Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rising Use of Consumer Technology in the Workplace Forcing IT Departments to Respond

The consumerization of corporate IT - as employees bring their own devices and applications into the workplace - is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing organizations worldwide in the next five years, according to new survey research published by Accenture. With almost half (45 percent) of the employees surveyed noting that personal consumer devices and software applications are more useful than the tools and applications provided by their IT department, this research highlights that organizations can no longer ignore or resist the phenomenon.

The ‘Consumerization of Enterprise IT’ research, carried out by the Accenture Institute for High Performance, surveyed over 4,000 employees in 16 countries across five continents, as well as over 300 business and IT executives. The study found that despite employers’ concerns around data security and IT protocol, one in four (23 percent) employees worldwide regularly use personal consumer devices and applications for work related activities. Employees claim that such technologies enhance innovation, productivity and job satisfaction, and more than a quarter (27 percent) said that they would even be prepared to pay for their own devices and applications to use at work.

The research also revealed that patterns of usage and attitudes toward such technologies differ noticeably across the globe, with greater adoption of consumer IT by organizations in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and Mexico than in developed markets. In contrast to a worldwide adoption average of 23 percent for consumer devices and 20 percent for applications that are routinely used in organizations by employees, countries such as China and India show consumerization rates well above 40 percent. As emerging markets seek to continue the high growth they have enjoyed over the past two decades, consumer IT in the workplace could be one of the key drivers of competitive advantage.

Other key findings from the research include:

Rising Employee Technology Expectations

-- Over a quarter (27 percent) of employees routinely use non-corporate applications downloaded from the Internet in the workplace as they search for applications that help them to work better

-- The first step toward IT consumerization often involves accessing corporate email in non-corporate settings, largely as a result of increasing smartphone penetration, with 30 percent saying they routinely check email before they go to bed

-- Employees also revealed a desire to access Web-based corporate applications and databases, as 14 percent reported accessing corporate apps and databases from their consumer devices on a regular basis

Employees Solving Their Own Tech Challenges

-- A large proportion of employees (43 percent) feel comfortable and capable of making their own technology decisions for work, indicating a ‘technological empowerment movement’ sweeping across users worldwide

-- There is also an increasing trend for employee driven technological innovation, as 24 percent of employees admitted to coming up with their own consumer technology solution to help solve a business problem

Management is Scrambling to Embrace Consumer Technology

-- The use of personal devices in the enterprise increases dramatically amongst IT executives (54 percent) and other management executives (49 percent) when compared to employee adoption rates

-- Management and IT executives know that using the latest technology is a big priority for their employees, with 88 percent of executives collectively saying that consumer technology used by their employees can improve job satisfaction

-- Most executives approach consumerization as a series of ad hoc issues (e.g. “Should we allow corporate reports on iPads?” or “Should we allow social media?”). However, whilst more executives recognize the adoption of consumer technologies in the workforce as a strategic issue, only 27 percent have started to address the issue in a structured way.
More information on the IT industry can be found at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Agents Still the Focal Point of Customer Care

New research from customer relationship management provider Convergys Corporation reveals that while U.S. consumers still call agents their “go to” resource for customer service, the growing popularity of live Web chat, email, text messaging, self-service Web sites, social media and other new care options is fueling demand for the multichannel service experience.

According to findings from Convergys’ 2011 U.S. Customer Scorecard Research, the majority of U.S. consumers still rank interacting with companies via agents over the phone among their top two preferred channel options for customer service. The next most preferred channel is Web chat.  However, the research reveals that customer channel usage is changing, and U.S. consumers are using alternate channels to get customer service especially on their initial contact with a company.  Yet, when a U.S. consumer feels they can’t get what they need quickly via an alternate channel, they turn to an agent for help.

The Convergys research found that 73% of U.S. consumers have already used new interaction technologies such as smartphones, tablets and social media accounts. Social media is particularly pervasive -- 61% of those surveyed have their own Facebook or Twitter account or their own blog.  Respondents indicated that one in eight U.S. consumers had used mobile applications or text messaging for customer care in the last six months; 11% had used social media. These numbers are expected to grow, with the younger Millennial generation initially fueling the rise.

To thrive in this environment, companies will need to deploy social media strategies that keep track of content across platforms, monitoring social networks, blogs, forums and traditional media. By using comprehensive analytics to sift through masses of data, companies will be able to discern critical trends and make better-informed decisions on which problems need proactive outreach.
More information on customer service and support can be found at

Monday, December 12, 2011

CIOs Must Assess the Impacts of the Euro Crisis on Their Enterprises Now

With extreme uncertainty plaguing all enterprises operating in the eurozone, CIOs must act immediately to protect their enterprises, according to Gartner, Inc. CIOs need to safeguard their enterprises from the risks of government/bank default, euro break-up, counterparty bankruptcy and employee/customer distress. 

Gartner analysts said there are four broad challenges that the euro crisis raises, and they examined how the CIO is best positioned to provide enterprise leadership on addressing those challenges. These challenges include:

Challenge 1: Market Volatility
Most enterprises and their IT departments are burdened with significant numbers of bureaucratic processes and latent decision-making mechanisms. Today's market conditions require business and government executives to radically restructure their business practices.

"Market conditions require CIOs to help develop a working environment that promotes speed, agility and adaptability -- without sacrificing accountability," according to David Furlonger, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Change management capabilities will be critical. The foundation to achieve effective change management will demand information, analytics, HR flexibility and a more decentralized command-and-control management structure."

Challenge 2: Capital Costs
The costs of and access to capital across Europe will likely continue to worsen until there is a significant redress in structural imbalances between countries and organizations. Unwillingness or inability to write off debt and restructure public- and private-sector balance sheets is a substantial barrier to market efficiency. Lines of credit will likely become uncertain or removed, forcing corporations to reduce inventory.

"In this situation, CIOs will face zero-growth budgeting at best, and substantial reductions in both the investment capital and the operational budget made available to run the business at worst," Mr. Furlonger said. "If a market meltdown occurs, then critical resources and supplies may be at risk. CIOs and other executives must develop contingency plans to ensure multiple backups."

