Monday, January 31, 2011

Cloud Systems Management Software Gains Momentum with IDC Forecasting Revenues Reaching $2.5 Billion in 2015

The worldwide cloud systems management software market will experience strong growth over the next several years, reaching $2.5 billion by 2015. According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), many IT customers can expect to manage a hybrid mix of public cloud, private cloud, and non-cloud IT resources for some time. They will need highly automated and integrated system management software tools to optimize IT processes and application performance across these dynamic hybrid cloud environments.

Other key findings from IDC's forecast include the following:

-- In 2010, 70% of worldwide cloud system management software purchases were deployed in private cloud environments.

-- The Americas represent 63.1% of the worldwide market in 2010, but EMEA and Asia/Pacific will make steady gains through the forecast period.

-- For major vendors, cloud systems management represents an opportunity to establish long lasting, "sticky" strategic relationships with customers.

-- For emerging vendors, it will be critical to develop products and SaaS solutions that easily plug and play with broader cloud systems management environments.

More information can be found at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deloitte Analysis of Top Technology Trends for 2011

Deloitte predicts a significant consumer and enterprise shift away from the desktop and laptop personal computer (PC) in favor of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and netbooks in its forecast of top trends for the technology sector in 2011. Among Deloitte’s top forecasted technology trends for 2011, highlights include:

More than half of all computers aren’t computers anymore
In 2011, more than 50 percent of computing devices sold globally will be smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks, breaking the PC’s decades-long market dominance. Unlike the 2009 netbook phenomenon, where buyers chose machines that were essentially less powerful versions of traditional PCs, the 2011 computing market will be dominated by devices that use different processing chips and operating systems than those used for PCs over the past 30 years. This shift represents a tipping point as we move from a world of mostly standardized PC-like devices to a far more heterogeneous environment.

Tablets in the enterprise: more than just a toy
In 2011, enterprises will purchase more than 25 percent of all tablet computers, a figure that is likely to increase in 2012 and beyond. Although some commentators view tablets as underpowered media-consumption toys suitable only for consumers, more than 10 million of these devices will likely be purchased by enterprises in 2011. Consumer demand for tablets is expected to remain strong; however, enterprise demand is likely to grow even faster, although from a lower base.

Operating system diversity: no standard emerges on the smartphone or tablet
By the end of 2011, no operating system will take control of the fast-growing non-PC computing market, which includes smartphones and the new generation of tablets. Some operating systems will capture more than a 5 percent share, but no single player will have yet become the de facto standard, as seen in previous computing ecosystems. Being the dominant operating system provider for the non-PC market will be a tremendous prize; however, it’s unlikely that a winner will emerge before the end of 2011.

Online regulation ratchets up, but cookies live on
Media criticism of online privacy will continue in 2011; however, legislative and regulatory changes that impact the way websites gather, share, and exploit user information will be minor. Cookies, which are the small files of personal information that websites create on a visitor’s computer, are very likely to remain core to the online user experience. While new online privacy legislation is expected to be modest, the online industry will likely become far more proactive when tackling privacy issues — expanding their efforts to influence legislation and increasing their level of self-regulation with the goal of avoiding new legislation altogether.

More information on technology trends can be found at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tech Workers Feel 'Infinite Loop' as Wages Remain Flat

Technology professionals endured a second straight year of nearly flat salaries, according to the 2011‐2010 Annual Salary Survey from Dice, a career site for technology and engineering professionals. Tech workers, on average, garnered salary increases of about one percent (0.7%) to $79,384 from $78,845 in 2009, after receiving a similar increase the previous year.

Despite the marginal increase, there are glimmers of the business recovery within the study. Nearly half of those surveyed (49%) received a salary increase in 2010 compared to just 36 percent who saw raises in the previous year. And more technology professionals received bonuses: 29 percent compared with 24 percent of respondents in 2009.

Tech professionals expressed slightly more satisfaction over pay than last year, with 50 percent "somewhat" or "very satisfied," an increase from 46 percent of respondents who felt that way last year. Still, nearly four out of ten technology professionals anticipate they could make more money if they change employers in 2011. Those professionals (24%) who felt switching employers would not increase their pay earned, on average, nearly $13,000 more than those who anticipate finding higher salaries elsewhere.

Notwithstanding the hopeful signs in the study, it appears wages have been reset lower for technology professionals who are entering the field. For the second straight year, the average salaries of technology professionals with less than two years experience have declined, and are six percent below their peak average wages in 2008.

