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  • The adoption of hosted private clouds is expanding worldwide, according to a recent survey conducted by 451 Research and sponsored by Microsoft. The accompanying report, "Hosting and Cloud Study 2014: Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream," reveals that cloud migration is well under way, and a large percentage of overall IT applications and other resources will be maintained in the cloud within two years. Whether for Website operations, storage needs or business continuity, the "hosted private cloud is a gateway to hybrid cloud environments for many customers," says Marco Limena, Microsoft's vice president, worldwide hosting and cloud service providers business. "With this momentum continuing to build, it's clear that we've reached a tipping point in which most companies have moved beyond the discovery phase and are now moving forward with cloud deployments to deliver improved business results and capabilities." The majority of organizations are also willing to pay a premium for both security and superior customer support services, according to the report. More than 2,000 global IT professionals—primarily tech decision-makers—took part in the research.   

  • Considering the attention the NSA surveillance scandal has received, it's not surprising that many companies are reluctant to store sensitive data in the cloud.

  • What does it take for the IT organization to get its due from the business side of the company? As reported in a variety of survey-based content on Baseline, the tech department must emerge as an impact-making contributor to business objectives designed to help the company compete successfully. But a majority of business-side managers apparently "haven't gotten the memo," judging by results of a recent survey from Softchoice and VMware. Though IT leaders would like to spend more time on strategy and security, a majority of them think their line-of-business colleagues view them merely as gatekeepers and help desk support. As a result, IT managers can't spend as much time as they'd like working on strategic projects. The research also sheds light on the lack of progress enterprises have made when it comes to automation, virtualization and hybrid-cloud adoption. To address these and other issues that the survey addresses, IT departments could use more budgetary support, as well as a centralized approach to IT management. A total of 250 IT managers and 750 line-of-business managers took part in the research.

  • In 1991, industry experts called for the “inevitable” death of mainframe computers. Well, to paraphrase the famous Mark Twain quote, reports of the mainframe’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, on April 8th, IBM celebrated the 50th birthday of the System/360 with a celebration in New York. As part of the festivities, IBM introduced its first “Master the Mainframe World Championship” competition, an expansion of its nation-by-nation "Master the Mainframe" contests. It involved 44 students from 22 nations who created and presented their app inventions on mainframes, based on a challenge that focused on mobile banking. The current IBM System z mainframe continues to add new functions and products. Among them are the IBM Enterprise Cloud Server, which enables companies to build secure, reliable public and private clouds as part of a preconfigured, factory-built system using open standards. Given the historic significance of the System/360's 50-year milestone, we’re presenting the following 10 facts about the IBM mainframe and how it has changed the world.

  • IT is focusing on three areas in 2014: redefining IT's value to the enterprise, developing architecture and data analytics capabilities, and realigning talent.

  • These days, it's nearly impossible to open a newspaper or peruse a business or technology Website without reading about a serious security breach at a company, university or government agency. According to a new survey report from Turnkey Consulting, "A Risk Perspective on 2014" (see slides below), fraud and data loss are growing more prevalent. Unfortunately, a significant number of IT executives aren't responding to these threats with a focused and cohesive strategy. What's more, in many cases, there's a lack of automation and integration across infrastructure and databases. According to Turnkey, organizations must re-examine the way they view and approach digital security. They must revamp business processes and technology in order to minimize the risk of a serious breach, along with the fines, financial loss and reputational damage that comes with it. "Despite the increase in risk, the role of IT security in reducing it does not appear to be well-understood," says Richard Hunt, managing director of Turnkey Consulting. "Making IT security a priority on a day-to-day basis should be regarded as good business practice. … This enables organizations to move away from the traditional method of operating several disparate systems to manage risk … and instead adopt an end-to-end approach."

  • I'm about as techy as you can get, but I'm about ready to unplug everything and disconnect from the grid, thanks to the recent news about the Heartbleed bug.

  • Deloitte's report includes five disruptive and five enabling technologies that offer the opportunity to expand IT capabilities, operations and business models.

