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  • Are your analytics efforts having a meaningful impact on your key organizational strategies? Or do they amount to little more than an overhyped "new thing" that accomplishes very little? If you're running into the latter, then you're probably experiencing several of the following 11 common pitfalls of analytics. They are adapted from a section of the recent book, Behind Every Good Decision: How Anyone Can Use Business Analytics to Turn Data into Profitable Insight (Amacom/available now). In the book, authors Piyanka Jain and Puneet Sharma demystify big data by revealing how to use it as a highly effective business tool, resulting in reduced expenses, higher revenues, streamlined processes, improved productivity and greater innovation. The authors also explain how to avoid the common pitfalls, primarily by aligning analytics with enterprisewide operations and goals. Jain is president and CEO of Aryng, a management consulting company focused on analytics for business impact. Sharma is vice president of analytics, growth hacking and user research at Move, Inc.

  • The challenge for IT and business managers is to motivate people to adopt new systems. A good start is to ensure that a technology delivers value to everyone.

  • What you need to know is that the recent breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment should—in fact, it must—change everything you previously assumed about security.

  • A significant number of CIOs and IT directors believe that the phrase "IT department" will eventually cease to exist, according to a recent survey from Logicalis. There's no need to panic, however, because there will always be a huge demand—in fact, there will be a rapidly increasing demand—for tech professionals, especially those who combine IT skills with business-focused savvy. The accompanying survey report, "Establishing the Internal Service Provider: A Global Study of CIO Pressures and Priorities," depicts a dramatically evolving landscape in which technology leaders, managers and staff are getting more involved with ROI-impacting initiatives, while business units are making their own decisions about technology acquisitions. In the past, organizational leadership often took issue with internal users who circumvented IT to get the tech they wanted: a practice referred to as "shadow IT." Now, however, shadow IT is increasingly perceived as a logical means to an end in terms of addressing unfulfilled needs to support objectives. "It is clear that businesses don't want a technology solution," says Mike Martin, senior vice president of solutions and services for Logicalis US. "They want their business needs to be met. That means the CIO's role must change from that of a technology provider to one that is laser-focused on delivering IT services that meet line-of-business users' needs." More than 177 global CIOs and IT directors took part in the research.

  • Humans are creating enough data to fill 100 billion iPads (32 GB) every year. This means there's an overwhelming amount of information out there, and we're increasingly dependent on advances in search technologies to find what we seek. While the book Search: How the Data Explosion Makes Us Smarter (Bibliomotion/available now) explores these advances, it also lends insights into more profound, near-future developments within search tech: the availability of tools that will deliver and manage information to make us smarter, happier and better connected. In one section, author Stefan Weitz casts an informed vision of the many ways these developments can influence our day-to-day personal and professional lives: how machines and people will interact to create incredibly sophisticated, fully customized user experiences that will routinely change according to our behaviors. The following "what's ahead" list of anticipated benefits from the next generation of search tools is adapted from the book, along with the challenges that must be addressed to reach this state of immensely intuitive search capability. Weitz is a senior director in the Search team at Microsoft.

  • This leading research university turns to a mobile app strategy as part of a focus on digital information delivery and a more cost-effective IT infrastructure.

  • Moving to software-defined storage has given Budd Van Lines high availability, integration with its virtualized environment and the ability to scale as needed. 

  • At the heart of operating a business and managing IT systems is the critical balance between performance and security. Despite the introduction of increasingly sophisticated tools and technologies designed to ratchet up results in both areas, CIOs, CISOs, and other IT and business managers face growing and often daunting challenges. According to a recently released report from McAfee, "Network Performance and Security," the stakes have never been higher for enterprises looking to protect digital assets. However, the majority of respondents consistently opt for performance over protection. What's more, there's often a belief that enabling security protections such as firewalls adversely affects network performance. As a result, some organizations go so far as to disable key features and leave others turned off. "Unfortunately, turning off important firewall features because of network performance concerns has become a common practice," says Pat Calhoun, general manager of Network Security at McAfee, part of Intel Security. Here are some of the key findings from the report.

