Thursday, February 27, 2014

CareerBuilder Survey Reveals Most Memorable Employee Excuses for Being Late

From escaped zebras to must-see TV, employers share some of the most unique excuses they’ve heard from tardy employees in a new CareerBuilder study. The study also finds that nearly one quarter (23 percent) of employees admit to being tardy at least once a month on average, with 15 percent admitting to arriving late at least once a week.

Employees tend to run into some roadblocks more often than others. Traffic remains the most common reason employees say they’re late (39 percent), followed by lack of sleep (19 percent), problems with public transportation (8 percent), bad weather (7 percent) and dropping the kids off at daycare or school (6 percent).

Some employees don’t stick with the common excuses for their tardiness. Employers shared some of the most memorable excuses they’ve received from employees who were running late, including:

1- Employee claimed a zebra was running down the highway and held up traffic (turned out to be true)

2- Employee woke up on the front lawn of a house two blocks away from his home

3- Employee’s cat got stuck in the toilet

4- Employee couldn’t eat breakfast – he ran out of milk for cereal and had to buy some before getting ready for work

5- Employee was late to work because he fell asleep in the car when he got to work

6- Employee accidentally put superglue in her eye instead of contact lens solution, and had to go to the emergency room

7- Employee thought Halloween was a work holiday

8- Employee said a hole in the roof caused rain to fall on the alarm clock and it didn’t go off

9- Employee was watching something on TV and really wanted to see the end

10- Employee forgot that the company had changed locations

11- Employee got a hairbrush stuck in her hair

12- Employee was scared by a nightmare


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Deloitte Releases 5th Annual Tech Trends Report: Top 10 Trends

Deloitte’s 5th Annual Tech TrendsReport, titled Inspiring Disruption, examines the changing landscape of technology and how multiple disruptive technology forces are converging on and impacting business today. The study focuses on the next 18-24 months and is divided into two categories – enablers and disruptors.

Disruptors represent opportunities for technology executives to create sustainable positive changes in IT capabilities, business operations and business models. The current report features: CIO as Venture Capitalist, Cognitive Analytics, Industrialized Crowdsourcing, Digital Engagement and Wearables.

Enablers are technologies in which many organizations have already invested, but new developments and opportunities have inspired new business applications, thereby warranting a fresh look. The current report features: Technical Debt Reversal, Social Activation, Cloud Orchestration, In-memory Revolution and Real-time DevOps.

Example of trends that Inspire Disruption includes:

-- CIO as venture capitalist - CIOs who want to help drive business growth and innovation will likely need to develop a new mindset and new capabilities. Like venture capitalists, CIOs should actively manage their IT portfolio in a way that drives enterprise value and evaluate portfolio performance in terms that business leaders understand—value, risk and time horizon to reward. CIOs who can combine this with agility and align the desired talent can reshape how they run the business of IT.

-- Wearables - Wearable computing has many forms, such as glasses, watches, smart badges and bracelets. The potential is tremendous: hands-free, heads-up technology to reshape how work gets done, how decisions are made and how you engage with employees, customers and partners. Wearables introduce technology to previously prohibitive scenarios where safety, logistics, or even etiquette constrained the usage of laptops and smartphones. While consumer wearables are in the spotlight today, we expect business to drive acceptance and transformative use cases.

-- Cloud orchestration - Cloud adoption across the enterprise is a growing reality, but much of the usage is in addition to on-premises systems—not in replacement. As cloud services continue to expand, organizations are increasingly connecting cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-core systems—in strings, clusters, storms and more—cobbling together discrete services for an end-to-end business process. Tactical adoption of cloud is giving way to the need for a coordinated, orchestrated strategy—and for a new class of cloud offerings built around business outcomes.

-- Social activation - Over the years, the focus of social business has shifted from measuring volume to monitoring sentiment and, now, toward changing perceptions. In today’s recommendation economy, organizations should focus on measuring the perception of their brand and then on changing how people feel, share and evangelize. Organizations can activate their audiences to drive their message outward—handing them an idea and getting them to advocate it in their own words to their own network.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not Good News for IT Professionals – Salaries Remain Flat

The 2014 Salary Survey, just released by Janco Associates and, is not good news for IT Professionals.  The survey shows that hiring and salaries has not significantly improved for IT professionals in most North American metropolitan areas.
Salaries are up less than 1% for IT pros in the past 12 months and the only winners are the top level postions in mid-sized companies.  Salaries for most IT pros have finally gotten back to the level they were at in 2007 and that is a very good sign.
The seven major findings of the survey are:

  • IT compensation for all IT Professionals has increased by 0.67% in the last 12 months.
  • CIOs compensation has stayed flat in larger companies and increased in smaller and mid-sized companies in the past 12 months.
  • Positions in highest demand are all associated with the quality control, BYOD implementation, and service level improvement.
  • Over the long term IT executives have fared better in mid-sized companies than large companies.
  • In 2013 the IT job market grew by 74,900 versus 62,500 in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – better but not enough to employee the number of IT graduates from US universities or to increase demand.
  • Lay-offs seem to have tapered off, however some companies continue to cut the size of the IT organizations.
  • Cost control is still the rule of the day; however we have seen an increase in the number of "part-timers" and contractors who are focused on particular critical projects. This has resulted in few IT Pros getting health coverage
  • Companies are continuing to refine the benefits provided to full time IT professionals. Though benefits such as health care are available to 80%, IT professionals are now paying a greater portion of that cost.
More information on service, support and IT can be found at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Small Businesses More Confident as They Begin 2014

An increased number of small business owners are planning to add more employees and boost compensation levels, signaling a slightly more positive economic outlook for 2014, according to the most recent Business Confidence Survey released by Insperity, Inc., a provider of human resources and business performance solutions for America's best businesses. A solid 50 percent of respondents plan to add employees, a significant increase over 26 percent in October and even up from 40 percent in the July survey; 47 percent are maintaining current staffing levels versus 68 percent last fall; and just over 3 percent are planning layoffs, down from 5 percent in October.

