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  • As digital business moves into the mainstream, a growing number of executives recognize the fact that software applications play a prominent role in attracting, servicing and retaining customers. What's more, as the environment heats up, these apps are critical to achieving a competitive advantage and boosting customer loyalty. A recently released study conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of CA Technologies, "Software: The New Battleground for Brand Loyalty," points out that consumer-facing software is now a make-or-break proposition that's critical to business growth and success. "Software is no longer just the economy's oil, but its oxygen," the report states. In fact, the study found that businesses delivering a sub-par application experience risk losing 25 percent of their customers. In addition, more than two-thirds of consumers expected a load time of six seconds or less, and slightly more than half of these respondents demanded a load time of less than three seconds. Overall, the report found that consumers are focused on three key areas: quick-loading sites and apps, simple functionality, and the assurance of security. Here's a look at some of the key findings from the report.

  • The overwhelming presence of business and personal mobile applications in our lives has reached a state of "appdiction," according to a recent survey from the Apigee Institute and Stanford University's Mobile Innovation Group (MIG). Findings reveal that a significant number of smartphone users plan to spend even more time on their mobile devices than they already do, while also increasing the number of apps they download. The vast majority said these tech tools have changed the way they do their job, manage their health and connect to their friends. In fact, some even confessed that they would be incapable of maintaining a relationship with a significant other without a smartphone. If that wasn't bad enough, the survey singles out a group it describes as "top app users," who take their addiction to new heights by incessantly checking their phones—even while they're at dinner with family and friends. On the positive side, however, most of these users said their obsession makes them more productive. An estimated 1,000 respondents took part in the research.

  • Cyber-security has emerged as a major challenge for businesses large and small. It increasingly impacts e-commerce, data management, employee collaboration, and a variety of other tasks and processes. In the end, it affects company growth and bottom-line results. A recently released study conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne and sponsored by CA Technologies, "8 Steps to Modernize Security for the Application Economy," examines security in the emerging app economy, including how companies are adapting to an explosion of Internet-enabled devices. Among other things, the survey found that protections must extend beyond internal systems and employees and out to business partners and consumers. There's also a need to shift away from extensive restrictions and use enabling technologies, such as application programming interfaces (APIs), two-factor authentication and bring-your-own-identity approaches. These tools, according to the report, are critical to achieving innovation and tapping into opportunities. Here are some of the key findings from the survey of 1,425 senior IT and business leaders, including CSOs and CISOs.