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  • A significant number of companies are hanging on to aging desktop systems in their contact centers, at the cost of the customer experience and other business drivers, according to an August 2015 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Pegasystems. The study, "To Transform the Agent Desktop, Think Strategically, Act Tactically," reveals that organizations are operating on systems that are more than five years old, even though many survey respondents said their desktops are not integrated to back-office tools. Nor are they considered particularly intuitive. As a result, a great many contact center agents have to use manual workarounds to address customer issues. Fortunately, most organizations intend to upgrade their agent desktop apps, and they expect to benefit from better business process agility and increased sales as a result. "The reality for many organizations is that customer service is all too often encumbered by legacy IT systems that prevent agents from delivering great customer service," according to the study. "Organizations that rely on outdated, complex and inflexible agent desktop applications are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage at a time when customer service and experience are more important than ever. Organizations with older contact center technology find it more difficult to deliver quality cross-channel service to customers, which can mean the difference between a brand advocate and a vocal dissenter." A total of 225 representatives of global organizations took part in the research.

  • Berklee Online, the continuing education arm of the Berklee College of Music, turned to an API platform to better connect IT systems with staff and students.

  • Job recruiters are increasingly relying on technology tools to do their jobs, according to a recent survey from Domain.ME. They are proactively researching whether a job candidate has a personal Website—especially a site that highlights the potential hire's personal side. In fact, an engaging online presence has become a game-changer in the recruitment process, as many survey respondents said they're more inclined to contact an applicant who has an appealing personal Website. However, an online persona can be a double-edged sword, as some types of posts—such as inappropriate photos or language, or negative comments about the current employer—are likely to eliminate candidates from consideration. So it's highly advisable to delete anything that could raise concerns with a potential employer and build a more professional and personable image online. "We are moving beyond the age of 'be careful what you post' and into an era of digital presence and savvy to differentiate yourself in the job market," said Predrag Lesic, CEO of Domain.ME. "While recruiters continue to scan social posts for red flags, they view digital assets as tools to better understand candidates and … make more informed hiring decisions. The candidate who offers that content has an advantage." A total of 300 U.S. human resources professionals who regularly manage staffing and recruiting for their organizations took part in the research.

  • Waste management and recycling are incredibly inefficient systems run with 20th century technology. It's clear that better technology must come to the rescue.

  • Edge Up Sports, an upstart fantasy football information provider, turns to the Watson cognitive computing platform to help users gain a competitive edge.

  • A study shows that there's been little change in the way companies in various industries manage their third-party vendors—and there's vast room for improvement.

  • If you and your tech colleagues are frequently downing aspirin, it's understandable: A significant share of IT service management professionals describe their company users as "demanding and unrealistic," according to a recent survey from Unisys. Tech workers spend far too many hours of their workday responding to basic or unnecessary questions from end users, instead of helping to support strategic business objectives. These professionals are also constantly attempting to navigate organizational silos instead of working within a cohesive, enterprise-focused environment. What's needed are more advanced, integrated solutions to replace service management systems that are outdated and inefficient, findings reveal. "[Organizations] today are increasingly connected and driven by digital technology," says Paul Gleeson, global vice president of Edge Services, an integrated service management solution, Unisys. "Their workers need personalized, on-demand, always-on business and IT services to stay productive and keep their organizations competitive. IT organizations that give their support personnel innovative tools for consistently providing services that integrate delivery channels … will be the big winners in the evolving digital economy." As an added bonus, the research reveals which company departments give IT the biggest headaches, and we've included that information here. More than 150 IT service management professionals took part in the research.

  • Over the next few years, we should expect massive disruption across a wide swath of industries, so executives must keep an eye on the subscription economy.