Challenge 3: Human Capital Management
Millions of people are out of work in Europe. Formal government austerity packages and informal corporate restrictions on salaries, benefits and working conditions, combined with high costs of living, are stressing workforces. This situation is compounded by retirement funding shortfalls, extensions in the working age and loss of benefits.

"CIOs and business executives face significant HR issues in terms of rewarding and motivating staff, securing funds to hire appropriate new talent, and dealing with the personnel hardships of individuals entering the work environment, which impair productivity," Mr. Di Maio said. "They must also plan for retention issues of foreign workers moving to better opportunities or the removal of non-EU work permits and visas in response to political backlash from rapidly rising unemployment, resulting in a 'brain drain'."

Challenge 4: Risk Management
The capital markets (and many corporations) believe that the risk of government and counterparty default is substantial. Receivables management is being stressed, and the likelihood of internal and external fraud rises. From an IT standpoint, operational risk is heightened via issues such as changes in contractual obligations and business continuity. Added to this is the continued increase in regulatory compliance initiatives across industries, which exacerbate the pressure on audit and risk management assessments and workflows.

"Prior to the crisis, enterprises were already challenged to identify enterprisewide risks in a holistic fashion to link those risks to the performance of the business and to manage risk in a time-effective manner," Mr. Furlonger said. "Now, the CIO need to ask questions such as, 'Can existing risk models accommodate alternatives to the lack of historical data (in many cases, as much as three years of back data is required) necessary for regression testing/yield curve analysis of hedges, and for stressing asset and liability portfolios in the event of a redenomination in all or part of their asset and liability portfolio?"

More information on CIO's can be found at

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Social Media Bringing IT and LEGAL Together

Recommind, a provider of predictive information management software, released the results of its third annual survey on the working relationship between corporate IT and legal departments. In contrast with last year’s study, this year’s indicates that the two departments are forging a more productive relationship as they work together to manage the most sensitive data in the enterprise.

According to this year's report, which surveyed senior IT managers at enterprises averaging 17,500 employees, technical knowledge of eDiscovery is improving across the board, and legal and IT departments are coming together to solve new dilemmas posed by internal investigations, regulatory requests and the skyrocketing use of social media. 

The state of the relationship

Overall, the survey suggests that the state of the relationship between legal and IT is holding steady, with 52.1% rating it “good” or “very good,” compared to 54.5% in 2010. Drilling down into the details, however, respondents reported a number of positive trends.

Both IT and legal are making eDiscovery a higher priority.

-- 66.9% report that legal and IT are meeting to collaborate or strategize at least once per quarter, compared to 48.4% in 2010.

-- Only 26.3% said IT considered eDiscovery a "low" or "very low” priority, down from 39.1% in 2010.

-- Only 17.6% said that legal rated eDiscovery a "low" or "very low” priority, compared to 29.1% in 2010. 

"Not understanding/respecting the technical complexities of e-discovery" remained by far IT’s top frustration in working with the legal department (35.9%), as it was last year. And tellingly, asked what the legal department would pinpoint as its top frustration when working with IT, respondents most often said, “trying to influence decisions traditionally made by legal” (26.7%). Last year’s top choice, “lack of legal knowledge,” ranked only fourth out of five this year (17.2%).

Why IT and legal work together 

A new section of the survey focusing on areas of IT-legal interaction revealed social media as a clear up-and-coming priority. 

-- 30% of respondents reported that the IT and legal departments at their companies collaborate on “eDiscovery involving social media” at least once per quarter, suggesting that despite its novelty, social media is already playing a significant role in eDiscovery at many large organizations.

-- 34.7% of respondents said IT and legal collaborated on "crafting or implementing social media policies" for the first time in 2011, and 24.5% cited "eDiscovery involving social media"  the number-one and number-two results, respectively.

-- Looking ahead to 2012, more respondents expected to collaborate for the first time on social media policies (26.9%) and social media eDiscovery (26.9%) than on any other activities. 

More information on Information Technology (IT) can be found at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2012 and Beyond

Gartner, Inc. has revealed its top predictions for IT organizations and users for 2012 and beyond. Analysts said that the predictions herald changes in control for IT organizations as budgets, technologies and costs become more fluid and distributed. Gartner's top predictions for 2012 include:

-- By 2015, low-cost cloud services will cannibalize up to 15 percent of top outsourcing players' revenue.

-- In 2013, the investment bubble will burst for consumer social networks, and for enterprise social software companies in 2014.

-- By 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client.

-- By 2015, mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.

-- By 2016, 40 percent of enterprises will make proof of independent security testing a precondition for using any type of cloud service.

-- At year-end 2016, more than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

-- By 2015, 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures for most organizations will be managed outside the IT department's budget.

-- By 2014, 20 percent of Asia-sourced finished goods and assemblies consumed in the U.S. will shift to the Americas.

-- Through 2016, the financial impact of cybercrime will grow 10 percent per year, due to the continuing discovery of new vulnerabilities.

-- By 2015, the prices for 80 percent of cloud services will include a global energy surcharge.

-- Through 2015, more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage.

More information on IT organizations can be found at

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Study Finds Nearly 60% of Companies Plan to Increase Their IT Spending

As the economy regains its footing, companies are striving to be more efficient, competitive and productive all the while through increased IT investments. According to a recent survey by Windows IT Pro, 58% of companies plan for increased IT capital spending in the next 12 months. The survey results also reveal 80% of companies indicate new or enabling technologies are the main catalyst for the increased spending. 

Increased spending seems to be driven by a shift to cloud computing and virtualization, the need for operating system upgrades, and the proliferation of security threats companies have been faced with. The flexible cost model cloud computing offers seems to be one of the biggest drivers to the cloud.

Other notable findings from the study include:

-- 53% indicated improving IT security and managing infrastructure as a top priorities in 2012

-- 45% plan for operating system upgrades in 2012

-- 71% plan for IT capital increases because of hardware and software obsolescence

-- Reliability is more important than price and features when it comes to selecting IT products and services

More information on IT spending can be found at

Monday, November 21, 2011

Study Finds U.S. Workers Under Pressure to Improve Skills, But Need More Support from Employers

The majority (55 percent) of workers in the U.S. report they are under pressure to develop additional skills to be successful in their current and future jobs, but only 21 percent say they have acquired new skills through company-provided formal training during the past five years, according to a study released by Accenture.

