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  • More than ever, IT professionals are helping their organizations increase agility. For example, they are deploying advanced technology tools to better anticipate business changes and overhaul outdated processes. Beyond that, agile companies are embracing diverse backgrounds and skill sets, while giving their employees and teams the resources and freedom needed to make quick, informed decisions. To determine what separates agile frontrunners from followers, Accenture conducted a comprehensive survey of global senior executives. The resulting report, "Traits of Truly Agile Businesses," covers the deployment of analytics, social media, data sharing and other tech-related functions, in addition to specifics on organizational shifts. It also divides companies into the categories of "leaders" and "laggards." Leaders are defined as organizations that increased sales more than 10 percent in the last fiscal year, while laggards are experiencing sales declines. "Leaders stand apart from other companies on nearly every dimension of agility," according to the report, "from speeding up decision making, to knowing what is strategic and what is operational, to aggressively investing in and using analytics to run their organizations." An estimated 1,300 global C-suite and senior-level executives took part in the research.

  • Many companies are stepping up efforts to get their employees healthy and fit, and some are encouraging the use of fitness devices to cycle up wellness programs.

  • It seems that far too many information workers still don't fully understand the importance of keeping their log-in details confidential. In a recent study of 2,000 white-collar employees in the United States and the United Kingdom, security software vendor IS Decisions found that alarming numbers of workers don't believe their log-in details represent a security threat. What's worse, an even greater percentage of managers feel the same way. IS Decisions' report, "From Brutus to Snowden: A Study of Insider Threat Personas," also found that age is a significant determining factor, with younger workers being much more likely to share log-ins and passwords than their older colleagues. The findings serve as a reminder to IT security teams that understanding the behavior of their own users should be one of their most important jobs. "The recurrent theme is lack of education," said IS Decisions CEO François Amigorena. "This highlights the need for a tailored approach to tackling internal security that addresses everyone in an organization, from top to bottom." The company recommends some steps for dealing with this challenge, including making employees more familiar with security policies, restricting concurrent access and instituting harsher punishments for offenders. There's also one tongue-in-cheek piece of advice: Passwords are like underwear. They should be changed often, not shared with friends, kept as mysterious as possible and not left lying around.

  • The specialty retailer moved from spreadsheets and manual processes to an advanced, cloud-based financial planning system to ring up better business results.

  • Employees are often overwhelmed by workplace distractions, which significantly reduce their productivity. Sometimes, the distractions are due to their own actions, but many times, they're not, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. Yes, the ubiquitous (and tempting) nature of tech gadgets and Web surfing are major culprits. In fact, findings show that one out of four workers admitted that they will spend at least one hour of a standard workday on personal calls, emails and texts. And one-fifth estimate that they spend one hour or more of their work time searching the Internet for non-work-related information and photos, etc. In addition to limiting such pursuits to lunchtime and other designated break times, you can follow these suggestions from CareerBuilder to make the best use of your time on the job: De-clutter your desk so you can find things quickly when you need them. Organize your brain by focusing on your daily to-do list and include estimated time requirements for individual tasks. Don't allocate large blocks of time to composing and revising emails when you can have a phone or in-person conversation much more efficiently. As an added bonus, we're including a couple of CareerBuilder's outrageous real-life examples of time-wasting employees. Nearly 2,200 hiring managers and HR professionals and more than 3,020 workers took part in the research.

  • Cyber-security attacks are increasing, and (ISC)2's goal is to help IT professionals address the growing complexities involved in protecting data and systems.

  • Employers are increasingly citing inappropriate social media behavior as their reason to pass over job candidates, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. And hirers sometimes dismiss serious contenders because they find out unsettling information about them via social media. To best position yourself for a great career opportunity, keep in mind that companies are increasingly researching social media profiles of interviewees before making a final decision. It's essential to use good judgment—not only about what you post, but also about the content the people in your network are posting. Though it's unfair, some employers take a "guilt by association" approach to screening job candidates. It's also important to search yourself on social media, to verify that all online information is accurate and is not potentially damaging. "Job seekers need to stay vigilant," advises Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "They must pay attention to privacy updates from all their social networking accounts, so they know what information is out there for others to see. Take control of your Web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and by monitoring posts you've been tagged in." The following are common practices that kept candidates from getting jobs, along with some strange and even shocking social media postings that hirers discovered about contenders. Nearly 2,140 hiring managers and HR professionals and more than 3,020 workers took part in the research.

