Companies today are grappling with the Internet of Things (IoT), a large network of physical devices that extends beyond the typical computer networks, encompassing devices, industrial equipment, sensors, and extended products. For some manufacturers everything they build could feed into IoT, from cars to buildings or even consumer products. While vendors like Cisco Systems CSCO +0.00%, Dell , IBM IBM +0.00%, Hewlett-Packard HPQ -3.45%, Intel INTC -3.57%, and Microsoft MSFT +2.13% are all part of the IoT land grab, it is important for end customers not to focus their strategy on the products, technology, or pieces. Instead of focusing on the how of IoT, customers need to be focused on the what of IoT—namely the data. All of the strategy and shiny objects in the world won’t help if the data isn’t accurate, secure, and actionable. The data should always drive the strategy; the implementation tail should not be wagging the data dog. This strategy needs to start at the business level based on identifiable business needs and then filter down to the products.