The Accenture Skills Gap Study, which surveyed 1,088 employed and unemployed U.S. workers, found that while more than half (52 percent) have added technology skills in the past five years, few have updated other in-demand skills such as problem solving (31 percent), analytical skills (26 percent) and managerial skills (21 percent).

The study also found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of workers believe it is primarily their own responsibility, rather than their employer’s responsibility, to update their skills. However, only 53 percent of unemployed workers report they understand which skills are likely to be in demand in the next five years, compared to 80 percent of employed workers.

Employers’ role in closing the skills gap

The study suggests that employers may be hindered by not be having a complete picture of all of the skills they have within their organization to handle specific jobs. Just over half (53 percent) of respondents said their employers document their skills, but more than a third (38 percent) said their employers look only at specific job experience and education to match employees to jobs rather than looking at all of their talents and capabilities.

Limited ability to shift employees to different jobs within their organizations may also be preventing companies from fully utilizing their workers’ skills. Only one-third (34 percent) of respondents report that it is easy to move to another job within their company where their skills would best be utilized, and slightly less than half of respondents (49 percent) report that their employer does a good job of providing a clear understanding of the skills needed for different roles and career paths. More than one-third (36 percent) of workers say that they would be willing to move to another location where demand for their skills is strongest or where their skills could be put to better use.

Career path choices also are contributing to the skills gap, according to the study. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of all workers say they’ve had to change careers at least once in order to meet the challenges of the job market. However, only 28 percent report that they had an understanding of the skills required in their new career before making a change.

More information on service and support can be found at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Information Trumps Automation as Global CIOs Shift Budget Priorities in 2012

New research from Corporate Executive Board, a research and advisory services company, says CIOs expect to spend 39 percent of their 2012 project budgets on information management initiatives and 32 percent on process automation projects. This represents a significant shift in corporate IT departments' priorities as information outstrips process automation. CEB also anticipates rapid growth in cloud and mobile applications spending. Cloud spending is projected to increase by more than 20 percent and account for approximately 7 percent of total budgets; mobile applications will increase by more than 60 percent and account for roughly 4 percent of budgets in 2012.

CEB anticipates that the increased focus on information over process, first seen in 2011, will continue into the foreseeable future. The shift, which the company predicted in 2010 with its Future of Corporate IT study, is accelerated by the rise of big data and the desire for organizations to use information more effectively to gain competitive advantage.

Related CEB research finds that supporting the mobile employee is a top infrastructure priority in 2012. CIOs are increasingly allocating budget to the conversion of existing applications as well as the development of new mobile apps. They also continue to invest in infrastructure to facilitate mobility. Reducing infrastructure costs and supporting business innovation are also on the priority list and drive much of the increased interest in cloud-based services, particularly Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

CEB's projections are based on the company's 2012 Global IT Budget Benchmarking report representing USD $38 billion in IT spending. The report suggests that overall operating budgets will be roughly flat with growth of just under 3 percent -- less than a third of the actual increases reported in 2011. Capital expenditures will also flatten in 2012 after an increase of more than 20 percent in 2011, which allowed organizations to clear a backlog of projects left over from the recession. With that backlog largely gone, IT capital expenditures will increase by only 5 percent in North America and will decline steeply (14%) in Europe amid economic woes.

Other notable findings of CEB's 2012 IT Budget Benchmarking report include:

-- End-to-end Services Grow in Popularity -- the majority of CIOs (54%) are expecting to offer at least some end-to-end services in 2012. An additional 11 percent will move to a multi-functional shared services model in which IT becomes integrated with other corporate shared services. This trend is anticipated to continue far beyond next year. More than 70 percent of organizations will have a more integrated service offering by 2012.

-- IT Staffing Remains Constant -- with approximately 60 percent of IT operating expenditure allocated to workforce, including internal staff, contractors and outsourcing providers, the allocation of IT staff remains stable. The highest staffed IT function is applications (41%), followed by infrastructure (22%). IT functions are also developing roles to help facilitate the transition to integrated service models.

More information on CIOs and IT can be found at

Thursday, November 10, 2011

HDI Announces Release of 2011 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report

HDI, an IT service and technical support association, announced the release of the 2011 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report. Further proving HDI's dedication to the advancement of the industry, the report features research pertaining to industry trends, tendencies, and best practices, utilizing statistics and data provided by IT service and technical support professionals themselves.
Key findings include:

-- Support centers continue to see an increase in ticket volume; sixty-eight percent saw an increase in 2011.

-- New customer equipment, devices, and applications are the number-one factor in ticket volume increases.

-- Support centers are shopping for technology this year; more than fifty percent of support centers will be adding, upgrading, or replacing their knowledge management and self-help tools.

-- Fifty percent of support centers are using social media to provide support.

-- For the first time in the survey's history, the term service desk is being used more than help desk.

-- There is greater utilization of less expensive channels of support, such as web requests and auto-logging.

-- Two-thirds of the industry distinguishes between incidents and service requests, but only forty-three percent of support centers are measuring them separately.

-- Forty percent of support centers have staff working remotely and an additional ten percent plan to implement remote support in the next twelve months.

-- Smaller support centers pay higher salaries than their larger counterparts for staff-level positions (non-management).

More information on service and support can be found at

Monday, November 7, 2011

Survey Reveals Today's IT Professional Workforce is Content and Optimistic About the Future

Amid fears of a "double-dip" recession, rising unemployment, and continued economic turbulence, a new survey of IT professionals conducted by Modis, a provider of information technology staffing solutions, paints a brighter picture of the current career outlook for the field. According to the survey, a large majority (89 percent) of IT professionals are happy at their current job and two-thirds (64 percent) intend to stay where they are presently employed. In addition, nearly half (44 percent) of all IT professionals expect a raise next year, while only a quarter (26 percent) expect their salaries to remain the same.

This widespread career contentment may be the result of survey respondents feeling that the things they find most critical to their job satisfaction are being fulfilled. These factors include having a boss that does not micromanage (70 percent), having a good salary and benefits (62 percent), and having opportunities to receive training in new technical skills (61 percent).

Modis' survey, conducted by Braun Research, Inc., also revealed which areas of IT are expected to see the most growth over the next five years. Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are seen as poised for the most growth (29 percent), closely followed by security (21 percent) and mobile solutions (18 percent).

