Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 IT Budgets up by 20% but Employer Fears Loom Regarding Losing IT Talent With Retention and Training Cited as Priorities for the First Time in 6 Years

According to two just-released surveys by Boca Raton-based Information Technology (IT) search and staffing firm, PROTECH, IT budgets and salaries continue to increase while employers show increased concern about losing their IT employees.

Average 2012 IT budgets increased to 10.2% from 8.5% in 2011.  The 10th Annual Tech Leadership survey also revealed 42% of Tech Leaders plan to increase IT staff this year (up by 13% compared to 2011).  And 57% of Tech Executives are concerned about losing top IT talent in 2012 (up by 14%).  The top reason continues to be compensation with a 58% response (up by 35% from 2011).

The number of companies offering professional development and technical training jumped to 88% in 2012 from 63% in 2011 (almost a 40% increase).  And for the first time since 2006, employee retention and training came up as key non-technology priorities for IT hiring executives.  . 

A marked shift is also taking place towards direct employment versus temp staffing in this year's survey, showing the balance of direct employees up by 21% compared to 2011.  "Employers are more confident about making longer term hiring decisions in IT which can further propel corporate growth and streamline operations," said Vazquez.

The 8th Annual Tech Talent survey showed the most important aspects when considering a job being salary; followed by stability, benefits, work-life balance and career growth.  Flextime/telecommuting was cited as the best perk offered by a past/present employer followed by bonuses (including sign-on, retention and annual bonuses). 

Employees received an average 2011 pay increase of 3.5% from the 2% they received in 2010.  "We are effectively now in an employee-driven market due to low unemployment in IT and specialized candidates weighing multiple job offers," said Vazquez.

PROTECH surveyed over 700 IT Director to CIO level executives for its 10th annual Tech Leadership Survey; and over 15,000 IT professionals for its 8th annual Tech Talent survey. All participants are located in Florida's Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

More information on IT can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

Service Providers Have an Opportunity to Substantially Reduce Call Center Traffic with Proactive and Improved Self-Care Options

Amdocs, a provider of customer experience systems, announced the results of a global survey that highlights the critical business importance of effective self-service channels for resolving customer issues. The survey highlights a massive opportunity for service providers to reduce call center costs and to improve customer experience by creating a more complete, consistent and accessible self-service capability, while leveraging customer insight to proactively prevent and eliminate calls.

Key survey findings:

-- Smartphones still present a challenge: the majority of smartphone users encounter issues related to device or service during the first year of use. 82 percent asked their service provider at least one question, while 50 percent had two or more questions.

-- Online support can be improved: 75 percent of surveyed consumers said they would prefer to use online support if it were reliable, but only 37 percent currently even try to use self-service options, which are often perceived as inaccurate or incomplete. An overwhelming 91 percent say they would use a single, online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs.

-- Social media channels are under-used by service providers: more than half of all respondents (54 percent) have already complained directly to their mobile service provider through social media channels, but 73 percent of these respondents said they did not receive satisfactory answers.

-- The call center picks up the pieces: this lack of satisfactory online support is driving large numbers of consumers to call centers, wasting valuable resources. More than 40 percent of customers contact a call center after they cannot find answers to their question via self-service and up to 50 percent of "How do I ...?" calls could be deflected to self-care channels.

-- Customers expect proactive care: 96 percent of surveyed consumers expect problem notification without having to ask, preempting calls to a call center. For example, should a problem emerge with email setup on a particular handset, all owners should be proactively sent the solution, without them having to call in to the service provider.

More information on service and support can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The U.S. Contact Center Decision-Maker’s Guide

Knowlagent, an agent productivity solution for the world’s 10 million call center agents, has sponsored the performance portion of “The U.S. Contact Center Decision-Maker’s Guide". The report analyzed multiple metrics that help to determine the success for contact centers, but the key findings primarily related to a call center’s performance and productivity include:

-- Agent Activity -- This year’s report found that talk time has declined (58.7 percent, which is down from 65 percent last year), which may be due in part to the introduction of email and text chat. The report also found that an agent spends anywhere from to 12.8 percent to 3.9 percent of their time idle.

-- First Call Resolution -- Twenty-three percent of this year’s respondents stated that they do not measure first-call resolution at all. Meanwhile, 38 percent measure the success of the call and whether the required business processes were actually successful and 39 percent measure only the success of the call.

-- Average Handle Time -- Depending on the activity the agent is engaged in, short call duration does not necessarily translate to a satisfied customer.

-- Customer Satisfaction -- The importance of customer satisfaction continues to increase with 59 percent of respondents saying that this is more important than two years ago.
More information on the Contact Center industry, visit www.SupportIndustry.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cloud and Bandwidth Demands Challenge IT Teams

Network Instruments, a provider of network and application performance monitoring, released its Fifth Annual State of the Network Global Study. The results suggest a potential management storm as IT teams face significant monitoring challenges from multiple forms of cloud computing, as well as substantially increased bandwidth demands.

