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Enterprises divided on IoT skills shortage, says 451 Research report

By Tamlin Magee | Jan. 5, 2017
An organic shift towards IoT-enabled infrastructure is occurring in the enterprise, the report says

"Now, you need to get information from those to run the analytics and improve industrial processes -- in that gap between IT and OT there's two different mindsets at work, from an engineering point of view and a software engineering point of view. It's in those gaps that the danger occurs."

The report also found signs of a perceived IoT skills shortage, particularly in security and data analytics. Respondents were split - just over half said that finding qualified staff was not a problem, but 46 percent had difficulties filling the roles.

"It's not clear if this split is because people don't know, or assume that they have the skills and they haven't," Hughes says. "Or, people have really understood the skills they need and realised they haven't got the people they need - maybe this is the IT and OT split again, different expectations from different sides of the fence."

However, 451 believes the skills shortage will begin to close as IoT investments pick up and most organisations are addressing this by training or re-training IT staff in-house.

"It's hard to be an expert in IoT yet because it's still ballooning," Hughes says. "When you're dealing with a multitude of unusual devices and protocols, it's not necessarily the same kind of security professional who was locking down your firewalls and business. It requires more of a programming mind to deal with these things, and to move into data science and understand the tools that are telling you about security anomalies."

As businesses adjust the way they operate to embrace IoT, staff will pick up these on-the-job skills.

"If you suddenly have a rollout of IoT or a completely different system that is now attached, there's a period of time where you have to try to come to terms that those skills will develop, as will those toolsets," Hughes says.

Regardless of any trepidation about IoT deployments, many businesses are having their infrastructure 'organically' transition to IoT - as intelligent sensors and predictive analytics are embedded in IT equipment, including servers, switches and routers.

Over the next two years, 451 Research predicts that the biggest spending in IoT will be in large initiatives - such as smart grids or smart cities, which require a large pool of resources. Supply chain management, warehouse management and automation, and healthcare will also see significant increases in spend over this period.


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