Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Impact of Mobility On Business Could Exceed That of The Internet

Facing one of the most significant business challenges since the advent of the Internet, CIOs in emerging markets seeking to mobile-enable their enterprises are making mobility a higher priority and spending more money on achieving that goal than are their mature-market counterparts, according to a new study by Accenture.

 The global study, The Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Survey,found that two-thirds (67 percent) of CIOs and other IT professionals believe mobility will impact their businesses as much as or more than the Internet did in the 1990s. The research also found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of IT professionals surveyed would allocate more than 20 percent of their discretionary budgets that are delivering mobility capability for their business this year – with a striking contrast between IT leaders in emerging markets (94 percent) and in mature markets (35 percent). Similarly, the survey found that 48 percent of respondents in emerging markets have an extensively developed mobile strategy, while only 12 percent of respondents in mature markets claimed to have extensively developed strategies.

The study also found a few areas of concern complicating the adoption of mobility by enterprises. Of note, security and cost led the list of IT professionals’ biggest concerns. Fifty percent cited security as the leading factor preventing them from addressing their mobile priorities; cost and budget ranked second (43 percent), while 26 percent cited either interoperability with current systems or a lack of understanding about the benefits of mobility. In addition, none of the most widely used smartphone operating systems received overwhelming security endorsements from app developers, but more than half (53 percent) said Apple’s iOS operating system had the best security, while Google’s Android operating system ranked second at 24 percent.

The results highlight the challenges created by the fragmentation of the market, including the large number of different mobile platforms and devices.  App developers rated this fragmentation among device platforms as particularly difficult to manage and monetize. For IT professionals, fragmentation complicates a company’s ability to accommodate one of the strongest trends in mobility – employees bringing their own devices to work and wanting to run office applications on them.

 In this frenetic market, IT professionals and application developers have various plans to generate revenue. In the enterprise arena, 42 percent of IT professionals indicated they want to improve field service or customer service delivery with instant access to corporate databases, relevant business data, and on-the-spot transaction processing. Application developers cited downloads (41 percent), in-app purchases (29 percent), traditional advertising (24 percent) and subscriptions (20 percent) as ways to monetize consumer applications.

 The study also revealed some intriguing anomalies based on geography.  Far more IT professionals in emerging markets focus on mobility compared to those in mature markets. Ninety-three percent of Latin American and 81 percent of Asian IT professionals indicated mobility will provide significant new revenue. But only 66 percent of European and 56 percent of North American respondents agreed. Similarly, half of Mexican and Chinese respond­ents, as well as 40 percent and 32 percent of Indian and Brazilian respondents, respectively, strongly agreed that mobility will impact their business as much as or more than the 1990s Internet wave. But only one in five (20 percent) of both U.K. and U.S. respondents strongly concurred.

Accenture’s study concludes that IT professionals must craft a comprehensive strategy for enterprise mobility. In order to do so, Accenture recommends a multi-pronged approach that includes three key elements: technology, business requirements, and management.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Hiring Managers Share the Most Memorable Interview Mistakes in Annual CareerBuilder Survey

In a labor market where a single open position can receive resumes from dozens, even hundreds of hopeful applicants, just getting to the interview stage is an accomplishment for many job seekers. But once one lands the elusive interview, what are the sure-fire ways to make the wrong impression?

In a nationwide CareerBuilder survey conducted by Harris Interactive among more than 3,000 employers, hiring and human resource managers were asked to rate the biggest mistakes candidates make during interviews and share their most unusual interview memories.

Most Harmful Common Mistakes Hiring managers say the following are the mistakes most detrimental to your interview performance:

-- Answering cell phone or texting: 77 percent

-- Appearing disinterested: 75 percent

-- Dressing inappropriately: 72 percent

-- Appearing arrogant: 72 percent

-- Talking negatively about current or previous employers: 67 percent

-- Chewing gum: 63 percent

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Organizations That Integrate Communities Into Customer Support Can Realize Cost Reductions of Up to 50 Percent

Radical levels of customer service, which account for an average of 75 percent all customer interactions, threaten to undermine the customer's affinity for brands in 2012, according to Gartner,Inc. It is critical for customer service organizations to figure out how to harmonize customer service processes that sometimes happen with a human support agent, sometimes through self-service and sometimes by peer-to-peer community networks. 

Gartner's central predictions for the CRM customer service and support market are:
-- By 2014, organizations integrating communities into customer support will realize cost reductions ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent.

-- By 2014, customer fallout will drive down customer satisfaction in 70 percent of organizations that shift customer support to communities.
-- By 2015, 50 percent of online customer self-service search activities will be via a virtual assistant for at least 1,500 large enterprises.

-- By 2015, the marketing budget allocated to retaining customers and increasing loyalty through customer service will more than double.

-- Through 2015, the dominant themes in customer service and support will be collaborative customer service processes, application migration to the cloud and support of mobile consumers.