Study Highlights

-- Moving apps to the cloud: 60% anticipate half of their apps will run in the cloud within 12 months

-- Video is mainstream: 70% will implement video conferencing within a year

-- Bandwidth demand driven by video: 25% expect video will consume half of all bandwidth in 12 months

-- Chief application challenge: 83% were most challenged by identifying the problem source

-- Increased bandwidth demands: 33% expect bandwidth consumption to increase by more than 50% in next two years.
More information on teh challenges IT professionals face can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Research Finds Few Professionals Plan to Leave Their Employers Despite Job Dissatisfaction

New global research from Accenture, titled “The Path Forward,” has found that despite being dissatisfied with their jobs, the majority of professionals plan to stay with their current employers. 

More than half of both the women and men surveyed (57 percent and 59 percent, respectively) are dissatisfied with their jobs.

Despite their current job dissatisfaction, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all respondents said they do not plan to leave their current employers, with nearly the same number (64 percent) citing flexible work arrangements as the reason for staying put. 

When asked about the greatest barrier to their career advancement, respondents cited a lack of opportunity or a clear career path twice as often as they cited family responsibilities (42 percent vs. 20 percent), while almost one-third (32 percent) cited no barriers to their advancement.

At the same time, most respondents said they are taking a variety of steps to actively manage their careers — including accepting a different role or responsibility (cited by 58 percent of respondents), receiving more education or training (46 percent), and working longer hours (36 percent). 

The Accenture research covers a wide range of employment-related topics; some other findings include:

 -- Flexible work schedules – The majority (59 percent) of respondents reported having some type of flexible work schedule, and 44 percent of this group said they have used flexible work options for more than three years.   

-- Slowed careers – When asked about factors that have slowed their careers, 44 percent of respondents cited the economic downturn, which started in 2008, and 40 percent cited parenthood. 

-- Work/life balance – While more than two-thirds (71 percent) of respondents reported having work/life balance most or all of the time, 42 percent said they often sacrifice time with family in order to succeed, and 41 percent said career demands have a negative impact on their family life.

-- Spouses – The vast majority (73 percent) of respondents with a spouse or significant other said that person also holds a full-time job.

-- Important attributes for career growth – Self-confidence, soft skills and hard work were cited most often as the attributes most important to career growth (cited by 28 percent, 25 percent and 23 percent of respondents, respectively). 

-- Career advice – Approximately one-third of respondents reported they get career advice from colleagues or family (cited by 35 percent and 32 percent of respondents, respectively), and 77 percent said the gender of the person giving career advice does not matter to them.

More information on managing support professionals can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hybrid IT is Transforming the Role of IT

Hybrid IT is transforming IT architectures and the role of IT itself, according to Gartner, Inc. Hybrid IT is the result of combining internal and external services, usually from a combination of internal and public clouds, in support of a business outcome.

Gartner analysts explained that hybrid IT relies on new technologies to connect clouds, sophisticated approaches to data classification and identity, and service-oriented architecture, and heralds significant change for IT practitioners.

Cloud computing's business model -- the ability to rapidly provision IT services without large capital expenditures -- is appealing to budget-minded executives. CEOs and CIOs are pressuring IT organizations to lower overhead by offloading services to cloud providers. However, when IT organizations investigate potential cloud services, the market's volatility reveals that not all cloud services are created equal.

For critical applications and data, IT organizations have not adopted public cloud computing as quickly. Many IT organizations discover that public cloud service providers (CSPs) cannot meet the security requirements, integrate with enterprise management, or guarantee availability necessary to host critical applications. Therefore, organizations continue to own and operate internal IT services that house critical applications and data.

However, the public cloud has affected internal customers. Because of the pervasive growth of public clouds, many business units and internal customers have used and grown accustomed to IT as a service and have built business processes and budget plans with cloud computing in mind. Now these internal customers are demanding that IT organizations build internal private clouds that not only house critical applications, but also provide a self-service, quickly provisioned, showback-based IT consumption model.

IT organizations are becoming the broker to a set of IT services that are hosted partially internally and partially externally -- hybrid IT architecture. By being the intermediary of IT services, IT organizations can offer internal customers the price, capacity and speed of provisioning of the external cloud while maintaining the security and governance the company requires, and reducing IT service costs.

This model of service delivery challenges both the longstanding practices of IT organizations and the business models of traditional IT vendors. Gartner expects that most organizations will maintain a core set of primary service providers (cloud and noncloud) extended by an ecosystem of edge providers who fulfill specific solution requirements.
More information on IT can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com