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  • When IT staffs devote most of their time to day-to-day tasks such as managing hardware, software and networks and resolving issues, they have little time to devote to innovation. That's risky, given the growing need to improve customer engagement, adopt the internet of things (IoT), and leverage the use of big data and analytics. The lack of strategic thinking, along with the required investment in people, process, tools and technology, could lead to missed market opportunities. An IDC survey of IT managers in 275 large organizations in 10 countries reveals that enterprises have varying rates of investment in their IT infrastructure and operations, with most adopting automation for monitoring and support only. "Optimization Drives Digital Transformation," a study sponsored by information and communications technology provider Dimension Data, suggests that enterprises need to deliver IT services more efficiently by using new automation technologies and leveraging external partnerships. Though most of the managers surveyed view IT operations and infrastructure as critical to digital transformation, only a minority said their organization is fully automated. "Forward-thinking business leaders are developing their IT to achieve digital transformation now, in anticipation of future market opportunities," said Bill Padfield, Dimension Data's group executive for services. "Flexible, scalable and agile infrastructures are needed to support these new developments, and optimizing infrastructure through automation is key to this effort."

  • All types of businesses can benefit from digital platforms, but most new digital platforms will fail if companies neglect the five key steps to digital success.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a fundamental success driver for global organizations, dramatically increasing efficiencies while cutting costs, according to a recent survey from Infosys. The accompanying report, "Amplifying Human Potential: Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence," indicates that most companies are either fully or partially deploying this technology, and that they're happy with the results. Among other anticipated outcomes, they're seeking to gain competitive advantage through AI, while solving business, operational and/or technology issues. Of course, there are concerns—including a fear of change among employees and the potential impact on data safety and job security—that could present barriers. However, momentum for continued exploration and implementation currently appears unstoppable. "AI is inevitable," according to the report. "Some organizations already find themselves actively exploring how the technology can work for them, while many remain focused on planning their approach. What is clear, however, is that the successful use of AI requires balance: greater automation versus employee engagement, and customer satisfaction versus changing business models. The goal is to harness the vast array of possible rewards while minimizing the many potential risks." An estimated 1,600 global IT and business decision-makers took part in the research.

  • Augmented reality may be a new technology for many, but there are intriguing options to explore because of the numerous potential applications in the workplace.

  • Are you curious about which innovations have the potential to make a big impact on technology and business in 2017? Then you'll want to check out this recent list published by the IEEE Computer Society. The organization's tech trend predictions for the year ahead cover a broad range of anticipated advances: There's the internet of things (IOT), of course, which is expected to boost growth significantly within the manufacturing industry. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning should take data analytics to the next level, producing more successful products and services in the process. Meanwhile, if you're driving in California, you may be cruising alongside the next generation of self-driving cars. Other innovations on IEEE's list include the latest developments in 5G networks, disaggregated memory, ubiquitous sensors and edge computing, blockchain and hyper-converged systems. The following summaries were adapted from IEEE's ranked list. The IEEE Computer Society is one of the world's leading membership organizations dedicated to computer science and technology, with more than 60,000 members.

  • Many connected products have weak security and controls, and that creates points of weakness in a user’s critical private networks, systems and data.

  • Rapid, radical advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning in business are changing the stakes—and ushering in a new era of business and technology.

  • A number of organizations are using facial recognition—sometimes to replace passwords. Despite a few hiccups, the biometric technology is ready for prime-time.