Friday, November 30, 2007

Mobile Service Providers Are Failing to Meet the Needs of Corporate Customers

Many mobile service providers are failing to capitalize on potentially lucrative corporate contracts because they don’t focus enough on client’s business needs, according to Gartner. Service providers that don’t update their sales strategies to provide tailored solutions to businesses risk losing valuable corporate customers and becoming chiefly consumer players, analysts warned.

Many mobile service providers would argue that they already have a dedicated corporate sales force that focuses on business requirements, but Gartner has found that for the most part, providers are not fulfilling these needs. Instead, the focus is on selling SIM cards with complex, non-transparent pricing schemes and giving discounts related to total spending, rather than delivering individual, tailored services.

According to Gartner, large organizations have four main priorities when buying mobile services: managing costs, managing services, dealing with increased mobile data services and centralizing resources. Only service providers that meet these demands by addressing the contractual, commercial, services and solutions needs of large companies will retain corporate contracts in the long-term.

Managing mobile services is becoming increasingly important to businesses that require different user profiles such as ‘international traveller’ or ‘domestic high data user’. Service level agreements (SLAs) with defined key performance indicators to measure the quality of help desks etc, as well as monitoring the performance of wireless email, are also growing in significance. Device management services are becoming more widespread with over-the-air disabling of lost or stolen handsets via a Web portal a key feature for corporate customers.

Organizations are also looking to service providers to deal with the increased use of mobile data services and provide solutions that extend remote access for mobile workers, such as the ones offered by Orange and iPass.

Gartner recommends that service providers focus on providing large organizations with a single point of contact for contract negotiations, management and solution issues, and recommends the use of Web-based procurement portals to include handset orders, installation and online order tracking, as well as multichannel support by phone, e-mail and fax.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

60% of IT Security Teams Spend at Least One Quarter of Resources on Compliance

In a recent survey of 103 IT security professionals, 60% percent stated that at least 25% of their team’s time is spent on compliance efforts. nCircle, a provider of agentless security risk and compliance management solutions, conducted the survey from August 16 through October 31, 2007.

The full poll results are:

What percentage of your security team’s time is devoted to supporting compliance efforts?
  • Less than 25% - 40%
  • 25 - 50% - 29%
  • 51 - 75% - 16%
  • 76 - 100% - 15%
Total Votes: 103

More information can be found at

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poor Communication by Senior Management About the Business Tops List of Workplace Frustrations

The American workforce finds a lack of communication from managers more annoying than dealing with nosy colleagues, says Opinion Research Corporation’s latest “Ouch Point” study. Seventeen percent of respondents cite senior managers who fail to communicate company news as their chief complaint, versus six percent who consider meddling co-workers to be their greatest source of aggravation in the workplace.

The study also indicates that the need for political correctness at work has become one of the biggest frustrations for nearly one in ten Americans. Interestingly, more males (11 percent) than females (6 percent) cite this as their greatest workplace irritant.

Despite buzz about corporations monitoring employees’ electronic activity, the majority of employees are not bothered by this lack of privacy. Only four percent of respondents list corporate monitoring of email and/or telephone calls as their greatest annoyance.

According to the survey, the top ten employee “Ouch Points” are:

1. Poor communication by senior management about the business 17%
2. General office politics 16%
3. Lack of teamwork 15%
4. Having to use politically correct language 9%
5. Nosy co-workers 6%
6. Poor relationships with an immediate supervisor 6%
7. Fear of backlash from reporting unethical behavior 4%
8. Corporate monitoring of email and/or telephone calls 4%

More information can be found at

Monday, November 26, 2007

IT Staff Love Their Jobs, Research Shows

IT staff members are over 3 times more likely to ‘feel appreciated’ than other corporate staff, according to a survey released today. The research, by business email provider Intermedia, also found IT staff 21% less likely to say ‘I am considering quitting my job’.

Despite a widespread perception that IT departments are dissatisfied and subjected to daily abuse, the poll of 500 corporate staff found that IT workers are verbally assaulted 20% less than other colleagues, as well as 10% less likely to take the heat – undeservedly – for a project delay.

The survey of staff at small and mid-sized businesses also reveals that:
  • Only 3% of general office staff have recently ‘felt appreciated’, compared to 11% of IT staff
  • Only 11% of IT staff members have considered quitting their jobs in the last month, compared to 14% of other workers

More information can be found at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Survey of International Information Technology Executives Highlights Urgency of Improved It-Business Alignment

IT executives around the world are seeking to do a better job of aligning IT investments with business goals, but only about half believe they are doing so -- according to a survey sponsored by CA, Inc.

The survey polled 300 CIOs and other top IT executives at companies with more than $250 million in annual revenue. It revealed that 74% of respondents believe that better prioritization of IT spending based on business needs to be a critical IT management goal. Respondents said that the primary drivers for alignment were a desire to avoid spending that yields a low ROI, and the need to ensure fulfillment of business-side demand.

Half of the respondents worldwide indicate their companies are effective in enabling IT to set priorities based on business goals. Respondents in the UK, Germany, Australia and Japan are significantly more likely than those in the U.S. to rate their organizations as successful in this area.

According to the survey, U.S. IT executives are also more likely to be dissatisfied with their organizations’ performance in improving service to end users, controlling costs, and other goals than their counterparts overseas. However, U.S. respondents are more likely than those in other regions to be satisfied with their deployment of automation and virtualization initiatives.

Worldwide, 53% of respondents claim that the biggest barrier to improved alignment is shortfalls in staff skills. In the UK and Germany, however, only 40% see skills as the primary obstacle—while 37% indicate that their most significant challenge is inadequate technology integration.

On the upside, 67% of respondents indicate that the number one success factor in IT-business alignment is standardization of policies and procedures. Respondents from Australia and Japan are most likely to specifically cite best practices frameworks such as ITIL as the top reason they have been able to achieve their goals, even though only 55% of them have adopted, or are planning to adopt, ITIL in the next 12 months—as opposed to 71% of respondents in the UK and Germany and 50% in the U.S.

The survey also found that respondents in the UK and Germany are significantly more likely than those in other regions to report their companies have deployed a CMDB (configuration management database).

More information can be found at

Monday, November 19, 2007

Software-licensing costs predicted to fall

Software-licensing costs are set to fall over the next decade, as IT industry trends converge to give buyers more bargaining power.

Research firm Gartner predicts that vendors will find themselves increasingly challenged as IT departments look to reduce software costs, as they have done with hardware and services.

Gartner has identified seven major trends converging to change software delivery models, reduce dependence on the giant application vendors, and force prices down.

These include business process outsourcing; software as a service; low-cost development environments, such as China and India, combined with modular architectures and service-oriented architectures; the emergence of third-party software maintenance and support; growing interest in open source; the rise of Chinese software companies; and the expansion of the Brazilian, Chinese, and Indian markets.

Although Gartner says open source won't topple the likes of IBM and Microsoft, the firm believes that it will put pressure on traditional software margin structures, particularly in areas such as servers, operating systems, development tools, and database technologies.

Gartner also predicts that a fourth of all new business software will be delivered by software as a service by 2011.

Source: CNET

More information can be found at

Friday, November 16, 2007

Telecom Industry's Efforts at Improving Customer Service Recognized by Employees, But Improvement Still Needed

Despite continually being rated as one of the poorest providers of customer service, telecom employees believe their companies are trying harder than others to please their customers.

Maritz recently conducted a poll of 1,006 full-time employees in the telecommunications industry. When compared to respondents in a similar poll taken of the workforce at large, telecommunication employees were significantly more likely to agree that their companies rewarded employees for providing excellent customer service, their companies set specific goals for improving customer service, and that they had sufficient authority to respond to customer concerns.

However, despite being an industry whose employees rate their companies as better than others, fewer than half (46 percent) agree or strongly agree that their telecommunications employers reward employees for providing excellent customer service. Just slightly more than half (54 percent) agree that their companies have effective formal employee incentive programs for improving customer service. One-out-of-three do not feel they have proper authority to respond promptly to customer problems and requests. Furthermore:

  • Less than four in 10 (39 percent) of telecom employees surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that senior management at their company had frequent, direct interactions with customers.
  • Only 55 percent of respondents say their company frequently seeks suggestions for improving customer satisfaction from employees who have regular contact with customers.
  • Just over half (53 percent) say they consistently receive feedback on how their work benefits customers.
  • Only half (50 percent) say their company's policies and procedures make it easy for them to satisfy customers.
  • Only half (50 percent) say their company provides effective training to support excellent customer service.

According to employee engagement expert Rick Garlick, Ph.D., director of consulting and strategic implementation, Maritz Research, the employee responses indicate that telecom companies are talking about customer satisfaction, but they might not be connecting the dots between customer satisfaction and their employees' ability to impact the customer experience.

According to Garlick effective programs should be:

  • Aligned with employees - reward and recognition efforts must convince employees to go through the pain of behavior change;
  • Centralized - all parts of the organization that touch the customer need to work in tandem;
  • Localized - targeted training and processes should meet the specific needs of each location; and
  • Smarter - more complete customer and employee satisfaction insights are required to diagnose and enhance the customer experience.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

For future of enterprise computing, watch consumers

According to Intel’s Paul Otellini, speaking at Oracle’s OpenWorld event, the future of enterprise computing will draw from what is being developed on the consumer side. "Consumers today are the No. 1 users of semiconductors; they passed over IT and government in 2004. That's a big change; prior to that period, most people developing silicon in the industry were focused on the main market--the enterprise and IT. Today, most of us are focused on the consumer market as drivers,” Otellini said.

Not so long ago, if you were technology-oriented and wanted to do something innovative and cool that would make you rich, you wrote a new piece of enterprise software. Or you came up with a new design for a server. Or you figured out a way to link businesspeople with their offices while on the road. Of course, there are always exceptions, but enterprise computing, most believed, was where the real innovation occurred. Those innovations paved the way for the computing industry as we know it today.

However, keeping an enterprise's IT operation up and running is rapidly turning into the technology equivalent of plumbing, or maybe electricity: extremely vital pieces of infrastructure that no longer attract the type of young engineering enthusiasts who built Silicon Valley. Those people are now building Web 2.0 applications. They're designing social-networking communities or virtual worlds, not some new piece of enterprise-resource planning software that's going to set the world afire.

Consumer technology and the Web are going in the opposite direction. Sure, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are snapping up anything and everything that seems remotely interesting. But consolidation? Hardly. For every 10 companies gobbled by Google, a new powerhouse like Facebook starts forming its own little tech ecosystem, with start-ups eagerly feeding into it. You don't see that sort of thing in enterprise computing much these days.

The major trends in enterprise computing are things like consolidation and virtualization: how to do more with the stuff you've already got, or how to pare down the electrical costs of running a modern data center. Overall enterprise technology spending is basically flat as businesses work with the assets they already have.

Look, enterprise computing isn't going anywhere. Billions of dollars will continue to be spent on software needed to run increasingly complex businesses and the hardware that will keep it snappy. And the consumer appetite for technology could start to diminish if people have to start choosing between a new PC or HDTV and paying the mortgage or filling up the car.

But just as technology transformed the way the world does business, it's about to have the same effect on individuals, who are mostly still running desktop PCs, calling friends and family on a landline, and driving a car with an analog set of gauges. This is where the talent and the dollars are flocking, improving how we as individuals interact with technology. Not building CRM modules for the midmarket.
Source: CNET

More information can be found at

Monday, November 12, 2007

Information Technology Budgets: Which Industry Spends the Most?

According to CIO Magazine’s State of the CIO study, at 10.5 percent, banks and financial services companies, by far, spend the biggest chunk of revenue on technology, but the government and education sectors also spend significantly. The question is, which industry is most efficient?

Judging by one measure—the number of users supported by each IT staffer—education rules, with 48.3. Schools and colleges have all those iPod-wearing, wireless network-demanding students running around. Wholesale and retail IT pros are a close second on that scale, with 47.5—supporting, as they do, lots of full- and part-time store clerks and salespeople.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mobile Workforce Creates New Security Challenges

The increasingly mobile nature of the workforce is creating new security challenges for information technology (IT) staffs, research from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) reveals.

Theft of data and confidential information is a greater concern for more firms, especially when it comes to the use of hand-held devices and laptop computers by remote and mobile workers, according to the CompTIA survey.

Sixty percent of the 1,070 organizations surveyed said security issues related to the use of handheld devices for data access and transfer have increased significantly or increased somewhat over the past 12 months.

When it comes to wireless networks, 55 percent of organizations said security issues have increased significantly or somewhat over the past 12 months.

Nearly 80 percent of the organizations allow data access by remote or mobile employees. But just 32 percent of organizations have implemented any security awareness training for these workers; and just 10 percent plans to implement such training in the next 12 months.

More information can be found at

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

IT Leaders Should Prepare Two IT Budgets for 2008

According to Gartner, Chief information officers (CIOs) should create two IT budgets for 2008. Analysts warned that due to the recent turmoil in credit markets around the world and continued uncertainty surrounding the future economic climate, companies need to plan for all eventualities.

Gartner advises CIOs to create two separate budgets; the first should reflect the guidance already provided by senior decision makers but this should be supplemented by a second ‘back-up’ budget that assumes the need to cut costs in response to the arrival of a business slowdown.

CIOs need to have a ‘recession budget’ and business plan ready for immediate implementation long before being asked to reduce costs. To be meaningful, Gartner recommends that such plans should target a decrease in IT spending of at least 10 per cent below the highest annualized IT spending run rate levels attained in 2007.

Gartner said that rather than viewing the possibility of a significant business slowdown or recession with trepidation, organizations should use it as an opportunity to create a solution that will enable the enterprise to react with speed and certainty if the worst economic concerns come to pass.

More information can be found at

Monday, November 5, 2007

Optimized Customer Service is Becoming a Key Priority to Improve the Customer Experience

Nearly three quarters of customer service organizations have begun adopting strategies to optimize the value of every customer interaction, but less than twenty five percent have fully implemented them in key areas, according to a new survey of customer service organizations. The business goals of creating and operating contact centers at maximum efficiency remain a top priority for a large number of businesses, especially in highly dynamic environments, but the goals of complete optimization remain largely unmet. The most critical areas for improvement are in such areas as the ability to effectively cross sell, prioritizing customers according to their status, and matching customers with the best agent.

The global survey, sponsored by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, included 1,390 contact center managers and customer service executives from 19 different industries and 76 different countries.

Key findings include:

  • An increasing number of organizations implement contact center management strategies that simultaneously address effectiveness and efficiency of customer interaction

  • 28 percent of contact centers manage Average Handle Time by actively directing agents to spend longer on interactions during troughs and the reverse during peaks

  • Only 11 percent of contact centers actively manage cross-selling opportunities

  • 17 percent of contact centers use voice call-back

  • 26 percent expand the agents' roles to include managing interactions through other channels such as e-mail and SMS

  • Contact center management are integrating all available technology and business process to manage agent productivity, prioritize business objectives and respond to changes in customer demand

  • The most effective and successful contact centers seek to identify the customers at the first available opportunity - 78% of call centers are identifying customers before connecting them to agents

  • Contact centers are also assessing the value of the customer interaction, determining the level of service to provide and how to match the customer with the right agent

  • 22 percent of contact centers still do not identify customers before matching them with the appropriate resource

  • Only 21 percent of contact centers use advanced analytics to prioritize incoming calls based on the value of the customer

  • Only 35% match their top-value customers to their best agents-instead using an isolated group of high-performing agents

  • More information can be found at

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Survey shows call centers are not ready for the new consumer

    According to new research from Rostrvm Solutions, customers are beginning to demand multimedia contact but most call centers are far from ready to meet expectations. The research shows that call center adoption of new media is under way, customer
    contact mechanisms are changing, but not at the same pace as consumers.

    The survey revealed strong investment in both ‘traditional’ call center technology and new media communication. But it also identified that the different media effectively operate as customer interaction islands, not as an integrated customer experience.

    The overwhelming majority (98%) of call centers have an associated web presence. Despite general growth in internet activity it is still rare for businesses to complete the majority of transactions on the internet. Capturing customers and prospects with active links to the call center, such as call-me buttons, is not seen as a priority. Under 15% of call centers have a ‘Call Me’ presence on the web site growing to less than 25% over 3 years.

    The vast majority of call centers have already embraced the email revolution. 97% of call centers already use email to communicate with customers (rising to 98% over the next 3 years). The newer, more immediate media have significantly less penetration; text messaging has been recognized as an important medium in some areas and already used in around 30% of call centers but this figure is not expected to rise above 50% over the coming years.

    PC based communication - instant messaging such as Messenger and PC Telephony such as Skype – are not widely adopted or planned to have a large impact. Around 11% of call centers currently use Instant Messaging growing to around 24% in three years; less than 8% support PC Telephony building to around 20% over the next three years.

    More information can be found at