internal transformation necessary to really make use of IoT (e.g. systems, finance, processes).

What do you think the future holds in this space?

The Internet of Things is transformational. I’ve described it in the past as the competitive differentiator of the 21st century. The ability to augment your operations with real-time data and control remote assets provides a set of benefits that can be applied to almost every company across a multitude of use cases. I am incredibly bullish about the future. The challenge will be in getting all of the diverse elements aligned: hardware, software, connectivity, pricing, regulation, security, and much more. The IoT encapsulates so many different technology areas and each of them needs careful consideration.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

The key thing is that each aspect of the market is different, and those who play well in hardware are probably not the leaders in software, connectivity, or services. And vice versa. Each aspect of the market has its own brand leaders. We publish a series of benchmarking reports at Transforma Insights looking at capabilities in IoT and wider digital transformation. Our most recent is the CSP IoT Peer Benchmarking, published in October 2021, which looked at the capabilities of Communications Service Providers such as AT&T, Orange, Verizon, and Vodafone in the context of IoT. Our conclusion was that Vodafone was the overall global lead, with Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Orange, Verizon, Telenor, KORE, and Telia all scoring well. Across ‘Digital Transformation’ as a whole, our recent Digital Transformation Service Provider Benchmarking report from July 2021 found IBM as the leading consulting/SI firm, followed by Accenture and TCS. However, on hardware and software (rather than services) they all trailed AWS and Microsoft. We have a wide range of these assessments, covering topics as diverse as Industry 4.0 and IoT platforms.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

About 60% of what we do at Transforma Insights, is focused on our multi-client Advisory Service, which includes detailed market reports, vendor comparisons, market forecasts, and databases. For vendors thinking of addressing the IoT and Digital Transformation areas, it’s an invaluable tool for understanding the market (as well as, of course, being a critical tool for technology adopters). The remainder of what we do is for specific clients. This ranges from deep strategy reviews all the way to marketing support such as white papers, webinars, and public speaking. Engaging me or one of our other analysts for white papers or webinars is an excellent way to improve awareness of your organisation.

What are your passions outside of work?

Lots of things have been curtailed by lockdown, that’s for sure! I play in a band. The other guys are talented, I’m enthusiastic. But certainly, no gigs allowed recently. I also organise a music festival in my home town, but that has been canceled for the last two years. Fingers crossed for 2022 that I can subject some unwilling souls to some criminally under-rehearsed rock n’ roll. I also love to travel. Just before lockdown, I drove my trusty Fiat Panda from London to Azerbaijan, and back. I’ve been to most of the countries in the world. But my hit rate has been pretty low for the last 2 years! I have my eye on doing the Mongol Rally sometime in the next few years. I’m also, if I say so myself, a pretty dab hand in the kitchen. That’s certainly something I’ve been able to focus on in lockdown. Bashing out 3 Michelin star-quality dinners every night of the week. Or trying to!

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

By Email.

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