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IT departments fear they lack skills to implement IoT

Adoption of IoT systems in enterprises is being held back by worries over skills, says a joint report by Capita and Cisco

IT decision makers are concerned that their departments lack the skills and understanding to exploit current technology trends, such as the internet of things (IoT) and big data, according to a research report produced by service provider Capita Technology Solutions (CTS) and networking supplier Cisco.

In the report Trends vs Technologies, Capita said it had uncovered a strong disconnect between nine key trends and the ability of enterprises to put in place the technology to make the most of them. The more relevant a trend was considered by CIOs, the less likely they were to say their industry had the requisite skills to make the most of it.

“It’s clear that there are several important, technology-led trends which have the capacity to transform the way business is done,” said CTS managing director Adam Jarvis.

“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 added.

In the report’s preamble, Jarvis wrote that past experience suggested that businesses that failed to adapt and exploit new technologies historically were in danger of losing any competitive advantage they might have, and warned that the research suggested many businesses were “perilously close to falling into that trap”.

“Without the necessary skills and infrastructure needed to implement trends, such as IoT and big data, businesses across the board will 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.

In the case of the IoT, 70% said they found it relevant to their business, but 71% said they did not have the skills to identify the growth opportunities it offered. 

Some 80% said they did not have the skills to capitalise on the data it generated. Many cited barriers to adoption, including the risk of security breaches, data governance and having to adapt legacy IT systems to support the IoT.

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Similarly, 90% said big data was relevant, but less than half were implementing it and 64% did not believe they had the skills to recognise how they could use it. Barriers to adoption were similar to those holding back the IoT, including legacy infrastructure, data governance and compliance, and cost.

The report, which targeted enterprises operating in the legal, financial, insurance and manufacturing sectors, also examined views on wearable technology, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the cloud, 3D printing, virtual reality (VR) and the digital workplace.

Out of these, VR, robotics, 3D printing, wearables and AI were the least understood, and in the case of VR, over half of respondents said they saw no potential applications for the technology in their industry.

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