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  • Every New Year, most of us are motivated to change our lives for the better, and IT professionals are no exception. Many of them are planning to improve their technology skills and overall career development and advancement prospects this year, according to a recent "top resolutions" survey from Spiceworks. For example, given the rapid pace of technology shifts, the majority of survey respondents are committed to ongoing learning efforts, and many are seeking additional tech certifications. In addition, a number of these IT professionals intend to enhance existing work processes through better documentation and automation, while gaining a greater understanding of new technologies by getting more hands-on experience with developing solutions. "The start of a new calendar year is often a time to make resolutions for personal and career growth," according to a recent Spiceworks article about the findings, 'Top 10 IT Career Resolutions of 2017,' "whether that means learning new skills or tackling exciting challenges in an effort to accomplish something meaningful." The 10 resolutions—and why they matter—are summarized here. More than 1,000 global IT professionals took part in the research.

  • As the inauguration of the 45th president looms, it's easy to dismiss the Women's March on Washington, but business must address this and other women's issues.

  • While top marketing executives said their organization is making strides in collecting and processing customer-related data, they admit that they have a long way to go in developing the kind of digitally driven customer experience that's needed today, according to a recent survey from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and IBM. The accompanying report, "Connected Interaction to Power Brand Attraction," indicates that few companies have met or exceeded expectations in engaging digital customers. Nor are they sufficiently integrating physical customer experiences—such as in-store purchase efforts—to digital ones. They also struggle to transform data collection into action, including the creation of brand-building customer personalization interactions. Through collaborative efforts to establish better content marketing, metrics and analytics, data management and digital advertising, IT teams can help marketers take the next big step in these efforts—especially if they come up with the right application programming interface (API) and internet of things (IoT) solutions. "Marketers have come incredibly far over the past five years," according to the report, "advancing the digital agenda from an advertising-focused conversation of banner ads and click-through rates into a dialogue around people, platforms and processes that connect campaigns with the right audience. The new challenge before us all is the next stage of the journey … advancing beyond the campaign and toward more human relationships that are data-driven, compiled in real time and measured for improvement in an instant." Nearly 200 CMOs and other senior global marketing executives took part in the research.

  • While organizations around the world are more confident than ever that they can predict and detect cyber-attacks, they're still falling short on investments and plans geared toward recovering from a breach. Such is the double-edged finding of EY's 19th annual Global Information Security Survey, "Path to Cyber-Resilience: Sense, Resist, React." EY surveyed 1,735 IT and IT security executives from organizations around the world to uncover the most compelling cyber-security issues facing business today, and what it discovered was a marketplace still struggling to keep up with a fast-evolving threat landscape. "Organizations have come a long way in preparing for a cyber-breach, but as fast as they improve, cyber-attackers come up with new tricks. Organizations therefore need to sharpen their senses and upgrade their resistance to attacks," said Paul van Kessel, EY's global advisory cyber-security leader. "In the event of an attack they need to have a plan and be prepared to repair the damage quickly and get the organization back on its feet. If not, they put their customers, employees, vendors and ultimately their own future at risk." The message is clear: It's not enough to have great tools and intelligence; companies have to get more strategic about how they track and respond to threats.

  • A significant share of technology professionals said they encounter barriers in getting necessary, regular training on Linux and cloud systems, according to a recent survey from the Linux Academy. Very few reported that their IT department has such an advanced grasp of these topics that it requires little training. Many, in fact, would like to get up to speed on Linux, DevOps and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. However, time constraints, budget limitations and inadequate employer support are keeping these workers from getting the training they need. It doesn't help that, thanks to the shortage of available talent, it's taking two months or longer to fill open job vacancies that demand Linux or cloud skills. "The advancement of [open source and cloud] technologies is clearly outpacing the pool of professionals who are able to service and manage them," said Anthony James, founder of the Linux Academy. "By the time professionals receive the training they need, the technologies have progressed, making their training obsolete. This underscores not only the need for access to timely and affordable training, but also for companies to further invest in their employees' skills." Nearly 890 IT professionals took part in the research.

  • Many working professionals have put "find a new job" at the top of their New Year's resolutions list for 2017, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. Findings reveal that younger employees are more likely than older workers than older workers to look for a new job this year. However, a substantial segment of all the employees surveyed will continue to explore career options, regardless of the situation with their current employer. Given this volatile environment, managers should strive to maintain high engagement levels with staff members to avoid excessive turnover. "A new year makes many people set their sights on job hunting," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. "To keep your top workers, you need to keep a pulse on what they're seeking. For example, poll your employees from time to time to learn more about their goals and motivations and how they want to be treated." The findings also include employees' other 2017 resolutions, and we've included some of those here. More than 3,400 workers took part in the research, which was conducted by Harris Poll.

  • High-tech sensors, a mobile app and cloud-based analytics give an Ohio family farm the tools it needs to manage irrigation and maximize output.

