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  • A majority of workers said their employers have not come up with written policies about data retention, social media or the personal use of work devices—or they are unaware of such policies if they do exist, according to a recent survey from kCura. The resulting report, "Big Data From Employees Leads to Big Risk for Employers," indicates that most professionals feel that they won't do any harm to their company if they use work devices for personal communications. They also greatly value their privacy, but they compromise that privacy by sending personal emails and text messages on their employer-provisioned devices—as well as other potentially problematic activities. At the same time, the volume of back-and-forth business emails (much of which is unnecessary) creates additional risk issues, especially as many employees view their inboxes as information filing systems. "The technological advances of the big data era have brought conveniences few could have imagined only a few years ago," according to the report, "but this ever-increasing sea of data brings significant legal, regulatory and reputational risk. … We have a long way to go in getting 21st century technical education to the level of 21st century technology. Employee data is putting employers at risk, and without sufficient information governance programs, the potential damage to the American workplace is substantial." More than 1,010 U.S. employees took part in the research, which was conducted by Harris Poll.

  • The vast majority of companies are investing in digital transformation projects, or they're planning to do so, according to a recent survey from Fujitsu. The accompanying "Global Digital Transformation Survey Report" reveals that a significant share of involved organizations are already benefiting from these efforts. Specifically, they're increasing revenue, improving customer relationships, boosting efficiencies, reducing costs, and transforming business models and processes. To maximize the potential of a digital transformation, however, businesses must overcome barriers that include talent gaps and a lack of leadership and organizational agility. "Digital technologies such as IoT and AI are being embedded into core value-generation processes in business and society, transforming people's work and daily lives and generating new innovation," according to the report. "This is digital transformation. Business leaders around the world are becoming aware of the huge potential of digital transformation and taking action. … [But] the introduction of new technology does not always lead to digital transformation. New talents, people who have different skills and new approaches, are required. … Furthermore, organizations need to develop [a] new culture supporting transformation initiatives." More than 1,600 company decision-makers and managers took part in the research.

  • In the 1980s, the term, "rad," meant "radical" in a cool sort of way. Today, it still means radical and cool, but these descriptions now refer to the technological concept of rapid application development (RAD), which a majority of companies are using, according to a recent survey from PMG. Simply defined, RAD approaches favor rapid prototyping and minimal planning. They rely on the reuse of software components and often defer design improvements to the next version of the product. The survey report, "PMG Pulse: IT and the Rise of the RAD Enterprise," reveals that many tech departments are increasing their budget for RAD. When evaluating RAD platforms, IT managers and professionals are most interested in their no-code and low-code capabilities. With these, they expect to reduce long development cycles, while also correcting unclear or conflicting business requirements. They also seek to increase productivity and innovation, as well as collaboration between business users and tech teams. More than 100 IT executives, managers and professionals took part in the research.

  • A recent survey from Atlassian and xMatters presents a mixed bag of findings about the performance of today's DevOps teams. On the positive side, the resulting "XMatters Atlassian DevOps Maturity" report indicates that development and operations teams are sharing tools in a collaborative manner. They're using monitoring solutions to better predict potential issues before they have a chance to impact users. And, in most cases, they're able to track all four key components of digital business: infrastructure, apps and services, transactions and user experiences. However, very few claim to have completely free-flowing knowledge sharing. Nor can they conduct both continuous delivery and improvement in a way that allows them to eliminate rollbacks after they release apps. In addition, information delays remain a challenge in responding to incidents. "Companies are aware of the benefits of DevOps practices, and have largely laid the groundwork in culture and organization," the report states. "Development and operations teams share tools and information, but companies have been slow to move forward with their implementations. These companies need to address the gap between a ready culture and lagging functions." More than 1,000 global executives and team managers took part in the research.

  • Data breaches skyrocketed in 2016, when cyber-attackers stole more than 4 billion records— exceeding the combined total from the two prior years. That alarming statistic comes from IBM's "X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2017," which is based on observations from more than 8,000 monitored security clients in 100 countries, as well as from data derived from noncustomer assets such as spam sensors and honeynets in 2016. Some incidents were true megabreaches, with a single source leaking more than 1.5 billion records in one case. Leaked records include data that cyber-criminals have traditionally targeted, such as credit cards, passwords and personal health information. But the X-Force analysis also noted a number of significant breaches related to unstructured data, including email archives, business documents, intellectual property and source code. "Unstructured data has become big-game hunting for attackers, and we expect to see them monetize it this year in new ways," observed Diana Kelley, global executive security advisor for IBM Security. The study documented an increase in the size and scope of DDoS attacks and in the number of previously leaked records that surfaced during the year. The authors pointed to the success of defensive strategies, and Kelley urged all organizations to focus on security fundamentals in a proactive manner. "The faster they react to cyber-crime findings and share their experiences and best practices across the security community, the less time each malware variant can live and/or see successful fraud attacks," she stressed. "Implement robust controls for the most important and sensitive data, and conduct regular cyber-security training for employees, who often serve as the entry point to company networks for hackers."

