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  • Good networking is easy networking. The challenge is to find new ways to interact with peers. Here are four networking ideas that go beyond a standard meet-up.

  • As health care insurance and medical costs continue to rise, businesses must begin addressing employee health and wellness issues in a more comprehensive way.

  • The Chinese government is taking steps to deal effectively with the country's growing air pollution problem by deploying advanced analytics and other tech tools.

  • Do you think your IT organization has the right to be ranked "world class"? If so, that rating should be reflected in metrics such as the number of IT staffers employed and the need for fewer applications and platforms on a per-user basis, according to research from the Hackett Group. The accompanying report, "The World-Class Performance Advantage: How Leading IT Organizations Outperform Their Peers," reveals that top technology departments are more determined to drive business results than their counterparts are. Overall, they demonstrate a constant focus on efficiency and effectiveness, which is reflected in benefits such as a lower cost of operation and the need for fewer staff members. And with the digitization of virtually everything, the explosive growth of big data and the widespread integration of technology throughout companies, business leaders are more appreciative of the contributions of talented IT performers and organizations. "IT has become a key driver of the innovation-based growth strategy that most companies are relying on," says Erik Dorr, vice president of research for the Hackett Group. "We believe that unlocking the value of IT throughout the entire value chain is critical for companies that wish to dominate their industry. World-class IT organizations are well on their way to achieving this today." For the purposes of the report, "world class" designates IT departments that excel at completing projects that satisfy ROI projections, delivering on business expectations and deploying business process automation (BPA), among other qualities. The findings were based on the benchmark capability research of more than 100 of the Hackett Group's corporate clients, which are predominately large enterprises.

  • IT professionals are seeing paltry gains in average compensation levels this year, according to recent research from Janco Associates and eJobDescription.com. The accompanying report, the "Mid-Year 2014 IT Salary Survey," indicates that salaries are at the same level as they were in 2008, which is somewhat of a half-empty/half-full finding. On the positive side, it means that IT salaries are now comparable to the pre-recession era. On a disappointing note, results reveal that soaring demand for many niche IT skills—coupled with a relatively healthy economy—has not pushed salaries to new highs. Meanwhile, compared to four years ago, there are considerably fewer companies offering a number of valued benefits, such as health insurance, retirement savings plans and performance bonuses. Growth in tech jobs is slowing slightly as well, according to Janco's analysis: There were about 32,200 jobs added from January through May of this year, compared with 36,500 jobs added for the same time period last year. The research was compiled using data from more than 255 large and nearly 810 midsize organizations.

  • Is artificial intelligence more dangerous than nukes? Could AI replace and even eradicate humans? Some experts say these possibilities are not that far-fetched.

  • Remember when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison famously dismissed the cloud as "complete gibberish"? Or the days when you'd mention cloud computing in casual conversation with a non-techy friend or family member, and they'd have absolutely no clue what you were talking about? Clearly, those days are in the past, as the cloud is now a mainstream technology that is considered essential for business. Ninety-four percent of organizations surveyed are using cloud computing, and 58 percent have a hybrid (public and private) cloud strategy in place, according to the annual "2014 State of the Cloud Report" from RightScale. Given all the interest about this technology, there's been a lot of other research released about cloud investments and trends. So we've compiled the following slideshow to present a statistical snapshot of this dominant tech innovation. The information was adapted from a number of online resources, including those posted by Syntax, an IT hardware, software and services company, and SmartData Collective, an online community for data professionals.

  • While the technology industry employs the largest share of IT workers, sectors such as financial services, health care, manufacturing and retail also offer robust opportunities for IT professionals, according to recent research released by CEB. The accompanying report, titled "Seeing Through the Fog of the Talent War," also tracks top states and cities for tech job openings, and findings reveal that there are plenty of active and appealing metro regions spread throughout the country. The report's title refers to the continued struggles organizations face with regard to the ongoing search and competition for talent, and the majority of CEOs cite skills availability as a major concern. In addition, 85 percent of CEOs feel that technology advancements will have the biggest impact on their companies over the next five years, according to CEB research. Given this situation, CEB presents the following four ways that smart companies manage IT staffing and talent management. The research was compiled through a comprehensive market analysis covering more than 900 cities and 1,000 skills.

  • Cleveland State University enters a managed print services contract to meet the state's mandate to reduce energy expenditures, but it also saves a lot of money.