  • The vast majority of global organizations are adopting multi-cloud business models, according to a recent survey from Equinix. And most of the companies will operate these clouds in more than one country, findings reveal. In addition, they will have more available tech budget funding to move apps related to storage and backup, disaster recovery, business intelligence and other functions to the cloud. In pursuit of reliable and secure performance, many technology decision-makers will turn to third-party colocation vendors for connectivity and infrastructure needs. The availability of high bandwidth obviously ranks high on their list of criteria in selecting a provider. "Multi-cloud strategies are becoming the norm worldwide," says Ihab Tarazi, chief technology officer at Equinix. "Businesses have discovered that colocation provides a meaningful ROI … and it is clear that multi-cloud deployment will improve the ROI even more." Nearly 660 global IT decision-makers took part in the research, which was conducted by Dimensional Research.

  • An integrated asset management and IT service management solution has eliminated many inefficiencies at the Pittsfield Public School District's IT organization.

  • There's no doubt that technology is reshaping the way people think about how, when and where they work. In fact, in a recent survey, a significant number of Generation X and Generation Y professionals said they would be ready to move to Mars if their company opened a branch there. And a similar number said they would have a brain implant if it "made the World Wide Web instantly accessible to their thoughts." These are among the many surprising findings in Cisco's annual "Connected World Technology Report," an exhaustive survey of 2,000 Gen X, Gen Y and HR professionals that examines the changing relationship between employee behavior and the increasingly pervasive nature of the Internet. Taken as a whole, the report indicates just how much the spread of mobile devices—along with the resulting anytime/anywhere access to applications and data—is causing employees to shift their priorities and ask for the ability to seamlessly blend their professional and personal lives. Although some relics survive, such as the affinity for laptops and old-fashioned note taking, there are clearly huge changes afoot for forward-looking employers. "Businesses should grab this opportunity to re-examine how they need to evolve in order to attract top talent and shape their business models," said Lance Perry, Cisco's vice president of IT customer strategy and success. "Without a doubt, our world is changing to be much more Internet-focused, and it becomes even more so with each new generation."

  • From banishing passwords, to making tech devices that work, to getting value from social media, this holiday wish list covers tech problems that plague everyone.

  • They work long hours. They're often in pursuit of the next great innovation. And due to an extended talent shortage, they're very much in demand in the job market. In this case, "they" are today's technology professionals, according to a recent survey from Harvey Nash. The accompanying report, "Harvey Nash Technology Survey: Disruptors & Disrupted—the New Tech Flux," reveals that IT employees increasingly value job stability and work-life balance. But they also relish challenges presented by disruptive tech, and they benefit from their rising presence as organizational influencers. Because of these and other factors, these tech professionlals are usually well-compensated: The average salary for U.S. tech workers is $102,729. CTOs pull in more than $137,000, software engineers make more than $100,000 and project managers take home just under $90,000, according to the findings. (Help desk crews, however, earn just under $52,000.) An estimated 3,000 global technology professionals and C-level tech leaders took part in the research, which covers a wide range of topics, including IT workers' sentiments about wearing the "geek" label.

  • The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement has radically transformed the enterprise and has helped organizations achieve productivity and cost gains that were previously unimaginable. It also has led to happier,more engaged employees. But there's a downside to these gains. One of the most troubling issues is a rapid uptick in mobile security breaches. According to British telecom firm BT, 98 percent of U.S. firms allow employees to use personal mobile devices for work. However, organizations struggle to manage mobile devices, develop effective policies and controls, and create a secure environment that works for both the business and the employees. A recent survey, which was conducted by BT in conjunction with market research firm Vanson Bourne (with 640 interviews from managers at large global organizations), explored the uptake in adoption of BYOD and corporate-owned-personally-enabled (COPE) devices. It identified a number of key areas that CIOs and other business and IT executives must deal with, including executive and staff attitudes and security protocols.

  • The broadcasting giant turns to social business and gamification to spur employee development and make everyone equal in terms of ideas to improve processes.