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  • In past features, we've reported on the rising presence of both business intelligence (BI) and collaborative tools in the enterprise. So it's only logical that organizations should seek to combine the two in an effort to empower users with what's called "collaborative BI." And that's happening right now, as the majority of companies surveyed either currently deploy collaborative BI or will consider doing so in the future, according to a recent survey from Dresner Advisory Services. The resulting "Collaborative Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study" reveals that a significant number of IT and executive-level professionals consider collaborative BI to be important—if not critical—in achieving strategic objectives. They're turning to dashboards, advanced visualization, data warehousing and other technologies to achieve that. Vendor tools in this space include Microsoft SharePoint, Dropbox and Google Docs. Nearly 865 professionals—most of whom are working in either IT, BI or at an executive level—took part in the research. (Note to readers: The report is available for sale, listed at $595.)

  • Reinsurance giant General Re replaces fragmented legacy systems with a single data platform in order to standardize and globalize crucial data and processes.

  • Digital business requires more than new tools and technologies. It's essential to build an IT infrastructure and framework that supports real-time interaction.

  • Money isn't everything, but it certainly can help solve a lot of problems. So it's good to know that nine of the 15 employers on Glassdoor's recently released "America's 15 Highest Paying Companies" are technology firms. Other organizations on the list are also constantly seeking top IT talent and are clearly willing to pay for it. The tech companies featured here include an Emmy-award-winning streaming media powerhouse, a virtualization giant and a Web browser pioneer. Tech "salaries are high largely because of shortages of the highest skilled employees needed to advance business into new realms," according to Glassdoor's accompanying report. "Booming demand for software engineers, database administrators and data scientists has far outpaced the supply of these skilled, hard-to-find employees. With companies scrambling to poach these valuable workers from competitors, a bidding war has pushed tech salaries to unprecedented heights in recent years." Glassdoor based its list on compensation data collected from its site users, focusing on companies with at least 30 salary reports.

  • The meteoric growth of cyber-extortion as a prominent threat faced by enterprises has raised a new ethical conundrum for information security executives: to negotiate or not to negotiate? As extortionists have become more creative and precise in their theft and ransoming of valuable business data, what was once unthinkable—negotiating with criminals—has increasingly become standard practice. In fact, it's so standard that nearly one-third of security professionals surveyed are willing to play ball with cyber-criminals in order to get valuable data back. Such is the stand-out finding of a recent survey conducted by threat prevention software vendor ThreatTrack Security. "A surprising number of security pros would concede to cyber-criminal demands to avoid the consequences of data compromise, loss or misappropriation," said Stuart Itkin, ThreatTrack senior vice president. By re-evaluating their security strategies to ensure rapid detection and elimination of threats, as well as the ability to restore encrypted data, Itkin said that enterprises "will neutralize the incentives that are driving cyber-crime extortion and help ensure security professionals will not have to face this difficult choice."

  • Wearables—Internet-connected eye wear, smartwatches and gesture-controlled devices—will become commonplace in both corporate and industrial settings by 2020.

  • Legal and cyber-security issues are increasingly intersecting. A study shines a light on evolving trends and what business must to do combat threats effectively.

  • The majority of technology professionals say they're increasingly aligning to their organization's business goals, according to a recent survey from PMG. The resulting "2015 PMG Benchmark IT and the UX" study indicates that business leaders are starting to understand IT's objectives. Meanwhile, the technology organization is taking a proactive role in improving the user experience (UX), in part by conducting employee surveys and observing how users work with apps. "Investing in and deploying easy-to-use technology is not only beneficial to the user, it's ultimately valuable to IT," says Joe LeCompte, principal of PMG. "When business users feel empowered, IT suddenly has more time to focus on strategic objectives that enhance the organization as a whole. This positions IT to become more of a collaborative partner." There's still plenty of room to grow in that area, however, as IT employees say they're still more often perceived as service providers rather than strategic partners. Nearly 250 North American IT professionals took part in the research.