Additional findings from Modis' survey include:

-- Cost savings is a top priority for IT organizations. Perhaps a result of the economic recovery, IT professionals say the most cited priorities for their organizations today are achieving cost savings (62 percent), followed closely by finding IT solutions for internal demands (61 percent) and taking a more integrated approach to improve communications with the rest of the business (52 percent).

-- IT professionals are cautiously optimistic about increasing their team size in 2012. While the majority of IT professionals (65 percent) believe their IT team will stay the same size in 2012, more than a quarter (28 percent) think their teams will increase headcount either marginally or significantly in the year ahead.

-- Feelings about job security in IT vary. If another economic slowdown occurs, a quarter (25 percent) of IT professionals indicate that they'd be very concerned about losing their job and a third (32 percent) would have some concerns. A confident 42 percent, however, say they wouldn't be concerned at all about losing their job.

-- Good old-fashioned networking is the best way to find a new IT position. More than a third (35 percent) of IT professionals said that networking with other IT people is the most effective way to land an IT job. Interestingly, despite their implied tech-savvy, only 8 percent said that social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are most effective for landing an IT job.

More information on IT professionals can be found at

Friday, November 4, 2011

Uncertain Economic Climate Yields Mixed Outlook Among IT Professionals

The latest CDW IT Monitor revealed lower expectations for budget increases and hiring, along with a drop in overall hardware spending. However, increases in software spending and a more optimistic outlook in key sectors, including small business and healthcare IT, brought balance to the broader IT sentiment.
Key findings of the report include:

-- Forty percent of IT decision-makers expect an increase in their overall IT budgets in the next six months, down eight percentage points year over year and the lowest level since October 2009.

-- State and federal government anticipate steady increases in both hardware and software spending during the next six months. The hardware spending outlook grew to 84 and 90 percent for state and federal government IT decision-makers respectively, while the software outlook grew to 82 and 91 percent respectively.

-- Twenty-two percent of small business IT decision-makers anticipate IT budget increases in the next six months, up three percentage points from June.

-- Sixty-six percent of healthcare IT decision-makers expect to spend more on solutions in the next six months, up seven percentage points from June and 21 percentage points from April.

More information on IT can be found at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

65% of IT Pros Expect an Increase in Employee Owned Mobile Devices Accessing Business Data

The pace of mobility change is accelerating. In the 16 months since InformationWeek's last MDM survey, market shares have shifted considerably, fueled by alluring options from consumer-focused vendors Apple and Google, and tablets have shot up in popularity. Nearly 80% of August 2011 respondents say the devices will increase in importance within their organizations in the next 24 months, compared with just 36% saying the same in March 2010.

-- 76% of survey respondents building custom mobile business applications are supporting or will support Apple iOS in development efforts.

-- 58% have standardized on a mobile device platform and carrier selected by IT, vs. 73% in our 2010 poll; that 15-point drop translates to much less control.

-- 57% consider Apple iOS an enterprise-ready platform, compared with 74% saying the same about RIM BlackBerry OS.

--27% currently lack written policies or procedures pertaining specifically to mobile/portable devices or the handling of mobile data.

More information on IT can be found at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nearly One-Fourth of Companies Now Provide Customer Service via Facebook

A new study released today by MarketTools, Inc., a provider of software and services for enterprise feedback management (EFM), revealed that 23 percent of companies provide customer service and support on Facebook, with 12 percent providing customer service and support via Twitter.
The study also revealed that although 34 percent of the executives surveyed stated that they were aware of customers using social media to comment on or complain about their company and its products, less than one-fourth of these executives said that their companies “always” respond to these customers.

The MarketTools study also revealed a disparity in the way companies think and the way they act in regards to customer satisfaction. Although 95 percent of respondents believe that satisfied customers are very important or extremely important to their company, only about one-third (36 percent) have formal voice of the customer (VOC) programs in place to collect and analyze customer feedback. And of those companies with formal VOC programs, nearly half (45 percent) solicit customer feedback on a quarterly or less frequent basis.

Some additional highlights from the study include:

-- 33 percent of executives surveyed said that their companies have a greater focus on using social media as a channel to capture customer feedback when compared to this same time last year.

-- When asked what areas of the company are active in social media, 44 percent of those surveyed cited public relations, 42 percent cited corporate marketing, and product marketing and customer service/support were each cited by 34 percent of the respondents.

-- Of the 68 percent of companies that have an active presence in social media, 48 percent have an active presence on Facebook, 24 percent on Twitter, and 17 percent on their own company blog.

-- 22 percent of those surveyed stated that their company’s CEO regularly participates in social media on behalf of the company. Facebook is the social media channel of choice, used by 68 percent of the CEO’s, followed by 44 percent who participate on the company blog, and 35 percent who participate on Twitter.

More information on customer service and support can be found at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mid-Market Executives Increase Long-Term Investments Despite Economic Uncertainty

Executives at three out of four mid-market companies are maintaining or boosting their long-term investments despite the U.S. economy’s less than 1 percent growth rate during their first half of the year, according to a new Deloitte survey. The Deloitte report, Mid-Market Perspectives: America‘s Economic Engine -- Competing in Uncertain Times, also indicates a majority of respondents are forecasting growth in revenue (61.2 percent) and profitability (52.6 percent) in the year ahead.
Nearly three quarters (70 percent) of respondents see productivity gains principally from their investments in business process automation, technology and strategic hiring, leaving them optimistic about revenue and profitability growth.

Technology trumps talent

The Deloitte survey shows that technology investments are playing an increasingly larger role in mid-market companies’ bottom line. Business process automation and technology improvements are the two top contributing factors to the jump in mid-market productivity; new hiring ranked fifth overall.

Mid-market executives believe the technology driving increased productivity include business process automation (52 percent); data analytics and business intelligence (49 percent); and customer relationship management software (30 percent).

Cautious hiring and the need for skilled labor

Although 38 percent of companies agree that strategic hiring of new staff with specific skills offers a path to higher productivity, 47 percent of mid-market business leaders say it is difficult finding employees with the skills and education to become productive immediately. Despite the skilled labor conundrum, 44 percent of the respondents indicate that their companies are prepared to increase the size of their U.S. workforce and hire over the next 12 months.

