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Prepare to surf a business skills wave to benefit from IoT.

Digitization, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are creating a big wave of change. However, businesses should be considering their investment in skills and training alongside their investment in technology to maximize the benefits this digital revolution can bring. With technology conducting transactional activities, human added value will come in the form of data modelling, analytics, interpretation and communication.

Generating the wave

Digitization, big data and IoT are three progressive maturity stages towards the same goal: to derive competitive advantage through the creation of a cyber-physical system connecting assets and data directly to actions, and thereby reducing decision ambiguity, time and cost. It is a goal that has seen IoT expenditure rise globally to account for 24% of the IT budget.

Matching the skills with the wave

Any business that has this as a goal must consider not just their expected outcomes but also align their staff recruitment and training strategies accordingly to provide the right business skills to reap the benefits from the goal. A UK report by the House of Lords select committee on digital skills estimates 35% of jobs to be digitized by 2035, creating a skills gap in filling the additional jobs the wave will bring.

The size and shape of the wave are company specific, dependent upon its ambition, making this three stage maturity model a platform for defining the required business skills and, hence, the training strategy.

Key skills required at stage 1 – Digitization

Before any analytical insights can be gleaned, the right data must be securely available, accurate, clean and tagged ready for use.

The business skills required for this are:

  • Data modelling (sourcing, digitizing, standardizing and interfacing to meet information needs)
  • Information security and information assurance
  • Data mining, collating and storage
  • Descriptive analytics
  • Creating and delivering master data strategies including metadata, cleansing and maturity models

Key skills required at stage 2 – Big data

When stage 1 has been mastered, it is time to connect the various data sources using suitable ID keys or metadata keys. This matures data into information via analysis (single sources) or analytics (multiple sources). When big data is used in conjunction with cascaded PIs from corporate strategy it opens up another dimension of intelligence.

The business skills required for this are:

  • Diagnostic and predictive analytics
  • Interpretation of corporate strategy into data elements
  • More expansive data modelling to include fast moving external data (e.g. social media and markets)
  • Information interpretation, reporting and communication

Key skills required at stage 3 – Internet of things (IOT)

When data can be sourced directly from assets, and this data converted to information, predictive analytical solutions can foretell, prevent and prescribe activities with signals sent to action the assets. This closed loop system can be set to happen in real time creating faux decisions based on known variables and outputs.

The business skills required for this are:

  • Telematics as a source of data capture and communication
  • Prescriptive analytics (by way of digitized algorithms)
  • Software, firmware and hardware programming (to perform actions decided by the algorithms)
  • Cyber-physical diagnostics, maintenance and security checks

Surf’s up!

Fortune favors the prepared mind”, and preparing your training and recruitment strategies in line with the new wave of digital technology will add value to your business and maximize the return on investment from technology in this area. The fortune here being the 20% growth in revenue after IoT adoption.

Further reading

I welcome comments on this or any other topic concerning Finance, HR, CSR and business strategy.

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