Monday, March 24, 2014

Survey: CIOs Have a New Boss – Customers

With consumers engaging more directly with businesses through mobile and social media, more than 60 percent of CIOs will focus more heavily on improving the customer experience and getting closer to customers, according to a new report released by IBM.

The report, entitled “Moving from the Back Office to the Front Lines - CIO Insights from theGlobal C-suite Study” is based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,600 CIOs from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide.  The research, conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, reveals that customers drive CIOs to turn their focus to the front lines. 

More than 80 percent of CIOs report they are shifting their focus to the front office where marketing, sales and service managers work directly with customers. To do so, they are investing in new technologies to gain deeper insights into customer data. Examples of these items include sentiment mining and social network analysis to identify unique behavioral patterns and reliably predict critical trends. 

New Technologies for Engagement 

CIOs at outperforming enterprises recognize that technology factors will have a significant impact on their organizations, according to IBM’s study. This focus on technology represents a notable shift over the past five years -- in 2009, CIOs ranked technology factors as their sixth biggest pressure point behind categories like market factors and macro-economic changes.   

Getting the basics right has become table stakes for CIOs looking to push their enterprise forward with new engagement and technology delivery platforms.  In fact, 66 percent of CIOs believe their IT departments have mastered the basics of technology within their firms.  This investment in knowledge and skills is freeing up CIOs to look at new platforms that enable them to build a “Customer-Activated” enterprise. 

As customer engagement becomes a critical driver for CIOs, cloud computing has soared in importance with 64 percent of CIOs naming it as part of their visionary plans compared to 30 percent in 2009.  Likewise, mobility solutions have also experienced a similar jump in importance with 84 percent saying it’s their top focus compared to 68 percent in 2009.  With these as a main driver, two-thirds of CIOs are now exploring how to better serve and collaborate with customers using cloud computing and social networking tools. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Survey: Training and Certifications Important to IT Professionals’ Career Growth but Employer Support Lacking

Spiceworks, a professional network for IT, announced the results of a new survey examining the IT training and certification priorities and plans of IT professionals in North America and EMEA. The report “Making the Tech Grade” shows 84 percent of IT professionals believe IT training is very to extremely valuable, and most believe it can increase job opportunities and salaries. However, 39 percent of IT professionals say their employer places limited to no value on IT training, and 54 percent said they would pay for all or some of their training courses on their own.

More than 75 percent of IT professionals plan to enroll in new training in 2014

-- According to the IT professionals surveyed, 47 percent took at least one training course in 2013, and 78 percent plan to enroll in a course this year. Of those who are not planning to take a training course in 2014, 67 percent plan to train themselves, 63 percent believe training is too expensive, and 62 percent don’t believe they have enough time.

-- When asked what specific types of training courses they were planning to take in 2014, 43 percent said virtualization training, 39 percent cited networking, and 34 percent said operating system and information security courses.

-- Of those who have taken or plan to take a training course in 2014, 62 percent plan to attend a self-paced, online course while 44 percent plan to attend an instructor-led class.

Overwhelming majority of IT professionals see certifications as at least somewhat valuable

-- Ninety percent of the IT professionals surveyed see vendor certifications as somewhat to extremely valuable, although only 19 percent received a new certification in 2013. Forty-one percent are planning to receive a new certification in 2014.

-- IT professionals believe certifications can have a positive impact on their career. Sixty-seven percent said they can help increase the job opportunities available to them, 55 percent said they can improve their credibility and half said certifications can help increase their salary or rate.

-- Vendor certifications IT professionals view as important to their careers mirrored their training priorities. Certifications from Microsoft, Cisco and VMware were rated as the most important to have.

More information on IT, service and support training can be found at