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  • The intensifying debate over digital privacy demonstrates the vast complexities of this issue. On one hand, users appreciate the advantages of having one-on-one purchasing experiences with companies. That's how, through alerts and other techniques, they quickly find what they need online and save money on the transaction. On the other hand, analytics empowers businesses to collect and use consumer data in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Such dynamics are creating a perfect storm when it comes to consumer privacy, with a broad range of developing conflicts, trends and ethical challenges. To provide some insight, Constellation Research has published "Privacy Enters Adolescence: The State of Digital Safety and Privacy in 2015." The report, which has a list price of $995, includes big-picture themes that IT professionals and executives should consider—and even debate. We've adapted the following list of privacy themes based on the report, along with some best practices for enterprises trying to strike the right balance between business-benefiting innovation and respect for customers' personal information. "The digital world brings opportunities and risks that are without precedent in the history of commerce and society," according to the report's author, Steve Wilson. "Information paradoxically is both a commodity and, in the hands of analytics wizards, a great treasure. … Society's critical dependence on ubiquitous connectivity and frictionless access to data contrasts with traditional security and privacy practices, which unfortunately regard these very properties as a problem."

  • Transforming into a software-driven business is not easy, as many companies are trying to compete with applications that are better suited to the last century.

  • Amid a rapidly changing business and IT environment, perhaps only one thing is entirely clear: Digital disruption in the new normal. A recently released report from Bersin by Deloitte Consulting, "Predictions for 2015: Redesigning the Organization for a Rapidly Changing World," underscores just how tumultuous and transformational the year will be, and just how much impact it will have on IT and human resources. "The global economic recovery, changing demographics and rapid changes in the technology landscape have come together to redefine the entire nature of work," states author Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte. "This has resulted in a "new world of life—one in which work, home, family and personal lives are completely interconnected in a real-time way. 2015 is the time to be bold, innovative, and forward-thinking. The technology and workplace changes around us are dramatic and rapidly occurring." The consulting firm predicts that this emerging digital order will fundamentally change our lives and will alter the power dynamics between employers and employees. Technology is introducing greater transparency in the job market and a need for entirely different skill sets. The following are 10 key trends for 2015 from the report.

  • Organizations will expect project managers to better align outcomes to business strategies this year, according to a recently published list of project management trends for 2015 from ESI International. That's because the rapid pace of business shifts and technology changes will undoubtedly accelerate, and project teams will have to quickly integrate principles of agile development and change management into their approaches. In addition, they'll face considerable staffing and leadership shortages, as the availability of existing talent can't keep up with increases in demand, and older, seasoned team members will be leaving the workforce during the next several years. That means project managers will have to deal with significant day-to-day challenges, while facing building pressure to address big-picture objectives. "All too often, people talk about strategy and execution independently," says Mark Bashrum, vice president of marketing and strategic intelligence for ESI. "In the coming year, we will see a heightened focus on managing the critical links connecting the two. … Project managers—who are typically held accountable for delivering project outcomes—will now also be responsible for how those deliverables impact the business. This will require a retooling of their skill sets, [elevating] the PM's role as a critical enabler of business strategy, and that's a very good thing for project managers who can make the jump." The following is adapted from ESI's list of project management trends.

  • According to Google CEO Larry Page, we no longer live in a mobile-first world. We live in a mobile-only one. Given the dominance of mobility and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement in the enterprise, IT organizations will have to stay on top of the following mobility trends to watch in 2015, recently released by DMI. The trends include insights into the next generation of mobile apps, the Internet of things (IoT), phablets (a cross between a smartphone and a tablet), wearable devices and app development. With regard to the last item, organizational leaders will push tech teams to take on a greater number of projects to equip employees with more business tools. And these initiatives are expected to grow increasingly complex in nature. "We live in a mobile world that is changing at an unparalleled pace, straining the capacity of many enterprises to keep up with the growth," says Jay Sunny Bajaj, DMI founder and CEO. "[Enterprises need] an end-to-end mobility solution that enhances evolving, all-encompassing strategies and tactics, from mobility management to app development to omni-channel implementation and everything in between."

  • While organizations are expected to continue increasing their IT spending in 2015, the overall forecast is conservative compared to recent years, according to a recent survey from DATA. The top investment priorities include app development, service-oriented architecture, support services and infrastructure, findings reveal. But overall costs present constant obstacles, as does the lack of qualified personnel to support tech initiatives. Still, survey findings remain encouraging for the most part, as executive leadership looks to the tech department to help address key business-impacting challenges. "Technology initiatives continue to drive companies' efforts to improve their internal processes, as well as efforts to better connect with customers and key stakeholders," says Conrad Leao, vice president of operations at DATA. "We see this IT investment in the form of leveraging big data, evolving computing platforms and the creation of innovation applications, to name a few." The results also cover a few general "state of IT" topics, such as job security and vendor satisfaction, and we've included some of those topics here. More than 180 global professionals, including IT support staffers and project coordinators, took part in the research.

  • In an era of device and data sprawl, concerns around IT governance are building. A recent survey from Forrester Research, commissioned by data governance vendor Druva, suggests that organizations will increase their focus on governance over the next two years as they try to get a handle on the growing use of mobile devices and cloud applications. Change is expected to occur all over: Mobile devices, apps and content will be looked at more closely; governance models and technologies will be beefed up; and, naturally, costs will increase. Given that other research from Forrester indicates that 20 percent of CIOs will lose their jobs by 2016 for failing to successfully implement information governance, it's no surprise that governance is getting more attention. "With the rise of the mobile workforce, organizations must establish strategies to govern not only corporate and employee-owned mobile devices, but also the multiple channels that are now required to make data available anywhere on any device," said Chandar Venkataraman, chief product officer at Druva. "The increase in complexity is staggering." The survey includes input from more than 200 IT and legal professionals from enterprises with at least 2,000 employees.

  • Despite the frequency of disasters and network outages, many organizations remain under-prepared for these incidents, according to a recent survey from Evolve IP. As a result, these companies run the risk of losing IT assets that directly impact productivity and profitability, findings show. Many organizations have suffered multiple incidents within the past five years, and it frequently takes an entire day or longer to bounce back from major events. The most common causes of disasters and outages are hardware failures and server room issues, but natural disasters, such as floods, storms and fires, also play a major role. One possible remedy: disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), which many businesses are using as a means to safeguard against anything and everything. "For many organizations, the question isn't 'if' they will suffer a disaster, it's 'when,'" says Tim Allen, chief sales officer at Evolve IP. "When disaster hits, [it typically takes] over a day to recover, causing financial as well as data losses." Nearly 2,085 IT professionals and executives took part in the research.

  • This nonprofit transformed its business practice, implemented a new case management system and adopted a new business process—all with minimal disruption.