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Australian IT departments not ready for IoT, says survey

Steve Rogerson
July 23, 2015
Australian IT departments are ill-equipped to meet IoT skills requirements, according to a survey by Texas-based IT management software company Solarwinds. Major challenges include skills, security and growing network complexity.
The survey of 200 Australian IT decision makers highlights concerns over a lack of IT skills, security issues and growing network complexity as the key challenges for organisations looking to adopt IoT technology in the next three to five years.
The study explored current level of preparedness for Australian IT departments to meet the complex challenges and opportunities created by the IoT. While nearly 60 per cent of respondents said that more or different IT skills would be required as devices and robots become more intelligent, close to three quarters (73 per cent) felt the workforce was currently ill-equipped.
Insufficient skills were also named as the top barrier to the uptake of IoT technologies (30 per cent), with 44 per cent of respondents also agreeing that staying current with technology was the number one challenge impacting their work in the next three to five years.
A 2015 study by Deloitte Access Economics revealed that Australia would need an extra 100,000 information and communications technology workers by the end of the decade. Employment in the ICT sector is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent per year until 2020, higher than the economy at 1.6 per cent.
The Australian IT skills gap is not the only challenge facing IT decision makers; respondents also cited that maintaining security (42 per cent) and growing network complexity (38 per cent) among the challenges that would most impact their work in the next three to five years.
When exploring challenges specific to the IoT, IT decision makers named network performance to support a growing number of clients and faster internet speeds among their top concerns. With nearly half of Australian IT departments already spending more than ten hours a month on managing IP addresses (47 per cent), the findings suggest more needs to be done to prepare the Australian IT workforce to meet the demands on the IT department accelerated by the IoT.
Joel Dolisy, CTO at Solarwinds, said IT professionals must be armed with not only the skill, but also the tools needed to maximise opportunities created by the IoT and empower their organisations to embrace even greater efficiency, cost-savings and agility.
"As networks become increasingly complex, maintaining visibility and control over those networks and the full application stack becomes more difficult,” he said. “Network monitoring and management is a critical component of a successful IoT environment and, as a result, a necessity for organisations looking to harness the potential of new, smart and interconnected technologies or to manage the new IT reality. Businesses need to arm IT professionals with the skills and capability needed not only to maintain visibility over the growing number of connected devices, but also to pinpoint potential IT infrastructure issues in order to minimise impact to the networks and application performance and keep up with the growing expectations of their company workforce."
IT decision makers also highlighted several opportunities driven by the IoT including, improved capabilities for remote maintenance (39 per cent), security management (32 per cent) and the ability to offer high-margin personalised services (27 per cent) to stakeholders.
Nearly four fifths of organisations with 200 or more employees felt the IoT would make their network management more complex (77 per cent). More than half of all organisations believed that security was essential to overall network management in an IoT environment (51 per cent), followed by network monitoring and management capability (39 per cent) and IP address automation (32 per cent). Close to half of all organisations believed users would have the same level of expectation of device performance in an IoT environment (48 per cent). Nearly a quarter believed user expectations would be higher with the IoT (23 per cent).
"While there is widespread consensus about the transformative potential of the IoT, most organisations are not doing enough to prepare," said Dolisy. “Businesses need to be ready for more acceleration in additional users and internet-enabled devices connected to the network as well as the resulting deluge of data and increased demands on bandwidth, security systems, storage and application performance. By ensuring their IT departments are ready to meet these demands, organisations can usher in new levels of efficiency, productivity and convenience for employees and customers.”
The findings of this report are based on an IoT survey fielded by Solarwinds in June 2015, which yielded responses from 200 IT decision makers in Australia from small, mid-size and enterprise companies.
Solarwinds provides IT management software to customers worldwide from Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses. It focuses exclusively on IT professionals and strives to eliminate the complexity that they have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors.