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  • One trend addresses computers so intelligent that they're capable of conducting human-like reasoning and conversations. Another focuses on machines so small that you could literally drink one with a sip of water and not realize you swallowed it. A third pits the need for advanced cyber-security tools against the demand for personal privacy. Combined, these and other selected IT developments represent the following 11 game-changing technology trends for the next eight years. They were adapted from a recent report published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), considered the world's largest association of technology professionals, with 400,000 members. The "IEEE CS 2022 Report" includes some of the usual tech suspects—the cloud, big data and the Internet of things—but it casts these familiar topics in a fresh light. The report also provides insights into technologies that don't generate as much attention, and it conveys a compellingly human side to the equation. "Technology is the enabler," says IEEE Computer Society President Dejan Milojicic, who led the "2022" effort. "What humanity takes out of it really depends on human society." The report is based on the input of nine IEEE leaders.

  • Today's technologies are best deployed when they leverage a strong foundation of transactional data—the kind of data that is largely managed by your ERP system.

  • Need more proof that employees are increasingly driven by mobility? Then consider this: There are 10 times more smartphones and tablets sold every day than babies born. And this: The average person checks his or her smartphone 150 times a day—nearly once every six minutes, assuming they sleep. Meanwhile, mobile data traffic increases about 80 percent a year. Along with these and other findings in a recent report, the IBM Institute for Business Value presents a how-to guide for IT professionals to help them empower their organizations to become thriving mobile enterprises. The report, "The Individual Enterprise: How Mobility Redefines Business," introduces best practices and five essential mobile enterprise building blocks, which cover connectivity and security, as well as more strategic qualities such as analytics. "Currently, most enterprise mobile use has been restricted to email, calendaring and instant messaging," says Saul Berman, vice president and chief strategist for IBM Global Business Services. "Consider how combining mobile devices and cognitive analytics can completely transform how we work, industries operate and companies perform. Getting started with this new imperative requires leaders who can define what this journey will look like and champion a call to action."

  • There's a lot more to football than simply tossing the pigskin and dealing with countless on-field collisions. Though the sport does demand a high degree of athletic skill and a knack for "getting physical" with opponents, there are many intriguing dynamics that keep us fascinated with the game. They include the way organizational practices translate into success on the gridiron. It's not a coincidence that standout players and coaches are highly sought as motivational speakers for business audiences. After all, their experiences and insights are readily applicable to the modern workplace. For example, they can discuss in-depth the value of relentless focus, preparation, resiliency, emotional "fire" and in-game analysis, among other transferable qualities. Keep in mind that football players benefit as much from marathon planning and film sessions as they do from gym workouts and team scrimmages. And they remain devoted to professional self-improvement in order to be at their best when it matters most: game time. So, with a new football season upon us, we're presenting these seven lessons that you can apply to yourself and your team at the office.

  • 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.

  • It's no secret that line-of-business departments are taking command of how they acquire and use information technology, and a growing number of business users are now adopting their own cloud computing environments. As a result, something called the "shadow cloud" has emerged, according to a recent report from PwC. The rapid pace of business change is bringing a sense of urgency to this topic, as the cloud enables rapid deployment of essential business tools in a cost-effective manner. The report, "Managing the Shadow Cloud: Integrating Cloud Governance into Your Existing Compliance Program," makes it clear that, like the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement, there's not much the IT organization can do to stop this trend. Instead, given the shadow cloud's vast potential to help organizations gain a competitive edge, IT should work closely with other departments to maximize the cloud's positive impact and minimize any risks. "The days of 'big IT' are gone," the report concludes, "but successful IT departments will be those that work with the business to solve the organization's most important problems: IT will move from a centralized authority to an advisor, broker and orchestrator of business services." To gain insight into how to best move forward with shadow clouds, consider the following best practices, which are adapted from the report.

  • If you're a project manager, you probably deal with a lot of frustration—and you are not alone. Seven out of 10 organizations surveyed experience at least one project failure in a year. To make matters worse, nearly four out of five software development project professionals say that the business side is "usually" or "always" out of sync with project requirements. And only 40 percent of change-management executives say IT projects generally meet schedule, budget and quality-based goals. So what factors contribute to these issues? The top culprit appears to be giving project teams work that has nothing to do with the project itself, according to a recent survey from Janco Associates. In addition, there are an assortment of unrealistic expectations, time pressures, staffing shortfalls and inadequate tech resources, findings reveal. Clearly, IT projects need leadership that combines technology savvy with effective business-focused oversight to successfully navigate these hurdles. Following are the top challenges facing  project managers, according to nearly 180 IT project managers who took part in the research. All of them have at least one year of experience in managing teams with at least five members.

  • 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.

  • It wasn't that long ago that the CIO's place in the C-suite was questioned, and the role was marginalized by other executives who felt CIOs should just focus on software and hardware. Well, that attitude is nothing compared to the beating chief information security officers (CISOs) take in a recent survey conducted by ThreatTrack Security. The security vendor surveyed more than 200 C-level executives this summer, and the findings indicate that information security leaders have some work to do if they want to earn the respect of their C-level peers. Responding executives made it clear that they do not view CISOs as equals, and they sometimes even blame CISOs for undermining the bottom line. "CISOs are often viewed simply as convenient scapegoats in the event of a headline-grabbing data breach, and they are significantly undervalued for the work they do every day to keep corporate data secure," says Julian Waits, Sr., CEO of ThreatTrack. "This perception needs to change, as CISOs—and the teams that work with them—should be viewed as drivers for business protection and growth." ThreatTrack offers some suggestions for CISOs who want to enhance their image in their company. Among these: Formalize your role; develop and communicate a strong security strategy; forge strong relationships with other C-level execs; and focus on the economic impact of risk and develop metrics that illustrate the financial impact of security efforts.

  • By virtually any standard, Pope Francis has become a beloved and effective world leader. He lives in a modest guesthouse instead of the Apostolic Palace. He wears the same cross he wore when he was a cardinal. And he gave up the famed Mercedes-Benz Popemobile in favor of a 30-year-old Renault. More important, his words and actions have gained favor with a broad range of global citizens, regardless of their faith. The book Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis (Amacom/available in September) frames the life and accomplishments of the pope in the context of today's business environment. Author Jeffrey Krames explains how the pope's humble yet candid approach can be easily adopted by business leaders who need to engage their staff in order to effectively accomplish organizational goals. While Pope Francis is a very likeable figure, history will ultimately evaluate him based on what he accomplishes. The following nine takeaways for IT team leaders are adapted from the lessons highlighted in the book. Krames is CEO and president of JK Literary Services, a publishing and literary agency specializing in leadership, management and business books.

  • Have you always considered yourself management material, but are still waiting for that elusive promotion? It's a universal challenge for employees: Many professionals want to move into management, but there are obviously only so many of those positions available. And organizations need to be circumspect when it comes to making such promotions, especially when you consider the fact that four out of five people who become managers turn out to be wrong for the position, according to industry research. Clearly, if you do get that promotion, you want to be ready for the job. So you may want to read Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders (HarperCollins/available in September). This book provides concrete, actionable guidelines to help you attain a management position—and excel at it. Author Lindsey Pollak positions the book for Gen Y readers, but her advice on presentations, social media, project leadership and professional presence applies to a broad range of demographics. What's key is to understand that to be considered for career advancement, you have to go beyond simply doing your job well. You also have to inspire others to perform better at their jobs. The following nine takeaways were adapted from Pollak's book. She is a speaker and consultant who specializes in career topics for Millennials.

  • For many IT organizations, their resistance to adopting public clouds has given way to a more balanced perspective on the state of public cloud security.

  • 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.