  • In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT) and 3D printers. But which of these technologies have emerged as the biggest potential business drivers? IoT appears be leading the pack, with somewhat less buy-in so far for VR, according to a recent survey from Spiceworks. The resulting report, "Future of IT: Hype Vs. Reality," indicates that all four of these technologies are the source of considerable intrigue. In the end, AI may generate the liveliest debate: It is expected to improve the automation of tasks, allowing IT pros to spend more time on strategic initiatives. But many survey respondents also expressed concerns about AI and privacy, as well as its potential to put jobs at risk. VR and 3D printers are perceived as "safer" types of technology, with VR viewed as a means to improve data visualization and creativity, while 3D printers are expected to result in faster prototype generation and parts replacements. In either case, it's best to think about how each acquisition would contribute to the bottom line, rather than buying into the hype without assessing the value. Would you "like to hyper-drive emerging tech into your business?" the report asks. "You can help secure a smooth transition by thinking through how such devices fit in with your existing infrastructure and business goals, how you'll address the costs, and how you'll measure the benefits. A little prep can help organizations ensure they're adopting new technology that syncs with their strategic plan … instead of just taking a quantum leap forward because of the buzz." More than 560 global IT professionals took part in the research.

  • AudioNet deployed a business intelligence solution that enables it to access data points and visualizations and gain insight into pattern trends in real time.

  • A significant segment of global IT administrators said their organization pays tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep and maintain legacy data tapes, according to a recent survey from Kroll Ontrack. Many companies store hundreds of these tapes, and some of them are decades old. What's more, IT admins often need at least three backup solutions, and many use different versions of each solution to accommodate various company locations. Inevitably, line-of-business users will ask the admins to restore access to an old tape. But effectively responding to such requests can get complicated, especially when admins aren't able to quickly identify the specific tape they need due to a lack of documented knowledge about what the various tapes contain. "It is imperative that enterprises know what data is on their legacy tapes and be able to quickly react, for example, when responding to investigations involving custodial data, regulatory requests from a government agency or as part of an e-discovery matter," said Robin England, senior research and development engineer at Kroll Ontrack. "[Many companies] run two or three different backup solutions. … This not only raises the level of difficulty of knowing where their data resides and being able to respond accordingly, but also significantly increases the cost for managing legacy tape data." Nearly 820 global IT administrators took part in the research.

  • Here are five tech and business trends to watch this year: artificial intelligence, internet of things, cyber-security, mobile-first and predictive analytics.

  • Tech professionals are heading into 2017 with a lackluster confidence in IT operations, according to a recent survey from Intermedia. The resulting "2016 IT Confidence Index" report indicates that overall confidence levels are barely above levels of high concern. In exploring specific areas of tech operations, survey respondents express significant doubts about the way their organization manages cyber-security and infrastructure. Many admit that their company has suffered from a major breach over the past year, and very few feel that their organization invests enough in infrastructure to support future needs. If such impressions aren't turned around, it could result in long-term consequences for companies next year. "Correlate these IT infrastructure findings with the lack of expressed confidence in combating security risks, and the potential impact to businesses gets even scarier," said Jonathan McCormick, chief operating officer at Intermedia. "IT infrastructure and security are the lowest-ranking confidence categories measured. Technology is advancing, as are the expectations around availability and the need to continually improve security positioning." For the purposes of the report, any confidence score below a "7" is considered "extremely worrisome." A total of 350 U.S. IT professionals took part in the research.

  • The majority of organizations are expected to increase their adoption of agile frameworks within the next two years, according to a recent survey from Unisys. The resulting report, "Overcoming Enterprise Agility Challenges in Digital Transformation," examines how companies are pursuing a number of technology and business process improvements, including DevOps, as well as a broader digital transformation. App agility is part of this, and organizations are leveraging cloud options such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) to work toward this goal. To foster a winning DevOps environment, many companies are investing in tech tools that enable release and deployment automation, continuous integration and continuous delivery. Through these and other digital transformation measures, they expect to conduct more effective analyses to make better decisions, while increasing customer engagement. Business and tech leaders are seeking "consistent, integrated, enterprisewide digital capabilities that act as one to fulfill customers', partners' and internal users' demands," said Bob West, vice president of global application services for Unisys. "The more broadly organizations can adopt new approaches to scaling agility in deploying a business-critical application environment, the better they will be able to realize the full benefits of digital business." More than 150 global business and IT executives took part in the research, which was conducted by IDG Research.

  • When it comes to technology companies, what makes a particular firm a great place to work? For starters, you would have access to some of the best tech tools anywhere. You'd also thrive on compelling challenges that bring out your best skills as an innovator. Then, you'd benefit from leadership that encourages career growth at all levels. And, of course, there would be perks, such as holiday parties, catered meals, time off to volunteer, generous vacation packages, etc. If you think such an environment is out of reach, think again: These perks are among the many benefits at the technology companies that made the "Best Places to Work" list, ranked by Glassdoor. The top two vendors are well-known. (Hint: One is the top social media site in the world, and the other has created the top search engine.) Beyond that, the list contains a mix of familiar and not-so-predictable names. They are unified, however, by their dedication to engaging employees through meaningful projects, professional development and "cool stuff." Glassdoor based its rankings on company reviews shared by U.S.-based employees over the past year. The company ratings reflect factors such as career opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, senior management and work-life balance. (In some cases, the employee comments included here were lightly edited for space requirements.)

  • To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Canada's CN Tower deployed new wireless infrastructure, a mobile app and 150 beacons with location services capabilities.