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  • The vast majority of IT professionals surveyed said their department has scrum practices in place, according to a recent survey from the Scrum Alliance. The accompanying "2015 State of Scrum Report" reveals that scrum teams primarily focus on better fulfilling customers' needs, while boosting innovation and satisfying budget, time and scope requirements. The average team size is seven people, and three out of five teams follow what are called two-week scrum "sprints." Over a year, these teams will work on an average of four agile projects, and the overall success rate of these projects is notably high. When scrum initiatives are aligned with a project management office, that success rate soars even higher. However, the research indicates that teams would benefit by being more empowered, especially with respect to having the authority to remove project impediments. Scrum is generally defined as an agile software development approach that emphasizes flexibility and collaboration. More than 4,450 business professionals—the vast majority in software development and other areas of IT—took part in the research.

  • Under pressure to gain a competitive advantage through disruptive IT, company leaders are expecting more input—and innovation—from their IT departments, according to a recent survey from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and Dimension Data. The resulting report, "Accelerating Business Transformation Through IT Innovation: Getting the Business Leader Take on the IT Change Mandate," states that many of these executives still struggle to understand the strategic implications of new and emerging technologies. The execs said that IT must improve its response to rapidly shifting business trends, while taking better advantage of digital tools to increase their organization's competitive advantage. Only a minority of these execs gave their tech teams high marks for innovating, and relatively few said their company does well as a whole in embracing modern technologies. "Most leaders are frustrated with their IT organization's sluggishness in providing [new tech]," according to the report. "Business leaders want to migrate as soon as possible to hybrid IT solutions that blend modernized data centers with cloud-enabled technologies. They want new business-changing applications and customer experiences delivered more rapidly. They want deeper business insights from their growing stores of data. And they want the IT group to be held more accountable for providing them." 250 CEOs, C-level execs and managers from around the world took part in the research.

  • A major communications firm turned to more robust identity management to simplify logins and boost security, revamping its systems and practices in the process.

  • 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.

  • Responding to an e-discovery request without proper counsel and expertise can have a major financial impact and delay proceedings. Here's how to avoid blunders.

  • A significant number of executives and managers believe that their organization lacks a clear and coherent digital strategy, according to a recent survey from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital. The resulting report, "Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation," identifies strategy as the key driver of success in the digital arena. It warns that conservative companies that are too risk-adverse are "unlikely to thrive—and they'll also lose talent, as employees across all age groups want to work for businesses committed to digital progress." The report also states that many companies are struggling to conceptualize how new digital technologies can impact their current business processes and models. Other barriers include competing priorities, security concerns and a lack of required tech skills. What's needed, the report concludes, is a cohesive enterprise approach to anticipate and respond to business-benefiting strategies and trends. "Those companies developing enterprise-level digital strategies are moving ahead, while those that aren't are struggling," says Doug Palmer, co-author of the report and a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Digitally maturing companies embrace innovation and collaboration and have leaders who understand both technology and its potential impact on the business." More than 4,800 global execs, managers and analysts took part in the research.

  • While the vast majority of IT organizations have either already adopted or are pursuing the cloud, comparatively few give themselves high grades when it comes to tracking cloud usage and costs, according to a recent survey from Cloud Cruiser. The resulting report, "Managing the Business of Cloud," indicates that a notable share of organizations have migrated a significant portion of services to the cloud. In doing so, they are hoping to achieve reduced costs, improved technology efficiencies and greater alignment of IT with business goals. However, without better tracking of cloud usage and costs, these organizations will limit their potential when it comes to IT forecasting and comparing costs among different delivery platforms and vendors. "Once an organization gets serious about cloud," says Deirdre Mahon, chief marketing officer at Cloud Cruiser, "they quickly hit a wall in terms of tracking usage and gaining full control on forecasts—essentially delivering services with efficiency and agility." Nearly 280 IT professionals took part in the research.

  • Part 2 of this cyber-security series reports on three additional themes that differentiate companies in terms of the effectiveness of their security strategies.  

  • There are significant differences between companies that have made major improvements to their security effectiveness and those that have not. (Part 1)

  • Even though a majority of employees are happy at work, many are approaching the burnout stage, according to a recent survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. The resulting "2015 Workplace Index: A Comprehensive Study of Workplace Trends" reveals that the IT department factors greatly into the equation here, as most professionals said that poorly performing technology, along with insufficient IT support, hurts productivity. And employees are much more likely to consider themselves "happy" if they have access to mobile phones, custom apps and other in-demand tech tools. "Technology plays a key role in improving the competitiveness and productivity of modern business," according to the report. "Much has been written about the operational and commercial benefits of investing in IT and technology, but the impact that poor/inadequate technology can have on staff morale is often overlooked. … Not only does inadequate technology place companies at a competitive disadvantage, it also demotivates staff and contributes to inefficient working and higher staff churn." In addition to technology, findings cover a wide range of workplace productivity and happiness influencers—including office politics and a glut of meetings—and breaks down opposing perspectives of employees and managers, as well as the views of Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers. We've included a sampling of those results as well. More than 2,600 staff-level employees, managers and business decision-makers in the United States and Canada took part in the research, which was conducted by Redshift Research.

  • Supply chain organizations—overseeing the full span of activities from sourcing to production planning to delivery and service—are facing complex talent issues.