There are two clear cut paths for technology professionals to earn more money: working for a larger company and/or continuing to add expertise and skills. First, technology professionals on average earned $88,075 working for companies in excess of 5,000 employees, while the smallest companies (50 or fewer employees) paid on average $69,658 to their technology workers. As for skills, those with annual wages of $100,000 or more were technology professionals with experience in Advanced Business Application Programming ($105,887), Informatica ($101,898), Extract Transform and Load ($100,983) and Service Oriented Architecture ($101,827).

More information on IT can be found at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Contact Centers and Customers are Getting an Overall Lackluster Performance from Self-Service Strategies

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has released its 2010 research report, Self-Service and the Multichannel Contact Center including key findings and study results. More than 400 contact center professionals from various industries and all over the world participated.

The study results show that both contact centers and customers are getting an overall lackluster performance from self-service strategies. A few key findings from the research study include:

-- More than three quarters of respondents (79.5%) indicated that their customer care operations provide customers self-service opportunities.

-- Taking into account the respondent data on the success of self-service in reducing operating costs and increasing customer satisfaction, we can confidently infer that at least some of the trouble in meeting service level goals can be attributed to the failure of self-service strategies to truly address and meet customer needs.

-- The main drivers respondents cited for implementing a self-service strategy for customers were operating cost reductions (83.4%) and meeting customer demand for service options (74.3%).

-- Over half (64%) of respondents don't know if or when a customer has tried to self-serve but then opted for a live representative.

-- Among the tools contact centers use to support Web self-service channels, in particular, leaders emerged: issue tracking (53%), knowledge management (44.6%) and service management tools (42.3%).

-- A troubling 43.6%, almost half of respondents, don't measure customer feedback on their centers' self-service channels.

-- Many survey participants appear to be following some good practices in agent recruitment and hiring for the multichannel environment, with more than half (64.4%) of respondents using the Web (online career sites, company website, etc.) more for recruitment and screening applicants early for the skills needed for multiple contact channels.

More information on contact center's can be found at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Research Shows a Jump in Complaints About US Contact Center Operations

Research published by ContactBabel, the contact center industry analysts, reveals that the past 2 years have seen a jump in complaints about US contact center operations, rising from almost 550m negative calls in 2008 to over 770m in 2010.

Generally, the economic downturn has driven more consumers to display negativity, stress and intolerance of mistakes, as well as there being general under-investment by companies, which has worsened the problems with the business processes and contact center systems that cause many of these complaints. Negative feelings, particularly towards financial services institutions, have created many very unhappy customers who are now far more prone to complain than had previously been the case.

Proportion of calls received that are complaints about contact centers, by vertical market

Telecoms: 4.2%
Finance: 2.1%
Outsourcing: 2.0%
Services : 1.8%
Public Sector: 1.3%
Medical: 1.3%
Retail & Distribution: 1.1%
IT: 1.1%
Insurance: 0.6%
Utilities: 0.5%
Transport & Travel: 0.1%
Average: 1.7%

More information on contact centers can be found at

Monday, January 17, 2011

IT Worker Confidence Index Rises Sharply; Workers Reveal Broad-Based Confidence

The Technisource IT Employee Confidence Index rose 7.6 points to 58.2 in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a recent survey commissioned by Technisource, the technology services division of SFN Group, Inc. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, shows a significant increase in overall IT worker confidence in regards to both their personal employment situation and the larger-scale economic outlook.

Results from the IT Employment Report:

-- Thirty-seven percent of IT workers believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 20 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

-- Nearly half (49 percent)of IT workers are confident in their ability to find a new job, up six percentage points from the previous quarter.

-- More than three-fourths (78 percent ) of IT workers believe it is not likely they will lose their jobs, up 13 percentage points from the third quarter of 2010 .

-- In the fourth quarter of 2010, fewer IT workers indicated that they are likely to make a job transition. Specifically, 32 percent of workers indicated the likelihood of looking for a new job versus the 38 percent who expressed this belief in the previous quarter.

More information on IT can be found at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Study Reveals Need for Renewed Focus on Innovation

Organizations across EMEA agree on the need to refocus IT budgets toward IT innovation in order to improve business performance, productivity and profitability, according to a new study conducted by SAP AG. The study looked into IT spend priorities of nearly 500 senior IT decision-makers in eight countries across EMEA, and concluded that a key issue was the division of IT spend among three areas: operations, maintenance and innovation.

IT Strategy

A third of companies said that their current IT strategy is too focused on "simply keeping the lights on" in the day-to-day running of existing IT systems. Overall, an alarming 60 percent of companies said that this IT strategy has held them back from investing in innovation. Respondents indicated that they face a wide range of issues that currently prevent them from investing in IT innovation.

