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  • While the majority of sales and marketing executives believe that cognitive computing will emerge as a disruptive sales and marketing force in their industries, relatively few are working with a cognitive computing strategy today, according to a recent survey from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV). The resulting report, "From Data Deluge to Intelligent Insights: Adopting Cognitive Computing to Unlock Value for Marketing and Sales," compares companies that are considered "outperformers" on this technology innovation to the rest of the pack. Outperformers are organizations that have fully bought into the idea that cognitive computing focused on sales and marketing will play an important role in their future, and they are prepared to adopt these technologies now. In addition, they are more likely to invest in cloud-based storage to support these efforts, while collecting and analyzing market and social media data. Through these and other initiatives, these businesses have positioned themselves to gain a substantial competitive edge by maximizing the effectiveness of their sales and marketing data analysis. "Many marketing and sales professionals find themselves drowning in data that fails to deliver the value or the insights they need to serve their customers well," according to the report. "A wide variety of data analytics methods and tools exist today to help, but few offer as much promise as cognitive technologies. Cognitive systems understand unstructured information the same way humans do. They ingest vast amounts of data far faster than traditional platforms, and can reason, grasp underlying concepts and form hypotheses." More than 900 chief marketing officers and sales executives took part in the research, which was conducted by Oxford Economics.  

  • The impact of the cloud on IT staffing has become clear: As workloads move to offsite infrastructures, hiring for lower-level IT positions is slowing, while the demand for skills in areas such as analytics, the cloud and security is on the rise. This finding from Computer Economics' recent study, "IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks 2017/2018," illustrates the evolving makeup of the typical IT department. While IT staffing levels are remaining fairly flat, the move toward software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, cloud infrastructure, virtualization and increased automation—and the accompanying shift of IT dollars from CapEx to OpEx—has required IT leaders to adjust the mix of skills and capabilities at their disposal. Forward-looking IT professionals should make note of this trend to avoid getting left behind. "As the cloud shifts hiring priorities, IT professionals need to be upgrading their skills," said Tom Dunlap, director of research at Computer Economics. "Fortunately, the cloud makes it easy to get those skills, whether by setting up a virtual server on Amazon Web Services, or by developing a new app on one of the cloud platforms." The study, which also indicated steady operational IT spending growth, was based on a survey of more than 200 North American IT executives, and it includes IT spending and staffing benchmarks for small, midsize and large organizations in 25 industries.

  • A major biomedical research center relies on an HPC system to run a genome project that will allow personalized healthcare for the people of Qatar.

  • A growing number of IT department managers reported that the hiring market for technology talent has gotten more difficult over the past year, and the majority of them said they need to hire freelancers to support IT needs, according to a recent survey from Upwork. The resulting "Future Workforce IT Report" reveals that most IT managers said they've had to evolve in their approach to hiring in order to maintain a competitive edge. By bringing on freelancers, their department gets more work done, and they can better balance teams to meet project demands. The IT managers also avoid the delay or cancellation of projects or the extension of deadlines. "The tech talent gap has reached a crisis point," said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork. "Companies are struggling with a widening tech skills gap, particularly in areas such as AI, IoT and robotics. The shortage of skilled tech professionals has become a major concern for companies. To help bridge the gap, companies are innovating their talent strategies by leveraging freelancers with the specialized skills they need to develop new technologies." More than 200 IT managers took part in the research.

  • The big one is on its way. At least, a majority of cyber-security professionals believe that the nation's critical infrastructure will be hit by a major breach within the next two years. Worse, they also believe the current state of cyber-defense at U.S. government agencies leaves them unprepared to respond. These represent the most alarming findings of Black Hat's latest report, "Portrait of an Imminent Cyberthreat." The report is based on Black Hat's third annual survey of Black Hat conference attendees, in which nearly 600 security professionals were polled, 40 percent of whom work in critical infrastructure industries such as utilities, healthcare, financial services and government. Respondents weighed in on everything from cyber-risks to Trump administration cyber-policies to nation-state attacks, and the results clearly indicate that government and business leaders need to make security a much higher priority—and soon! "The responses don't just indicate that breaches might happen; they indicate that many breaches will happen in the next year or two," said Steve Wylie, general manager of Black Hat. "We have the top security people in their organizations saying that we should expect major compromises. It would seem to be a warning and a wake-up call that enterprises need to pay more attention to cyber-security threats."

  • The contentious "Google Memo" has launched heated discussions, but the issue isn't really about free speech; it's about what's permissible in the workplace.

  • While it may sound like a bit of a cliché, the most productive and effective employees don't necessarily work brutal hours. They're just good at working smarter, not harder, according to a recent survey from VitalSmarts. The survey distinguishes employees who are considered skilled at "Getting Things Done (GTD)," which was the subject of the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, an executive coach and management consultant. For the purposes of the VitalSmarts research, GTD top performers are individuals who excel at organization, attention to detail, time management, focus and punctuality, as well as other efficiency-boosting traits. They also avoid excessive multitasking and are seldom accused of being "messy desk" people. "Productivity is more than just being busy," said Justin Hale, a VitalSmarts co-researcher for the study. "Employees who learn to manage their workload quickly and efficiently don't just get more done, they get more of the right things done. They stop carrying the weight and anxiety of work, and free up their time and mental capacity for new and better ideas. It's a win-win for both the individual and the business." Nearly 2,000 managers and employees took part in the research.

