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IT leaders are looking in the wrong places for IoT talent: The solution involves a platform approach

Many IT organizations face growing demand from the business to build new innovative and connected experiences. The goal is for these IoT applications is to create new products and services, provide better customer experiences and increase operational efficiency. However, this demand can seem lofty for many IT leaders who are grasping at thin air for scarce, hard-to-find talent to get these projects over the finish line.

Delivering IoT solutions requires specialist skills to configure, implement, integrate and manage a mix of different and complex IoT technologies, endpoints, platforms, back-end systems and data. This nascent market also opens new roles that need to be filled.

According to Gartner, the top barrier to CIO success is skills and resources. Through 2021, market demand for app development will grow at least five times faster than IT capacity to deliver it. With the high demand for innovative IoT solutions, IT leaders need a new approach to find the right talent.

Take a platform approach to IoT app development

Instead of looking for specialized IoT talent, CIOs should consider how emerging technologies can help alleviate the talent challenge. With the combination of an IoT software platform and a high productivity application platform as a service, the technical complexity of building IoT applications can be abstracted.

IoT software platforms lend a helping hand for connecting all the technology required for an IoT solution. Some IoT software platforms and their IoT components to consider include IBM Bluemix with IBM Watson IoT, Amazon with AWS IoT, Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, GE Predix and SAP Cloud IoT.

These IoT software platforms provide a wide array of functionality that minimizes the complexity of connecting, securing and managing devices, and analyzing sensor data. But one area where they lack capabilities is application development — a key requirement for making IoT insights actionable to power smarter operations and customer experiences.

As a second abstraction layer, organizations should consider adopting a high productivity platform that is uniquely suited to address these challenges.

A high productivity platform can help your organization close the talent gap by enabling a much broader range of developers to build IoT applications using visual models, reusable components and connectors to IoT services. By eliminating the need to code IoT applications, your organization can utilize not only professional developers, but also developers with hybrid business-IT skill sets, like business analysts, to build IoT solutions.

Find talent with the right mentality for IoT projects

With the adoption of these platforms, the talent you acquire doesn’t need to have specific IoT experience and specialized skills. Look for resources that fit into the following roles:

Tech-savvy business analyst — This business expert doesn’t need to know multi-tier development, but can layout screens, rapidly build prototypes, build logic flows and model data.

Business-savvy developer — This individual has a good understanding of the tiers of software development (database, middleware, business logic, UI) and the software development lifecycle (requirements, developing, testing, releasing), but does not need to be a proficient coder. She has a proficient understanding of business requirements and can envision the big picture when delivering software projects.

Integration/extension developer — Not all projects will need this role, so you won’t need as many of them. This person can:

  1. Build widgets that other developers can use to build user interfaces in the presentation tier of the app.
  2. Build Java-based custom components that can be used within visual flows that extend functionality in a way that can be used by non-developers.
  3. Can integrate with web APIs, third-party systems and ERP systems. The way to do these last two things is by writing extension components or integrations in Java and creating a connector that can be used by non-coding developers.

Vanguard architect — This individual is a strategic thinker who understand the “why” of technical decisions and how new technologies can be applied to deliver business value. The vanguard architect is also human-centric and possesses the behavioral skills required to influence people, build trust and lead the organization through disruptive change.

With the ability to utilize a wider range of people, you can more easily fill your talent pool and ramp up these individuals to rapidly build IoT applications. The next step is to structure your team to bring your first application to completion.

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