It’s clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) offers many exciting opportunities, from increased efficiency to enhanced customer engagement, and that now is the time for businesses to get involved. However, a huge challenge in implementing IoT technology will be gathering all the necessary skills together.
It is highly unlikely that the existing workforce will be equipped with the many technical skills needed, which means that trying to carry out the transformation in-house will involve a significant investment of time, resources and money. Typical IT providers may find themselves at financial risk if they attempt to navigate the transition to IoT alone. The solution lies in finding partners to collaborate with and use your existing skills.
IT partners support customers on their journey of transformation. They can create bespoke sensors for specific applications adapted to the business, and provide the support from design and testing all the way to mass production. They also provide valuable support by working closely with software developers and data analytics experts, to augment data created by the sensors with other data held in applications elsewhere in the organisation. By doing so, a digital dashboard of insights could be created, to give a holistic overview of data from different applications, making it easier to analyse and interpret.
To unlock the full potential of IoT, a broad range of technical skills is required. The process can be incredibly complex due to the breadth and depth of knowledge necessary. Businesses need to be well-versed in a vast array of different technologies, including sensors, gateways, networking, security, analytics, cloud, digital applications, software integration and API management, workflow and storage. Those leading the technical transformation need to have a deep understanding of these technologies, how they are used and how they will benefit the business.
IT providers and resellers need to look for technology experts who have unparalleled knowledge of the many different elements of IoT. They need to have a deep understanding of the intricacies behind each piece of technology being deployed and how it will help customers. Crucially, they must be able to talk to the board of an organisation about the technology in depth, sharing their vision of how applying it to the customer’s business will be transformational. In a sense, they have to be visionaries – able to guide an organisation through its IoT journey from start to finish, communicating their vision in a way that is as compelling as it is credible.
To get the best possible outcome from an IoT solution, it is essential to have up-to-date knowledge and expertise. This is crucial when we consider how rapidly technology is advancing and the sheer number of new IoT technologies being piloted every day. For a partner to fully understand IoT and its many business implications, good quality training is essential, as change leaders may not already possess this technical knowledge within the context of their existing roles. Partner training and certification helps IT providers learn the best way to deploy software and hardware solutions in complex real-world environments for their customers.
By ensuring they have the latest skills and certifications, true IT professionals can benefit from partner training in two key ways. Firstly, they can distinguish their own company from rival firms – having the latest skills provides a competitive edge, the ability to create better IoT experiences, quickly. On a personal development level, having access to first-class training will help IT professionals to build fulfilling careers in their industry.
The transformation process and onboarding of new IoT technologies present a major challenge, so technology partners have a crucial role to play in guiding businesses and navigating the challenges they may face along the way. Technology experts need to accept that in the IoT world the required skillsets are wide ranging; it makes no sense trying to do it all alone. You need a partner who has the technical knowledge as well as access to the right technology for your unique deployment. It is important that they encompass the skills your IT team doesn’t, to fill the gaps and answer the questions you can’t – you should be able to draw on their expertise from both a technical and a business point of view.
Having access to a good technology partner provides credibility. Credibility is what allows an IT professional to walk into the boardroom and justify exactly why a particular technology is needed for the profitability and productivity of the business.