More information on the technology industry can be found at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nearly One in Four Companies Expects to Hire for Executive Level Positions Over Next Six Months

As caution continues to dictate the economic climate, many companies are recruiting top talent to navigate uncertainty and maintain a competitive advantage. Twenty-three percent of employers expect to hire for executive-level positions over the next six months, according to CareerBuilder's new nationwide survey of more than 2600 hiring managers and human resources professionals.
Consistent with hiring expectations for all workers, information technology companies are leading the way in executive hiring, with 35 percent reporting they'll fill top positions over the next six months. Other areas expecting to recruit executives include healthcare (25 percent), sales (24 percent), professional and business services (23 percent), financial services (23 percent) and leisure/hospitality (23 percent).

Profile of Executive-Level Candidates

The survey found that recruiting for executive-level positions is not necessarily an internal task. While a third of employers prefer to look for executive level candidates internally, 18 percent prefer to look externally and half place equal emphasis on internal and external candidates.

One-in-five employers look for a candidate with an MBA, comparable degree, or higher level degree when recruiting executive-level positions. While prior industry experience is an important asset for many employers, 47 percent would still be willing to hire a candidate without it, suggesting that past accomplishments and leadership style are paramount in the executive recruitment process.

The forecast confirms that, for the most part, the right experience comes with age. According to employers, the average executive is age 41 or older. Forty-five percent of executives are between 41 and 50-years-old and 29 percent are older than 50. Twenty-six percent of executives are age 40 or younger.

The following are other qualities employers look for most in executive-level candidates:

-- Proven ability in addressing problems with effective solutions (74 percent)
-- Adept at motivating others (63 percent)
-- Can act with speed and agility in a changing market (55 percent)
-- Creativity (52 percent)
-- Emotional Intelligence (46 percent)
-- Experience in different areas (44 percent)

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Enterprise IT Managers Concerned That Employees Have Role in Intrusions

Is the enemy within? In this year's seventh annual survey of 350 enterprise IT managers and network administrators commissioned by VanDyke Software and executed by Amplitude Research, those survey respondents who reported a successful intrusion of their user machines, office network, and/or servers cited the following primary causes or contributing factors to past intrusions:

- Lack of adequate security policies / measures (17%)
- Hacker / network attack (14%)
- Employee carelessness / negligence (12%)
- Unauthorized access by current / former employees (11%)
- Virus / malware / spyware (10%)
- Employee web usage (6%)
- Lack of software updates (6%)
- Software security flaw / bug (6%)

When the same question was asked in 2010, 6% of those who reported experiencing an intrusion had referred to unauthorized access by current / former employees.

More information on Enterprise Computing can be found at

Monday, October 10, 2011

Half of US Companies Plan to Increase IT Spending in 2012

Half of US companies plan to invest more on IT resources in 2012 than in 2011, according to a new survey by Nucleus Research. In fact, 10 percent of the companies surveyed are planning an increase of 10 percent or greater. A mere one out of 10 companies plan to decrease spending next year.

Nucleus expects to see continued investment in areas including CRM, integration, business intelligence and analytics, and workforce management. Software in particular is more flexible than ever, representing one of the only investments that can provide both cost containment and revenue growth opportunities.

Five Ways to Improve IT Spending

In the survey report, Nucleus also identifies ways to improve IT spending, including:

-- Move applications to the cloud: Nucleus has found typical companies can redeploy 15 to 25 percent of their overall IT personnel budget by moving applications to the cloud.

-- Move custom applications to the bottom of the list: Today commercially-developed and supported applications typically meet at least 80 percent of requirements.

-- Get real about asset management: A recent Nucleus survey found that 42 percent of companies made unnecessary software or hardware purchases that could have been avoided if they had access to more accurate data about their applications.

-- Cut custom report writing: Custom report writing is costly, time consuming, and often lags behind the need for the answers business users are trying to solve.

-- Eliminate IT training: If an enterprise application is so unintuitive that it requires training, vendor-provided training should be part of the purchase agreement.

More information on IT spending can be found at

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Job Losses in U.S. High-Tech Industry Decline in 2010

TechAmerica Foundation released its 14th annual Cyberstates report detailing national and state trends in high-tech employment, wages, and other key economic factors. The U.S. high-tech industry lost 115,800 net jobs in 2010, for a total of 5.75 million workers. This two percent decline in tech industry employment was less than half of the 249,500 jobs lost in 2009, which followed several years of sustained growth. Over the longer term of 2007 to 2010 -- the span of the economic downturn -- the tech industry fared better than the private sector as a whole, with a four percent decline in employment versus a seven percent decline in the private sector.

TechAmerica Foundation also released a midyear jobs report for 2011 based on a different monthly data set from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This report shows that between January and June 2011, the tech industry added a net 115,000 jobs, a two percent gain, not adjusted for seasonality. During this time period, job growth occurred in all four technology industry sectors, with the fastest growth in engineering and tech services.

Key findings include:

-- U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.75 million in 2010.

-- Tech employment was down in 2010 by 115,800, or by 2.0 percent.

-- High-tech manufacturing employment fell by 4.2 percent, losing 53,600 jobs between 2009 and 2010.

-- All nine tech manufacturing sectors lost jobs between 2009 and 2010.

-- The communications services sector lost 72,100 jobs in 2010, or 5.5 percent.

-- The software services sector added 22,800 jobs in 2010, a 1.4 percent increase.

-- The engineering and tech services sector lost 12,900 jobs in 2010, a 0.8 percent decline.

-- The following key occupation categories: engineering managers, computer hardware engineers, database administrators, and aerospace engineers, all managed to keep unemployment below five percent.

-- The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $86,800 in 2010, 93 percent more than the average private sector wage of $45,000.

More information on the High-Tech Industry can be found at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Half Of US Information Workers Split Time Between Office And Remote Locations

Half of US information workers now split their time between the office, home, and other remote locations, according to Forrester’s Q2 2011 US Workforce Technology And Engagement Online Survey of 4,985 US information workers. The report also reveals that workers are untethered from the office as they rise in rank. Fifty-three percent of individual workers are office-bound, but that number drops to 35 percent among managers and supervisors, and plummets to just 10 percent among directors and executives.
The survey also revealed the following:

-- BlackBerry still has the largest installed base of smartphones for work -- but Android and Apple devices combined lead the workplace. While 42 percent of workers use RIM BlackBerry, IT departments are supporting more devices, and Apple and Android are starting to cut into RIM’s enterprise dominance: 26 percent of workers now use Android smartphones, and 22 percent use iPhones.

