Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gartner Identifies Top Vertical Industry Predictions for IT Organizations for 2013 and Beyond

Gartner, Inc. has revealed its top industry predictionsfor IT organizations and users for 2013 and beyond. Analysts said that social networking, mobile communications, the cloud and information are pressuring enterprises worldwide to make fundamental changes in business processes and that industry decision-makers should use Gartner's predictions to understand and respond to this Nexus of Forces.

CIOs and other IT and business leaders can use Gartner's predictions and recommendations to better understand the forces that are changing their world and develop strategies to address the requirements of a fast-changing business environment. The top industry predictions include:

-- By 2016, three automakers will have announced concrete plans for upcoming automobile launches that will offer autonomous vehicle technology.

-- By 2015, nontraditional money creation and exchange will enable 125 million more people to participate in the mainstream global economy.

-- By 2016, patients will be harmed or placed at risk by a medical device security breach.

-- By 2016, national governments will require institutions to surrender student records for a redesigned, cost-cutting curriculum based on big data analysis.

-- By 2015, natural-language processing (NLP) use among large healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) in English-speaking countries will quintuple, fueled by documentation, coding, quality reporting and research.

-- By 2015, to avoid becoming simply transaction factories, successful payer organizations will turn to information integration as their competitive differentiator.

-- By 2016, half of U.S. utility customers will have access to standardized energy usage data, but only 20 percent will use it.

-- By year end 2014, pay-as-you-drive insurance will rise significantly to account for 10 percent of overall annual auto insurance premiums.

-- By 2017, more than 50 percent of the media sold to advertisers by agencies will be priced based on performance.

-- By 2014, less than 2 percent of consumers globally will adopt Near Field Communication (NFC)-based mobile payments.

-- More than 50 percent of government shared-service organizations that provide cloud services by 2015 will discontinue or downscale them by 2017.

-- By 2015, 50 percent of Tier 1 consumer goods manufacturers will invest in technology startups to maintain access to emerging business-to-consumer (B2C) technology.

-- Through 2014 enterprise software spend will increase by 25 percent from current figures as a consequence of the proliferation of smart operational technology (OT).

More information on IT organizations can be found at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Private Software Firms See Strongest Revenue Growth Since Recession Began, Expect Big Job Gains

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announced the results of the 2012 SoftwareBenchmarking Industry Report, which finds that private software companies are experiencing the largest revenue growth since 2008 and expect strong job growth. The report – which was developed by SIIA partner OPEXEngine, an aggregator of financial and operating benchmarks for small and mid-sized software companies – surveyed private and public U.S. firms with up to $350 million in revenues.

The 2012 Report identifies significant revenue growth rates, strong job creation and high expectations. According to the report, participating private software firms achieved an average revenue growth rate of 37 percent in 2011 – 10 percent beyond the growth rate achieved in 2010 – and they anticipate further gains in 2012. Importantly, companies say they plan to increase employee headcount in 2012 by an average of 27 percent – the highest hiring expectation since the recession. 

Key findings from the 2012 Software Benchmarking Industry Report include:

-- Private firms expect to increase headcount by an average of 27 percent. Firms with revenue under  $10 million and between $10 and $20 million anticipate the biggest hiring gains at 38 percent and 36.5 percent, respectively.

-- Private software firms achieved an average revenue growth rate of 37 percent in 2011, compared to 28 percent in 2010.

-- Private companies in the $20-$40 million range had the highest revenue growth rate (46 percent).

-- 80 percent of private software companies surveyed expect 20 percent or greater revenue growth in 2012, while 30 percent expect higher than 50 percent.

-- Revenue growth rates were higher for the West Coast companies – almost 50 percent versus 36 percent for the East Coast companies. 

-- In terms of operating expenses, East Coast companies spent 66 percent of what West Coast companies spent.

-- Employee productivity on the East Coast was 5 percent higher than on the West Coast.

-- East Coast companies anticipate a 35 percent growth in headcount during 2012, compared to 26 percent for West Coast companies.
More information on customer service and support can be found at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Survey: More Companies Planning To Give Back To Employees This Holiday Season Than Last

The scrooge economy appears to be loosening its grip, as CareerBuilder's annual study shows companies plan to offer more perks (bonuses, parties, gifts) than last year. The national study was conducted by Harris Interactive© from August 13 to September 6, 2012 and included 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 workers across industries and company sizes.

