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  • If you and your tech colleagues are frequently downing aspirin, it's understandable: A significant share of IT service management professionals describe their company users as "demanding and unrealistic," according to a recent survey from Unisys. Tech workers spend far too many hours of their workday responding to basic or unnecessary questions from end users, instead of helping to support strategic business objectives. These professionals are also constantly attempting to navigate organizational silos instead of working within a cohesive, enterprise-focused environment. What's needed are more advanced, integrated solutions to replace service management systems that are outdated and inefficient, findings reveal. "[Organizations] today are increasingly connected and driven by digital technology," says Paul Gleeson, global vice president of Edge Services, an integrated service management solution, Unisys. "Their workers need personalized, on-demand, always-on business and IT services to stay productive and keep their organizations competitive. IT organizations that give their support personnel innovative tools for consistently providing services that integrate delivery channels … will be the big winners in the evolving digital economy." As an added bonus, the research reveals which company departments give IT the biggest headaches, and we've included that information here. More than 150 IT service management professionals took part in the research.

  • Growing confidence in business growth, combined with a lack of qualified talent for open positions, is translating to great job opportunities for many technology professionals, according to a recent survey from PwC. The accompanying "Trendsetter Barometer Business Outlook" report examines a broad number of market influencers, including sentiments and projections about the U.S. economy, revenue increases and hiring plans. And executives clearly rank IT spending at the top of their priorities, with respect to both tech solution acquisitions and staffing expansion. At the same time, a significant number of survey participants said that the lack of IT professionals who are qualified for open technology positions presents a formidable barrier to business growth. "While the hiring picture is certainly brighter, companies are still struggling to find the right talent to move their businesses forward," says Margaret Young, a partner in PwC's private company services practice. "Companies need new employees with specific skills in engineering and technology, and they're having difficulty finding them. There are longer-term solutions to be had in education or immigration reform, but that won't help companies that are wrestling with this issue right now." Executives from 225 private companies took part in the research.

  • While it's a good idea to demonstrate initiative when applying for a job, there's a difference between being creative and coming across as, well, a little odd. For real-life examples of some over-the-top approaches, check out the following list, which was compiled from a recent CareerBuilder's survey. The list includes some job candidates who made elaborate use of props, as well as others who resorted to bizarre role-playing in front of hiring managers. One job seeker even offered a meal "bribe" to a decision-maker. The lesson: It's important to distinguish yourself at a job interview, but you should do so within the boundaries of sound professional practices. "Job seekers know they're competing with a lot of other candidates, so they're trying more unusual tactics to stand out from the crowd," says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "What ultimately determines if they get the job is having the necessary skills and experience hiring managers are looking for." As an added bonus, CareerBuilder has come up with a few best practices for making a great impression without going overboard, and we've included those here. More than 2,530 hiring and HR managers took part in the research.

  • What do the most innovative brands in the world do? One is investing heavily in cloud-based voice services to further advances in no-touch computer interactions. Another has inspired an immense surge of interest in application programming interface (API) activity, thanks to its breakthrough developments in artificial intelligence. A third is helping its customers take multitasking to the next level. For these and other efforts, they have landed on the second annual "2015's Most Innovative Tech Brands" list from Brand Keys, a New York-based brand loyalty and engagement research consultancy. We're highlighting the following 12 companies from the list, which includes organizations that have blazed new tech paths for decades (IBM), as well as younger but still dominant players (Google, Facebook and YouTube). There are also more recently launched companies that are building strong reputations as bold, disruptive leaders (Square, Slack). "The 21st century may not have delivered flying cars, but it is clearly meeting its potential in terms of providing products and services that better meet consumers' expectations when it comes to technology," says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys. In addition, "the consumer's expectation for constant innovation, and the expansion of technological innovation, is crossing over B2C and B2B lines more and more." An estimated 4,400 customers took part in the research. 

  • There are plenty of ways to get passed over for a promotion that have nothing to do with your job performance, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. For example, having a bad attitude will significantly lower your chances. So will frequently showing up late for work and/or leaving early—even if you get the job done. The findings also show that people who curse a lot are likely to be taken out of the running for advancement. Also, you should take a good look in the mirror before heading to the office, because many employers are reluctant to promote someone whose clothes are provocative, wrinkled or shabby. (Many are not fond of visible tattoos either.) "In addition to on-the-job accomplishments, employers also take attitude, behavior and appearance into consideration when deciding who deserves to move up in the ranks," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "While your work performance may be strong, if you're not presenting yourself in a professional manner, it may be preventing your superiors from taking you seriously." A total of 2,175 hiring and human resources managers took part in the research.

  • Interval Leisure Group turned to a simplified, streamlined approach to privilege management to provide role-based access controls for workers and consultants.

  • While worldwide IT spending was previously projected for a slight boost in 2015, a revised forecast indicates that sales will actually decline this year, according to the latest research from Gartner. The pattern will affect industry categories across the board, including communications services, devices, IT services, data center systems and enterprise software. Fortunately, the pattern isn't linked to any decrease in demand; it's all about the rising U.S. dollar. "We want to stress that this is not a market crash," says John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. "Such are the illusions that large swings in the value of the U.S. dollar versus other currencies can create. However, there are secondary effects to the rising U.S. dollar. Vendors have to raise prices to protect costs and margins of their products, and enterprises and consumers will have to make new purchase decisions in light of the new prices." The forecast includes additional insights about the hardware, data center, enterprise software and other markets, and we've included a sampling of that information here.