-- Gen Y (age 18-31) is almost twice as likely as boomers (age 56-66) to use social tools — but adoption of enterprise 2.0 technologies is still nascent. Only one in six Gen Y professionals uses social tools. Despite significant and ongoing investment in enterprise social technologies, their roughly seven-year lifespan within enterprises has yielded a maximum of 12 percent adoption within the overall workforce. This market has failed to displace traditional collaboration technologies like email as a preferred way to communicate at work.

-- The use of tablets in the enterprise is exploding. Eleven percent of information workers are using tablets to do their jobs.

More informatio on Information Technology can be found at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Survey Reveals Agents Average 49 Minutes of Idle Time Daily

According to a survey of contact center leaders, the average amount of idle time per day per employee is nearly an hour, as respondents report 49 minutes daily per agent on average. Knowlagent, a leading agent productivity solution for the world’s 10 million call center agents, released this and other findings from its 2011 Customer Contact Center Productivity Survey.
Other survey results include:

Management Challenges: Culture Shapes Performance
Seventy-three percent of companies say contact centers are the company “face” to customers. Fifty-seven percent of call center managers are experiencing trouble finding or keeping employees with the right skills for their centers. Additionally, 41 percent say handling increased call volumes is the top contact center challenges for the year ahead. Fifty-nine percent also see productivity as a major challenge in the upcoming year.

Downtime: Measuring Performance and Productivity
A majority of respondents measure both contact center employee “performance,” based on the final results of agents’ work (63 percent), and “productivity,” based on measurable output (52 percent). Leading performance measurement is quality (36 percent), followed by first call resolution (35 percent). The leading productivity measurement is average handle time (32 percent) followed by completed calls per day, month and week (30 percent).

Training and Coaching: Lean and Personal
The survey found 50 percent of call center leaders say they deliver training infrequently or not often, while 30 percent regularly schedule one-on-one coaching. Sixty-nine percent indicated training directly impacts customer satisfaction and 62 percent say it affects sales. While social media interactions are increasing, only 13 percent indicate call center staff receive training in this area.

Technology Challenges: Keeping up with Growing Channels
Thirty percent of respondents see their contact centers’ technology as behind comparable contact centers in their industry or region. Another 46 percent of respondents say getting a better return on investment (ROI) in technology they already own is also a main challenge in the upcoming year. When it comes to social media, results are mixed. Only 24 percent of call centers respond to customer inquiries via social network channels, such as Facebook or Twitter. Twenty-six percent of respondents say their companies maintain separate, distinct teams to engage customers through these channels, and another 26 percent say other departments - such as marketing - tend to take up the task themselves.

More information and research on the contact center industry can be found at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Evolving cyber threats continue to drive security strategy and investing worldwide

The 2012 Global State of Information Security Survey reveals that 43 percent of global companies think they have an effective information security strategy in place and are proactively executing their plans, placing them in the category of information security “front-runners.” Twenty-seven percent of respondents identified themselves as “strategists” while the remaining identified themselves as “tacticians” and “firefighters” (15 and 14 percent respectively). The study, the largest of its kind, is conducted by PwC US in conjunction with CIO and CSO magazines.

The survey of more than 9,600 security executives from 138 countries found that 72 percent of respondents report confidence in the effectiveness of their organization’s information security activities - however confidence has declined markedly since 2006. The findings of the survey have helped carve a new definition of an information security leader. Even though 43 percent see themselves as “front-runners,” according to the survey only 13 percent made the “leader” cut. Those identified as leaders have an overall information security strategy in place, a CIO or executive equivalent who reports to the “top of the house,” measured and reviewed security policy effectiveness, and an understanding of the security breaches facing the organization in the past year.

Since 2007, there has a been a dramatic leap in organizations’ awareness and insight into the types and frequency of attacks, particularly in the industries of aerospace & defense, financial services, technology, telecom and the public sector.

According to the survey, the rise of cloud computing has improved but also complicated the security landscape. More than four out of ten respondents report that their organization uses cloud computing: 69 percent for software-as-a-service, 47 percent for infrastructure-as-a-service and 33 percent for platform-as-a-service. Fifty-four percent of organizations say that cloud technologies have improved security; while 23 percent say it has increased vulnerability. The largest perceived risk is the uncertain ability to enforce provider security policies.

Mobile devices and social media represent a significant new line of risk -- and a demand for prevention. Organizations are beginning to amplify their efforts to prevent mobile and social media based attacks. Forty-three percent of respondents have a security strategy for employee use of personal devices, 37 percent have a security strategy for mobile devices and 32 percent have a security strategy for social media.

Increased awareness of attacks may correlate with organizations mobilizing in certain areas of IT spending. Investments in application firewalls increased from 72 percent last year to 80 percent this year and malicious code detection tools have increased 11 percentage points -- from 72 percent last year to 83 percent this year.

More information on Information Technology can be found at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Employers Want CIOs to be Strategists or Revolutionaries

Driven by rapid advancements and integrations of new technologies and evolving business needs, the role of the chief information officer (CIO) is shifting from steward to strategist or revolutionary, according to a new Deloitte survey of information technology (IT) executives in the United States. 

According to the poll, 45 percent of nearly 1,000 IT executives surveyed say their own CIO is viewed as a steward while another 45 percent say their CIO is a strategist. The remaining 10 percent claim their CIO is a revolutionary -- a percentage Deloitte expects to grow as technology continues to change the way business is done.

Among respondents who do not view their CIO as a revolutionary, 66 percent believe that to be a revolutionary CIO requires four critical skills -- industry knowledge, business knowledge, technological experience and staff development.

The perception of the CIO within a company contrasts survey respondents' understanding of what IT's primary contribution to an organization should be. A majority (60 percent) of survey respondents think IT should facilitate growth and productivity -- nearly twice as many respondents that believe IT needs to be a competitive advantage (36 percent) for their company.

