Monday, August 31, 2009

Social Media Can Expose Businesses To Risk

A survey released by Travelers reveals how the use of social media can expose businesses to risk. A key finding in the survey shows that one out of eight respondents indicated that they post work-related information on social media Web sites. In fact, 30 percent feel it is acceptable to post information online about their employer as long as they believe it is true.

Survey results also showed that more than 75 percent of those who post anything personal online said they were “not at all” or “not very concerned” about information posted online causing professional damage. In order to help reduce potential risks, businesses should consider the following best practices:

  • Develop a business-use policy – Develop a policy to govern employee actions on social media tools that a company might deploy within the company’s network, as well as provide guidelines for how employees should conduct themselves on external social media sites whether or not they are representing their affiliation to the company.
  • Communicate and train employees – Communicating the social media policy to employees will help them understand what is acceptable when it comes to publishing online. Businesses should provide annual training regarding the proper use of social media tools as well as e-mail, instant messaging, blogging and Internet usage.
  • Enforce the policy – A proactive and reactive plan should be in place to address employees who violate the policy.
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    Monday, August 24, 2009

    CIOs' Job Satisfaction Increases Despite Recession

    Despite having to cope with massive budget cuts, salary freezes and demoralized staffs, most employed IT executives are more satisfied with their jobs this year than they have been in previous years, according to the results of a job satisfaction survey conducted by ExecuNet.

    Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the 306 IT executives who responded to the survey said they were satisfied with their jobs. That's an 11 percent increase over 2008, when 286 IT leaders responded to the survey. In 2007, only 41 percent of IT executives reported being happy with their jobs even though the economy was arguably much stronger then than it is now.

    IT executives cited work they enjoy (checked by 13 percent), a good relationship with their bosses (12.5 percent), and a comfy fit with their employers (10.2 percent) as the primary reasons for job satisfaction.

    Among the 36 percent of IT leaders who indicated that they aren't happy with their jobs, their top reasons were limited advancement opportunities (noted by 14 percent), compensation (11.3 percent) and lack of challenge (10 percent).

    Source: CIO Magazine

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Reputational Risk of Social Networks is a Burgeoning Boardroom Topic

    According to additional findings from the third annual Deloitte LLP Ethics & Workplace survey, 58 percent of executives agree that the reputational risk of social networking should be a boardroom issue. However, only 15 percent of the respondents say that it is being discussed at this level.

    The majority (65 percent) of those executives who agree that the reputational risks of social networking should be a boardroom issue also say that they use social networking to build their company’s brand. Only 27 percent of executives say that they regularly discuss how to leverage these sites while at the same time mitigating the risks involved.

    According to Deloitte, social networks can be used to build business, they can also prove to be detrimental to brands. Setting usage guidelines as well as establishing a values-based ethical culture are among the steps leadership can take to encourage employees to make good decisions online.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    U.S. Companies Preparing for Economic Recovery in First Half of 2010

    U.S. companies are preparing for a global economic recovery to begin in the first half of 2010 according to a new "Road to Growth" study from AT&T.

    The study is based on more than six dozen one-on-one interviews with IT executives employed with multinational companies in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. portion of the study included CIOs and senior information technology executives from approximately four dozen multinational companies averaging $4.75 billion dollars revenue and operations in 28 countries. 2009 Road to

    Growth Study Key Findings:

    Time horizon to achieve ROI narrowed by 50%: In today's economic climate, U.S. companies have significantly shortened the time frame over which return on investment (ROI) is delivered.

    More than half of U.S. IT executives interviewed stated they are under pressure to deliver a return on investment in half or less than half the time. As a result, two-thirds cited that the change has affected their IT budgets, strategies and priorities. The study found that companies are less willing to invest in longer-term projects or projects where the return does not come quickly. One CIO stated that the added pressure has forced the company to focus on IT projects that give at least 100% ROI in 12 months; otherwise, the project(s) get dropped.

    Cost cutting and improving productivity are top priorities: Cost cutting and increasing revenue remain the two primary business goals cited by U.S. companies. To achieve the goals, survive the recession and move towards growth, IT strategies are focused on:

    1. Reducing operating costs: 87 percent cited "reducing operating costs" as "extremely or very important";

    2. Improve collaboration with customer and partners: 85 percent cited "improved collaboration with customers and partners" as "extremely or very important";

    3. Enhancing workforce performance and productivity: 83 percent cited "enhancing workforce performance" as "extremely or very important".

