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  • The vast majority of global technology managers and professionals describe their organizations as innovative, according to a recent survey from Harvey Nash. However, tech innovation arrives at a possible cost to IT careers, as a significant number of survey respondents think that automation will render at least some of their skills redundant within 10 years. In fact, the deployment of automated tools will increase to a point at which most IT pros feel they'll have to learn new skills to avoid job consequences. "Through automation, it is possible that 10 years from now, the technology team will be unrecognizable in today's terms," said David Savage, an associate director for Harvey Nash U.K. "Even for those roles relatively unaffected directly by automation, there is a major indirect effect: Up to half of their work colleagues may be machines by 2027." The findings cover a wide range of other technology topics, including big data analytics, workplace goals and the most influential tech companies in the world, and we've included those responses here. An estimated 3,200 global technology managers and professionals took part in the research.

  • Fulfilling predictions made 20 years ago, cloud computing has reached the tipping point, with the majority of enterprises now opting for a cloud-first strategy. Just over half of the 1,850 mid- to senior-level managers participating in "The 2016 Cloud Computing Tipping Point Survey," commissioned by ServiceNow, said they prefer to host new apps and services in the cloud rather than in a traditional data center. That number is expected to climb to three out of four within the next two years. The study reveals that DevOps is fueling the shift to a cloud-first world, uncovering data center bottlenecks that could be resolved with cloud computing. In a worrisome indication for IT, nearly nine out of 10 survey participants reported that their IT staff doesn't have the skills to help them make the shift to a cloud-first strategy. Just as many survey respondents feel the cloud could replace a formal IT department in some cases. That doesn't mean IT is irrelevant—far from it. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said that a shift to the cloud actually increases IT's relevancy. However, to realize that, IT must evolve from a builder of computing infrastructure into a broker of cloud services—and deal with challenges such as achieving 360-degree visibility and predicting the cost of computing. "This presents a real opportunity for visionary IT organizations that can become strategic partners to the enterprise during this shift to cloud-first," said Dave Wright, chief strategy officer for ServiceNow. The study was conducted by ReRez Research of Dallas, which surveyed IT and DevOps managers and the line-of-business owners at enterprises in seven countries, including the United States.

  • Technology investments can bolster productivity and efficiency but the number of tools and programs can make tech investment strategies complex and overwhelming. 

  • Organizations expect to increase their investments in web-based technologies to enhance the efficiency and quality of their app development, according to a recent survey from Sencha. The resulting report, "The State of the Modern Web," indicates that web technology enables developers to support multiple browsers and screen sizes for both desktop and mobile app projects. Findings also report on the emergence of web apps, which enable organizations to avoid building apps separately for every needed platform. Developers anticipate that increased visualization and analytics capabilities will help them better manage the growing complexities of data associated with web apps, as well as the overall volume of data. To make their jobs easier, developers said they'd like new browser versions that are readily supported, as well as easy access to information related to vendors' support, training and professional services. "For more than 20 years, web app development has evolved quickly," according to the report. "From its origins in the early 1990s with simple websites, it quickly grew to a worldwide phenomenon as technology matured and more dynamic browser-based applications were developed. … 'E-business' was born, and then morphed into simply 'business' as all businesses realized the need for a web strategy. Web applications continue to be critical for today's businesses, but now they need to be able to work across all device types and live for a long time to maximize investments." More than 1,130 IT development professionals took part in the research, which was conducted by Dimensional Research.

  • A review of recent headlines provides the latest reminder that organizations are under siege. Companies like ADP, LinkedIn and Yahoo—as well as federal agencies such the FBI and IRS—have reported substantial breaches this year, and the list is sure to get longer. One thing has changed, however: Today's attackers have developed a taste for ransomware and phishing, which have become favored weapons for accessing corporate information, employee data, intellectual property and other valuable content. Just how popular and effective ransomware and phishing have become is the subject of a recent report Osterman Research sponsored by several security vendors. Osterman surveyed 162 IT and IT security executives from companies that averaged 16,313 employees and 14,161 email users, and it found that phishing and ransomware are growing several hundred percent each quarter—a trend Osterman expects to continue for the next 18 to 24 months. But the situation is far from hopeless. "There are a variety of best practices that organizations should follow in order to minimize their potential for becoming victims," an Osterman researcher wrote in a recent blog post about the report. "Among these best practices are implementing security awareness training, deploying systems that can detect and eliminate phishing and ransomware attempts, searching for and remediating security vulnerabilities in corporate systems, maintaining good backups, and using good threat intelligence."

  • The need for speed is forcing many organizations to confront an inconvenient truth: While security is clearly critical to business, many enterprise leaders are still willing to cut corners and take risks. An October 2016 study conducted by Coleman Parks Research and CA Technologies, "The Security Imperative: Driving Business Growth in the App Economy," points out that too many companies are not following a best-practice approach to security and risk management. Although executives view security as critical to protecting the brand and even think of it as a competitive differentiator—with many execs using metrics to measure the impact of security on the business—there's often a willingness to compromise security in order to get applications to users faster. However, the report noted that speed and security aren't necessarily mutually exclusive concepts. By bringing security into the equation sooner and adopting best practices such as DevSecOps, it's possible to ratchet up both performance and protection. Here are some of the key findings from the survey of 1,170 global senior business and IT decision-makers.

  • Digital technology now touches every corner of the enterprise, but regardless of the tools used, the end goal is to enable people to perform their jobs better.

