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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 "Organizations that rely on outdated, complex and inflexible agent desktop applications are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage at a time when customer service and experience are more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.

  • 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.   

  • Enterprise success increasingly revolves around applications. They are the hub where data, software code and connected technologies meet—and where business value is generated. But today's IT environments require a highly elastic and adaptable foundation in order to accommodate constantly changing conditions. Too often, the underlying elements are only loosely aligned, and that's a situation that leads to subpar performance and sometimes to outright failures. A new report from AppDynamics and Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), "Application Performance Monitoring (APM), 2015," takes an in-depth look at this topic. The organization, which polled IT professionals in the United States and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), found that many organizations are approaching application performance management (APM) tasks in a somewhat haphazard way. Among the problems: too many tools being used in organizations, slow response times when issues occur, a lack of flexibility with tools and processes, and too many siloed systems and processes. Here's a look at some of the key findings from the report.

  • To deal with the ever-growing number of technology and business demands piling up on their plates, professionals and managers must constantly find better ways to use their time effectively. However, there are a host of workplace distractions to sidetrack employees and managers and keep them from knocking out tasks and finishing projects in an efficient manner. In fact, smartphones and time-wasting Websites cost U.S. companies an estimated $650 billion a year, according to industry research, and 53 percent of workers admit that these distractions negatively affect their productivity. To develop a sharper focus while taking advantage of digital shortcuts to increase your productivity, consider the following 10 apps designed to help you manage your time. One tool will evaluate whether you're spending too much time avoiding work instead of just doing the job. Several others track your progress on to-do lists and projects. And another will help you deal with the dozens or more passwords that you're supposed to keep inside your head, but which you inevitably end up forgetting. This list was compiled from a number of online resources, including those posted by Lifehack.