Bonuses: Forty-six percent of employers expect to give their employees holiday bonuses this year, up from 40 percent last year and 33 percent in 2010.  Nearly one in five of them (19 percent) plan to provide a larger bonus than last year.
Parties: Six in ten (60 percent) employers are throwing a holiday party for their employees this year, up from 58 percent last year and 53 percent in 2010.  Forty percent of workers say they plan to attend.

Gifts: Thirty-six percent of employers plan to give holiday gifts, up from 30 percent in 2011 and 2010. 

Twenty-three percent of workers plan to buy holidays gifts for co-workers this year and 22 percent are buying for their boss. The majority (81 percent) of workers who plan to buy gifts expect to spend $25 or less for each holiday gift they buy for the office. Thirty-eight percent plan to spend $10 or less and 10 percent plan to spend less than $5.   

When asked to share the most memorable gifts received from co-workers, workers reported:

-- CD of the co-worker's recorded songs

-- Dolphin oven mitt

-- 4 rolls of toilet paper

-- A harpoon

-- Can of wasp spray

-- Jar of sand

-- Homemade pickles

-- Conch shell

-- Lava lamp filled with fake fish

-- Expired body lotion

-- Book about kittens

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Six Best Practices for Moving to a Culture of Extreme Collaboration

CIOs and business managers will fail in their efforts to improve business performance outcomes through business process management (BPM) if they cannot overcome major barriers to cross-functional communication and collaboration, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that business leaders can avoid this failure by embracing extreme collaboration (XC), a new operating model and an extreme style of collaboration. Gartner has identified six best practices for moving to a culture of XC:

Foster the Use of Virtual, Web-Based Collaboration Spaces in People's Daily Jobs
Gartner believes that one way to spur novel forms of collaboration is to select an activity currently handled through traditional methods, such face-to-face meetings or email, and encourage it to take place in a virtual, likely Web-based, collaboration space instead. These environments are easily accessed and almost always available. Virtual environments used to host such spaces can range from process collaboration environments to social networks or on-premises collaborative and social media tools.

Exploit the Value of Near-Real-Time Communication Addiction
The surge in real-time, or near-real-time, communication activities, such as texting, tweeting or updating Facebook, is not just a fad and businesses should embrace and encourage such behavior. Establishing real-time communication habits in the workplace enables a freer flow of information and more proactive notifications, so that people can respond more quickly to unexpected events and business disruptions. This can address the common problem of information being constrained and delayed through formal communication channels that run up and down the organizational hierarchy, or through defined email and need-to-know distribution lists. Real-time communication can break entrenched behaviors of relying on the management hierarchy to distribute information appropriately and, thereby, help overcome some of the communication-related problems associated with organizational politics.

Use Crowdsourcing and Popular Social Media Tools to Facilitate Dynamic Communities and Collaboration
One good way to kick-start the mind-set for extreme collaboration is to host a "tweet jam" to trigger a dynamic community to brainstorm on a problem. This involves simply setting a time and topic, and encouraging people to participate and get working. Unlike a conversation in a meeting room, all communication is captured so there's a clear record of what was discussed, who contributed ideas, and which participants excelled at facilitating discussions and problem-solving. Crowdsourcing is also proving to be very effective for bringing together people — who often didn't previously know each other — to tackle shared problems. Although not XC, per se; crowdsourcing is another style of collaboration.

Change Reward Systems to Encourage Collaboration
Today's dominant performance management methods are ineffective for process-centric organizations, because they discourage collaboration by rewarding individual efforts to deliver specific, one-time outcomes, rather than rewarding collaboration and team efforts. Enterprises that embrace XC reward influence collaborative behavior that contributes to resolving complex problems, in addition to rewarding individual deliverables. They design performance evaluations and incentives to foster teamwork and reward exceptional collaborators. The use of collaboration technologies also makes it easier to track collaborative behavior and tie it directly to outcomes achieved.