More information on IT and CIO's can be found at

Monday, September 12, 2011

CIOs Reveal Fourth-Quarter Hiring Plans

Technology executives expect information technology (IT) hiring to continue in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. In the latest quarterly survey, 12 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to expand their IT departments, and 6 percent expect cutbacks, for a net 6 percent projected increase in hiring activity. This is up two points from the previous quarter's projections.

Key Findings
-- The net 6 percent increase in anticipated IT hiring activity is up two points from a net 4 percent increase in hiring activity projected last quarter.

-- Ninety-two percent of CIOs are confident in their companies' growth prospects in the next three months, up five-points from last quarter.

-- Eighty-eight percent of technology executives rated the confidence of their firms investing in IT projects in the fourth quarter a 3 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.

-- IT security and networking professionals are in greatest demand right now, according to survey respondents.

-- Two-thirds (66 percent) of CIOs said it's challenging to find skilled professionals today, up eighteen points from the previous quarter.

Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments

Ninety-two percent of CIOs reported being at least somewhat confident in their companies' prospects for growth in the fourth quarter of 2011; 39 percent rated the probability of investing in IT projects a 4 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.

Skills in Demand

The functional areas in which executives say the greatest challenge in finding skilled IT professionals are security (18 percent) and networking (17 percent). Data/database management and help desk/technical support followed, each with 11 percent.

Network administration remains the skill set in greatest demand, cited by 63 percent of CIOs. Desktop management ranked second, with 50 percent of the response, followed by desktop support at 43 percent.

Industries Hiring

Executives in the transportation industry expect the most IT hiring in the fourth quarter. A net 18 percent of CIOs in this sector plan to expand their IT departments. This was followed by the business services industry with a net 12 percent of technology leaders anticipating hiring increases. Manufacturing and wholesale were next, with a net 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of executives in these industries planning to add staff.

More information on IT hiring can be found at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Results Show "IT Spending Squeeze" is Over

During the recession, companies cut IT spending as they focused on cost reduction to stop the bleeding in earnings. Doing more with less, businesses put strategic projects on hold. However, according to the recently launched Maven Wave Partners IT Investment Index (the "MIT Index"), a new measure of investment in information technology spending, the IT spending squeeze is officially over. From its low in 3Q 2009 at the depths of the financial crisis, the MIT Index, representing aggregate enterprise spending on IT, is projected to increase by 16.9% to an all time high by the end of 2012.

During the financial crisis, the MIT was crushed by sharp reductions in hardware and software spending. Spending on headcount suffered too, just not as much. In a so-called "normal" market, spending on headcount and tools moves together—it takes people to make the technology work. But the disruption resulting from the collapse of the credit markets opened up the largest gap between these two components of the MIT in at least 10 years, creating the IT spending squeeze.

A new study released in connection with the launch of the MIT Index reveals that the gap between spending on tools and spending on headcount opened in 2Q 2009 and reached a 10 year high of 7.1% in 2Q 2010. However, by 4Q 2010, the gap had closed, signaling increased appetite for corporate spending on information technology through the end of 2012. Strong Q1 earnings announcements from IT giants such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle support these findings that, despite the largest "IT Squeeze" in years, spending on hardware and software is back in 2011.

Additional key findings from the study show how IT investments affect earnings including:

-- March 2009 marked the bottom when companies earned $12.67 for every $1 spent on IT headcount.

-- Maven Wave Partners predicts that corporate earnings from

IT investment will reach a 6-year high of $21.80 for every $1 spent on IT headcount by the end of 2012.

In a contracting market, the earnings generated per IT worker decreases because earnings fall faster than headcount. In a growing market, IT skills become scarce, and the opportunities to improve earnings through technology innovation are often growth dependent, so earnings per IT worker go up. Given the depth of the recent contraction, big earnings gains are available for companies that invest wisely.

More information on IT can be found at

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Survey Reveals Enterprises Are Most Concerned About “Advanced Persistent Threat” Attacks by Wide Margin

In a year that IT security experts have labeled the “Year of the Hack,” Bit9’s Third Annual Endpoint Survey of 765 IT executives revealed that Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks -- like the one that infiltrated RSA, a division of EMC, and defense contractors this year – are of most concern to IT and security professionals.
However, despite the concerns about APT attacks, the survey also showed that executives are not doing enough to protect against unauthorized software and malware from infecting their desktops, laptops and servers.

Sixty percent of the respondents said they are concerned about APT attacks, more than double the next closest response, showing the growing anxiety among IT executives around modern threats. The second biggest hacking concern among IT executives, at 28 percent, is having one of their own employees steal company data and posts it online, much like what happened at the Department of Defense (DoD) with WikiLeaks. In third place, at 26 percent, are concerns around a vendor partner being hacked, much like what happened to Epsilon earlier this year. And in fourth place, at 25 percent, are concerns over a cloud application breach, much like what happened with Sony.

While worry remains high around cyber security breaches, the survey also showed a surprising 60 percent of the IT executives use either a written policy based on an “honor system,” or have an open software environment without a security policy in place. However, risky behavior doesn’t stop there. A narrow majority of companies surveyed (51 percent) said they allow their employees to download and install software.

The companies that allow employees to download software often find digital music sites like iTunes, social media sites and instant messaging software on it endpoints. Additionally, almost 80 percent of companies allow employees to use removable storage devices, exposing companies to the loss of sensitive data and intellectual property while increasing exposure to malware.

Additional findings from the survey include:

-- Companies continue to allow employees to engage in risky behaviors: IT executives have become even more hands-off in their software usage policy over the past three years, with 51 percent of respondents admitting that users have full rights to download and install applications. These relaxed download policies have increased 12 percent from 2010 when 39 said they did not have a policy that prohibits employee downloads. That figure increased by 22 percent from 2009 figures. Additionally, nearly 30 percent of IT executives allow the use of personal mobile devices at work that connects to the company Intranet.

-- Endpoint security failures can take down networks: While the majority said they have not experience network outages due to unauthorized software or malware, almost 20 percent of IT executives admit that unusual software found on the endpoint has resulted in crashing the company’s networks. These crashes meant lost productivity. Of those who experienced downtime, 30 percent said the crashes took down their network for 3-6 hours and 89 percent said the crashes lasted two hours or less.