The most commonly cited reason was uncertainty about the economy, with 48 percent of respondents believing this was a barrier. In addition, 39 percent stated that too much money is spent on operations at the moment, therefore leaving a deficit in the budget that could otherwise be directed toward IT innovation. The detrimental effect was also viewed as impacting competitiveness, with 38 percent of respondents stating the current spend priorities harmed their competitive position.

Business Implications

Lack of spend on IT innovation is having a negative business impact, with 44 percent of respondents saying it has directly resulted in lack of productivity. Forty-three percent also claim to have lost potential cost savings because of the spend deficit. Additionally, over half of the companies surveyed believe that they would get greater business value if more was spent on IT innovation.

When asked how this lack of IT innovation investment would impact their company over the next three years, one-third of respondents claimed that this would result in lower revenue growth than their business needed, and 38 percent also said it would result in a failure to meet regulation and compliance demands. 

More information can be found at

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mixed Economic Outlook Shifts Technology Demands

Global IT purchases will rise 7.1 percent in 2011 to $1.7 trillion, according to new forecast data from Forrester Research, Inc. While the 2011 global tech market will look similar to the 7.2 percent market growth experienced in 2010, there are significant differences between the two years in terms of both products and geographies. The computer restocking and replacement boom that propelled the tech market in 2010 is coming to an end, with hardware growth slowing to 7.4 percent. However, software purchases are starting to accelerate, leading to increased demand for IT consulting and systems integration services. Communications equipment purchases will lag the overall tech market growth, with enterprise demand for wireless, unified communications, and videoconferencing strong, while equipment sales to carriers will be more measured. IT outsourcing will match the overall market growth.

By geography and calculated in US dollars, the Latin America and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EEMEA) regions will have the highest growth rates in 2011, both at 9.8 percent. IT purchases in Asia Pacific will grow by 8.5 percent, with slow-growing Japan offsetting faster growth in China and India. The US tech market will grow slightly faster than the total global market, with 7.5 percent growth, as investments in cloud and smart computing solutions allow companies to grow profits despite weak revenue increases. IT purchases in Canada will rise by 4.9 percent. Western Europe and Central Europe will have the lowest growth rate, at four percent, with the combination of weak economic growth and a depreciating euro combining to hold dollar-denominated growth down. 

More information on the technology market can be found at

Monday, January 10, 2011

IT Hiring Is on the Uptick According to 2011 IT Salary Survey

The 2011 Salary Survey, just released by Janco Associates and, is good news for IT job seekers. The survey shows that hiring is picking up in some sectors of the IT job market, salaries have stopped falling, and for selected positions there has been an increase in compensation - especially for CIOs. Even though many fear a second dip in the economy, CIOs in larger enterprises have been give the ‘yellow light’ to look ahead and fill positions that were left unfilled last year. The same is not the case for mid-sized companies. They are much more cautious and concerned that the recovery will not be strong enough to support increased IT spending.

The most striking observations of the survey are:

-- Some recovery has occurred in compensation and hiring of IT Professionals. The total mean compensation for all IT Professionals has increased modestly by 0.35% to $77,873 from $77,604. This puts overall compensation back at the levels they were at in January 2008.

-- Middle manager and non-line IT executives continue to feel a salary crunch.

-- Mid-sized enterprises are now starting to hire staff workers with salaries in this sector increasing the most – Mean compensation is up by 1.44% from $61,047 to $61,924.

-- Layoffs seem to have tapered off.

-- On shore outsourcing has peaked and companies are looking to bring IT operations back into their direct control and reduce operating costs.

-- Cost reduction is still the rule of the day; however we have seen an increase in the number of “part-timers” and contractors who are focused on particular critical projects.

-- 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 becoming more available as the recovery begins to take hold and is viewed as a low cost high value benefit by both employers and employees.

-- CIOs compensation has increased over the last 12 months. The mean compensation for CIOs in large enterprises is now $184,681 (an increase of 1.73%) and $163,106 (an increase of 0.49%) in mid-sized enterprises.

-- CIO demand is almost non-existent as companies who were not pleased with their existing CIO have already replace them and incumbents in those positions are reluctant to move with the current economic conditions. 

More information on the IT industry can be found at

Friday, January 7, 2011

Worldwide IT Spending to Grow 5.1 Percent in 2011

Worldwide IT spending is forecast to total $3.6 trillion in 2011, a 5.1 percent increase from 2010, according to the latest outlook by Gartner, Inc. In 2010, worldwide IT spending totaled $3.4 trillion, up 5.4 percent from 2009 levels.

