Matching Talent to the Internet-of-Things Era

Companies are pouring trillions into the IoT technology. But what about the people behind it?

The numbers are hard to grasp. In the next decade, the economic benefit from companies deploying the Internet of Things — the connectivity and data-sharing ability that links devices together and makes them “smart” — could range from $4 trillion to $11 trillion each year. Last year’s spending on IoT exceeded $750 billion alone. But the question remains: Are companies putting enough resources into the people behind it?

According to a new Korn Ferry study, which reviewed how companies across the globe are rolling out IoT so far, corporate leaders are generally embracing the technology. But to succeed, they will also need to focus on the major implications IoT has on how a traditional industrial company is organized and its hiring practices, says Scott Coleman, a Korn Ferry senior client partner and market lead for the firm’s Internet of Things Global Technology Practice.

In a new report, “Matching Talent to the Internet-of-Things Era,” Coleman and co-authors Michael Lynch, Aileen Alexander, Jamey Cummings and Kevin Anderson suggest that an IoT strategy will require a review of an organization’s design. Senior leaders might want to consider managing IoT-related businesses within a separate entity. Even if executives want to keep IoT integrated with the rest of the company, leaders are advised to see how IoT might create new paths to products and services and inspire new ways to solve problems.The IoT era also may test the leadership skills of some organizations. In the report, the authors identify three crucial components particularly germane to industrial organizations implementing an IoT strategy.

Purpose and Vision: Having leaders able to define what business outcomes will be achieved through IoT and communicate them to their colleagues and other stakeholders

Choice and Focus: Having leaders able to develop a comprehensive strategy to pursue those outcomes, including what resources to use and what tactics to use

Capability: Having the right mix of internal and external talent to take on the challenge and the transformative capabilities of IoT

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