  • Only a small minority of companies are making enough use of automated and collaborative tools to be considered champions of information mobility, according to a recent survey from Ricoh. The resulting report, which addresses information gridlock, indicates that a significant number of employees are considered mobile or remote workers, yet relatively few of them can access key business apps via their mobile devices. Whether staffers connect from off-site locations or in an office, their productivity is limited because of a lack of automated business document workflows. In fact, a surprising number of organizations still store important enterprise information in filing cabinets—or even in "employees' heads"—according to the research. What's needed is an investment in essential technology solutions and training to maximize the advantages of information mobility. The report defines information mobility as the seamless movement of information among paper, digital and legacy formats—from any IT platform to another—as well as the ability to find and integrate information within all repositories, whether on-premise or in the cloud. More than 290 executives from IT and lines of business at director level or above took part in the research, which was conducted by IDC.   

  • RunKeeper deployed a Web service for chat and instant messaging to improve communications among its employees—whether they're in the office or on the road. 

  • Under pressure to gain a competitive advantage through disruptive IT, company leaders are expecting more input—and innovation—from their IT departments, according to a recent survey from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and Dimension Data. The resulting report, "Accelerating Business Transformation Through IT Innovation: Getting the Business Leader Take on the IT Change Mandate," states that many of these executives still struggle to understand the strategic implications of new and emerging technologies. The execs said that IT must improve its response to rapidly shifting business trends, while taking better advantage of digital tools to increase their organization's competitive advantage. Only a minority of these execs gave their tech teams high marks for innovating, and relatively few said their company does well as a whole in embracing modern technologies. "Most leaders are frustrated with their IT organization's sluggishness in providing [new tech]," according to the report. "Business leaders want to migrate as soon as possible to hybrid IT solutions that blend modernized data centers with cloud-enabled technologies. They want new business-changing applications and customer experiences delivered more rapidly. They want deeper business insights from their growing stores of data. And they want the IT group to be held more accountable for providing them." 250 CEOs, C-level execs and managers from around the world took part in the research.

  • The genomic analysis firm protects sensitive data with intrusion detection and vulnerability scanning and uses log management to help track and monitor behavior.

  • The concept of customer experience is undergoing a rapid, radical transformation, and providing a consistent, satisfying experience for customers is paramount.

  • Too often, we become our own worst enemy at work. We may let a lack of self-confidence sabotage our work efforts. We may spend so much time multitasking that we never finish anything. Or we may lapse into constant expressions of negative sentiments about our company, job and/or co-workers—in the process, developing a reputation as a toxic employee who should be avoided at all costs. In the recent book, Brainblocks: Overcoming the 7 Hidden Barriers to Success (Perigee Paperback/available in August), author Dr. Theo Tsaousides describes these "brainblocks" as enemies of action. "They turn motivation into inertia, productivity into busywork, and dreamers into languishers," he writes. "They cause an array of problems, ranging from diminished productivity and strained relationships to serious clinical problems, like depression and anxiety." The best way to overcome them, Tsaousides explains, is to train your brain to undo them. As guidance, he provides step-by-step tips for overcoming seven brainblocks: self-doubt, procrastination, impatience, multitasking, rigidity, perfectionism and negativity. The following remedies to five of these brainblocks are adapted from the book. Tsaousides is a New York City-based neuropsychologist and founder of The LEAP Center, a counseling company focused on personal and professional growth and successful performance.

  • Growing confidence in business growth, combined with a lack of qualified talent for open positions, is translating to great job opportunities for many technology professionals, according to a recent survey from PwC. The accompanying "Trendsetter Barometer Business Outlook" report examines a broad number of market influencers, including sentiments and projections about the U.S. economy, revenue increases and hiring plans. And executives clearly rank IT spending at the top of their priorities, with respect to both tech solution acquisitions and staffing expansion. At the same time, a significant number of survey participants said that the lack of IT professionals who are qualified for open technology positions presents a formidable barrier to business growth. "While the hiring picture is certainly brighter, companies are still struggling to find the right talent to move their businesses forward," says Margaret Young, a partner in PwC's private company services practice. "Companies need new employees with specific skills in engineering and technology, and they're having difficulty finding them. There are longer-term solutions to be had in education or immigration reform, but that won't help companies that are wrestling with this issue right now." Executives from 225 private companies took part in the research.