Gartner has raised its outlook for 2011 global IT spending from its previous forecast of 3.5 percent growth. In 2010, the IT industry performed better than Gartner's previous forecast of 3.2 percent growth. Gartner analysts said currency exchange rate fluctuations have continued to affect the U.S. dollar-denominated forecast. Of the 2.2 percentage point increase in IT spending growth in 2010, 1.6 percent is attributable to the recent devaluation of the U.S. dollar against other currencies.

The telecom equipment market is poised for the strongest growth in 2011, with worldwide telecom equipment spending forecast to grow 9.1 percent. Strong sales of mobile devices in the third quarter of 2010, driven by smartphones in mature markets and white box devices in emerging markets, as well as stronger local currencies, resulted in an upward revision of Gartner's forecast.

The computing hardware segment is forecast to grow 7.5 percent in 2011, but Gartner analysts said vendors face possible challenges, particularly in the area of PC growth, given likely weak economic growth through the first half of 2011.

More information on IT can be found at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

HDI Announces Release of 2010 HDI Practices & Salary Report

HDI, a global association for IT service and technical support professionals, announced the release of the 2010 HDI Practices and Salary Report, a comprehensive study that presents an overall look at the state of the IT support industry and allows managers to see how support centers are handling the demands of doing more with less in the 2010 economy.

Report highlights include:

-- As support centers are continually asked to do more with less, the number of incidents continues to increase for most (67%) organizations.

-- Twenty percent of support centers are utilizing chat as a support channel and 5 percent are now receiving tickets through social media.

-- E-mail management tool use went up 5 percent, and configuration management tools are being used by 8 percent more support centers than in 2009.

-- The primary tool implementation initiative is incident management software (14%), followed by knowledge management software (10%), and self-help tools (9%).

-- Results indicate that over 80 percent of support centers are maintaining at least single service level agreements, with a rise in the percent of those maintaining multiple service level agreements.

-- Hardware support and repair is still the most outsourced support function, though down slightly from 2009. The top reasons support centers are not outsourcing more are due to concerns about control of service, service quality, and customer acceptance, then cost.

-- Telephone performance, as measured by average speed to answer, abandonment rate, and first call resolution, has seen improvement across the industry.

-- Ninety-one percent of survey respondents believe an effective support organization must have a customer satisfaction tool; however, 16 percent of support centers do not measure customer satisfaction.

-- On-the-job training (88%) is the most utilized method for training new hires to the frontline. This is followed by mentoring/coaching (78%) and call monitoring (57%), which are, in turn, followed by the more structured types of training, such as computer-based training, formal classroom training, online training, webinars, and virtual classroom training, formats that might require more resources. The primary training concern for new hires to the frontline is customer service skills.

-- Training is considered by most respondents to be the most influential factor with regard to customer satisfaction (90%), performance metrics (85%), and successful product implementation (81%).

-- Twenty-five percent of support centers are paying certified employees more than those who are not certified, a 3 percent increase from 2009.

-- The percent of support centers expecting layoffs, hiring freezes, and salary freezes is down. Over 34 percent are actually anticipating an increase in hiring in their support organizations.

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

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Survey Results Help Understand Contact Center Shrinkage

Knowlagent, an agent productivity solution for the world’s 10 million call center agents, announced findings from the Contact Center Shrinkage Survey - a first of its kind for the call center industry. Shrinkage is commonly understood to be any part of an agent’s time that is consumed by activities other than customer interactions and an unavoidable operational cost for the industry.

According to the survey, shrinkage can take up a considerable amount of an agent’s work day - as much as 30 percent of an agent’s time can be spent on off-phone activities. A distinct difference between types of shrinkage is noted in the survey. Primary loss accounts for 54 percent of shrinkage – this relates to activities falling outside of call center management’s control – i.e. tardiness, lunch or absenteeism. And secondary loss is attributed to activities that can be managed – i.e. training, social learning or project work. Secondary loss constitutes 46 percent of shrinkage and, overall, 12 percent of an agent’s day.

The Contact Center Shrinkage Survey breaks down shrinkage by activity, industry, call center size, channels supported and contacts handled. Findings include:

-- Activity – Of the secondary loss category – shrinkage is largely allotted to training and coaching tasks;

-- Industry – Outsourcers report the lowest percentage of time in shrinkage;

-- Size – The largest and smallest centers surveyed reported the least shrinkage;

-- Channels – A growth in support of social media, chat and text is trending for larger organizations;

-- Contacts handled – Collections has the highest percentage of shrinkage – 26 percent;

-- Improvement – The vast majority would be happy with shrinkage improvement between 1 and 10 percent.

More information on Call Centers can be found at