  • For many companies, cloud deployment is routine—a standard operating procedure. The vast majority, in fact, have invested in multiple cloud environments. However, according to a recent survey from Dimension Data, very few organizations can deliver individual business functions throughout all these environments in a seamless manner—which is the idealized version of the hybrid cloud. The resulting report, "Success Factors for Managing Hybrid IT," indicates that user demands for new features and faster provisioning are driving much of the interest in off-premises cloud adoption. However, concerns about cloud costs, data migration, cloud management, app integration and system retrofitting loom large. To address these and other challenges, many organizations are investing in cloud transformation services to come up with the best fit for their particular needs. "Hybrid IT can be deployed as a transition strategy to enable migration from one model to another with minimal disruption, or as a permanent architecture with individual elements of a solution residing in different venues," according to the report. "Given the highly dynamic nature of these environments, there is no one master playbook for hybrid IT. Decisions around deployment models will remain similarly dynamic and will initially involve trial and error based on individual application profiles and requirements." The report includes findings about enterprise investment into other technologies, including security-related ones, and we've included some of those here. Representatives of more than 1,500 global organizations took part in the research, which was conducted by 451 Research.

  • An advanced stage of mobility is emerging. Combined with the IoT, geolocation data and social, mobility is becoming the hub for all enterprise communications.

  • A strong, vibrant workplace culture nearly always leads to high employee engagement, while a weak one usually results in poor morale, low productivity and high turnover. Why do some organizations' cultures thrive while others fail? A recent survey from CultureIQ provides some insight. The resulting report, "Building a High-Performance Culture: Key Lessons from Top Cultures for 2017," distinguishes companies that are "winners" (they score the highest on collaboration, innovation, agility, support, wellness, work environment and mission/value alignment) and "non-winners." Companies that excel remain true to their mission and values, with leadership teams that earn their employees' confidence. They often offer opportunities to learn new things, while encouraging staffers to question the status quo. These staffers are also very clear about what determines success in their roles. "Organizational culture is your company's competitive advantage," according to the report. "Two companies can have the same product, service, number of employees and perks, yet completely different cultures. By evaluating your organization's unique culture, you empower yourself to make informed decisions that can strengthen strategic behaviors in a way that supports long-term business goals. With culture as a competitive advantage, companies can function at a higher level of innovation, productivity and profitability." More than 28,370 employees took part in the research.

  • Companies are now taking advantage of multiple cloud environments to migrate apps, storage and databases, according to a recent survey from SolarWinds. The resulting report, "SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization," reveals that nearly all organizations are in migration mode, and most are satisfied with the results with respect to ROI, cost efficiencies, tech availability and scalability. However, that demand is increasing the pressure on IT departments, with survey respondents admitting that their existing staff doesn't have sufficient skills to deal with cloud needs. In response, many tech pros have undergone training to remain relevant in a cloud-driven world. "No job is more affected by ongoing technology disruptions than the role of the IT professional," said Joe Kim, senior vice president and chief technology officer for SolarWinds. "For today's IT professionals, it's absolutely critical not only to put the right solutions in place to best manage hybrid IT environments, but to prepare organizations—and themselves—for continued technology advancements, even as we move beyond cloud." A total of 205 IT professionals, managers and directors from the United States and Canada took part in the research.

  • The vast majority of companies recognize that digital customer experiences (CX) represent a make-or-break proposition in terms of competitive differentiation, but digital strategy shortcomings are limiting their ability to deliver, according to a recent survey from Dimension Data. The resulting "Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report" indicates that very few organizations are able to connect all CX channels. Most, in fact, still rely on dated resources such as telephone and email communications to support customers. Very few consider their company's digital business strategy optimized. And, while most said customer analytics and connected customer journeys will greatly affect CX for the near future, the majority of businesses do not collect data to review and improve customer journey patterns. "The digital dilemma is deepening, and organizations need to choose a path between digital crisis or redemption," said Joe Manuele, Dimension Data's group executive for CX and collaboration. "The world has formed a digital skin, and business, service, technology and commercial models have changed forever. However, organizations are strategically challenged to keep pace with customer behavior." Representatives of more than 1,350 global organizations took part in the research.