Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monitoring Employee Behavior in Digital Environments is Rising

Monitoring employee behavior in digital environments is on the rise, with 60 percent of corporations expected to implement formal programs for monitoring external social media for security breaches and incidents by 2015, according to Gartner,Inc. Many organizations already engage in social media monitoring as part of brand management and marketing, but less than 10 percent of organizations currently use these same techniques as part of their security monitoring program.

To prevent, detect and remediate security incidents, IT security organizations have traditionally focused attention on the monitoring of internal infrastructure. The impact of IT consumerization, cloud services and social media renders this traditional approach inadequate for guiding decisions regarding the security of enterprise information and work processes. 

The popularity of consumer cloud services, such as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, provides new targets for security monitoring, but surveillance of user activity in these services generates additional ethical and legal risks. There are times when the information available can assist in risk mitigation for an organization, such as employees posting videos of inappropriate activities within corporate facilities. However, there are other times when accessing the information can generate serious liabilities, such as a manager reviewing an employee's Facebook profile to determine the employee's religion or sexual orientation in violation of equal employment opportunity and privacy regulations. 

A wide range of products and services have emerged to support these actions and many public relations firms provide social media monitoring as a standard client service. Security organizations are beginning to see value in the capture and analysis of social media content, not just for internal security surveillance, but also to enable detection of shifting threats that impinge on the organization. This might be physical threats to facilities and personnel revealed through postings concerning civil unrest or it may be threats of logical attacks by hacktivists. Early detection of shifting risks enables the organization to vary its security posture to match and minimize negative impacts. 

More information on customer service, support and contact centers can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Thursday, May 17, 2012

BYOD Gives Competitive Advantage, Say IT Managers

Over 80 percent of IT managers think that enterprises with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy hold a competitive advantage over other organizations, according to research commissioned by BT.

The research, which surveyed attitudes towards employees' use of their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work, covered 2,000 IT users and IT managers in 11 countries and from a range of sectors. It suggests that BYOD has arrived -- over four in five companies say they already allow BYOD or will do so within the next 24 months and sixty per cent of employees claim they are already allowed to connect personally-owned devices to the corporate network.

The study reveals that both employees and decision makers are positive about the opportunities presented by the growing use of personal devices on corporate networks. Sixty-four percent of IT managers think that having a BYOD policy will enable employees to be more productive. Forty-eight percent think it will also allow employees to work more flexibly and 47 percent think it will enable employees to serve customers better. This sentiment is shared by employees -- 42 percent of employees using their own device for work believe that they are more efficient and productive as a result.

Despite these benefits IT managers are nervous. Only one in ten think that all BYOD users recognize the risks and less than one in five believe all users understand the access/permissions related to their mobile devices. And it appears IT managers are nervous with some justification. Of employees who use their own device for work, one in three see "no risk" in using their own device in a work context and just a quarter recognize the significant risk they pose to company security.

Thirty-nine percent of enterprises have experienced a security breach due to employees bringing in unauthorized devices -- most commonly in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and pharmaceuticals sectors. More than four out of five (83 percent) of IT decision makers believe that putting 24/7 access to corporate systems into the hands of an increasingly mobile workforce is now the main threat to corporate IT security.

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CIOs Indicate a Return to Growth and a Change in Priorities Creates New Skills Challenges

CIOs are more confident of securing technology budget increases than at any time in the last five years, according to the CIO Technology Survey 2012, conducted by Harvey Nash in association with TelecityGroup.

The 14th annual survey, presenting the views of 2,400 CIOs and technology leaders across twenty countries, revealed that despite continued uncertainty in relation to the global macro-economic outlook, the rapid growth in demand for mobile applications and digital media innovation has ensured that the role of the CIO continues to remain key in 2012 and beyond. However, there is growing concern about the impact of a digital skills shortage and the question of gender diversity, in particular the availability of female talent in the technology sector.

Key indicators of growth:

-- Increasing budgets: 44 percent of global CIOs saw a budget increase this year; the highest proportion since 2007, and a leap from 39 percent in 2011 and 28 percent in 2010.

-- Leap in demand for digital and mobile solutions: Digital media is firmly on the CIO's agenda with 58 percent of global CIOs actively promoting the development of solutions for smartphones and tablets such as iPads.