Use Social Network Analysis to Measure the Collaborative Behavior of Teams
Another way to measure and reward collaborative behavior is to track how people interact. Social network analysis (SNA) and some social media monitor people's social network influence. An XC culture is built on openness, trust and mutual respect and SNA is a technique to help process owners and business process improvement (BPI) leaders identify strong social networks where a foundation of trust and respect exist. Once such networks are identified, organizations should try to leverage these relationships by asking these groups of individuals to pool their collective strengths to address some critical, cross-boundary process performance challenge. Other social, mobile and cloud technologies will also provide new ways to track how and where people have collaborated and to measure what happened.

Plan Group Events to Kick-Start Real-Time Communication and Collaboration
A few simple steps can help force people out of their "comfort zones" to experiment with new ways of collaborating and interacting, including:

-- Designating mobile-video attendees at meetings. 
-- Use game play to spur new forms of collaboration and creative interaction. 
-- Consider turning off email for a defined time period. 
More information on customer service, support and collaboration can be found at

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Consumers Defect in Growing Numbers But Majority Say “You Could Have Kept Me,” Accenture Research Finds

In 2012, one in five consumers switched companies they buy from, including wireless phone, internet service, and retailers, according to new research by Accenture. This marks a five percent increase in switching over 2011 levels. However, the eighth annual Accenture Global Consumer Survey also found that the majority (85 percent) of consumers say the companies could have done something differently to prevent them from switching. 
The survey, which polled more than 12,000 consumers in 32 countries, found that among those consumers who would have stayed if their provider had acted differently, two-thirds (67 percent) pointed to having their customer service issue resolved during their first contact as a factor. More than half (54 percent) might have remained loyal if they had been rewarded for doing more business with their provider. The survey revealed that, of the ten industries covered, the largest rises in switching were among wireless phone providers (26 percent of consumers switched in 2012, up from 21 percent in 2011); internet service providers (23 percent switched, up from 19 percent in 2011) and retailers (22 percent switched, up from 16 percent in 2011).

Broken promises are a top area of frustration for consumers, according to the survey:nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents indicate it’s extremely frustrating when a company delivers a different customer service experience from what it promised upfront. Seventy eight percent of consumers say they are likely to switch providers when they encounter such broken promises. Other frustrations that make consumers more likely to switch include:

 -- Having to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason (selected by 65 percent of consumers)
-- Dealing with unfriendly customer service agents (65 percent)
-- Being on hold for a long time when contacting customer service (61 percent)

More information on customer service and support can be found at

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ventana Research Releases Agent Desktop Benchmark Research

Ventana Research has released its latest Benchmark Research, The Unified Agent Desktop and the Customer Experience. The research shows that the primary channel for customer service remains interaction with agents in contact centers. Currently, fewer than half (47%) of participating organizations said that their customers are satisfied with their customer service or how their contact centers handle interactions. This has led nearly three-quarters (74%) of participants to say that improving customer service is very important while just over one-half(53%) feel that improving contact center performance is equally as important.

The real challenge lies in providing every agent with a unified view of customer data. If an agent has to scour multiple sources of data to resolve conflicts or provide service, they risk the loss of the customer’s confidence, or worse the loss of the customer altogether. As technologies continue to advance, the need to implement a unified desktop becomes increasingly more important. Participants hoping to improve response time while enabling customers to communicate through more channels will need to better align their planned technology investments with these goals. Based on the research a unified desktop is currently used in just 28% of participant’s contact centers. While 23% plan to implement within the next 12 months, another 23% have no intention of investing in a unified agent desktop.
More information on customer service and support agents can be found at

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Survey Reveals Shift in Customer Service Preferences

Angel, a provider of cloud-based Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions, released the findings from a survey of over 650 attendees at the 2012 Dreamforce event in San Francisco. The survey results show an evolution of customer service preferences, with more customers expecting businesses to better anticipate customer needs and provide more personalized and on-demand customer service across any channel and device.

The results demonstrated a significant shift to web and mobile technologies as the preferred ways to connect with customer service. From these results, there is an opportunity for companies to better anticipate the change of customer preferences and begin providing multichannel customer support to quickly resolve problems, improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.

