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.
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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.
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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?"

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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.

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