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  • Since the introduction of the personal computer decades ago, pundits and technophiles have tirelessly and endlessly predicted the arrival of the paperless office. Ironically, computer technology has mostly led to more paper, more ink and, in many cases, greater challenges involved in bridging the physical and virtual worlds. However, according to a new report from Xerox, "Digitization of Work," the business world is on the cusp of major change, and it's largely due to more mature and robust digital tools and cloud computing. The report examined the views of 600 technology decision-makers and influencers from North America and Western Europe on the following issues: how organizations are performing in adopting digital processes, what constitutes a leader and a laggard, and what's required to update and improve an enterprise digital transformation strategy and prepare it for the future. Unfortunately, the research found that many organizations aren't adequately prepared for this revolution in digital workflows. It advises organizations to look for ways to digitize and re-engineer processes through automation. Here are some of the key findings of the report.

  • The golf equipment manufacturing firm upgraded its storage platform to enhance its ERP system and support supply chain processes and reporting requirements.

  • IT organizations need to think through all the cultural implications of being able to leverage application programming interfaces to manage IT as a true service.

  • Spear-phishing attacks have evolved into impersonation attacks, which are often called 'whaling' because they attempt to harpoon the 'big fish' in the company.

  • LinkedIn must develop new applications for its members that will drive higher margin revenues. To achieve that goal, the firm is adding a megascale data center.

  • Thanks to rapid technological shifts and market changes, their job roles are constantly evolving, and they place more value on mission-supporting results rather than simply "clocking in" from 9 to 5. Also, many of these individuals believe that an ideal work space doesn't exist in a traditional office. Who are we describing? Knowledge workers, the vast majority of whom are seeking informal working environments that are less "controlling," according to a recent survey from Unify. The resulting report, "The Way We Work," defines knowledge workers as people who "think for a living" and engage with technology day-to-day. Most indicate that they're working as part of a virtual team more than ever. To stay connected, they depend on a mix of traditional technology tools (such as email) and newer cloud-based, on-demand solutions. These tools enable the workers to think more creatively and make quicker decisions. "Work is so much more complicated today than just the hours put in during any given day," writes Jon Pritchard, CEO at Unify, in the report's introduction. "In the average office, knowledge workers … have to contend with generational gaps, digital transformations, the on-demand economy, the fast evolving nature of work, frustrating technology and the growing realization that many of their jobs won't be in existence in the future. … As business leaders, we need to start shaping our businesses, our office spaces and the communications tools within them to suit the modern knowledge worker—or [we] stand a real risk of losing our top talent." An estimated 9,000 global employees took part in the research, which was conducted by Censuswide.

  • A growing number of organizations are taking advantage of application programming interfaces (APIs)—defined as sets of routines, protocols and tools for building software apps—to improve customer experiences while lowering IT costs, according to a recent survey from CA Technologies. The resulting report, "APIs and the Digital Enterprise: From Operational Efficiency to Digital Disruption," indicates that APIs are becoming essential for both mobile and Web-based app development. IT teams that excel at API implementation are able to define the value of APIs in business terms, while responding to security, management, monitoring and API lifecycle demands. However, most survey respondents indicate that they face challenges in obtaining funding and recruiting a critical mass of developers into an API program. Once these obstacles are overcome, tech leaders will be in a better position to effectively address their company's business goals and changing digital requirements. "In the early days of IT, [APIs] were primarily used to give programmers convenient access to libraries of prebuilt functions," according to the report. "As systems became more distributed, APIs found their place in more general application and data integration. They allowed remote capabilities and resources to be accessed easily across a network. … They also encouraged a more flexible and robust component-based approach to software development. Fast-forward to today's highly connected world of Web services, mobile apps, the Internet of things and open data, and the smart use of APIs—built and managed using up-to-date techniques—has become a critical enabler of digital transformation." More than 1,440 senior IT and business executives took part in the research, which was conducted by Freeform Dynamics.