-- Shift in platforms – While 51 percent of the respondents named landline telephone customer support as the most preferred customer service channel five years ago, 34 percent called out email as their top resource today, followed by landline telephone (19 percent) and mobile devices (16 percent).
--  Mobile customer support quickly gaining – In the next five years, 24 percent expect mobile devices to be the leading customer service channel while 41 percent confirmed they have downloaded a mobile application to better connect to customer service.
--  Online self-service tools are critical – Currently, 63 percent turn to the company website as their first channel of choice to resolve an issue before calling customer service.
-- Customer service is an ongoing experience – 26 percent said they are likely to tell their friends about their experience, 21 percent said they would ask for the same representative next time and 14 percent said they would share their experience online.

Additional survey findings revealed what companies customers spend the most time with as well as how customers would like to interact with customer service:
-- Banking and retail organizations spend the most time with their customers – these are the leading industries for which customers said they spend the most time on a customer service issue, with 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
-- Convenience is important – 47 percent said they usually connect with customer service from work and 33 percent reach out while at home.
-- On-demand support expectations are significant – 18 percent said instant messaging is their first channel of choice to resolve an issue, while five percent said they turn to social networks to resolve customer service problems.
More information on customer service and support can be found at

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mid-market Executives View U.S. as Less Accommodating to Entrepreneurialism

High levels of economic uncertainty are affecting business and shifting opinions among mid-market executives, according to findings in Deloitte’s "Mid-marketperspectives: America’s economic engine- why entrepreneurs matter." Specifically, only 59 percent of executives surveyed ranked the United States as the most accommodating country for entrepreneurs - a 32 percent drop from how those same executives said they felt in past years.  

Moreover, while 35 percent of mid-market executives claim their own organization has grown more entrepreneurial, 15 percent state their company is less entrepreneurial, despite the clear benefits in terms of greater productivity and profit margins. Among respondents who did not choose the U.S. as the most attractive environment for entrepreneurs, 42 percent selected China, followed by India (26 percent), Brazil (21 percent) and Australia (18 percent) as most accommodating.

Entrepreneurial Behavior

In defining “entrepreneurial”, 81 percent of respondents say any company, large or small, can behave in entrepreneurial ways. Mid-market executives say that being creative, unique, different, innovative and taking risks with the acceptance of failure are most important for keeping their companies successful.

Among mid-market executives who indicated their companies had become more entrepreneurial, they cited innovation to create entirely new businesses, enhancing products and services, and discovering and penetrating new markets as primary behaviors driving their organizations.

Mid-market executives citing a decline in entrepreneurialism attributed it to C-suite leaders’ desire to be risk-averse (36 percent) while 17 percent expressed their desire to avoid volatility by sticking to tried and true business practices.

Entrepreneurialism as a Catalyst for Growth

Overall, the survey shows entrepreneurial companies are succeeding at a faster pace in the marketplace.

Compared to all survey respondents, those who identified their companies as more entrepreneurial are more likely to have:  

-- Increased capital investment (38 percent).

-- Experienced greater worker productivity (59 percent) and generated higher profit margins (49 percent).

-- Nearly one-third (30 percent) of mid-market executives were more likely to cite ongoing investment in technology and people as a driver of success.

More information on customer service and support can be found at

Monday, November 19, 2012

Worldwide Enterprise IT Spending is Forecast to Grow 2.5 Percent in 2013

Worldwide enterprise IT spending is forecast to total $2.679 trillion in 2013, a 2.5 percent increase of projected 2012 spending of $2.603 trillion, according to Gartner, Inc. Banking, communications, media and services (CMS) and manufacturing are expected to offer the largest volume of growth opportunities through 2016. 

The manufacturing and natural resources sector will lead the vertical markets with total spending expected to reach $478 billion in 2013, up 2.3 percent from $467 billion in 2012. Manufacturers typically plan and manage a significant portion of their IT costs in expectation of changes in their sales. In addition, manufacturers worldwide have been steadily reducing their IT purchases as a percentage of their sales since the recession of 2008. The manufacturing industry's IT buying center has adopted tighter IT cost controls amid a myriad of mixed market signals. However, IT spending rates are expected will bottom out in 2013 and will be resilient over the long run, as business confidence is restored and the value proposition of a nexus of new technology forces — social, mobile, big data and cloud — is increasingly championed by senior leaders. 