  • An open innovation framework established by the Partnership for New York City, Accenture and financial institutions spurs tech advances and economic gains.

  • The hiring numbers from the latest TEKsystems "Reality Check," an ongoing state-of-IT report, convey a familiar theme: Employers continue to expand the hiring of IT staff, whether for full-time or contingency workers. They're also having a tough time filling open positions because of the lack of available or suitably skilled talent. They also lack the budget funding needed to meet the salary demands of experienced candidates. "In the digital era, technology is ubiquitous, and most organizations will require consistent access to IT talent at every level of expertise in order to grow and innovate," said Matt Hannigan, vice president of strategy and marketing for TEKsystems. "Even if access to certain talent pipelines does tighten or close, the need for that talent will remain, and organizations will have to adjust in real time or risk derailing their technology initiatives. This necessitates a greater focus on workforce planning strategies and increased creativity in the methods they employ to source new talent, train existing talent and retain all talent—the competition for which will only become more intense." The findings also cover the question of whether management has confidence in IT's ability to satisfy and support core tech demands, new initiatives and line-of-business needs, and we've included those here. More than 200 hiring managers, CIOs, IT directors and other technology leaders took part in the research.

  • Storytelling is an effective way to engage people, and, in a world where content is king, it can help reinforce your cyber-resilience campaign.

  • If you've been feeling the effects of football deprivation for months now, the long wait is almost over: On Sept. 7, the Kansas City Chiefs take on the New England Patriots, the reigning Super Bowl champs, (literally) kicking off the regular NFL season. That game, of course, will feature the man who is widely considered to be the best coach in the game, Bill Belichick of the Patriots. Belichick is obsessive when it comes to preparation, a much-valued trait in business as well as sports. Most celebrated coaches, in fact, command a wide range of characteristics and skills that organizations look for in their executives and managers. With this in mind, we've come up with the following breakdown of essential qualities of top NFL coaches—qualities that are also valued in business and government. They include current coaches such as Belichick, Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, as well as legendary coaches of the past such as Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins, Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers and Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. The range of decades represented here illustrates how certain leadership strengths—work ethic, people management and a commitment to innovation—have stood the test of time, whether on a football field or in an office building.

  • Dominium, a developer and manager of affordable housing, turns to mobile technology to provide excellent customer service and enhanced customer satisfaction.

  • For many organizations, the digital transformation has become an enterprise-wide effort—as much a key business enabler as a technology initiative, according to a recent survey from SAP. The resulting "SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart," distinguishes digital transformation "leader" companies from the rest of the pack. It defines these leaders as companies that, among other characteristics, prioritize transformation as a way to reinvent business models; connect customer-based efforts to business processes enterprise-wide; and invest in next-generation technology using a bimodal architecture (focused on stability and agility) that enables them to run business efficiently, while also staying ahead of the competition. It's not a surprise that these leaders are out in front in adopting big data analytics, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning solutions, among other emerging tech innovations. "Leaders are creating and nurturing a digital mindset that encourages bold change," according to the report. "They're giving responsibility for those changes to teams that look at projects not as incremental improvements in isolated pockets of the business, but as opportunities to unify and improve the entire enterprise. They're also investing in new technologies and much-needed talent so they can deliver the digital improvements customers are clamoring for and build on them for even greater productivity and organizational efficiencies. And by doing so, they're ensuring that their entire organization becomes—and remains—agile enough to remain in the lead." More than 3,100 global executives took part in the research, which was conducted by Oxford Economics.

  • Mobile technology is fundamentally changing the way business is conducted, and mobile apps are increasingly important to employees. In fact, many workers are requesting or suggesting apps for their specific roles and departments. "The App Dilemma: Meeting the High Expectations of Business," a report conducted by Wakefield Research and sponsored by Kony, reveals that enterprises recognize the need for apps, but are struggling to find the best way to develop them. The survey identified issues with both internally and externally developed apps. "Digital is impacting customer behaviors and even employee demands, forcing enterprises to rethink their application strategies," said Carlos Carvajal, chief marketing officer at Kony. "Businesses face major hurdles, including the high cost of app development and app management headaches. These are impeding digital innovation and hindering further investment in enterprise applications." Despite the importance of apps to business success, 27 percent of the study participants felt their IT department deprioritizes the mobile app strategy. The survey targeted 1,000 global line-of-business executives at companies with 1,000-plus employees across industries including banking/finance, healthcare, energy, utilities and marketing/sales. The majority of respondents were in the United States, but the survey also included respondents from 17 countries throughout the world.

  • Would you believe that the technology industry isn't the fastest growing sector for software jobs? That's according to recent rankings from job site Glassdoor, which lists the fastest-growing industry segments and metropolitan areas for software professionals. Glassdoor compiled the rankings by identifying all job listings on its site containing the word "software" in its title: software engineer, software developer, etc. Then it calculated where (in terms of location and industry) these open positions grew the fastest over the past five years with respect to a percentage of overall software jobs. The results? While the top city (Seattle) is somewhat predictable, the No. 1 industry (retail) initially seems surprising. However, given the surge of interest in customer experience (CX) technologies, maybe it's not such a shocker. The upshot: You don't have to work for an IT company—or move to Silicon Valley—to stake out a great career in software. "Companies across a wide range of industries and locations increasingly need to recruit tech talent to power their businesses, improve operations and support bottom-line growth," said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor.