Monday, June 29, 2009

IT Salaries Fall - Demand Down for IT Professionals

Janco released its 2009 Mid Year IT Salary Survey which shows that overall pay has declined for IT Professionals in the past 18 months. Janco also found that demand is down for IT Professionals. The most striking observations are:

--Many companies have instituted hiring and spending freezes in addition to laying-off of staff. This has been augmented by extensive outsourcing, bonus reductions, and elimination of IT contractors -- which has decreased the demand for IT professionals and in some cases lowered wages, with higher priced positions being eliminated.

---Layoffs have focused on middle management and IT support staff.

---Many mid-sized enterprises have stopped hiring all together.

---There are over 200 IT professionals in the Metro New York are who earned well into six figures that are looking for work due to mergers, bankruptcies, and layoffs

--Companies are continuing to reduce the benefits provided to IT professionals. Though benefits such as health care are available, IT professionals are now paying a greater portion of that cost.

--Flexible hours and work schedules are now not as available as they were before the recent economic conditions changed.

--With outsourcing, lower bonuses, and the recent layoffs there has been a slight decrease in the mean compensation paid to IT professionals. In addition, with the fall in the Janco Benchmark it is shows that hiring "new staff" has significantly declined.

--There now is a surplus of seasoned IT professionals available. For the second time in less than ten years, retirements are being put off because of the downturn in the stock market and the resultant reduction in savings available to support IT professionals as they retire. Added to this is an influx of retirees who are looking to get back into the job market due to of the massive reduction in their investment portfolio.

More information on the IT industry can be found at

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recession Causes Rising IT Project Failure Rates

Recession-related IT budget slashing and layoffs are taking their toll on IT project success rates, according to the results of the latest CHAOS Summary 2009 report from The Standish Group. The Boston, Mass.-based IT project management research and consulting firm surveyed 400 organizations and found a decrease in IT project success rates and an increase in IT project failure rates during the past two years. Specifically, 32 percent of IT projects were considered successful, having been completed on time, on budget and with the required features and functions. Nearly one-in-four (24 percent) IT projects were considered failures, having been cancelled before they were completed, or having been delivered but never used. The rest (44 percent) were considered challenged: They were finished late, over budget, or with fewer than the required features and functions.

The last time The Standish Group released its CHAOS findings, in 2006, 35 percent of projects were successes, 19 percent were failures and 46 percent were challenged.

Staff reductions within and outside of IT departments are also adversely affecting project success rates. With project managers and business stakeholders taking on more work due to layoffs, they have less time to devote to each project, to go to meetings, to help with requirements planning and to do all the other activities that promote project success.

Source: CIO Magazine

More information on the IT industry can be found at

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Survey Reveals Lack of Understanding by Business Executives of the Value of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity to Organizational Success

There is a significant disconnect between information technology (IT) and business executives when it comes to disaster recovery preparedness, according to the results of a new State of Disaster Recovery survey. While both sets of executives share same views on the importance of information availability to the business, survey data reveal a split in how to achieve the goal of minimizing downtime when an unplanned IT outage occurs.

In the survey commissioned by SunGard Availability Services and conducted by Harris Interactive(R), both IT and business decision-makers say information availability is important to the success of their business (83 percent of IT, 78 percent of business). However, fewer than half of business executives say disaster recovery and business continuity are important to business success compared with a large majority of IT executives (74 percent of IT, 49 percent of business).

The lack of business understanding about the value of disaster recovery is clearly exhibited in executive views on funding levels. IT decision-makers were significantly more likely to say insufficient funding is among the biggest obstacles they face in developing an effective disaster recovery plan for their companies (42 percent of IT to 32 percent of business).

IT executives were also more likely to say they have inadequate resources (25 percent of IT to 11 percent of business) to make disaster recovery plans effective -- and believe investing in disaster recovery and business continuity are more important in the current economy because their companies can't afford the risk of any unexpected downtime (33 percent of IT to 18 percent of business).

The gap in support for funding disaster preparedness may be the result of business decision-makers being less knowledgeable about their company's disaster recovery plans. For example, business executives were significantly more likely to say they are unsure as to how frequently their firm's disaster recovery plans are tested (30 percent compared to 5 percent of IT) or what their plan includes (41 percent compared to 4 percent of IT).

Despite insufficient funding being the biggest challenge companies face in developing an effective recovery plan, just one-fifth of respondents (17 percent of IT, 19 percent of business) say their company currently uses a third-party provider to manage disaster recovery systems. But more than half of the survey respondents that use a third-party disaster recovery offering believe those offerings are more cost effective and provide better solutions.

Contributing to the stress on IT operations is the pressure to keep unplanned IT downtime at low levels. About two-thirds (66 percent) of IT executives say the amount of downtime tolerated has grown shorter over the last two years. About 50 percent (54 percent) of IT decision-makers report their organizations can tolerate downtime of only five hours or less.

When asked to give their company a letter grade on their company's ability to access business-critical information after an unplanned outage, 30 percent of IT executives chose a "C" or "D" -- which compares to only 22 percent selecting those grades in the survey done in 2007.

More information on the service and support industry can be found at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Many Large Enterprises Underestimate Risk from Terminated Employees

Courion(R) Corporation, has released survey results revealing that while a vast majority (93%) of organizations are confident that terminated employees pose no security risk to their systems by virtue of legacy access, many have limited or no knowledge of the systems to which their active and terminated employees have access. This unwarranted confidence in system security leaves companies vulnerable to attacks that could cost millions.

Conducted through May 2009, a global survey of 236 business managers from large enterprises -- more than half from companies with at least 10,000 employees -- reveals that 53% of IT managers are largely unaware of employee access rights to systems. This causes a proliferation of zombie accounts -- accounts that remain active after employees have left the company. However, these same administrators say they have a high level of confidence that zombie accounts cannot trigger a malicious attack or perpetrate a data leak, despite high-profile evidence to the contrary.
Other key survey results include:

--Nearly one in three companies (30%) still manually provision user accounts, increasing the likelihood of human error or delays when de-provisioning departing employees – and ultimately the risk of data theft via zombie accounts.

--Almost half (48%) of organizations currently take more than one business day to alert IT departments of employee terminations.

--Close to one quarter (23%) of companies surveyed also take another day or more to switch off employee access to their systems, creating a substantial window of opportunity for malicious former employees.

--Almost 1 in 10 companies (9%) said they could never be completely certain that terminated employees no longer have access to IT systems.

--More than one third (34%) of business managers reported that it can take up to a week or longer to be completely certain that terminated employees do not have access to systems.

More information on the IT industry can be found at

Monday, June 15, 2009

2009 Global Customer Experience Management Benchmark Study

Strativity Group has unveiled the results of their 5th annual Customer Experience Management Study. According to Strativity CEO Lior Arussy, the biggest surprise in the study was that certain companies decided to increase their investment in customer relationships rather than decrease it as the majority do. Other key findings include:

  • Smart companies increase investment in customers strategies during tough economic times to build competitive advantage

  • Commitment to customer experience remained high 79%

  • 47% of companies increased their investment in customer experience by 10% or more

  • Close to 50% of executives claim they do not deserve customer loyalty

  • 86% of companies do not know the cost of new customer

  • 89% of companies do not know the cost of a complaint

  • Only 40% claimed employees have tools to service customers

  • Companies that invest 10% or more of revenues in customer experience:

  • Have significantly lower customer attrition rate

  • Enjoy referral rates that are twice as high

  • Are twice as likely to have customer satisfaction score of 81% or more
  • More information on the contact center industry can be found at

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Top Corporate Software Priority Is Modernizing Legacy Applications

    Modernizing key legacy applications is the top software initiative for businesses this year, according to a new survey by Forrester Research, Inc. The survey of more than 2,200 IT executives and technology decision-makers in North America and Europe is Forrester's largest annual study of software spending and adoption trends for both enterprises and small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) and is part of Forrester's Business Data Services (BDS) series.

    Updating key legacy applications was cited as the top initiative for both enterprises and SMBs at 64 percent and 55 percent, respectively. More than one-quarter of enterprises and more than one-fifth of SMBs said that updating and modernizing key legacy applications is very important. Other key highlights of the survey include:

    --Software budgets will hold relatively steady. Enterprises allocated 16 percent of their IT operating budgets toward expensed software costs in 2008 and plan to allocate 17 percent over the next year. SMBs allocated 19 percent toward expensed software costs in 2008 and plan to allocate 19 percent in the next 12 months.

    --Reducing IT costs and improving integration are top goals. Eighty-one percent of enterprises consider reducing IT costs to be an important goal, with improving integration between applications not too far behind at 77 percent. Seventy-one percent of SMBs consider improving integration to be important, with reducing IT costs and using information technologies to increase innovation next.

    --Software-as-a-service (SaaS) concerns and barriers have diminished. Compared with 2008, the 2009 landscape for SaaS is looking brighter, but there are still some bumps along the road to adoption. Currently, at 31 percent, security concerns are the most commonly cited reason why enterprises aren't interested in SaaS. At 39 percent, total ownership costs represent the top concern for SMBs that aren't interested in SaaS.

    --Packaged applications are preferred. When implementing a major application, a packaged application or application modules are the most preferred deployment options for 33 percent of enterprises and 45 percent of SMBs. The next preferred option for both is a tailored solution assembled from existing custom and packaged application modules. Few firms prefer to turn to SaaS or a hosted solution.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    42 Percent of Respondents Decreased Their IT Budgets in First Quarter of 2009

    In the first quarter of 2009, CIOs experienced significant IT budget revisions as executives gained a greater understanding and solidified plans for addressing the global financial crisis, according to a worldwide survey of 900 CIOs by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP).

    The survey was conducted from March 1 to April 30 2009 and sought to gauge the potential impact of macroeconomic concerns on IT budgets. These CIOs encompass more than $77 billion in revised IT spending. Forty-six percent of respondents said that their 2009 IT budget had changed since it was finalized. The results of this survey were compared with the results of the Gartner EXP 2009 CIO Survey, conducted from September to December 2008, which had more than 1,500 responses.

    CIOs in the original survey reported a flat budget with a minor increase of 0.16 percent. CIOs responding to the survey in the first quarter now report a weighted average decline of 4.7 percent. More than 90 percent of firms changing their budgets made a reduction in the first quarter, with the average reduction being 7.2 percent. Fifty-four percent of respondents reported no change in their IT budget, with the remaining 4 percent reporting an increase in their IT budget.

    First quarter 2009 IT budget reductions were reported across the board based on both size and geography of the organization. CIOs in healthcare-related industries reported an average budget increase of 2.2 percent, but CIOs in all other major industries reported a decline in the first quarter of 2009. The largest decline was in professional services at -10 percent, followed by telecommunications and high tech at -10 percent, manufacturing at -8 percent, utilities at -4 percent and financial services at -4 percent.

    CIOs recognize the potential for further cuts in 2009, but most see that as unlikely. The percentage of CIOs with a contingency plan for the remainder of 2009 has more than doubled compared with 2008. CIOs with additional contingency plans for 2009 are planning for the potential of renewed IT spending, as well as additional reductions. While 44 percent of CIOs do not believe they will need to tap into their contingency plans, those that do believe they will do so during the next six months.

    The survey found that CIOs expect the economy to recover between the first and third quarter of 2010. CIOs plan to increase IT investment projects and workforce levels as their first investments in such a recovery. Software, hardware and infrastructure investments are also high on the CIO’s agenda on the path to economic recovery.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Despite the Recession, Now is the Time for IT Leaders to Prepare for a Return to Business Growth

    While the recession is still under way, now is the time for IT leaders to prepare for business growth, and organizations should aim to complete these plans by July 1 of this year, according to Gartner, Inc. This advice especially pertains to the nations that first entered the recession, such as the U.S. and the U.K.

    Gartner acknowledged that many countries are experiencing ever-increasing levels of unemployment, rising home mortgage payment delinquencies and business bankruptcies while also seeing reductions in consumer confidence, business earnings and overall economic performance. However, in recent months, analysts have observed that many organizations are reporting that their staff are working at near- or full-capacity levels. This demand level will almost certainly increase when businesses start detecting a resurgence in demand from customers, a more stabilized economic climate and a far-healthier lending environment from which to access credit.

    Gartner believes that the July 1 "deadline" will well serve those organizations believing that modest business growth could occur during 2010. Such a belief would require placement of new IT project and other related expenses in the 2010 budget, whose preparation period is between August and the end of 2009.

    While Gartner’s recommendations call for the resolution of key preliminary cost optimization and governance-related issues before the era of business growth returns, Gartner said that it is not necessarily advocating that organizations automatically revert to the same management techniques they were using in the years leading up to the recession.

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    Business Continuity Planning Evolves With Emerging Technologies

    The dramatic rise in social networking and mobility trends is presenting new challenges and considerations to companies' network security, disaster planning and business continuity programs. The good news: businesses are stepping up their technology investment and efforts to meet these challenges despite the economy; and mobile devices are increasingly part of business continuity plans. These are some of the findings to emerge from AT&T's annual study on business continuity and disaster recovery preparedness for U.S. businesses in the private sector.

    For the eighth consecutive year, AT&T surveyed IT executives from companies throughout the United States that have at least $25 million in annual revenue to get their views on disaster planning and business continuity trends. Sixty-eight percent of the companies surveyed this year have locations outside of the U.S.

    2009 AT&T Business Continuity Study Key Findings:

    -- 2009 IT Spending Trends and Investment in New Technologies. Two-thirds (65%) of all executives indicate that their companies will be investing in new technologies for 2009. Investment tends to focus on new equipment and a variety of software, storage and security upgrades.

    When looking at IT spending trends for this year, forty percent of executives surveyed indicated that their IT budgets are expected to be lower this year than in the previous two years, while nearly one-fourth (24%) indicated that budgets will be higher. Interestingly, companies with business continuity plans in place are significantly more likely than those without plans to anticipate budget increases (32% compared
    to 11%).

    -- Mobility Considerations Emerge. Sixty-seven percent of executives indicate that wireless network capabilities are part of their business continuity plan. Furthermore, nearly half (46%) stated that mobile devices play a major role in their plan's considerations.

    -- Social Networking Heightens Security Threats. Three out of four executives surveyed are concerned about the increased use of social networking capabilities' potential impact on network security. Forty- four percent allow employees access to such social networking sites. However, hacking still continues to be listed as the biggest security risk to companies (30% compared with 3% for social networking).

    Business Continuity Planning Trends

    One-third of companies surveyed have used their business continuity plan that is in place. Nationally, companies are most likely to invoke their business continuity plan due to extreme weather (25%) or power outages at facilities (19%). When looking at the five markets surveyed, companies in Houston and Miami/Orlando/Tampa are significantly more likely to have invoked their business continuity plan (52% and 51% respectively, compared with 36% nationally). These results are not surprising considering these regions have been hit the hardest with hurricanes.

    Nearly seventy-four percent of businesses surveyed set target recovery times for their key business processes (compared with sixty-seven percent in 2008), an indication that businesses understand not only is it important to have a plan in place, but that plan needs to identify goals and expectations for recovery should it be invoked. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, these companies have special arrangements for communicating with key executives spanning voice, email and text-messaging.

    In addition, the study found that companies have put increased attention to not only their own business continuity plans but those of their key partners and suppliers. One-third of the respondents require suppliers and other vendors to have a business continuity plan in place in order to do business with their company.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at