The banking and securities sector will have strong growth in 2013 and is expected to reach $460 billion in 2013, up 3.5 percent from $445 billion in 2012. Banking and securities is an IT-intensive industry, spending approximately three times as much on IT as a percentage of revenue than the average of all industries. This trend is expected to continue due to a significant amount of IT required to run activities such as lending, payments, trading and risk management. 

The CMS sector is forecast to grow 3 percent in 2013 to $426 billion, up from $414 billion in 2012. Firms in the CMS sectors will typically spend approximately 5 percent of their revenue on IT on average over a five-year period, well above the median for all industries.  

In the short term, transportation and insurance will also be high-growth sectors with both reaching more than 4 percent growth in 2013. IT spending in the transportation sector is expected to total $126 billion in 2013, up from $121 billion in 2012. IT spending in insurance will reach $187 billion in 2013, up from $179 billion in 2012.

In 2012, government IT spending is forecast to decline 2 percent and the decline is expected to continue through 2013. In 2013, government IT spending is forecast to total $445 billion, down from $447 billion in 2012. 

Large industry market operating under fiscal pressure, such as government, can also provide market opportunities as IT departments must strive to modernize and increase service levels without increasing resources. The need for greater efficiency and productivity gains in industries operating under severe fiscal constraints can also create opportunities for disruptive IT innovation and for the displacement of incumbent IT market leaders. 

More information on IT spending can be found at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shopping At Work? Most Firms Say OK

Just in time for Cyber Monday, a new survey suggests companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours. Only one-third (33 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed by staffing firm Robert Half Technology said their companies block access to online shopping sites – down from 60 percent last year. Another 55 percent said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. One in 10 (10 percent) reported that their firms allow unrestricted access.

 The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.
CIOs were asked, "What is your company's policy regarding employees shopping online while at work?" Their responses:

Block access to online shopping sites     
2011 -60%           
2012 - 33%

Allow access but monitor for excessive use        
2011 - 23%          
2012 - 55%

Allow unrestricted access            
2011 - 13% 2012 - 10%
Other/don't know          
2011 - 4%            
2011 - 2%

More information on customer service and support can be found at

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CIOs Project Modest IT Budget Growth In 2013

New 2013 IT budget benchmarks from CEB , a member-based advisory company, indicate that CIOs expect total IT budgets to increase 1.8 percent, roughly 50 percent less than they did in 2012.  Despite economic woes, European organizations are expecting a 2 percent increase in IT budgets.  The primary driver of total budget growth comes from increases in operational expenditures of 2.5 percent.  Capital expenditure budget growth has stalled. 

Two-thirds of CIOs expect to see increases in operating expenditures in 2013, while one-fifth plan to reduce them.  CIOs expect to allocate funding increases to projects that improve employee productivity through better insights, collaboration and mobility, and to increase IT's delivery flexibility and efficiency. 

CEB's survey is based on more than 180 companies representing $52 billion in IT spending. Findings indicate that CIOs will double down on investments in mobile applications and information management to drive employee productivity in 2013.    

-- Spending on mobile applications will grow 50 percent in 2013.  CIOs will concentrate both on developing new mobile applications and making sure existing applications are ready for the mobile environment.  This does not include funds spent to supply employees with mobile devices or marketing funds spend on mobility. 

-- CIOs will continue shifting spending from process automation (30 percent) to information management (32 percent) projects.  Information management projects are considered those that deal with business intelligence, collaboration or customer interface. 

Additionally, CIOs are expected to increase spending to make IT delivery more flexible and efficient:

-- Spending on the cloud will increase to roughly 7 percent of total IT budgets.  Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will receive the largest share of spending, followed by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

-- Seventy-five percent of organizations that offer some form of end-to-end IT services plan to devote as much as 30 percent of their IT operating expenditure to this delivery model. 
More information on IT budgets can be found at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dimension Data Announces Results of 2012 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report

Dimension Data, the global ICT solutions and services provider, announced the results of its 2012 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, which includes data collected from 637 contact centers in 72 countries across the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Middle East and Africa. This year's report found that rapid adoption of emerging communication channels – much of which is enabled by new mobile and smartphone devices, wireless connectivity and social media – is making a significant impact.

