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  • When it comes to innovation, IT decision-makers and line-of-business professionals disagree about whether the technology department is providing the solutions that are needed, according to a recent survey from Softchoice. The resulting report, "Enabling Innovation: When Actions Speak Louder Than Buzzwords," indicates that only a minority of LoB employees describe their organization as very innovative. For example, they don't think their leadership is particularly risk-friendly or comfortable with possible failure—key components of innovation. And they also feel that IT isn't spending enough time collaborating with them to understand key business challenges and tech needs. On the encouraging side, employees said their organization has processes in place to drive innovation. But more top-to-bottom support—including from IT leaders—is required to remain competitive. "In recent years, business leaders have embraced innovation as a hallmark of a competitive, thriving business," the report stated. "Traditional metrics like revenue and employee retention still count, obviously, but innovation is another benchmark. … Innovation can mean different things to different organizations, but in all cases, innovation must be clearly defined and measurable. While there is no single set of instructions for enabling innovation, we do know the elements necessary for success, including leadership, culture, process and technology." An estimated 1,000 North American full-time LoB employees and 250 IT decision-makers took part in the research.

  • When IT staffs devote most of their time to day-to-day tasks such as managing hardware, software and networks and resolving issues, they have little time to devote to innovation. That's risky, given the growing need to improve customer engagement, adopt the internet of things (IoT), and leverage the use of big data and analytics. The lack of strategic thinking, along with the required investment in people, process, tools and technology, could lead to missed market opportunities. An IDC survey of IT managers in 275 large organizations in 10 countries reveals that enterprises have varying rates of investment in their IT infrastructure and operations, with most adopting automation for monitoring and support only. "Optimization Drives Digital Transformation," a study sponsored by information and communications technology provider Dimension Data, suggests that enterprises need to deliver IT services more efficiently by using new automation technologies and leveraging external partnerships. Though most of the managers surveyed view IT operations and infrastructure as critical to digital transformation, only a minority said their organization is fully automated. "Forward-thinking business leaders are developing their IT to achieve digital transformation now, in anticipation of future market opportunities," said Bill Padfield, Dimension Data's group executive for services. "Flexible, scalable and agile infrastructures are needed to support these new developments, and optimizing infrastructure through automation is key to this effort."

  • Only a minority of organizations are able to provide a very good user experience (UX), so IT and line-of-business leaders are turning to a number of emerging technologies to improve these interactions, according to a recent survey from UserTesting. The accompanying "2017 UX and User Research Industry Survey Report" predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) will likely have the biggest impact in this area over the next five years. But expect the internet of things (loT) and virtual and augmented reality to play major roles as well. By successfully deploying tech solutions that boost these capabilities, IT teams can help their company better understand the customer journey, including all devices and distribution channels, while getting more ROI out of ongoing user research efforts in general. "In today's highly competitive market, customers have come to expect excellent experiences from digital products, and companies that aren't delivering can quickly become irrelevant," according to the report. "Organizations are racing to understand their customers' behaviors and attitudes so they can meet their needs and earn their business." More than 2,200 product management, marketing, design, UX, engineering and other professionals involved with the customer experience took part in the research.

  • The Federal National Mortgage Association uses agile development to accelerate software builds and engage in continuous development, integration and delivery.

  • While the majority of companies have implemented big data projects, comparatively few are making anything more than a moderate investment in these efforts, according to a recent survey from SAS. Overall, the findings present similarly mixed messages about the topic. On one hand, most top executives believe that data will play a key role in their organization's future. On the other hand, only a minority of companies employ a chief data officer to develop and manage these initiatives. Also, self-service capabilities, which would help staffers at all levels gain immediate access to data, are rare. As a result, some employees wait a month or even longer to obtain requested data. To help their company better leverage data as an asset, IT will need to address integration issues and data complexity, among other challenges. "The good news is that large organizations understand the importance of big data solutions and are taking steps in the right direction," said Matthew Magne, global product marketing manager for data management at SAS. "But while the trend is encouraging, many of these companies still have a long way to go." Nearly 100 business and technology employees who are familiar with their company's big data initiatives took part in the research.

  • Rapid, radical advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning in business are changing the stakes—and ushering in a new era of business and technology.

  • The majority of B2B companies are still relying on tech-driven commerce systems that are at least two years old, according to a recent survey from CloudCraze. The resulting report, "The B2B Digital Commerce Imperative," states that the unavailability of more current systems is keeping many businesses from resolving their customers' pain points. In addition, a reluctance to innovate and difficulties in integrating data throughout systems are holding companies back. IT will need to work with marketing and sales teams to overcome these and other obstacles in order to help their company achieve top-priority goals, which include the building of outstanding online buying experiences and the reduction of costs via customer self-servicing. "B2B businesses are at a digital roadblock," according to the report. "Those that are currently offering basic digital commerce channels are unable to move on with more complex features due to outdated, product-focused systems. Businesses know that their current commerce platforms are leading to missed sales and revenue, but most are still failing to prioritize implementing SaaS systems that offer the flexibility needed to implement more advanced features." Nearly 200 IT and marketing professionals took part in the research.