  • Data visualization technologies communicate large amounts of data in ways that are easier for business groups to understand, so insights can be quickly gained.

  • Organizations are increasingly moving toward hybrid cloud integration models, according to a recent survey from Technology Business Research (TBR). As a result, the hybrid cloud represents a potential $7 billion hybrid integration market this year, as IT environments are expected to move toward becoming fully hybridized, the findings state. However, the market is still far from mature, with only a minority of large enterprises currently investing in the integration required to create hybrid clouds. Clearly, the trend creates opportunities for IT professionals who can help organizations move forward with hybrid cloud strategies. "A hybrid IT environment is the end-game for cloud, with the hybrid cloud as a first step," stated one of the reports in the series, "Hybrid Cloud Customer Research." "For enterprises, hybrid cloud will increasingly become the goal, leading to purchases across the cloud services landscape and moving integration into a lynchpin role." TBR defines the hybrid cloud as a cloud infrastructure, platform or application that is composed of two or more clouds (whether private or public) that remain unique but are integrated by technologies that enable data and application movement. The research is being published in a three-part series of reports from TBR, with each report based on a survey involving 2,200 global IT purchase decision-makers.

  • Agile development is about loosening controls, operating in a more iterative way, and constantly adapting, adjusting and pivoting based on changes in the market.

  • Is it an odd couple or a match made in heaven? We're talking about the recent Apple and IBM announcement that the two companies have formed a global partnership to sell software, hardware and services to enterprise customers. IBM will migrate more than 150 of its business and big data apps to Apple's iOS platform and will sell iPhones and iPads to its global business customers. As part of the media hoopla, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty told CNBC that the two companies were like "puzzle pieces" that fit perfectly together. Such mutual admiration distances the tech giants from the "fightin' words" of the past, when Apple's celebrated "1984" ad took swipes at IBM. "Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money," said the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, in 1983 when he previewed the ad. "Dealers … fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom." Well, it's time to forgive and forget, right? With these two powerhouses teaming up, we've compiled the following intriguing facts about Rometty and Cook, along with selected quotes from the two CEOs. They were compiled from a number of online news accounts and resources.

  • CIO Sigal Zarmi describes how GE Capital Americas has approached digital business and offers guidance on how a company can become a digital enterprise.

  • Demand for enterprise software is soaring, according to the latest research from Gartner. The worldwide IT spending growth forecast remains reasonably healthy at 2.1 percent ($3.7 trillion) for the year, findings reveal. That's down from prior projections of 3.2 percent. A reduction in growth expectations for devices, data center systems and IT services is accounting for the slight decline. In contrast, spending in the enterprise software market is on pace to total $321 billion this year, a 6.9 percent increase from 2013.  "Price pressure based on increased competition, lack of product differentiation and the increased availability of viable alternative solutions has had a dampening effect on the short-term IT spending outlook," says Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner. "However, [we] will see a return to 'normal' spending growth levels as pricing and purchasing styles reach a new equilibrium. IT is entering its third phase of development, moving from a focus on technology and processes in the past to a focus in the future on new business models enabled by digitalization." The forecast is based on an analysis of sales of thousands of vendors representing the entire range of IT products and services.

  • The chain of music stores turns to a cloud solution to aid in onboarding, managing talent pools, providing training and addressing other staff development tasks.

  • Both employees and senior managers feel strongly that IT departments must help them increase existing mobile technology capabilities, according to a recent survey from Aruba Networks. Providing support and resources for an all-wireless workplace remains at the top of the must-have list for organizations, as today's professionals frequently work somewhere other than the corporate office. Much of the survey focuses on the needs of what Aruba calls "GenMobile": employees in their mid-20s to mid-30s who seek a more agile, creative and connected working environment. Executives and GenMobile employees "prefer an increasingly mobile style of working, and IT organizations are feeling the pressure to adapt existing technology investments to meet their requirements," says Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer for Aruba Networks. "The workplace of the future will not only need to be right-sized to align with IT budgets, but it will also require a mobility-centric and secure wireless infrastructure—a move toward employee self-service." An estimated 1,000 global IT professionals took part in the research.