As a result, organizations are now rushing to provide additional service channels as consumers demand varied types of collaboration when they engage with organizations. The telephone is no longer a consumer's primary point of contact with an organization, while at the same time, mobile and social media interactions are increasingly making the contact center's role more important than ever.
One in five (19.2 percent) contact centers are already managing smartphone applications, while 33.1 percent of businesses are supporting social media – nearly double the 18.6 percent reported in 2011. A further 14.4 percent expect to have a capability in place within the next 12 months, by which time 46.3 percent will be using Web chat to positively drive Internet traffic to a successful outcome. What's more, organizations are implementing these new contact center options mainly as a result of customer demand.

Other key findings in this year's report include:
Few businesses are gauging the customer experience of non-agent, self-help channels:

-- Self-service channels have become more prevalent in today's contact centers; however, organizations are not measuring the cost-to-serve of these channels and are not gauging their customers' experience of non-agent, self-help channels. This contradicts emerging practices that link customer satisfaction scores directly to profitability, such as the tracking of share price performance against the 'voice of the customer' – a growing trend among forward-thinking organizations.
-- The subsequent absence of cost measurement activity on every channel outside of the telephone is staggering. Only 27.9 percent of Internet, 19.4 percent of Web chat, 9.9 percent of social media, and 6.1 percent of smartphone application contacts are being measured.  Only 14.6 percent of participants have any plans to impose measurements. This indicates significant neglect by organizations as they struggle to adequately enable investment into new channels through proven business case validations.

-- Interactive voice response (IVR) self-service systems rank second only to Web usage as the most offered self-help path. However, 50.6 percent of contact centers don't schedule any regular reviews of their IVR systems and nearly three quarters (72.4 percent) are needlessly frustrating their customers by not passing information collected in the IVR through to agents.
Aging technology is a big challenge:

-- Many contact centers are wrestling with aging technology, which is expensive to maintain and upgrade. Due to the complexity of existing technology environments, integration, lack of flexibility and upgrades are the most common challenges being experienced.
-- In addition, there is a progressive move away from applying a dedicated contact center technology strategy to incorporate it into the wider enterprise customer management strategy (now at 66.8 percent). Investment for upgrades and enhancements are harder to authorize and are driving the need to consider alternative sourcing models for specific functionality that include cloud-based solutions on a pay-as-you-use operating expenditure model.

Cloud continues to play an important role:
-- Many organizations are beginning to recognize the benefits of cloud-based solutions. It has doubled in its importance from Dimension Data's 2011 Contact Center Benchmarking results. As organizations will need to find a way to use, re-use and upgrade existing technologies, the inevitable migration will likely be using a hybrid approach, with an appropriate ownership model selected for each application. 

Contact center needs are being lost in overall technology strategy:
-- Already, 30.4 percent of contact centers report they have no, or limited, involvement in the design of business requirements for new technology solutions.  Of these, 7.2 percent state that it's purely a contact center decision. For sourcing, it is 40.2 percent as the enterprise technology strategy takes hold. These results clearly highlight an industry transition point in terms of accountability and responsibility for contact center business requirements and the sourcing of technology.

-- Therefore, there's a real danger that the specific needs of contact center get lost. Just 59 percent of participants believe their current core infrastructure components (includes CRM, CTI, routing, self-service and workforce optimization) meets their current needs, while for future needs, this figure drops considerably to a mere 13.8 percent.
More information and metrics on benchmarking contact centers can be found at

Monday, October 29, 2012

Two-Thirds of Enterprises Will Adopt a Mobile Device Management Solution for Corporate Liable Users Through 2017

Over the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will adopt a mobile device management (MDM) solution for their corporate liable users, according to Gartner, Inc. With the increased functionality of smartphones, and the increasing popularity of tablets, much of the network traffic and corporate data that was once the primary domain of enterprise PCs is now being shifted to mobile devices.

Gartner predicts that through 2017, 90 percent of enterprises will have two or more mobile operating systems to support. In the past year, many companies have moved to Apple's iOS as their main mobile device platform, with others to follow over the next 12 to 18 months. As enterprises continue to offer multiplatform support, and new platforms -- such as Windows 8 --continue to emerge, MDM needs will continue to grow.

