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  • Today's technologies are best deployed when they leverage a strong foundation of transactional data—the kind of data that is largely managed by your ERP system.

  • When you're on a conference call, do you ever get the sense that some participants seem distracted—or even mentally MIA? There's a good reason for that, as more than four out of five employees admit to working on unrelated tasks while on a conference call, according to a survey  from InterCall. It's especially easy to do this while off-site on a smartphone, which may be why 64 percent of the workers surveyed prefer to join conferences via a mobile device. To provide some insight into what's really going on during conference calls, InterCall presents the following most common ways that professionals distract themselves on call. As a bonus, InterCall has come up with a list of the oddest places from which employees have taken part in a call. "As the workplace has changed thanks to new conferencing and collaboration tools, so has the way employees communicate with their co-workers and clients," according to the report, "Out of Office … Sort Of." "Being at work doesn't necessarily mean being at the office. The same can now be said for attending work meetings. Since nearly every employee has access to a smartphone or tablet, meetings can be taken from home, the beach, an airport—pretty much anywhere employees find themselves." More than 500 full-time employees who work remotely took part in the research.

  • Need more proof that employees are increasingly driven by mobility? Then consider this: There are 10 times more smartphones and tablets sold every day than babies born. And this: The average person checks his or her smartphone 150 times a day—nearly once every six minutes, assuming they sleep. Meanwhile, mobile data traffic increases about 80 percent a year. Along with these and other findings in a recent report, the IBM Institute for Business Value presents a how-to guide for IT professionals to help them empower their organizations to become thriving mobile enterprises. The report, "The Individual Enterprise: How Mobility Redefines Business," introduces best practices and five essential mobile enterprise building blocks, which cover connectivity and security, as well as more strategic qualities such as analytics. "Currently, most enterprise mobile use has been restricted to email, calendaring and instant messaging," says Saul Berman, vice president and chief strategist for IBM Global Business Services. "Consider how combining mobile devices and cognitive analytics can completely transform how we work, industries operate and companies perform. Getting started with this new imperative requires leaders who can define what this journey will look like and champion a call to action."

  • Triple S Advantage Solutions turned to a front-end electronic data exchange that manages health claims data internally and connects to a dozen external systems.

  • There's a lot more to football than simply tossing the pigskin and dealing with countless on-field collisions. Though the sport does demand a high degree of athletic skill and a knack for "getting physical" with opponents, there are many intriguing dynamics that keep us fascinated with the game. They include the way organizational practices translate into success on the gridiron. It's not a coincidence that standout players and coaches are highly sought as motivational speakers for business audiences. After all, their experiences and insights are readily applicable to the modern workplace. For example, they can discuss in-depth the value of relentless focus, preparation, resiliency, emotional "fire" and in-game analysis, among other transferable qualities. Keep in mind that football players benefit as much from marathon planning and film sessions as they do from gym workouts and team scrimmages. And they remain devoted to professional self-improvement in order to be at their best when it matters most: game time. So, with a new football season upon us, we're presenting these seven lessons that you can apply to yourself and your team at the office.

  • The nonprofit adopted a disaster recovery system that leverages public and private clouds and an internal data center to improve performance and lower costs.

  • If you believe that your company's leaders struggle to understand information technology, you'll find a partner in the marketing department. In fact, only a minority of global marketing executives think that the C-suite comprehends digital strategies, according to a recent survey from Epsilon. The accompanying report, "Leading a Digital Marketing Evolution: Lessons in Transformation, Culture and Technology from the Global 1000," also reveals that companies with rigid structures and high barriers to innovation are nearly twice as likely to have difficulty attracting and keeping tech talent. The survey divides companies into "leaders," and "mainstream," with three-quarters of the former enterprises reporting positive 2013 revenue trends, when compared with the sector average. In contrast, only 43 percent of the mainstream companies showed positive revenue trends. Leader companies are also considered trailblazers with respect to digital change and disruption, while mainstream organizations are more likely to face pressures due to those factors. "Technology enables marketers to expand their capabilities, especially when it comes to making their efforts more customer-centric," says Kim Finnerty, senior vice president of research and insights for Epsilon. More than 400 global consumer marketing executives took part in the research.

