Like most other sectors examined in this report, the energy sector is sorely lacking when it comes to the skills required to architect, deploy and manage IIoT-based solutions.

As is to be expected, this shortfall in skills is both inhibiting the rate of adoption, and limiting the success of IIoT initiatives once deployed. Around a third (34 per cent) of energy respondents identified a lack of skills as one of the biggest barriers they have encountered in the adoption of IIoT solutions, and 27 per cent stated that they lacked the skills to extract and use the data generated by their IIoT solutions, as efficiently as they would like.

Respondents in both distribution and extraction sectors identified skills shortages in all areas of IIoT deployment, with only around one in five stating that they have all of the skills they need to devise IIoT strategies and manage them once they are up and running.

However, some clear differences between these parties emerge when we examine the specific skills required. Over half (56 per cent) of distribution companies, for example, felt that they required additional data science skills to fully realise their IIoT initiatives, considerably higher than the 41 per cent of extraction respondents that thought the same.

DOES THE ENERGY SECTOR HAVE THE SKLLS IT NEEDS FOR IIOT? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

DOES THE ENERGY SECTOR HAVE THE SKLLS IT NEEDS FOR IIOT? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

By automating historically mechanical processes, companies focused on the exploration and extraction of oil and gas stand to make considerable gains, enabling them to extract staff from potentially hazardous situations and speed up the rate of production. However, realising these benefits depends heavily on having access to advanced technical support skills to architect and manage these solutions – skills that are currently out of reach for many in the sector.

This decline in skills can be correlated with the huge job losses suffered by energy producers, who in the past may have had teams of staff available to analyse data and ensure cybersecurity compliance but now find themselves short-staffed and competing with other industries for data security expertise.

WHAT ADDITIONAL SKILLS DOES YOUR ORGANISATION NEED TO DELIVER IIOT-BASED SOLUTIONS?

Security skills
Analytical/data science skills
Technical support skills
Planning skills
Decision-making skills
Management skills
Customer service skills
Database management skills

WHAT ADDITIONAL SKILLS DOES YOUR ORGANISATION NEED TO DELIVER IIOT-BASED SOLUTIONS?

Security skills
Analytical/data science skills
Technical support skills
Planning skills
Decision-making skills
Management skills
Customer service skills
Database management skills

Energy companies will face stiff competition from the technology industry as they look to acquire staff with data analysis and cybersecurity skills

51%

of energy producers need to improve their technical support capabilities

With limited internal resources to manage the challenges of IIoT deployment, it is no surprise to see energy businesses reaching out to a growing number of disruptive, tech-driven start-ups, who have established themselves as strategic partners with the niche skills capable of delivering IIoT solutions.

The vast majority of energy companies are using, are or planning to use, partners to develop and manage their IIoT initiatives. Some 80 per cent of respondents stated that they will use partners to some extent to develop their IIoT initiatives, while 72 per cent will use partners to manage them. Without this assistance, they will struggle to get their IIoT projects off of the ground.

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

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