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  • The impact of the cloud on IT staffing has become clear: As workloads move to offsite infrastructures, hiring for lower-level IT positions is slowing, while the demand for skills in areas such as analytics, the cloud and security is on the rise. This finding from Computer Economics' recent study, "IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks 2017/2018," illustrates the evolving makeup of the typical IT department. While IT staffing levels are remaining fairly flat, the move toward software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, cloud infrastructure, virtualization and increased automation—and the accompanying shift of IT dollars from CapEx to OpEx—has required IT leaders to adjust the mix of skills and capabilities at their disposal. Forward-looking IT professionals should make note of this trend to avoid getting left behind. "As the cloud shifts hiring priorities, IT professionals need to be upgrading their skills," said Tom Dunlap, director of research at Computer Economics. "Fortunately, the cloud makes it easy to get those skills, whether by setting up a virtual server on Amazon Web Services, or by developing a new app on one of the cloud platforms." The study, which also indicated steady operational IT spending growth, was based on a survey of more than 200 North American IT executives, and it includes IT spending and staffing benchmarks for small, midsize and large organizations in 25 industries.

  • While it may sound like a bit of a cliché, the most productive and effective employees don't necessarily work brutal hours. They're just good at working smarter, not harder, according to a recent survey from VitalSmarts. The survey distinguishes employees who are considered skilled at "Getting Things Done (GTD)," which was the subject of the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, an executive coach and management consultant. For the purposes of the VitalSmarts research, GTD top performers are individuals who excel at organization, attention to detail, time management, focus and punctuality, as well as other efficiency-boosting traits. They also avoid excessive multitasking and are seldom accused of being "messy desk" people. "Productivity is more than just being busy," said Justin Hale, a VitalSmarts co-researcher for the study. "Employees who learn to manage their workload quickly and efficiently don't just get more done, they get more of the right things done. They stop carrying the weight and anxiety of work, and free up their time and mental capacity for new and better ideas. It's a win-win for both the individual and the business." Nearly 2,000 managers and employees took part in the research.

  • The hiring numbers from the latest TEKsystems "Reality Check," an ongoing state-of-IT report, convey a familiar theme: Employers continue to expand the hiring of IT staff, whether for full-time or contingency workers. They're also having a tough time filling open positions because of the lack of available or suitably skilled talent. They also lack the budget funding needed to meet the salary demands of experienced candidates. "In the digital era, technology is ubiquitous, and most organizations will require consistent access to IT talent at every level of expertise in order to grow and innovate," said Matt Hannigan, vice president of strategy and marketing for TEKsystems. "Even if access to certain talent pipelines does tighten or close, the need for that talent will remain, and organizations will have to adjust in real time or risk derailing their technology initiatives. This necessitates a greater focus on workforce planning strategies and increased creativity in the methods they employ to source new talent, train existing talent and retain all talent—the competition for which will only become more intense." The findings also cover the question of whether management has confidence in IT's ability to satisfy and support core tech demands, new initiatives and line-of-business needs, and we've included those here. More than 200 hiring managers, CIOs, IT directors and other technology leaders took part in the research.

  • If you've been feeling the effects of football deprivation for months now, the long wait is almost over: On Sept. 7, the Kansas City Chiefs take on the New England Patriots, the reigning Super Bowl champs, (literally) kicking off the regular NFL season. That game, of course, will feature the man who is widely considered to be the best coach in the game, Bill Belichick of the Patriots. Belichick is obsessive when it comes to preparation, a much-valued trait in business as well as sports. Most celebrated coaches, in fact, command a wide range of characteristics and skills that organizations look for in their executives and managers. With this in mind, we've come up with the following breakdown of essential qualities of top NFL coaches—qualities that are also valued in business and government. They include current coaches such as Belichick, Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, as well as legendary coaches of the past such as Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins, Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers and Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. The range of decades represented here illustrates how certain leadership strengths—work ethic, people management and a commitment to innovation—have stood the test of time, whether on a football field or in an office building.

  • Would you believe that the technology industry isn't the fastest growing sector for software jobs? That's according to recent rankings from job site Glassdoor, which lists the fastest-growing industry segments and metropolitan areas for software professionals. Glassdoor compiled the rankings by identifying all job listings on its site containing the word "software" in its title: software engineer, software developer, etc. Then it calculated where (in terms of location and industry) these open positions grew the fastest over the past five years with respect to a percentage of overall software jobs. The results? While the top city (Seattle) is somewhat predictable, the No. 1 industry (retail) initially seems surprising. However, given the surge of interest in customer experience (CX) technologies, maybe it's not such a shocker. The upshot: You don't have to work for an IT company—or move to Silicon Valley—to stake out a great career in software. "Companies across a wide range of industries and locations increasingly need to recruit tech talent to power their businesses, improve operations and support bottom-line growth," said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor.

  • The majority of professionals and business leaders feel that parts of their job could be automated—a move that would significantly reduce the burden of mundane tasks that don't address core role functions, according to a recent survey from WorkMarket. The resulting report, "2020 In(Sight) Report: What AI and Automation Really Mean For Work," reveals that the majority of employees believe automation would save at least an hour of their time during the work day. With this, they'd direct more of their energies to perfecting the quality of other projects, while finding ways to better serve customers. What's more, business leaders believe that workforce automation would be relatively easy to implement. Given the advantages, many organizations are already making this transition. "Automation stands ready to free human workers from tedious non-core tasks so they can focus on what they're most passionate about, and what delivers the most value," according to the report. "While the narrative around automation has suggested that only the most junior employees will see their jobs impacted by automation, there is as much (or more) opportunity for automation in the executive ranks. The most senior business leaders report wasting more hours on non-core tasks like expense reporting—exactly the same kinds of tasks that are ripe for automation. … While AI is still in its infancy with regard to work, more than half of business leaders expect to implement work automation in the coming years." A total of 200 business leaders and 202 employees took part in the research, which was conducted by KRC Research.