While skills are in short supply across all sectors and at all levels, they are most acute in the agriculture sector when it comes to keeping IIoT solutions up and running after deployment. Only 6 per cent stated that they had all the skills they needed in this area, with 92 per cent stating that they would benefit from additional skills to augment those that they do have in this area. Evidently there is an opportunity for managed services companies to better support agricultural organisations with their IIoT deployments, after initial deployment, in order to deliver agreed productivity objectives.

 

Does the agriculture sector have the skills it needs for IIoT? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

Does the agriculture sector have the skills it needs for IIoT? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

A lack of in-house skills emerged as the single biggest barrier to the adoption of IIoT solutions within agriculture, selected by 46 per cent of respondents, indicating that many are finding it difficult to adapt to an increasingly digital future.

The skills shortages being reported are particularly acute amongst OEMs, where over half (56 per cent) identified skills shortages as one of their biggest barriers to the development of IIoT solutions within their organisation. This is not surprising considering their position at the sharp-end of the market developing IIoT-based solutions, and their greater understanding of its possibilities.

Looking at the specific skills needed, 50 per cent identified a shortfall in data science skills, making it harder for the industry to take meaning from the information that they are collecting from their IIoT solutions. 46 per cent, meanwhile, believed that they lacked the necessary technical support and security skills for their IIoT initiatives.

56%

of OEMs identified skills as a major challenge

WHAT ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC SKILLS DO YOU THINK YOUR ORGANISATION NEEDS TO DELIVER IIOT-BASED SOLUTIONS? (%)

Data science skills
Technical support skills
Security skills
Database management skills
Planning skills
Management skills
Customer service skills
Decision-making skills

WHAT ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC SKILLS DO YOU THINK YOUR ORGANISATION NEEDS TO DELIVER IIOT-BASED SOLUTIONS? (%)

Data science skills
Technical support skills
Security skills
Database management skills
Planning skills
Management skills
Customer service skills
Decision-making skills

Skills shortages, particularly amongst OEMs, are putting a break on IIoT innovation within the agriculture sector

50%

lack the data analysis skills they require for IIoT

These factors combined are putting a break on IIoT innovation within the sector. Furthermore, challenges in getting the right in-house skills means that it is likely costs will be higher in the development phase as organisations explore options to get their deployments right.

As the industry matures, and more off-the-shelf IIoT solutions become available (the current absence of which was identified by three in ten respondents as a barrier to IIoT adoption), the lack of in-house skills should become less of an issue. However, the sector must focus its efforts on upskilling and reskilling their existing workforce and technology education needs to be seen to be part of what it means to work in agriculture.

The future of agriculture depends on not only understanding how to produce organic materials, but also how technology sits at the centre of all aspects of the industry. The answer lies in greater collaboration in the sector and to work more closely with partners who can share their skills and experience to smooth out the process.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD THE REPORT - INDUSTRIAL IOT ON LAND AND AT SEA: AGRICULTURE

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