-- Successful breach of company’s inbox stirs emotions: More than a quarter of IT executives would be mildly embarrassed by a breach exposing their company’s inbox, while more than half admitted to being mortified. Most noteworthy is that seven percent claim that their company would be out of business if such a breach would occur.

More information on IT can be found at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nothing Soft About It

by Rich Gallagher, Point of Contact Group

Could you imagine what Starbucks would be like if its CEO hated coffee? Or what if you started a rock band and never listened to rock and roll? These are examples of what, in my mind, is the single biggest problem with the customer support industry today.

About 18 months ago, I raised my hand at panel discussion of senior support executives and asked, "what trends are you seeing in soft skills for your operations today?" They hemmed. They hawed. Finally one of them said haltingly, "well, of course, it's important for people to be polite" before going on to the next question.

Before that, I spent two days at an executive retreat with support leaders from some of the biggest names in technology, as an observer. I heard lots of things about metrics, processes, and systems. But customers? Nary a word. So why is it that in a business that has "customer" as its first word, its C-level executives often seem to give a rat's patootie about customer experience?

I am biased, of course. I live and breathe in this world. I make much of my living teaching customer contact professionals how to communicate in their most difficult situations. When I last headed a 24x7 support center, strategically changing our communications and coaching skills was the linchpin of dramatically improving both our support metrics and the bottom line of our company. Its impact was in my view was greater than that of technology, even as we transitioned from pink pads of paper to CRM, remote support, and webinars. So here is what I would tell my colleagues in leadership roles today.

Read the full article!

Monday, August 8, 2011

US private companies increase IT budgets, with focus on growth and efficiencies

With a focus on new growth opportunities and efficiencies, 29% of US private companies surveyed for PwC US’s Private Company Trendsetter Barometer plan to increase their IT budget over the next year. In 2010, US private companies allocated approximately 5.6% of their budgets to IT. This investment is expected to rise to an average of 6.6% over the next 12 months, a year-to-year increase of nearly 19%.
Nearly half (46%) of Trendsetter companies have identified important and/or sizeable areas or functions in need of IT upgrade or improvement, and 18% of those businesses report that they’ll require additional budget expenditures to make the necessary changes. Overall, these companies are a faster growing group, forecasting an average revenue growth rate of 11.5% over the next year versus 9.1% for all other private companies. More international marketers cite critical IT upgrade concerns (54% versus 39%) and say they need additional spending to cover the required upgrades (26% versus 10%) than their domestic-only peers.

Trendsetter companies’ IT investments will be focused on two main areas over the next 12 months: innovation (36%) and maintenance (64%). Significantly, companies in the innovation segment allocate a larger portion of their budgets to IT than those primarily in the maintenance segment - 9.53% versus 5.01%.

Key areas of planned IT investment for private companies over the next one to three years are information security (70%), next-generation data management and analysis (50%), enterprise mobility via tablets and handheld devices (48%), social media/networking (46%), and cloud computing (40%). Companies in the innovation segment are significantly more likely to invest in next-generation data management and analysis, social media/networking, virtualization, cloud computing, and context-aware computing than those in the maintenance segment.

The leading business objective of IT investments for private companies is to make their business processes more efficient and effective (90%). Other top objectives include better managing enterprise data (75%), optimizing business information/analytics (73%), making the business more agile (58%), and attracting new customers (58%).

More information on IT investment can be found at

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Small Businesses Still Growing but Continued Economic Uncertainty Tempers Plans

Although small business owners are slowly proceeding with growth plans in 2011, 40 percent are now delaying their expectations of an economic rebound to the first quarter of 2012 or later, according to the most recent Business Confidence Survey released by Insperity, Inc., a provider of human resources and business performance solutions to America's best businesses.
Only 12 percent expressed a belief that an economic recovery is currently under way versus 23 percent in May. In summary, over 82 percent of respondents either delayed their expectations of an economic recovery to 2012 or later, or are unsure. Business owner sentiment returned to a wait-and-see tone similar to the November 2010 survey compared to last quarter's somewhat optimistic note.

Insperity also announced compensation metrics from its base of more than 5,700 small and medium-sized businesses. Compared to the 2010 second quarter data, average compensation is up 4.2 percent, bonuses are down 3.9 percent and average commissions received by worksite employees reflected a drop of 2.8 percent versus an increase of 5.4 percent as reported in May 2011. Overtime pay is still low, running 8.5 percent of regular pay, under the 10 percent level that generally indicates a need for additional employees, but up slightly from 8.0 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

In the survey conducted July 12-14, when asked how they are managing the number of company employees, 32 percent said they are adding new positions, down from 37 percent previously; 62 percent are maintaining current staffing levels, up from 57 percent; and 6 percent are laying off employees, unchanged from the prior quarter.

The economy was again listed as the leading short-term concern by 79 percent of business owners, up from 68 percent in May; followed by 47 percent specifying rising health care costs, versus 46 percent previously; 46 percent citing government health care reform and 39 percent listing controlling operating costs. For the longer-term, the top responses were led by 74 percent saying they were either very concerned or had elevated concerns about the federal deficit and the total national debt; 70 percent designated the economy, up from 61 percent in May; 63 percent cited government expansion and its effect on business; and 61 percent listed potential tax increases.

When asked about their pipelines for new business for the balance of 2011, 52 percent of survey respondents said that they expect a sales increase, versus 53 percent in May but only 38 percent last fall; 32 percent predicted it will stay the same; 11 percent anticipated decreasing sales; and 5 percent were unsure.

In addition, 70 percent of owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses said that they are either meeting or exceeding their 2011 performance plans, down from 76 percent in the last survey; while the remaining 30 percent reported that they are doing worse than expected, higher than the 24 percent reported in May.

The survey also said that 63 percent of participants expected to maintain employee compensation at current levels throughout 2011, versus 54 percent last quarter; 24 percent planned increases, down from 31 percent in the last survey and even down from the 26 percent last fall; 4 percent expected decreases; and 10 percent were unsure.

Concerning their current profit-generating activities, 70 percent of respondents named both increased service to clients and selling new accounts as the leading strategies. This was followed by 49 percent who said they were adding new services or products, 32 percent who listed negotiating with vendors and 27 percent named investing in new improvements.

More information can be found at