  • When we're using technology, too many of us become loud, rude, thoughtless and sometimes obnoxious. If you do any of the following things, it's time to stop.

  • While the need for cyber-security professionals may outweigh supply, it's important to remember that several IT skills and personality traits are transferable.

  • A majority of hiring managers and HR professionals say they have caught applicants in a lie on their résumé, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. And many of these employers say the incidents are increasing. Unfortunately, IT ranks third in the list of industries in which such deception is frequent, beat out only by financial services and leisure/hospitality in the first and second spots, respectively. There's a lot at stake when a professional lies on a résumé. Most hirers say that a résumé lie will automatically eliminate an applicant from consideration. "Trust is very important in professional relationships," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "By lying on your résumé, you breach that trust from the very outset. If you want to enhance your résumé, it's better to focus on playing up tangible examples from your actual experience. Your résumé doesn't necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate." To offer a lighter side to this topic, we're also including some outrageous résumé lies that CareerBuilder compiled. Nearly 2,190 hiring managers and HR professionals took part in the research.

  • It's no secret that line-of-business departments are taking command of how they acquire and use information technology, and a growing number of business users are now adopting their own cloud computing environments. As a result, something called the "shadow cloud" has emerged, according to a recent report from PwC. The rapid pace of business change is bringing a sense of urgency to this topic, as the cloud enables rapid deployment of essential business tools in a cost-effective manner. The report, "Managing the Shadow Cloud: Integrating Cloud Governance into Your Existing Compliance Program," makes it clear that, like the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement, there's not much the IT organization can do to stop this trend. Instead, given the shadow cloud's vast potential to help organizations gain a competitive edge, IT should work closely with other departments to maximize the cloud's positive impact and minimize any risks. "The days of 'big IT' are gone," the report concludes, "but successful IT departments will be those that work with the business to solve the organization's most important problems: IT will move from a centralized authority to an advisor, broker and orchestrator of business services." To gain insight into how to best move forward with shadow clouds, consider the following best practices, which are adapted from the report.

  • Most companies need to extend their online presence beyond the desktop. This means weighing the benefits of a responsive Website compared with a mobile app.

  • Toxic co-workers arrive in all shapes and forms. There are the passive-aggressive types, the pathological liars and, of course, the bullies. If you think bullies can be found only in schoolyards, think again: As many as one-third of professionals are victims of workplace bullying, and 20 percent of these incidents cross the line into harassment, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. Managers and team leaders must take control of these situations because bullying and other harmful office behaviors can lead to employee stress, absenteeism, low productivity and high turnover—not to mention the failure of key projects. Some incidents might even lead to lawsuits. To provide some guidance about how to handle difficult employees, we present the following nine best practices. They are adapted from a range of online resources, including the "Leadership Freak" blog and AllBusiness.com. Combined, they underscore the importance of approaching potentially destructive workers with the same kind of strategic planning that you put into a major business undertaking. The goal is to ensure that these employees have minimal negative impact on other staff, as well as business outcomes.

  • An ICU research team at Emory University Hospital is applying streaming analytics to patient data to help improve response times in an intensive care unit.

  • If you're a project manager, you probably deal with a lot of frustration—and you are not alone. Seven out of 10 organizations surveyed experience at least one project failure in a year. To make matters worse, nearly four out of five software development project professionals say that the business side is "usually" or "always" out of sync with project requirements. And only 40 percent of change-management executives say IT projects generally meet schedule, budget and quality-based goals. So what factors contribute to these issues? The top culprit appears to be giving project teams work that has nothing to do with the project itself, according to a recent survey from Janco Associates. In addition, there are an assortment of unrealistic expectations, time pressures, staffing shortfalls and inadequate tech resources, findings reveal. Clearly, IT projects need leadership that combines technology savvy with effective business-focused oversight to successfully navigate these hurdles. Following are the top challenges facing  project managers, according to nearly 180 IT project managers who took part in the research. All of them have at least one year of experience in managing teams with at least five members.