Why Learning Culture Transformation can Accelerate your IoT Practice

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Barry Kaufman

IoT is happening: Customers are in the discussion, nervously evaluating how it will impact the competitive landscape, how it will elevate security concerns, how it can enhance their customer experiences, and they are actively looking for ways of disrupting their markets before they get disrupted.

Vendors, system integrators and solution providers are also seeing the writing on the wall, and beginning the process of transforming their business by initiating an “IoT” or “Digital Business” Practice.  All the signs are there, suggesting that IoT is the road to riches.  But from conversations and engagements with scores of vendor and ecosystem players, it is not an easy road: in almost every case, I have seen practices launch with great ambitions, and then are forced to retrench for multiple reasons: sales cycle is too long, customer never moves forward, in-house talent is hard to acquire or build….whatever the reason, the root cause of the problem does not seem to be technical. 

Yes, IoT has plenty of maturation ahead of it, standards are in flux, and the competitive landscape is ever changing.  But if you are launching an IoT Practice, Learning Culture Transformation must be considered a critical area to address at the inception of this brave new line of business.   

As a species, we are evolving.  The way we learn, augmented by technological innovation, is changing.  The human brain is increasingly being augmented by the cloud of data, knowledge, decision-making capabilities and community wisdom (or lack thereof).  Unfortunately, the established paradigms of learning and training tend to be based on Human Brain 1.0. For an organization to be accepted as a “trusted advisor” on IoT / Digital Transformation, it is important to address HOW the people in your organization onboard new skills.

Your workforce is inundated by data (such as AI-enhanced marketing schemes, social media perpetrated fake news, and a crushing amount of invites to “free” webinars, white papers and more). When building an IoT Practice, you are about to flood your workforce with an ever changing list of new acronyms, solutions and go to market activities that are going to have to compete in the “Attention Economy” for relevance in their frontal cortex.  So HOW you deliver and provide context to the new data you want them to ingest and master is extremely important. 

Your workforce has increasingly less time for structured learning.  The old approach of building one mega course and squeezing everything into it, is woefully inefficient.  Yes, it may answer everyone’s questions, but on the flip side it is guaranteed to waste everyone’s time in some way.  One size training does not fit all.  So again, HOW you deliver the right training is critical; the more it is tailored to the individual learner, the more efficient it is.

Sales folks, solution architects, leadership, implementers – all must live by a new motto, which I am borrowing from Alvin Toffler (2014):

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

This is particularly true in the era of digital disruption and the Internet of Things.  Expect change.  Expect that what your team knows today will possibly become wrong, an obstacle, tomorrow, and that new paradigms, business models, technologies will have to fill in the active part of their cerebellum now in order to be effective, in order to bring their customers the right value. 

Disruption is the Flipside of Innovation

At DTI, we bring a wealth of experience, tools, techniques and technologies to our practice, helping guide vendors and the IoT ecosystem to continually drive learning culture change, to build adaptive workforces that are armed to succeed with their customers.  We employ AI tools to ensure relevant knowledge is provided at the right time in the sales cycle; we empower the learner to manage their own evaluation of skills, as they become powerhouses in the world of digital disruption; and we look for opportunities to make training a core competency by addressing learning objectives outside of the classroom, embedded into the worker’s workflow, and on the job with the customer. We help accelerate successful adoption of digital transformation, better ensuring that the value of advanced technology solutions are more fully realized. 

This is not a time to lean on one’s laurels; there is a very innovative tribe of technologists and educators that are marrying learning science, analytics, and web 3.0 mobile technologies to cut out the middle man between your workers and skills mastery. For you to take advantage of this, you must to be ready and able to disrupt your learning culture, to experiment,  analyze results, and pivot to embrace what makes your workforce efficient and adaptive.  The confluence of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) technologies will continue to find and disrupt gatekeepers between your workers and their desires.  Your workers want the knowledge, skills and abilities to survive and thrive in the era of digital transformation; they see the AI robot hoards making an advance on the castle of their employment, and they are (rightfully) worried.  If you are to maintain and increase your relevance to your workers, if you want to earn their loyalty and (more importantly) their PASSION, then transform your learning culture, unlock their potential and grow your IoT Practice.

In follow up blogs, we will explore some of the techniques, technologies and methodologies that can be employed to develop a learning culture attuned to the needs of an IoT / Digital Business Practice.

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