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  • If you believe that your company's leaders struggle to understand information technology, you'll find a partner in the marketing department. In fact, only a minority of global marketing executives think that the C-suite comprehends digital strategies, according to a recent survey from Epsilon. The accompanying report, "Leading a Digital Marketing Evolution: Lessons in Transformation, Culture and Technology from the Global 1000," also reveals that companies with rigid structures and high barriers to innovation are nearly twice as likely to have difficulty attracting and keeping tech talent. The survey divides companies into "leaders," and "mainstream," with three-quarters of the former enterprises reporting positive 2013 revenue trends, when compared with the sector average. In contrast, only 43 percent of the mainstream companies showed positive revenue trends. Leader companies are also considered trailblazers with respect to digital change and disruption, while mainstream organizations are more likely to face pressures due to those factors. "Technology enables marketers to expand their capabilities, especially when it comes to making their efforts more customer-centric," says Kim Finnerty, senior vice president of research and insights for Epsilon. More than 400 global consumer marketing executives took part in the research.

  • In today's topsy-turvy digital world, no concept goes unexplored. One of the more interesting wrinkles on the innovation front? Enterprises turning to citizen developers to spur innovation and fill key skill gaps. According to Gartner, employees outside the IT department now write 25 percent of new business apps. This community is increasingly in demand and is of growing value to enterprises as they attempt to stay ahead of competitors and the marketplace. Recognizing this trend, IBM has conducted a global study titled: "Raising the Game: The IBM Business Tech Trends Report." Among other things, it found that 80 percent of leading enterprises are forming new partnerships with citizen developers to close the skills gap for application development. This approach drives greater collaboration and innovation across key cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies, the study reports. Interestingly, these initiatives take many forms, including hackathons, application challenges, contests, crowdsourcing projects, cooperating with academia and open-source Websites that serve as repositories for code. Here's a look at what some organizations are doing.

  • CEOs in the United States are increasingly viewing innovation as a prime key to future growth, according to a recent survey from KPMG. According to the accompanying report, "Setting the Course for Growth: CEO Perspectives," CEOs are generally confident in growth prospects for both their organization and the overall economy. And the vast majority of them are developing a formal companywide plan to increase innovation. Obviously, that benefits the IT organization because innovation almost always involves technology. These efforts are expected to lead enterprises through a make-or-break era of change, as it's time to transform "or wither away" into industry irrelevancy, according to KPMG. "Looking out on the next three years," the report states, "CEOs see opportunities in the steadily improving economy—but they remain focused on efficient growth and are wary of new challenges in a significantly different, post-recovery marketplace. Amid an unprecedented wave of transformative changes, setting the course for growth will require new strategies, new tools and new thinking." An estimated 400 U.S. CEOs took part in the research.

  • The rapid advance of digital technology is changing the stakes for business and IT leaders, who need a strategy to conquer challenges and exploit opportunities.

  • When it comes to the employment picture, IT is creating a greater number of new positions than it's eliminating, according to recent research published by CareerBuilder. However, the technology industry is the main target for what's called "de-skilled" workers: those whose jobs are being replaced by automation. What's clear is that private industry, federal/state/local governments, and both K-12 and higher educational leaders will have to work together to boost students' interest and capabilities in fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). "While automation may eliminate some jobs, it also creates other jobs that are higher paying, and [that] lifts the standard of living for the economy as a whole," says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. "One of the greatest challenges the U.S. faces today is sufficiently preparing the workforce for the influx of more knowledge-based jobs that will likely result from progress in robotics and other STEM-related fields." Nearly 2,200 hiring managers and HR professionals took part in the research. Additional research was compiled through analysis of more than 785 occupations recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • The majority of U.S. companies recognize that the cloud will play an essential role in innovation in the very near future. Yet, most enterprises don't have a clear cloud migration plan in place, according to a recent survey conducted by Oxford Economics for Windstream. The accompanying survey report, titled "The Path to Value in the Cloud," reveals that organizations are falling short when it comes to getting the right performance and ROI metrics in place to measure cloud-enabling success. There are also concerns about the cloud's impact on security, costs, platform compatibility and privacy. However, overall sentiments remain upbeat, as the cloud is expected to help increase geographic market expansion, business transformation, collaboration and other strategy drivers. "Cloud computing today is fundamentally altering business processes and changing the way organizations interact with customers, partners and employees," according to the report. "This transformation brings incredible opportunities, including the ability to build a real-time enterprise where interaction and innovation flourish." A total of 350 U.S. business and technology executives took part in the research.

  • By 2020, the Internet of things (IoT) is expected to interconnect 26 billion computing devices in businesses, homes, cars, clothes, animals and pretty much everything else, according to Gartner. That's a thirtyfold increase over the past five years. While the potential for innovation is exciting, it's taking a toll on IT resources, according to survey research from Infoblox. Many tech professionals surveyed said that any required deployments for the IoT will become part of their existing IT network, even though most said their network is already at capacity. It doesn't help, findings reveal, that the business side often does not keep the IT organization informed about their IoT-related projects. "It's encouraging that IT professionals recognize the demands the Internet of things will make on their networks," says Cricket Liu, chief infrastructure officer at Infoblox. "But business units often get deep into the buying process before calling IT, sometimes forcing IT to scramble to provide support for devices that lack the full set of connectivity and security protocols found in established categories such as PCs, tablets and smart phones." On the positive side, IT employees feel their companies are committed to providing the budget and staffing needed to accommodate IoT-related demands. A total of 400 IT professionals from the United States and the United Kingdom took part in the research.