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Skill gap thwarts IoT plans across industry verticals

The COVID-19 Pandemic has had some interesting fallouts in the sense that certain key technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) has witnessed a surge in demand, as companies automated their processes and connected devices to digitally transform their operations. According to the 451 Research more than 60% of organizations have either maintained or accelerated their IoT projects driven by the need for new ways to serve customers and ensure employee safety. However, lack of skills in this sector continue to impact their ambitions in large scale adoption of IoT.

In a survey carried out by the research firm, 45% of the respondents said their organization currently faces an IoT skills shortage, with another 43% concerned they may come up short as their IoT initiatives expand. Top areas of IoT skills shortages include security (42% of respondents); data analytics and AI (38%); and operational technology (36%).

Skill gap in BFSI

IoT has a heavy reliance on analytics and almost every industry is facing a shortage of analytics professionals, the BFSI (Banking-Financial Services-Insurance) sector, specially the small and mid-sized organization, have been particularly impacted, Larger insurers will have more capital and thus a better chance to bring in top analytics talent, but smaller and mid-size insurers may find staffing difficult.

Unfortunately, most insurers don’t have staff on hand that can learn the data science and advanced techniques to make full use of analytics capabilities. So, for the industry at large, it may be best to focus on attracting new talent to insurance analytics or finding a way to work with independent parties to perform the necessary data work in a way that doesn’t compromise customer information.

Mining IoT suffers from IoT skill shortage

New research from Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has found that a significant proportion of mining organizations lack the diverse range of skills needed to take full advantage of IoT. Despite a significant uptick in IoT adoption across the sector in recent years, this shortage in IoT skills is impeding further innovation across the sector, with figures showing that most IoT deployments continue to be relatively straightforward.

These latest findings from the 2020 edition of Inmarsat’s research programme into IoT trends, found that 46% of mining organisations report that skills shortages are the most significant barrier in the development and deployment of IoT-based solutions, while 94% said that a lack of staff with relevant skills is hindering the industry’s digital transformation efforts. Shortages were reported across different levels of IoT management, with 84 % of organizations identifying a shortfall at the strategic level, where any plans for future IoT use are identified. Additionally, at the management level of IoT implementation, only 13% of organizations reported that they have the personnel with the right skills in place to help drive further digital transformation.

IoT benefits in a Post-COVID Scenario

IoT can help companies find new ways to serve customers and keep people safe, respondents said. The top use of IoT to address post-COVID challenges is to leverage it for new ways to serve customers, such as reducing face-to-face interactions or adding new mobile or digital challenges. After that, monitoring employee and customer health and safety; supporting increased work-from-home arrangements; and implementing greater automation and hands-off operation and monitoring of machinery also ranks high as potential post COVID IoT benefits.

Security concerns and budget challenges remain the top barriers to more widespread enterprise IoT adoption. One is about risk management; the other is about harnessing support. Security concerns is a major inhibitor as per respondents, followed by lack of budget. However, most enterprises which track the IoT project returns-on-investment (RoI) have reported very positive returns, with very few organizations talking about negative returns. However, the key aspect is to track the benefits.

Most enterprises (61%) track IoT project RoI, with 29% calling that return ‘very positive’ and another 60% dubbing it ‘somewhat positive.’ That means only about 10% of enterprises are experiencing a negative return on their IoT investments – at least among those that measure it. Beyond project payback, enterprises expect IoT projects to deliver significant business impact. Based on the key performance indicators they track, 97% of organizations that measure the financial (EBITDA) impact of IoT expect a positive impact, with 14% calling it ‘game-changing’ (i.e., greater than 50% lift on earnings).

For firms measuring the operational impact of IoT projects, 95% expect a positive impact, with 10% calling it ‘game-changing.’ Finally, 99% of respondents expect IoT to positively impact customer metrics, with 15% calling it ‘game-changing.’ Getting IoT projects out of proof-of-concept and into production continues to be a challenge.

Enterprise IoT projects are taking an average of 12 months to move from proof-of-concept (PoC) to production, according to survey respondents – if they make it that far. Just more than half (53%) of all projects successfully move into full-scale deployment. This ongoing challenge is of significant concern to businesses and the vendors that serve them – 70% of enterprises said stalling in PoC had an impact on meeting IoT business goals, with 20% calling it a ‘major problem.’

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