    Short and long term strategies are similar: The study found that U.S. companies employ multiple strategies to address business goals, and do not distinguish between short-term and long-term strategies. It appears that U.S. companies are reducing the time period for their long-term forecasting until after the recession is over. The role IT plays in helping U.S. companies achieve long-term strategies is very similar to the role IT plays in supporting the companies' short-term business strategies.

    Business continuity & security solutions have the highest positive impact: IT investments and priorities will go towards lowering cost, reducing risks and improving productivity and efficiency. The study found that "business continuity and security solutions" will have the biggest positive impact on business growth as U.S. companies prepare for an economic turnaround. This is closely followed by "enterprise mobility solutions" and "Web delivery solutions". Areas of IT investment that are expected to have a high to moderate impact on businesses are "unified communications services" and "hosted solutions."

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    Monday, August 10, 2009

    IT Products and Services Will Likely Be Subject to Regulation by 2015

    The frequency and intensity of leading indicators for widespread regulation of the IT industry are increasing, but many vendors and most enterprise IT organizations are unprepared to meet the requirements that regulated IT will likely impose on their processes and procedures, according to Gartner, Inc.

    "Three years ago Gartner published research predicting that either catastrophe from IT failure, or a continuing history of lower-level failures would provoke either a governmental regulation or industry self-regulation of IT products and services in the U.S. by 2015 and in the European Union by 2015 to 2018," said Richard Hunter, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Although the exact date of arrival for regulation is difficult to predict, we believe that, in recent months, the tempo and intensity of the indications of such an event have increased."

    Several recent articles describing the growth and scale of criminal hacking networks aimed at governmental and industry targets, as well as recent statements by representatives of the U.S. and U.K governments, indicate that the state of IT security is now viewed as unacceptably dangerous. In addition, healthcare industry representatives have asked the Obama administration to hold software vendors liable for failures resulting from implementation of administrative software mandated by the U.S. federal government by 2014. Elsewhere, corporate customers are filing litigation against their IT providers with greater frequency.

    The rise of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have generated increased concern over the extent to which personal data and the safety of minors are threatened by criminals using these networks to gain access to potential victims.

    While neither supporting nor opposing regulation of IT, Gartner considers it increasingly likely and thinks it is probable that the EU will take formal steps to establish a regime for regulation of consumer-oriented IT products and services as early as 2011. Given the increasing likelihood of this scenario, Gartner advises IT vendors, service providers and user organizations to consider the implications of the regulation of IT on their businesses.

    Software vendors need to be aware that increased liability will drive generic software out of the market, and they should prepare for transparency and product/price differentiation based on quality and certified fitness for purpose. IT service providers should do the same and mitigate risks by incorporating strong documentation, audit right provisions and legal compliance terminology into outsourcing deals.

    Enterprise technology users are likely to benefit from regulation in terms of clearly understanding the functions and features they buy but should be aware that they cannot outsource regulatory compliance. They should consider whether the liabilities applied to vendors will apply to them as well, and consider whether the enterprise is prepared to manage its processes to regulatory requirements.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    IT Market Compensation Study Shows That Organizations Are Focusing on Containing Workforce Costs

    In today’s economy, it is imperative that CIOs understand what resources they have and may need in the short and long term and avoid making deep staff cuts without first considering their effects on the organization’s ability to attract and retain talent. However, a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. showed that nearly 66 percent of respondents do not currently have a formal IT workforce planning process that will enable them to leverage the opportunities presented by this downturn.

    According to a survey of 325 U.S.-based organizations in March of 2009, 64.1 percent of survey respondents indicated that they will put hiring on hold for the next 12 months (March 1, 2009 to February 28, 2010). In contrast, a total of 35.9 percent of respondents projected an increase in IT head count. Although some geographic markets, such as the Northeast, were seriously affected by hiring freezes and layoffs, survey respondents continue to have difficulty in finding skilled enterprise architects, database administrators, ERP programmers/analysts, project managers, Internet/Web architects and Web application programmers.

    In a financial crisis, companies can’t reward everyone in the same way as in good times and one of the first items to be cut is the annual salary increase budget. Results from this year’s survey shows there will be an across-the-board reduction (IT and non-IT) in salary increase budgets for 2009 and 2010. The median IT salary increase budget (including 0s) for 2009 is 3 percent, a half point drop from the 2008 figure of 3.5 percent, and it will remain at 3 percent for 2010. The median 2009 salary increase budget for all other departments outside of IT dropped to 2.8 percent and is expected to move up to 3 percent in 2010.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at