More information on service and support can be found at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Innovations that Bring New Benefits also Bring New Security Risks, Research Reveals

Innovations that make data more accessible and devices more mobile also create new challenges for information technology (IT) professionals responsible for cybersecurity, according to new research released today by IT industry association CompTIA.

The vast majority of business and IT executives (83 percent) surveyed for CompTIA's Ninth Annual Information Security Trends Study believe the security threat level is on the rise.

One of the biggest factors driving cybersecurity concerns today is the greater interconnectivity of devices, systems and users, the survey reveals. Among the disruptive IT trends contributing to greater interconnectivity - and raising new security concerns - are the proliferation of big data, social technologies, cloud computing and mobility.

One in five organizations in the CompTIA study reported definitely experiencing the loss of sensitive data in the past 12 months, while 32 percent reported likely data loss. Among companies that experienced such data loss in the past 12 months:

-- 65 percent lost confidential corporate financial data,
-- 52 percent lost confidential employee, such as human resources records,
-- 27 percent lost confidential customer data, such as credit card numbers, and
-- 26 percent lost corporate intellectual property or trade secrets.

The research indicates organizations are most likely to struggle with data loss prevention (DLP) efforts when data is in motion, such as transmitting sensitive information in an unencrypted format.

Beyond data loss, three in four organizations reported first-hand experience with a security incident in 2011, a slight increase over the 2010 rate. On average, organizations reported seven incidents for the year, about half classified as serious.

Topping the list of security concerns is the all-encompassing threat known as malware. Yet while malware represents the most pervasive threat, in some ways malware attacks are less feared than highly targeted distributed denial of service attacks, advanced persistent threats and other types of malicious hacking attacks. In the CompTIA study, 58 percent of respondents believe hacking is a more critical threat today compared to two years ago.

Human error continues to be a significant factor in security breakdowns. A net of 53 percent of IT and business executives say human error is more of a factor today than it was two years ago.
Seven in ten organizations rate security as a higher or upper level priority this year, compared to 49 percent in 2010. Four out of five companies expect to increase information security budgets.

The intensified focus on information security has created a job market where the demand for skilled workers exceeds the current supply. In the CompTIA study, 40 percent of organizations say they face challenges in hiring IT security specialists.

Organizations view certified staff as an integral part of their security apparatus. More than eight in ten organizations formally or informally use security certifications as a means to validate expertise; and 94 percent believe security certifications deliver a positive return on investment.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

IT Employment Reaches All-Time High

IT employment reached an all-time high with an increase of 13,300 jobs in January. January’s record surpasses the previous all-time high set in September 2008 when IT employment reached 4,088,600.

The number of IT jobs grew 0.3 percent sequentially last month to 4,107,700, according to TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT services firms, clients, consultants and suppliers. On an annual basis, IT employment grew by 3.4 percent in 2011 and 1.5 percent in 2010. These latest numbers are based on the rebenchmarked data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this month.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Tech Spending Remains Strong, Despite Economic Risks and Volatility

According to the new International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Black Book just released, IT spending increased by 5% at constant currency in 2011, despite the worsening economic situation in Western Europe and volatility in other regions. Emerging markets continued to lead the way, with tech spending in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) enjoying another year of double-digit growth. Strong demand for mobile devices and software across most regions ensured a positive finish to the year, despite the impact of the hard disk drive (HDD) shortage on PC markets.

In U.S. dollar terms, the IT industry grew by almost 9% in 2011, but year-to-year comparisons could be difficult for U.S.-based IT vendors this year if currency conditions are less favorable. In constant currency, IDC projects another year of 5% growth for worldwide IT spending in 2012. Hardware and software spending are each forecast to increase by 6% (in constant currency), with 4% growth in IT services.

Strongest growth in 2011 came from smartphones (+46%), software (+6%) and disk storage systems (+6%). Businesses continued to invest in infrastructure upgrades, along with new software applications and mobile devices (including tablets). These positive trends are expected to continue in 2012, when enterprise spending on network equipment will also accelerate as many organizations invest in network upgrades to cope with the continuing increase in digital information, which will meanwhile ensure another positive year for the storage market. By the end of 2012, the PC industry will also return to positive growth.

The macroeconomic crisis in Europe has already had a severe impact on IT spending in that region. Overall IT investment was flat in 2011, with declines in spending on PCs, servers, storage, peripherals and enterprise network equipment. The recovery in Europe will be a long haul, with less than 1% growth this year and 3% in 2013.

In other regions, however, the momentum of 2011 is still evident in recent polls, which show continuing enthusiasm for tech investment amongst businesses and consumers. In the U.S., where IT spending increased by 7% last year, 2012 is likely to bring another year of solid growth (5%) driven by mobile devices, software and network equipment. Japan will see a return to positive growth, after the declines triggered by last year’s tsunami and earthquake disaster. IT spending in Brazil, Russia, India and China will be up by 9%, 11%, 16% and 15%, respectively.

More information on IT spending can be found at