-- Demand for improving time-to-market: Of the areas of focus for CIOs, the category that grew the most in 2012 was Improving Time-to-Market, underlining the importance of growth and expansion planning.

-- Profit focus: More than half of CIOs (56 percent) say projects that make money from technology rather than save money are the priority.

More information on CIO's, service and support can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mid-Market Executives Focus on Moving Forward During Uncertain Economic Recovery

In the wake of a slower, less predictable economic recovery, mid-market executives are adapting to managing uncertainty, according to Deloitte’s “Mid-Market Perspectives: 2012 Report on America’s Economic Engine.” The annual survey of 528 U.S. executives indicates that 86 percent of respondents believe that continued uncertainty is tempering their expectations for economic growth. To prepare for continuing, uneven market conditions, mid-market executives are taking careful actions in three key areas in 2012; talent, finance and technology.


In last year’s survey, respondents were overly optimistic about hiring plans. This year, executives are investing in their people and moderating plans to hire new employees:

-- The percentage of executives planning to expand their domestic workforce dropped to 42 percent from 48 percent in 2011.

-- Despite high unemployment, every executive interviewed acknowledged that it is difficult to find certain categories of skilled talent especially in engineering, healthcare, and IT.

More companies (51 percent) plan to invest in their existing workforce through training compared to last year (34 percent). Additionally, fewer firms plan to increase the number of part-time workers (only 13 percent compared with 18 percent in 2011).


Mid-market companies remain focused on balance sheet health and improving their cash positions while continuing to invest.

-- Thirty-five percent of respondents are predicting higher cash balances.

-- Ninety percent expect capital investment to grow or at least remain stable.

-- Twenty-seven percent are not planning to secure external financing this year, compared to 14 percent last year.

Interestingly, only 7 percent of privately held mid-market companies would consider going public in the next year.


Last year’s survey showed that mid-market executives understand the importance of technology to their business. This year, respondents re-affirmed that technology continues to be vital to increasing productivity.

-- Business process automation remains the top investment pick to increase productivity for 46 percent (down from 52 percent last year).

-- Forty percent– up from 29 percent last year – recognize cloud computing and Software as a Service (Saas) as one of the top three technology investments for 2012.
More information on customer service and support can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No Slowdown for IT -- Robust Job Growth Continues in April

Despite an anemic overall jobs report, IT jobs continued to grow briskly in April--reaching yet another historic milestone.

In April, the number of IT jobs grew by 17,000 or .4 percent sequentially to 4,168,700, according to TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT services firms, clients, consultants and suppliers.

April marks the fourth consecutive month where IT employment has reached a new record high. IT jobs have increased by 117,000, an increase of 2.9 percent, in the past 12 months. In comparison, the number of overall jobs grew only 0.1 percent in April and was up only 1.4 percent from the same time last year.

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Consumers Crave Simplicity Not Engagement

According to Corporate Executive Board, a research and advisory services firm, the rise of new technology has fundamentally changed the way consumers buy, providing greater access to information and choice than ever before.  Feeling overwhelmed, consumers want support -- not increased marketing messages or "engagement" -- to more quickly and easily navigate the purchase process. Brands that help consumers simplify the purchase journey have customers who are 86 percent more likely to purchase their products and 115 percent more likely to recommend their brand to others.

In a study of 7,000 consumers and marketing executives representing 125 consumer brands across 12 industries, CEB identified a significant disconnect between current marketing strategies, including customer engagement, and preferred consumer buying behavior. While most marketers are behaving as if the majority of consumers are open to having a relationship with their brand, CEB found only 20 percent of consumers report being open to such relationships. As a result, today's marketing tactics are making customers less loyal and resulting in lost revenue for companies.

