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  • After seeing a slight dip in 2016, global IT spending is expected to increase by 2.7 percent this year, according to recent research from Gartner. The "Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast" projects moderate to impressive growth in all leading sectors. Enterprise software will account for the biggest increases, at 6.8 percent, followed by IT services (4.2 percent) and data center systems (2.6 percent). Still, any expansion in technology spending will greatly depend on ever-shifting global political and economic conditions. "The range of spending growth from the high to low is much larger in 2017 than in past years," said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. "Normally, the economic environment causes some level of division. However, in 2017, this is compounded by the increased levels of uncertainty. The result of that uncertainty is a division between individuals and corporations that will spend more—due to opportunities arising—and those that will retract or pause IT spending." The research includes a 2018 forecast with similar growth projections, and we've included those here. Gartner bases its forecast on an analysis of sales on the part of thousands of vendors in multiple IT sectors.

  • Technology can enable businesses to be predictive and precise when it comes to planning. It also helps them be faster, smarter, more agile and more strategic.

  • While organizations around the world are more confident than ever that they can predict and detect cyber-attacks, they're still falling short on investments and plans geared toward recovering from a breach. Such is the double-edged finding of EY's 19th annual Global Information Security Survey, "Path to Cyber-Resilience: Sense, Resist, React." EY surveyed 1,735 IT and IT security executives from organizations around the world to uncover the most compelling cyber-security issues facing business today, and what it discovered was a marketplace still struggling to keep up with a fast-evolving threat landscape. "Organizations have come a long way in preparing for a cyber-breach, but as fast as they improve, cyber-attackers come up with new tricks. Organizations therefore need to sharpen their senses and upgrade their resistance to attacks," said Paul van Kessel, EY's global advisory cyber-security leader. "In the event of an attack they need to have a plan and be prepared to repair the damage quickly and get the organization back on its feet. If not, they put their customers, employees, vendors and ultimately their own future at risk." The message is clear: It's not enough to have great tools and intelligence; companies have to get more strategic about how they track and respond to threats.

  • In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT) and 3D printers. But which of these technologies have emerged as the biggest potential business drivers? IoT appears be leading the pack, with somewhat less buy-in so far for VR, according to a recent survey from Spiceworks. The resulting report, "Future of IT: Hype Vs. Reality," indicates that all four of these technologies are the source of considerable intrigue. In the end, AI may generate the liveliest debate: It is expected to improve the automation of tasks, allowing IT pros to spend more time on strategic initiatives. But many survey respondents also expressed concerns about AI and privacy, as well as its potential to put jobs at risk. VR and 3D printers are perceived as "safer" types of technology, with VR viewed as a means to improve data visualization and creativity, while 3D printers are expected to result in faster prototype generation and parts replacements. In either case, it's best to think about how each acquisition would contribute to the bottom line, rather than buying into the hype without assessing the value. Would you "like to hyper-drive emerging tech into your business?" the report asks. "You can help secure a smooth transition by thinking through how such devices fit in with your existing infrastructure and business goals, how you'll address the costs, and how you'll measure the benefits. A little prep can help organizations ensure they're adopting new technology that syncs with their strategic plan … instead of just taking a quantum leap forward because of the buzz." More than 560 global IT professionals took part in the research.

  • Here are five tech and business trends to watch this year: artificial intelligence, internet of things, cyber-security, mobile-first and predictive analytics.

  • Tech professionals are heading into 2017 with a lackluster confidence in IT operations, according to a recent survey from Intermedia. The resulting "2016 IT Confidence Index" report indicates that overall confidence levels are barely above levels of high concern. In exploring specific areas of tech operations, survey respondents express significant doubts about the way their organization manages cyber-security and infrastructure. Many admit that their company has suffered from a major breach over the past year, and very few feel that their organization invests enough in infrastructure to support future needs. If such impressions aren't turned around, it could result in long-term consequences for companies next year. "Correlate these IT infrastructure findings with the lack of expressed confidence in combating security risks, and the potential impact to businesses gets even scarier," said Jonathan McCormick, chief operating officer at Intermedia. "IT infrastructure and security are the lowest-ranking confidence categories measured. Technology is advancing, as are the expectations around availability and the need to continually improve security positioning." For the purposes of the report, any confidence score below a "7" is considered "extremely worrisome." A total of 350 U.S. IT professionals took part in the research.

  • The majority of organizations are expected to increase their adoption of agile frameworks within the next two years, according to a recent survey from Unisys. The resulting report, "Overcoming Enterprise Agility Challenges in Digital Transformation," examines how companies are pursuing a number of technology and business process improvements, including DevOps, as well as a broader digital transformation. App agility is part of this, and organizations are leveraging cloud options such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) to work toward this goal. To foster a winning DevOps environment, many companies are investing in tech tools that enable release and deployment automation, continuous integration and continuous delivery. Through these and other digital transformation measures, they expect to conduct more effective analyses to make better decisions, while increasing customer engagement. Business and tech leaders are seeking "consistent, integrated, enterprisewide digital capabilities that act as one to fulfill customers', partners' and internal users' demands," said Bob West, vice president of global application services for Unisys. "The more broadly organizations can adopt new approaches to scaling agility in deploying a business-critical application environment, the better they will be able to realize the full benefits of digital business." More than 150 global business and IT executives took part in the research, which was conducted by IDG Research.

  • The state of cyber-security has gone from bad to worse over the past couple of years. Not only are threats increasing in both frequency and intensity, they're also becoming more dangerous and costly. A recent study conducted by Deloitte, "Cyberattackers And Your Intellectual Property: Valuing and Guarding Prized Business Assets," delivers some insights into the current state of cyber-affairs. The consulting firm surveyed nearly 3,000 global business and IT professionals across a variety of industries and found that, over the past 12 months, a significant number of organizations have suffered an intellectual property (IP) cyber-theft incident, including electronic theft of trade secrets, drawings and plans, or proprietary know-how. In addition, the threats originated from a variety of sources and locations, and many respondents believe the attacks will continue to escalate in the months ahead. Unfortunately, many of the professionals admitted that they aren't fully prepared to protect their enterprise against these attacks. Here's a look at some of the key findings of the study.