Insperity also announced compensation metrics from its base of 5,500 small and medium-sized Workforce Optimization(R) clients. Average compensation for the fourth quarter 2013 was up 2.9 percent, while bonuses were down 6.9 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2012. Average commissions received by worksite employees reflected an increase of 1.7 percent. Overtime pay was 10.3 percent of regular pay, above the 10 percent level that generally indicates a need for additional employees, and up slightly from 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

According to the survey, 92 percent of respondents expect to meet or exceed their 2013 performance, up significantly from 68 percent in October, while 8 percent expect to do worse in 2014. Concerning the timing of an economic rebound, 38 percent think one is currently in process versus 26 percent both in October and last July; 24 percent expect a rebound in the second quarter of 2014 or later, and 37 percent are unsure.  

The list of short-term concerns now points to government health care as the number one issue of 52 percent of survey respondents, followed closely by rising health care costs at 47 percent. The economy was third at 44 percent, down from 67 percent last October, and controlling overall operating costs was 43 percent. Long-term concerns were led by government expansion at 58 percent; the federal deficit tied with potential tax increases at 54 percent; and the economy dropped to 40 percent from last quarter's 63 percent, echoing its sharp decrease as a major short-term concern.

The survey results show that 46 percent plan to increase employee compensation, up significantly from 17 percent in October; 43 percent plan to maintain compensation at current levels, down from 71 percent last fall; 1 percent expect compensation decreases; and 10 percent are unsure.
More information on workforce optimization, service and support can be found at

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Emerging Markets Slowdown Continues to Inhibit IT Spending

According to the new International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Black Book, IT spending will be inhibited by the economic slowdown in emerging markets in 2014, in addition to an inevitable deceleration in the growth of smartphones and tablets. IDC has lowered its forecasts for IT market growth in Asia Pacific (including China), Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, driving down its forecast for Worldwide IT spending growth to 4.6% this year in constant currency terms (down from the previous forecast of 5%). With currency devaluation and inflation likely to inhibit business confidence in many emerging economies in the first half of this year, and with the explosive growth of mobile devices having begun to inevitably cool from the breakneck pace of the past 2-3 years, overall industry growth will dip slightly from last year’s pace of 4.8%.

Infrastructure, Software and IT Services are Hot Spots

While overall industry growth has cooled, some areas of tech spending are heating up as businesses in mature economies including the US and Western Europe, begin to invest in overdue infrastructure upgrades and replacements. Spending on servers will increase by 3%, after last year’s decline of 4%, and storage spending will also grow by 3% this year (following a 0.5% decline in 2013). The PC market is showing tentative signs of stabilization, with improving commercial shipments in mature markets. The increased pace of hardware investment will have a positive effect on IT services revenue, which is forecasted to post growth of 4% this year (up from 3% in 2013). Enterprise software spending remains broadly strong, with growth still expected in the range of 6-7%. Excluding mobile phones, IT spending growth will actually accelerate in 2014 from 2.9% last year (excluding phones) to 3.4% this year.

Emerging Markets are Volatile

Exchange rate volatility is likely to exert a strong influence over IT revenues for global suppliers this year (in US dollar terms, the IT market grew by just 2.8% in 2013, compared to 4.8% in constant currency, due to the strength of the dollar). It’s too early to predict whether the dollar will remain strong throughout 2014, but the Fed’s decision to begin tapering its QE program will clearly exert a strong influence in the first half of the year. Not only will this create volatility for IT vendors during earnings season, but it may also create economic instability in key emerging markets.

Cannibalization Continues

Despite the pickup in mature economies, there are still significant inhibitors that will mean that IT spending growth remains moderate by historical standards. Cannibalization remains a broad trend, impacting everything from PCs (tablets) to software and services (Cloud) and ensuring major disruption for individual vendors. Price erosion and commoditization in hardware have spread to mobile devices. While showing signs of bottoming out, the PC market continues to post year-on-year declines in revenue terms, and telecom infrastructure investment remains tepid in many countries as carriers compete for a more mature customer base.

Underlying Fundamentals Have Improved

Nevertheless, in spite of this ongoing cannibalization and economic uncertainty, IT market fundamentals are more solid this year than 12 months ago. There is now significant pent-up demand for new servers, storage capacity and network equipment, and this is trickling through to increases in IT services revenue. Enterprise enthusiasm for new software built around the key 3rd platform solutions of Mobility, Cloud, Big Data and Social, remains strong. Consumer enthusiasm for mobile devices and applications remains positive, even though the market has inevitably cooled.
More information on IT spending, service and support can be found at