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  • Only a minority of technology and business leaders believe that their organization can achieve its vision for growth, according to a recent survey from PointSource. The accompanying report, "Executing Digital Transformation," discloses that technology-related issues are contributing significantly to these sentiments: The presence of—and reliance on—legacy systems is disrupting the progress of new digital initiatives, the findings reveal. Employees and managers usually must access at least four IT systems to gain a holistic view of all internal users, and they often cannot pursue all their business needs on all required tech platforms. In addition, it takes too long for tech initiatives to get off the ground. Given this, it should not be a surprise that overall dissatisfaction with tech capabilities remains high. Clearly, when it comes to digital modernization, many companies now face a grow-or-die scenario. "Organizations can no longer rely on outdated digital solutions and expect to meet the demands of their digitally savvy users," according to the report. "Stakeholders must make changes, recognizing that today's digital experience extends to many channels and devices, and that users have come to expect a cohesive experience that meets their needs, regardless of context or point of interaction. The ability to perform across a wide variety of interaction points requires an updated digital strategy and infrastructure with full support of an entire organization." A total of 300 IT, marketing and operations decision-makers took part in the research.

  • A focus on improving enterprise cyber-security is essential, and constructing a robust cyber-security framework with best practices is an ongoing challenge.

  • The majority of technology professionals said their organization will want IT to build no less than 10 apps this year, while many others said they'll have to deliver 50 within that timeframe, according to a recent survey from OutSystems. The accompanying "State of Application Development 2017 Research Report" reveals that mobile functionality within apps remains of high interest among users and business managers. However, it generally takes several months or longer to deliver a complete mobile app. As a result, most companies must now deal with a backlog of mobile projects because the pace of production can't keep up with demand. Budget limitations and a lingering skills gap create further delays. One potential remedy: Greater use of citizen developers, which a significant number of enterprises are either already supporting or are strongly considering. "Digital transformation is the single most critical issue facing organizations today," according to the report. "It's disrupting industries, transforming businesses and creating new competitive differentiation that will last for years. … As a result of this digital imperative, the demand for application development has skyrocketed, creating a crisis within most IT organizations." More than 3,200 global IT professionals took part in the research.

  • By replacing a disjointed group of apps with a streamlined cloud-based HR system, the Interlochen Center saves time and money and improves service to employees.

  • With many employees making their bracket selections for this week’s NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (a sporting event better known as “March Madness”), technology departments are bracing for potential IT network issues, according to a recent survey from Riverbed Technology. Most tech professionals said they’ll need to closely monitor the network this week, and many will have to either come to work early or stay late to ensure business continuity. That said, there are positive outcomes from the games, according to a survey from OfficeTeam: The NCAA frequently serves as a kind of team-building exercise, senior managers said, especially when bracket selection contests are presented as organized company events. It doesn’t hurt that most employees feel that March Madness has no impact on their job performance. "Many companies are capitalizing on major sporting and cultural events to bring teams together and have more fun at work," said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. "Embracing the basketball tournament by holding friendly competitions or watching games as a group can boost morale and engagement. Just remember to set guidelines so business priorities are still met." More than 300 senior managers and 300 workers took part in the OfficeTeam research. An estimated 500 IT professionals took part in the Riverbed research, which was conducted by Wakefield Research. 

  • With the majority of organizations having introduced internet of things (IoT) devices and sensors into the workplace, companies are reporting ROI that impressively extends well into double-digit territory, according to a recent survey from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. The accompanying report, "The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow," reveals that IoT adoption is boosting the efficiency of both business and IT teams. It's increasing opportunities for innovation, while expanding organization-wide visibility. And, in terms of financial impact, it's improving profits and creating prospects for new market growth. There are, however, challenges that present obstacles to continued success, including the threat of IoT-related cyber-breaches and an inability to create analytics-driven value from IoT data. "With the business benefits from IoT surpassing expectations, it's no surprise that the industry will move toward mass adoption by 2019," said Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing at Aruba. "But with many executives unsure of how to apply IoT to their business, those who succeed in implementing IoT to transform their organization are well-positioned to gain a competitive advantage. … Scale and complexity, proper security methodologies to protect the network and devices, and, more importantly, the data and insights they extract, must also keep pace." An estimated 3,100 global IT and business decision-makers took part in the research.

  • As more IoT devices are connected, the possibility of compromised security increases. That's why there's a need to establish best practices for security.

  • Although cyber-security issues seemingly become murkier by the day, one thing is very clear: Email is increasingly at the center of enterprise breaches. However, despite perceptions that these attacks mostly originate from the outside, many breaches are connected to internal glitches, breakdowns and problems, according to a February 2017 report from email security vendor Mimecast and Forrester Research. "Email Security Threats: Not Just from the Outside," reveals that there are several noteworthy risks. These include compromised accounts (internal accounts that have been compromised by external attacks), careless misuse (internal policy violators and those who accidentally leak or expose data or systems), and malicious insiders (insiders who purposefully take or misuse data or exploit systems). Not surprisingly, organizations must be prepared for each of these problems, and must use methods and tools to prevent breaches. Here's a deeper dive into the data collected from the global study of business and IT leaders.

  • At a time when the business world faces chronic shortages of tech skills, there must be a greater emphasis on helping young women adopt careers in technology.

  • The Ermes Group, a major retailer, uses a cloud-based price optimization tool to stimulate sales with tactical markdowns that don't hurt the bottom line.

  • Artificial intelligence enables virtual agents to learn by observation. That adaptive ability is what a Swedish bank is counting on to serve its customers.

  • The majority of IT workers have either already taken a tech-related micro certification course or plan to do so in the future, according to a recent survey from the Linux Academy and Cybrary. The resulting "Insights and Trends on Micro Certifications" report indicates that most technology employees surveyed would recommend these courses to peers and colleagues. As defined by the survey research team, micro certifications are a nontraditional form of learning in which "students gain skill sets in a specific technical area and receive a credential within a matter of days—unlike a multiyear program that requires both lengthy time and financial commitments." (In some cases, micro certifications are referred to as "digital badges.") Tech pros like them because they enable them to keep up with changing IT innovation, while learning at their own pace. And for those who have a lot of demands on their job, micro certifications present a more time-friendly alternative to traditional certification sessions. Employers are starting to favor the concept as well, especially because micro certifications are considered more affordable than traditional ones, thus reducing the cost of employee training. More than 6,000 IT professionals took part in the research.

  • The Barnstable Police Department deploys a more advanced storage solution in order to better protect data from cyber-criminals and ransomware.

  • A move into management can lead to greater levels of future responsibility and contribution, but this transition is challenging. These tips can help IT pros.

  • They drive in the IT fast lane, constantly speeding ahead with new advances that are profoundly changing data management, cloud computing, mobility, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), social media and even entertainment. And, according to a survey-based ranking from the Boston Consulting Group, they are the most innovative tech companies on the planet. The accompanying report, "The Most Innovative Companies 2016," also features revealing survey findings about key success factors here: 78 percent of companies that are considered "strong" innovators develop new projects and ideas for growth from internal resources, while only 33 percent of companies that are considered "weak" at innovation do that. Strong innovators are also much more likely to come up with these projects and ideas via competitive intelligence, strategic partnerships, incubators and customer suggestions (and even complaints). They're also much more inclined to leverage company and proprietary data to drive innovation, while using external data to identify emerging market trends. More than 1,500 global senior executives specializing in innovation took part in the survey. The respondents were asked to rank the most innovative companies both inside and outside of their own industry, and they ranked the following firms as the top 10 technology companies.