  • The numbers are troubling: A mere 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup. Of the other 87 percent, 63 percent are not engaged (they lack motivation and are fairly apathetic), and 24 percent are actively disengaged (they're unhappy, unproductive and likely to spread their negative feelings to colleagues). One of the best ways for managers to reverse those findings is to demonstrate that they care about their employees' welfare. But that requires going far beyond simply asking, "How are you today?" and organizing office birthday parties. Instead, an organization must cultivate a culture of empathy at all levels. Managers should look for ways to enhance their staff members' professional development, job satisfaction and work-life balance. They have to know how to successfully pursue business challenges without overloading their teams with work and stress, while also discouraging shortcuts that could lead to questionable ethical practices. The following list of "signs that managers care" was adapted primarily from the Center for Companies That Care, along with a variety of other online sources.

  • Nearly nine out of 10 professionals surveyed conduct at least one-quarter of their work-related activity virtually. That means workers must understand how to thrive in an environment where they often don't interact face to face with colleagues with whom they share work. Other issues they must deal with in a virtual environment include an inability to read nonverbal cues, a lack of rapport and collegiality, and feelings of isolation. Given this, Unify (formerly known as Siemens Enterprise Communications) has come up with the following survey-driven characteristics and best practices of productive virtual teams. The accompanying report, "Unify New Way to Work Index: The Habits of Successful Virtual Teams," concludes that non-tech-related factors contribute greatly here, as members must proactively encourage a pleasant and personable work atmosphere, while enhancing opportunities to collaborate and share ideas. "What differentiates more successful teams … is not where their members are," according to the report, "but how they engage with each one another—specifically, the frequency and candor with which team members talk." More than 325 global professionals took part in the research.

  • Some issues that plague CIOs include balancing limited budgets with increasing demands, keeping up with the latest tech trends and finding the right staff.

  • They're constantly seeking opportunities for global expansion, while still paying careful attention to company matters closer to home. They are extremely wealthy—frequently hobnobbing with world leaders and A-list celebrities—but many of them have lunch with employees in the corporate cafeteria. Some have traditional technology backgrounds, but others came up through business departments. (One of them, John Donahoe II of eBay, started as a union worker at the Schlitz beer distribution company.) They are the top tech company CEOs in America, as compiled by Glassdoor. In this case, the people on the list were ranked by employees, who posted reviews of these executives on Glassdoor. Many of the reviews speak to a CEO's technology vision and business savvy, while others provide insights about their people skills. For example, one employee wrote this about Riverbed Technology's Jerry Kennelly: "Couldn't possibly be any nicer of a human being." Glassdoor is an online career community that posts user-generated content, including company-specific salary reports, ratings and reviews. This list is based on more than half a million company reviews shared on Glassdoor over the past 12 months.

  • It's a good time to be a senior project manager, as organizations acknowledge that they face significant challenges in filling these vacancies, according to a recent survey from ESI International. As a result, experienced project managers are making nearly twice the annual salary of their novice counterparts. Given the circumstances, companies may consider hiring less-seasoned project managers and supplementing any gaps with training. Even a relatively modest amount of project management training greatly reduces how long it takes for newer project managers to take on more advanced roles. "Budget constraints, an aging base of professionals and a looming talent war all contribute to a talent crisis that should be addressed by the highest levels of the organization," says Mark Bashrum, ESI's vice president of corporate marketing and open enrollment. "The growing needs of businesses demand a more strategic view of the staffing, development and promotion of their project managers, since project execution impacts an organization's bottom line and its ability to satisfy its customers." A total of 1,800 project management professionals took part in the research.

  • So you think you've written a definitive résumé? Well, don't hit "send" until you check it for the following overused résumé turn-offs, which were compiled by CareerBuilder. Job candidates have very little time to make a positive impression with their résumé. In fact, 68 percent of hiring managers spend less than two minutes reviewing a résumé, and 17 percent spend 30 seconds or less. If they open up a document that's littered with clichéd phrases, they're far more likely to quickly move on to the next applicant. And be sure to keep the "show, don't tell" rule in mind: It's always better to demonstrate what you've accomplished in clear, concrete terms rather than describing your work with vague phrases such as "hard worker" and "major contributor." Employers prefer "strong action words that define specific experience, skills and accomplishments," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative because they don't convey real information. For instance, don't say you are 'results-driven.' Show the employer your actual results." And definitely avoid the following 10 phrases, which surveyed employers said were worn-out. More than 2,200 hiring managers and HR professionals took part in the research.

  • What's the best way to ensure security and governance in a world where the impact of big data is not yet fully understood? Begin by asking the right questions.