  • The vast majority of IT organizations frequently encounter bugs as a result of incomplete and/or flawed app testing, according to a recent survey from ClusterHQ. For some tech professionals, that's turning into a daily occurrence. As a result, development team members spend too much time debugging app errors instead of innovating. The leading causes of these issues include the presence of unrealistic data to test against before moving into production, as well as the inability to fully recreate production environments in testing. IT departments also encounter difficulties in keeping test data current, and getting it where it needs to be for testing. In addition, they struggle to track different versions of data that has to be used for different purposes. "Legacy software development practices—like relying on narrow subsets of synthetic data for testing—no longer cut it for teams focused on maximizing the amount of time they spend building features that users value," said Mark Davis, CEO of ClusterHQ. "Forward-looking software developer leaders understand that to deliver innovation to their customers, they must effectively manage the entire application lifecycle across a diverse range of infrastructure—a process that begins with identifying and eliminating bugs as early as possible so that teams can focus on adding end-user value." More than 385 app development, DevOps, operations and other IT professionals took part in the research.

  • In theory, a DevOps culture stressing communication between software developers and IT operations professionals can improve application security by enabling organizations to find and fix issues more frequently and earlier in the process. In practice, however, security often takes a back seat to speed and innovation during software development, especially with the growing emphasis on rapid application delivery. A recent study by Hewlett Packard Enterprise titled "Application Security and DevOps Report 2016" reveals that few DevOps programs actually include security as part of the process. Only one in five of the 500 IT operations professionals, security leaders and developers surveyed said their organization conducts any application security testing during development. Even more alarming, almost as many aren't using any technologies to protect their applications. Most organizations adopting DevOps are relying on the technologies downstream, such as pre-production penetration testing and network security, to protect apps. The vast majority of respondents said integrating application security into the process has actually become more difficult since their organization deployed DevOps. The study cites a widespread lack of security awareness and training for developers, as well as a shortage of security talent in the enterprises included in the study. Unless organizations address the disconnect between developers and security teams, problems could worsen in DevOps environments, the study authors advise. They recommend that security be embedded throughout every stage of the development process, with executive support and metrics to hold teams accountable, and that security tools be integrated into the development ecosystem.

  • As organizations begin to incorporate a growing array of digital technologies into the enterprise, while squeezing out maximum performance on legacy systems and applications, IT budgets are under the microscope. As a result, business and IT leaders are looking to put money to work in smarter and more effective ways. "2016 IT Budget Benchmark," a recently released report from best practice and technology insight firm CEB, offers insights into how companies are approaching IT budgets, including key areas such as operational expense (OPEX), capital expense (CAPEX) and full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). A few things stand out from the survey of 147 organizations across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific: Companies are struggling to increase budgets, OPEX spending is on the rise, and organizations are looking for more flexible approaches to IT spending, including a growing use of various cloud solutions, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Here are key highlights about IT spending this year.

  • The four walls of the enterprise have all but disappeared as digital technology has taken hold. Today, about one-quarter of U.S. employees work remotely at any given moment, and that figure is expected to rise further in the months and years ahead. This, of course, is driving profound changes in the business world—and in our culture. A recent study from unified communications provider West Unified Communications, which surveyed 300 workers, provides a barometer for this rapidly evolving work environment. Among other things, "Who Controls the Remote?" reveals that while many of today's employees enjoy the convenience of working remotely, they also want to ensure that workplace elements like office culture, colleague relationships and career advancement remain a part of their working experience. Employers must keep these concerns in mind when developing a telecommuting policy. In addition, attitudes and values about work-life balance are undergoing a seismic shift. Here's a look at some of the key findings of the survey.

  • While most C-level executives feel their organization is "very prepared" for a potential systems-crashing disaster, IT professionals sharply disagree, according to a recent survey from Evolve IP. The "2016 Evolve IP Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Survey" report indicates that a significant number of companies have suffered from a major incident that required disaster recovery (DR) over the past year—sometimes resulting in six-figure losses. Many tech employees indicate that a lack of DR budgeting leaves them unprepared for disruptions caused by hardware failures, server issues, power outages, environmental events, human error and targeted cyber-attacks. And a great many organizations still rely on old-school recovery methods such as backup tapes, instead of newer cloud-based solutions. There is, however, notable interest in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), despite the fact that only about half of C-level executives have heard of this term. "The lack of DR education at the executive level—and the likely related lack of budget—poses a real risk to today's businesses," according to the report. "These factors are further exacerbated by a dramatic increase in targeted attacks, continued reliance on aging tape backups, as well as internal hardware that remains highly susceptible to failure. IT professionals and C-level executives need to directly engage today in conversations that cover their organization's current methodologies and honestly assess confidence in current DR plans and the ability to recover." More than 500 North American C-level executives and IT professionals took part in the research.

  • So you think your technology department has what it takes to be world class? Then you may want to compare how it stacks up against the following performance benchmark research from the Hackett Group. The accompanying report, "The World-Class Performance Advantage: Four Imperatives for Creating IT Agility in a Digital Age," defines "world-class" IT performance organizations as those that are more effective at reducing costs associated with tech service delivery and productivity than other companies, while more successfully enabling a digital transformation. Superior IT departments also more frequently enable their company to realize ROI objectives on projects, while devoting a greater number of tech resources to innovation and performance improvement, rather than just running the data center. In addition, they're better at streamlining the number of business apps deployed by users. "Leaders at world-class IT organizations understand that, while running core information systems and providing infrastructure efficiently remain critical capabilities, digital transformation is increasingly becoming a 'must have' to stay relevant in the business," said Scott Holland, practice leader of the IT Executive Advisory Program at the Hackett Group. "If they are not prepared to support this effort, companies won't wait. Rather than allow the internal IT organization to be a bottleneck to digital transformation execution, the business will look for outside partnerships, acquire technologies directly and develop technology management capabilities themselves." The research includes both IT budget and staffing trends among companies overall, and we've included those here. The findings are based on an analysis of results from recently published benchmarks, performance studies and other data from more than 100 companies.