As one of the fastest-growing enterprise devices in the past 18 months, tablets are a further driving force for enterprises adopting MDM. Most companies and users are supporting the tablet for limited usage, typically for email and personal information management (PIM) functions. However, users are pushing for more enterprise applications to be supported on the tablet, usually through either enterprise or application provider development. As more of these native apps become available, and as remote access technology improves, more enterprise content will be stored on these devices. Users are already synchronizing corporate content into public clouds for later retrieval on the devices.

Gartner believes that mobile device proliferation is inevitable and the only way that IT staff can maintain control is by separating mobile computing devices into three distinct device classes: trusted standard devices provided by the company, tolerated devices and non-supported devices. In this scenario, users are given a predefined list of supported technologies in each class, along with a budget for the projected amount that each selection consumes. Users can optimize the technologies according to their requirements without exceeding the budget. Expense limits and spending caps by individuals bypass the need to rely on subjective interpretations of "reasonable use."

More information on Mobile Device Management and IT can be found at

Thursday, October 25, 2012's Support Metrics Snapshot: How Contact Centers are Performing in 2012's 2012 Service and Support Metrics survey, sponsored by Aptean, represented a perfect trifecta: support performance  increased overall, as its complexity continued to increase, and as an increasing amount of this support volume continues to migrate to support channels other than the phone. Improvements were particularly substantial in areas such as speed to answer, where top-end results increased by nearly a factor of two, and average abandonment rate. E-mail response rates, measured for the first time in 2012, show a substantial number answered within the first hour.

Key Metrics Include:

Average speed to answer for phone-based support: A whopping 70.2% answer the phone in 30 seconds or less, nearly double 2011's rate of 37%. At the other end of the spectrum, 7.9% wait more than a minute - less than a third of 2011's rate of 22.8%, but more than twice the 3.2% in 2009.

Average speed to answer for e-mail support: Nearly a third of respondents (30.6%) answer e-mails within one hour, and over three-quarters (75.1%) respond within six hours. Just two respondents (1.9%) state that they take over 24 hours to respond. (This was a new metric surveyed for 2012.)

Average hold time: 65.3% of respondents have hold times of a minute or less, slightly more than 2011's figures of 58%. The percentage of those with no hold time at holds steady at 21.9% this year, while 79.9% pick up within two minutes.

Average abandonment rate: The percentage of respondents with a rate of less than 5% improved from 59% to 65.2% of respondents, with a nearly identical 23.7% experiencing a rate of less than 1%. Just seven respondents had average abandonment rates of over 10%, and only one was over 15%, numbers that are very similar to those of the past two years.

Average number of e-mails exchanged to resolve a support request: Just over half (51.4%) of respondents handle e-mail support requests within 1 to 3 e-mails, nearly identical to last year, while most of the others (26.7% of the total) resolve an average request within 4 to 6 e-mails.

Escalation and FCR: 23.7% of people escalate less than 10% of their transactions to level 2, a substantial decrease from the 30.4% of the past two years, while those needing to escalate more than half of their issues more than doubled from 4.7% in 2011 to 10.8% in 2012. Along similar lines, just over half of respondents (53.3%) measure first-call resolution (FCR) levels

Costs of support transactions: Costs by channel have remained very similar overall to 2011 figures. As with last year, a little more than half (57.3%) of respondents reported costs ranging up to US$24 for phone transactions, with close to 30% reporting average costs of less than US$10 per transaction. For e-mail, over 48.4% kept costs under US $10. Costs of web chat did see median values increase from under US$5 to the $5-9 range in 2012, a sign that more complex transactions were moving to this medium. The percentage of respondents reporting average costs above $24/transaction were 26.6%, 13.7%, and 9.8% for phone, e-mail, and chat/IM respectively, all similar to 2011 figures.

Click here to view the full survey 14 page report includes a detailed analysis of the entire survey results.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Every Budget is Becoming an IT Budget

Twelve years ago technology spending outside of IT was 20 percent of total technology spending; it will become almost 90 percent by the end of the decade, according to Gartner, Inc. Much of this change is being driven by the digitization of companies’ revenue and their services.