  • Memo to all you IT users out there: Please give your systems administrators a break. Many IT admins feel overworked and underappreciated, according to a recent survey from Ipswitch. That's not surprising, especially when findings reveal that employee tech users frequently hit a figurative panic button to request an admin to come to their rescue—often without even rebooting their machine to see if that simple step would correct the problem. The upshot: Far too many systems admins spend excessive amounts of their time putting out fires, instead of coming up with innovations and new products to make their organization more efficient and valuable to the company. "Systems administrators and other IT professionals work night and day to keep our networks and applications humming along," says Ennio Carboni, executive vice president over customer solutions at Ipswitch. "These IT heroes need to equip their colleagues with the technology and support [required] to innovate, collaborate and do their jobs. That's a lot of pressure to work under." An estimated 250 IT admins took part in the research.

  • In the past five years, the world of information has changed completely. It’s important to your company and your career to make decisions based on this reality.

  • A number of companies on this list of innovative technology leaders have blazed new paths in the use of computing hardware. Another vendor started out as a search engine, but has morphed into a mobile and cloud giant—all while promoting its famous "Don't Be Evil" motto. And two other companies have been nominated for Emmy Awards this year. Combined, these firms represent the 13 most dominant technology companies when it comes to innovation, according to a recent survey from Brand Keys. You may be surprised to learn that Google, the "Don't Be Evil" tech titan, makes the top three, but is not No. 1. Less surprising is the fact that innovation in the technology industry covers a vast range of content, business enterprise, cloud and mobile solutions, among other areas. And one well-known brand on the list is spending billions in attempts to recreate the human brain on a computer. An estimated 4,500 consumers took part in the research. The percentages accompanying each company reflect the overall innovation rating each brand received.

  • Increasing workloads and the ubiquitous presence of technology at work and home are combining to put more pressure on employees to remain always available, according to a recent survey from Randstad U.S. Many workers feel that they have to remain accountable when they're on vacation or sick at home. In fact, a notable share reported that they don't even use all of their available days off because they'd feel too guilty about shirking responsibilities if they did. Given this situation, managers should pay attention to research that indicates workers are less engaged on the job and morale is on the decline in the workplace. As a result, many workers expect to seriously consider offers from new employers in the near future. "Helping employees balance work and personal life remains a pain point for many U.S. companies," says Jim Link, chief human resources officer at Randstad North America. "With technology blurring workday boundaries, employees can easily slip into a pattern of being 'always available,' especially if their boss or co-workers engage in business after hours." More than 2,255 U.S. professionals took part in the research.

  • Employees are less inclined to go job hopping than they were five years ago, according to a recent survey from Spherion Staffing Services. Much of this can be attributed to the economy. During the recession, workers grew accustomed to marketing themselves to potential employers because of the fleeting job security, according to the company. With the economy bouncing back, however, professionals don't feel as much pressure to shop themselves around due to a layoff—or fear of a pending one. "Workers have had a taste of job stability, and they like it," said Sandy Mazur, division president at Spherion. It doesn't hurt, of course, that employees generally express high satisfaction levels with their bosses. (Albeit, results are so-so when it comes to the job itself.) The findings also reflect hiring companies' concerns about recruitment capabilities: Nearly two-thirds of HR managers reported that they are worried about today's talent shortage, compared with just over two-out-of-five HR managers who felt that way in 2009. More than 2,000 workers and 230 HR managers took part in the research, which was conducted by Harris Poll.

  • During the recent recession, many technology professionals sought numerous job interviews out of desperation, due to a recent layoff. Today, an improving economy is reversing the situation, and many employed IT workers are landing multiple interviews based on a strong demand for their in-demand skills. Many of these pros are asking for a number of quality-of-life and work-life benefits from their next employer, including competitive compensation, telecommuting options and opportunities to work on exciting projects, according to a recent survey from CultureFit Technology Staffing. Highly qualified candidates are in a good position because many corporate executives admit that they have vacancies they're struggling to fill with qualified prospects. As an added bonus, we're including data from CultureFit about rising median incomes for three particular tech specialties—with software architects coming out on top. More than 300 IT professionals took part in the research. Additional research was compiled and provided by CultureFit based on a previously released Harris poll sponsored by CareerBuilder in which 240 IT hiring companies took part.