Skill Development: Its Importance for the Internet of Things

How can the development of relevant skills accelerate access to the Internet of Things market?

The IOT arms race is here. Enterprises of all sizes and industries are getting ready to seize this massive growth opportunity, which is set to provide economic value of $14.4 trillion by 2022.IOT Economic Value.jpgFrom: Cisco

In order to properly incorporate Internet of Things platforms and connected intelligence into their operations, and reap gains from this technological revolution, organizations will be forced to change their approach to business and talent management. Older, human based processes will be augmented to add to the competitive edge of the enterprise - IDC indicates that by 2020, 60% of Forbes Global 2000 companies will double productivity by transforming these processes, with more than 20% of all workers working alongside automated technologies. 

As workplaces become automated, certified IOT engineers and personnel will be in charge of overseeing operations – and it is in the best interest of enterprises to retrain workers to suit these environments. In a 2017 report, Cisco outlines the requirements for success that enterprises in the IIOT need in order to be agile and seize this market opportunity – most notably, the importance of proper education, training, and certification, and the impact it will have on the effectiveness of IIOT deployments.

Cisco emphasizes a need for skilled IOT managers and individuals to oversee the operation, implementation and market approach for these technologies. One major challenge in achieving this, however, is the global skills gap that falls short of growing talent demands for the market. Cisco outlines several reasons that this talent gap exists:

  • The converged IOT network is misunderstood by both IT and OT engineers, meaning that relevant skills are not yet seen as critical.
  • The IOT is still a brand new ecosystem of interconnected technologies and stakeholders. Since the skills required to maintain this ecosystem have not yet been specifically defined, trained individuals are not yet in critical demand.
  • As business strategies and IOT strategies remain unaligned, talent for the latter is still viewed as unnecessary. However, training for IOT strategy must be provided in order for it to lend value to overall business goals.
  • Cross functional teams within the organization might not understand IOT platforms, when they ought to be trained to see its value and relevance to their job roles and business objectives.
  • Full integrations of IOT systems and processes may not be complete within the enterprise; therefore complete training cannot be incorporated until those integrations are complete.

In contrast, from 2014 to 2015, hiring demand for industrial engineers with IOT skills had risen 322%, and employer demand for product engineers with IOT skills had increased 275% (Forbes, 2015). This indicates competition for IOT talent, which will thin out the talent pool even further as global technology leaders begin to hire.

Despite these challenges, managers must realize the need to retrain and upskill their workforces in order to better contribute to the IOT supported enterprise, and reach the market with speed and skill. Below, Cisco outlines the average improvement on job performance as a result of their IOT training, notably the effectiveness and speed at which technical issues are resolved.

Cisco IoT Training Impact.jpgCisco outlines the improvement on job performance after its IOT training.

            Providing the workforce with the proper training for IOT strategy is a vital undertaking to increase flexibility in reaching new markets and taking advantage of the IOT boom. Workforces will be better able to engage with machine supported environments. This can increase productivity and transfer of learning, and accelerate the resolution of technical issues that delay successful IOT implementations and market entry.

For the full report, click here.

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