  • You don't have to immerse yourself in JavaScript or C# to become an in-demand IT professional. In fact, the following 10 skills are considered the hottest right now, in terms of rising demand among employers, according to recent research from Dice.com. The professional communities and job board site based its list on the skills cited as requirements by employers over the past two years, determined by the number of job postings in which the various skills appeared. The list covers the range of trends that are affecting technology now and will in the future, including data management, application development, analytics, software development and online content. (They even include a derivative of a programming language that's more than four decades old!) In addition, one particular skill addresses a trend that Baseline has reported on frequently: the growing alignment of IT and marketing to drive business growth. For whatever technology and business purposes they serve, the skills on this list have risen in terms of ranked demand (times mentioned in job postings) by an estimated 1,800 positions, with the top fastest-growing skills climbing well over 2,500 job slots between 2013 and 2014.

  • Oxford Performance Materials creates sophisticated parts for the aerospace and orthopedic industries by using 3D printing, which has created big changes for IT.

  • One of the biggest challenges organizations face is keeping up with the dizzying array of security risks. Not surprisingly, the mobile environment is increasingly at the epicenter of enterprise concerns. The sheer volume of malware is growing, and mobile attack methods and vectors are becoming more sophisticated. A recent report, "The State of Mobile Application Insecurity," conducted by Ponemon Institute in conjunction with IBM, sheds light on the hazards. It notes that hackers are waking up to opportunities in the mobility arena, and, at any given moment, more than 11.6 million mobile devices are infected with malware. Moreover, organizations are not keeping up with threats. Many professionals are not scanning their networks and outside mobile apps, and they're typically not even checking their own apps for security flaws. "Building security into mobile apps is not top of mind for companies, giving hackers the opportunity to easily reverse-engineer apps, jailbreak mobile devices and tap into confidential data," said Caleb Barlow, vice president of Mobile Management and Security at IBM. "Industries need to think about security at the same level on which highly efficient, collaborative cyber-criminals are planning attacks."

  • Issuing company-owned devices or installing apps on personal units doesn't give a business the right to know what an employee is doing every minute of the day.

  • Here's a social media tip: Go beyond marketing and PR. Truly connect with customers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and other social media sites.

  • Anyone who's ever been interviewed for a job has probably been asked at least one really tough, seemingly oddball interview question. You know what we're talking about: the kind of inquiry that seemingly comes out of nowhere for no apparent purpose. If you're interviewing for an applications development opening, for example, a hiring manager may ask, "What flavor of ice cream would you be?" Or "What's the fastest time you've ever solved a Rubik's Cube?" Or "How many grains of sand would it take to fill a 20-ounce bottle of Coke?" The job candidates on the receiving end of such questions may think they are intended to cause instant panic, but they'd be wrong. Responses to the ice cream question, for instance, will reveal something about a candidate's personality. And the other two questions speak to a potential hire's analytical skills. After conducting a recent survey, CareerBuilder has come up with the following tough but purposeful interview questions. On the surface, they cover everything from pets to outer space to snack foods to Disney characters. However, upon closer review, they also help employers evaluate an applicant's organizational capabilities, problem-solving skills, self-awareness and creativity, among other traits. Nearly 2,200 HR and hiring managers took part in the research.

  • A growing array of digital processes and technologies are ratcheting up the risks for organizations. No longer are threats limited to basic malware, hacking and network intrusions. Increasingly sophisticated attacks—along with newer and more insidious social engineering methods—are challenging many CIOs, CSOs, CISOs and other executives. "Trends in IT Security," a new survey and report from industry association CompTIA, sheds light on how complex the security space has become, and how organizations and business leaders are responding to these challenges. Among other things, the survey of 400 companies in the United States found that perceptions and actual risks are sometimes out of sync; there's a need to shift priorities to new and different vectors and threats; and training methods need to change. Ultimately, organizations must employ newer and better methods for understanding and defending against security risks. This includes data loss prevention (DLP), identity and access management (IAM), and security information and event management (SIEM).