  • The majority of business and IT leaders surveyed consider the enablement of a mobile workforce a top organizational priority. However, they added that they need better monitoring tools to understand and improve the end-user experience, according to research findings from Aternity. The company's "2016 Business Transformation and User Experience Trends Survey" reports that mobility and cloud management and IT convergence are all driving the need for increased visibility into employees' use of these technologies. Many company leaders believe that this enhanced visibility will enable them to boost worker productivity, among other positive outcomes. Yet, while most companies allow for at least some staffers to use their own devices for work—bring your own device (BYOD)—a significant share are not prepared to manage mobile devices and apps that are connected to enterprise networks. Clearly, there is urgency for tech teams to respond to these issues, especially as users introduce more personal data to systems that IT can't control. More than 200 C-level executives, as well as IT directors and managers, took part in the research. Additional research included in this slideshow was taken from findings published by organizations such as Gartner and Intel.

  • The data warehouse has outgrown its original purpose, but it can work with Hadoop in a unified effort to provide a road map for core BI and analytics systems.

  • Most organizations are using a blend of traditional infrastructure and the cloud, and the ones that excel in maximizing these approaches are gaining significant advantages in cost savings, increased productivity and other ROI drivers, according to a recent survey from IBM. The accompanying report, "Growing Up Hybrid: Accelerating Digital Transformation," distinguishes companies into categories of hybrid cloud adoption, including those considered "frontrunners" and those described as "chasers." Companies that are frontrunners are using the hybrid cloud to increase efficiency and productivity, while cutting costs. They're also managing their hybrid cloud environment in an integrated, comprehensive manner (such as through a single dashboard) for high visibility and control. Chasers are not yet using the hybrid cloud to drive competitive advantage, and they are considered in the early stages of gaining integrated control over their hybrid environment. According to the findings, frontrunners come out on top by taking advantage of the hybrid cloud to advance mobility projects, pursue innovation and maximize value from the existing traditional infrastructure. "We live in a world where companies must take advantage of all of their resources to succeed and deliver services and apps in an as-a-service model," said Laura Sanders, global technology services general manager for systems services at IBM, "regardless of whether they reside in a public or private cloud or on their existing infrastructure. Not surprisingly, [organizations] are seeing great value from hybrid environments in driving business results and transformation. It's a positive balance of optimization with flexibility and agility." An estimated 500 global hybrid-cloud decision-makers took part in the research.

  • The popular cruise line adopted an advanced onboard communications framework to deliver a connected, customized experience via passengers' mobile devices.

  • Despite the efforts devoted to thwarting cyber-attacks, the threats keep growing, and many question whether conventional methods are enough to protect a company.

  • The majority of employees queried said they've heard a colleague say something that had a catastrophic impact on their career, according to a recent survey from VitalSmarts. In fact, many of the professionals said they have made a comment that cost them a pay increase, promotion or even their job. As part of the research, VitalSmarts has come up with a list of what we'll describe as "five career-crushing ways to express yourself," and we've adapted that survey-supported list here. The conversations and exchanges that require some degree of caution include: offering feedback to a co-worker; discussing race, politics, religion or other sensitive topics; and even written communications conducted via email. "While there are occasions when people's words paint a clear picture of their incompetence or unacceptable moral judgment, these instances are the exception to the rule," said Joseph Grenny, co-founder of VitalSmarts and co-author of the book Crucial Conversations. "Often, people speak up about issues they see as important to the business, only to be punished for their honesty. … Instead of punishing employees' candor, leaders need to build the kind of culture where anyone can safely speak up to anyone else, regardless of power or position. And in those times when they may step out of line, there should be a plan that allows them to recover and get back on track." Approximately 780 employees took part in the research.

  • Used electronic devices contain precious metal 'deposits' that are 40 to 50 times richer than newly mined ore. Yet, about 80 percent are tossed into landfills.

  • Businesses are greatly increasing efforts to encourage their employees to adopt customized mobile apps, according to a recent survey from Apperian. The "2016 Executive Enterprise Mobility Report" reveals that nearly all the organizations surveyed are equipping salaried staffers with these apps, and many are doing the same for contract workers and business partners. Overall satisfaction levels with the results remain lukewarm, but that's starting to change. To encourage more adoption of custom mobile apps, a number of companies are launching internal enterprise app stores and opening up help desks dedicated specifically to mobile users. With this approach, they hope to improve business processes, increase productivity and raise employee satisfaction levels. "Custom apps connect employees to enterprise systems so they can be productive from anywhere," according to the report. "An increasing number of companies push a large set of apps to employees, with greater emphasis on productivity apps. … Advancing enterprise mobility management technologies are enabling companies to support users outside their organizations—such as contractors—with apps that matter." 100 professionals took part in the research.