To capture customers' attention and build loyalty, companies should invest in making the purchasing process so simple that customers' decision-making actually becomes easier. CEB's insights show a 20 percent increase in simplifying the decision-making process results in a 96 percent increase in a customer's likelihood to purchase, re-purchase or recommend a particular brand. Companies can simplify the buying process in three important ways by helping consumers:

-- Trust Information: provide recommendations by consumer advisors, ratings and reviews

-- Navigate the Purchase Process: simplify the research process by offering clear and streamlined brand-specific product information targeted to each decision stage

-- Weigh Comparison Options: make transparent buying guides and brand differentiated information easily available
More information on customer loyalty can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Thursday, May 3, 2012

84% of Global Employees Not Prepared for Today's Work Requirements

According to a study conducted by RW3, an intercultural communication training organization, 87% of white collar employees of multinational companies conduct at least part of their work virtually. The study went on to find that while the vast majority of these employees encountered challenges in virtual work, only 16% had any training to prepare them. 

The 2012 Virtual Teams Survey Report – Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams found that:
In the virtual workplace decisions take longer and are harder to make; That the absence of visual cues makes it more difficult to collaborate, and that building team trust is more difficult.
The survey also found that working across time zones rivaled communication and other culturally based challenges for being the biggest hurdle facing corporate workers.
The survey unearthed some surprises. 41% of virtual team members never met their colleagues in a face-to-face setting. Other key findings:

-- 87% of respondents indicated at least 25% of their productivity depended upon working virtually.

-- 33% said at least half of their virtual teams were outside the home country.

-- Respondents reported virtual teams were most different from face-to-face teams in managing conflict (70%), expressing opinions (55%), and making decisions (55%).

-- The top five challenges during team meetings were: insufficient time to build relationships (79%), speed of decision making (73%), lack of participation (71%), different leadership styles (69%), and the method of decision making (55%).
More information on virtual teams and customer service can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Survey: Social Media Raises the Stakes for Customer Service

Americans are growing more frustrated with customer service and businesses are feeling the heat as consumers tell an increasing number of people about both their positive and poor service experiences.  The 2012 American Express® GlobalCustomer Service Barometer also found that consumers who have used social media for service wield the greatest amount of influence.  They tell significantly more people about their service experiences, and say they’d spend 21% more with companies who deliver great service – compared to 13% on average.
The survey, which was conducted in the U.S. and ten other countries, also reveals a sorry state of service in general.  Nine in ten of Americans surveyed (93%) say that companies fail to exceed their service expectations.  What’s more, one out of two respondents (55%) walked away from an intended purchase in the past year because of a poor customer service experience. 

The most popular ways consumers address service inquiries continue to be speaking to a live representative (either on the phone or face-to-face), and through company website or e-mail.  That said, one in five consumers (17%) say they’ve used social media at least once in the last year to obtain a customer service response, and this relatively small group of consumers is extremely engaged and vocal.
People who have used social media for customer service at least once in the last year are willing to spend substantially more (21%) with companies they believe provide great service – in contrast with the general population (13% more) and those who have not used social media for customer service (11% more).  They are also far more vocal about service experiences, both good and bad.  In addition, more than 80% of these consumers say they’ve bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience, compared to 55% overall.

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Study Reinforces Benefits of Virtual and Cloud-Based Contact Centers

The latest research by contact center industry analysts at ContactBabel has confirmed that joining multi-site contact center operations together into a single 'virtual' contact center in the cloud has reduced queue times and problems associated by call spikes. This is according to the more than 200 contact center operational leaders surveyed for "The US Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide 2012" -- a major annual survey produced by ContactBabel and sponsored by Enghouse Interactive.

The survey showed that 71% of virtualized contact centers reported a decrease in queue lengths, with almost two-thirds also seeing a smoothing of call spikes. Homeworking was seen to have moved forward once again: 42% of survey respondents now allow some agent homeworking to take place, with the overall number of homeworking agents more than tripling since 2007.

The survey also revealed that 27% of multi-site contact centers have not virtualized their operations. When questioned about the inhibitors to this, 43% of the respondents strongly agreed with the assertion that there were too many different IT systems at each site to make this feasible: a case of legacy systems holding back businesses from moving forward. The ContactBabel analysis clearly indicates the need for contact centers to improve IT systems and technology, which has increased notably in importance within the past 12 months.

The uptake of cloud-based and hosted solutions provides the contact center with flexible choices to consider in upgrading or replacing their existing technologies. The survey indicated that 68% of the users of cloud-based contact center solutions said that they now had more powerful and flexible functionality, 63% experienced a lower cost of ownership and 66% said it was easier to make changes to the system.

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