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Skills shortage holding back IoT, says Cisco

Steve Rogerson
August 16, 2016
A lack of skills and understanding could be holding back the implementation of new technological trends, including the IoT and big data, according to a research report from Capita Technology in partnership with Cisco.
The report includes a survey of IT professionals across multiple industries within the commercial sector. It reveals a strong disconnect between nine key trends and the ability of businesses to implement the technology to realise those trends.
The nine trends are big data, digital workplace, artificial intelligence, IoT, wearables, robotics, cloud based services, 3D printers and virtual reality.
Among the key findings is a disconnect between the apparent relevance of a trend compared with the number of decision makers who say their industry has the skills to implement it.
For example, while 70 per cent of IT decision makers said the IoT was relevant to their business, almost three quarters (71 per cent) said they did not have the skills to identify the opportunities for growth offered by the IoT, while 80 per cent said they did not have the skills to capitalise on the data received from the IoT. Just 30 per cent said it was being implemented.
Similarly, nine in ten businesses said big data was relevant to their business, but it was being implemented in fewer than four in ten businesses (39 per cent) and 64 per cent did not have the skills to recognise how they could use big data within their business.
The report identified several key barriers to implementation of the IoT, the most prevalent being the perceived risk of security breaches, issues surrounding data governance and overcoming problems created by adapting legacy IT systems. Legacy IT infrastructure was the top barrier to the implementation of big data, along with data governance issues and cost.
“It’s clear that there are several important, technology-led trends which have the capacity to transform the way business is done,” said Adam Jarvis, managing director of Capita Technology. “While it is encouraging that levels of awareness around the strategic benefits of those trends are high, these results suggest more needs to be done to support businesses and help them close what is a substantial skills gap.”
He said that without the necessary skills and infrastructure needed to implement trends such as the IoT and big data, businesses across the board would suffer long-term competitive disadvantage.
“It is up to us as an industry to find the best and right ways to deliver that support,” he said.
A mixed methodology approach was used for the report. An online quantitative survey of 125 decision makers and qualitative depth interviews with 12 decision makers were carried out.
With 75,000 people at more than 500 sites, including 94 business centres across Europe, India and South Africa, Capita is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 with 2015 revenue of £4.7bn.