The Nexus of Forces is leading this transformation. The Nexus is the convergence and mutual reinforcement of social, mobile, cloud and information patterns that drive new business scenarios..

Organizations are digitizing segments of business, such as moving marketing spend from analog to digital, or digitizing the research and development budget. Secondly, organizations are digitizing how they service their clients, in order to drive higher client retention. Thirdly, they are turning digitization into new revenue streams. Gartner analysts said this is resulting in every budget becoming an IT budget.

To address these changes, organizations will create the role of a Chief Digital Officer as part of the business unit leadership, which will become a new seat at the executive table. Gartner predicts that by 2015, 25 percent of organizations will have a Chief Digital Officer.

The forces of cloud, social, mobile and information are reconfiguring how people work and live. It’s a world in which business and personal lives are intertwined. A world with fewer commands and control restrictions that stifle productivity and innovation.

However, there is serious work that needs to be done. IT leaders need to make sure they have policies and procedures in place to respond to the new Nexus-driven threats. They must counter cyberattacks, and anticipate new attacks from new sources at a high scale. They will need to respond to “reputation” warfare and defend against social media “mercenaries”. They will also invest in new technologies that support employee-owned devices such as mobile device management, containerization and virtualization.

IT leaders also need to anticipate and plan for the coming wave of government interventions and regulations. As information technology becomes pervasive in all operations, regulations from the analog world will come to the digital world.

CEOs want their CIOs to make their impact felt where the enterprise meets the outside world. They want the CIO to unleash the forces that will differentiate their business. They don’t want the CIO spending all of their time automating the back office.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CIO Survey Reveals IT Leaders Struggle to Meet Big Demand for Enterprise App Testing, Development and Rollouts Next Year

Delphix, a provider of agile data management, announced the results of a survey of corporate IT leaders fielded by IDG Research to garner insights about plans, IT budgets and business goals for enterprise application development initiatives during the next twelve months. The survey polled 108 top-level IT executives at large global enterprises between August 30 and September 28, 2012. It exposes a growing problem for IT organizations struggling to keep pace with demand for an increasing number of enterprise application projects during the next 12 months.

The vast majority of IT leaders (86 percent) view enterprise app projects as a critical or strategic priority. On average, $173 million per enterprise has been allocated specifically for application projects in 2013, which equates to 41 percent of the average $432 million IT budget of the organizations surveyed. Yet, two thirds of respondents indicate that it's extremely or very challenging to deliver these applications on time or on budget. In fact, for the enterprise apps currently in development, an average of 28 projects are delayed and/or over budget.

Enterprise App Development Project Challenges

With about 41 percent of their IT budget to spend on enterprise app development projects related to business operations and analysis and an average of 46 new enterprise apps to deploy, 94 percent of IT executives survey admitted their organization finds it challenging to deliver these projects on time and on budget. About 76 percent of IT executives note that this high difficulty of staying on time and on budget has remained largely the same or gotten worse; only 24 percent indicate that it's become easier.

Often the difficulty lies in the earlier stages of deployment. Roughly one-half (48 percent) indicated their toughest stage is development, while another 38 percent said their toughest stage is testing. Nearly half of IT executives believe this is because of the length of time required to test apps, the resistance they encounter from end users, and the limited skill-sets of their IT employees. Pile these on top of budget constraints and the result is 65 percent of IT executives who find deploying enterprise applications to be extremely or very challenging.

Survey Respondent Profile

-- 100 percent are the primary decision maker or a key influencer/contributor in setting strategies and budgets related to enterprise application initiatives.

-- Average overall IT budget for 2013 (including business spending): $423 million.

-- The average company size of respondent organizations is 27,659 employees.

-- Within the organization, 52 percent hold a CIO/CTO title, 38 percent have titles of Executive VP, SVP, VP or General Manager, and 10 percent have a CSO or CISO title.

-- Top industries represented: 22 percent banking/financial services/insurance; 14 percent healthcare; nine percent technology; eight percent public sector/nonprofit (including government and education); seven percent information, media and entertainment; seven percent manufacturing/auto/industrial.

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