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Posts Tagged ‘survey’

Data analytics students need access to cutting edge tech

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Big DataJob prospects abound for college students seeking careers in business intelligence or analytics, but the greatest challenge to filling the talent pipeline lies in students having access to large data sets as part of the educational experience. While a business intelligence or analytics degree or major is a considerable advantage, it alone is not sufficient.

Apart from the technical skills required, communications skills and business knowledge are the most important skills new grads need in order to land data analytics jobs.

These are the top findings of the latest State of Business Intelligence survey conducted on behalf of the Business Intelligence Congress and sponsored in part by the Teradata University Network. This is the third State of Business Intelligence and Analytics survey of university professors, students and employers since 2009.

Top three challenges

Professors responding to the survey reported the top three challenges to teaching are: access to large data sets (45%); students with the pre-requisite skills (39%); and, qualified or available faculty (35%).

Analytics hiring managers report their largest needs for new hires of recent graduates are for IT or systems analysts (35%), program developers (32%), data managers (30%) and business analysts (22%).

According to the study, students are bullish on data-related careers.  Two out of three students agree or strongly agree there are job opportunities for them. More than 40 percent pointed to data-savvy careers such as business analyst, IT professional working with analytics, or a role in business that requires an understanding of data analytics. Four in 10 want to use their business intelligence skills in marketing (22%) or in finance (20%). Sixteen percent are considering careers as data scientists.

NOTE to Readers: the full release with survey slides is available in the Teradata News Room here:http://bit.ly/ZpOu1N

Barb Wixom, study author and

Associate Professor of Commerce at University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce

“What faculty are looking for today is access to real, big-data sets. They want to show students the impact of the data explosion, demonstrate the linkage between data and business outcomes, and teach exactly how to achieve those outcomes.”

 

“Corporations are making available real-world cases and big data sets, and through academic alliance programs like the Teradata University Network, they are working with professors to develop meaningful analytics assignments, teaching notes and other pedagogy so that data sets are consumable by professors and students.”

 

“The needs of big data are being addressed across the board – from new analytics approaches in the business analytics courses, to new data sources in the data management course, to new statistical methods in the stats course.”

 

Ramesh Sharda, executive director,

Teradata University Network and Director of the PhD in Business for Executives program.

 

“Unlike other academic alliances, here at Teradata University Network, we have more independence and it is not vendor-centric. The content is contributed by academics for academics.”

 

“We are expanding our reach to include more corporate partners to broaden our coverage in marketing and analytics. We are expanding our scope to be able to support analytics coverage for marketing and computer science colleagues. We are constantly adding new content from faculty members who share their knowledge and coursework.”

 

“Through the supporting materials made available by corporations and by faculty colleagues, such as real case studies, software, data sets, videos and other tools, we now have a large pool of students around the world who are learning why analytics should be used, how it is used, and how the strategy and technology mix together.”

 

Susan Baxley, director, Teradata University Network “The State of Business Intelligence survey helps Teradata University Network provide professors with the tools they need to engage students at a practical level. With the hands-on learning, we’re helping new graduates be prepared for the workforce requirements of our customers, our partners and ourselves.”

TerradataRelevant Information

  • One-third of employer practitioners responding to the survey reported an overall lack of experience as their most important challenge, followed by insufficient business skills at 26 percent. Insufficient technical skills and a general lack of candidates tied for third at 22 percent. Experience with real tools and insufficient communications skills each captured 21 percent. Forty-four percent reported that students must possess communications skills and 38 percent cited business knowledge as the most important non-technical skills new grads need to land the jobs.
  • In response to these gaps, 80 percent of employers surveyed offer supplemental training courses for newly hired workers ranging from extensive classroom work to mentorship and internships to tuition reimbursement.
  • Professors identified six areas where business can assist in meeting the challenges: Providing large data sets (45%); Suitable cases (31%); Staying current with the practice (29%); Technical support and training (29%); Realistic and meaningful experiences (26%); and, Access to contemporary enterprise software (26%).
  • Across undergraduate, graduate, continuing education and executive education programs, 41 percent of professors reported an increase in the size of their business intelligence or analytics course portfolio compared with 2010, the last time the survey was conducted, while fewer than seven percent reported a reduction in their business intelligence/business analytics courses over the past two years.
  • Students who have already taken one or more business intelligence or analytics courses report having done so because they found the material interesting and wanted to learn more about these trends in industry; They felt it was important for their future career aspirations; and, They indicated that the course was a required part of the curriculum.
  • At 76 percent, IT and MIS predominate as the academic disciplines where business intelligence and business analytics coursework reside. Rounding out the top five within science or math-based disciplines are statistics at 28 percent, decision sciences at 23 percent, operations research at 19 percent and computer science at 17 percent. Among business-related disciplines, the coursework most often resides in marketing at 19 percent, accounting, 10 percent, and finance, nine percent.

Amazon Prime tops Extraordinary brand experience survey

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

AmazonBrand experiences matter, but some experiences matter more than others, according to a survey recently completed by hawkeye.

In a national survey, conducted in March 2013, hawkeye compared some of America’s best-known brand “experiences” for consumer awareness, participation, favorability and influence on purchase.

All the programs surveyed were from major brands and have been praised within the marketing community.

The “experiences” surveyed included Amazon Prime, American Airlines AAdvantage, Disney FASTPASS, the Kroger Plus Card, McDonald’s Happy Meals, My Starbucks Rewards, Walmart’s Pick Up Today and others. The results?

As the following chart indicates, the “experience” that consumers view most favorably and most influences purchase was the Amazon Prime loyalty program.  For $79 a year, consumers receive free and/or upgraded shipping, free streaming videos and some free Kindle books to borrow.

H

The Amazon Prime program is unusual for both the affinity and influence it enjoys and the fact that it charges a fee.  Clearly, it is a win-win for the company and its customers.

We used Amazon Prime for a year, and while we enjoyed the free two-day shipping and borrowing free Kindle books, it really was not worth the $79 to us. Most, if not all the free streaming TV shows and movies were already available to us though Netflix or other services.

Runner-up programs

The runner-up programs in terms of purchase influence were Walmart’s Pick Up Today initiative and the Kroger Plus Card.

On the favorability side, McDonald’s Happy Meals and My Starbucks Rewards came in second and third. The grandfather of unique branded experiences/loyalty programs, American Airlines AAdvantage, still enjoys solid customer appreciation, too. Experiences that did not score as well included Progressive Snapshot, Sony Rewards and American Express’ Link Like Love.

According to John Tedstrom , hawkeye managing director of Insight & Strategy, “Brand experiences that are more visibly and frequently apparent at the time of purchase tend to be more valued.

To customers using these winning programs – Amazon Prime, Walmart Pick Up Today, the Kroger Plus Card, McDonald’s Happy Meals and My Starbucks Rewards – there is a strong understanding of the tangible benefit they are receiving or will receive soon. Brands should look to create programs that leverage these characteristics when contemplating ways to build brand affinity.”

Lawrence Kimmel , hawkeye executive director, added, “We’re clearly living in a post-advertising world where brand experiences trump brand expression, so it’s essential that brands seek to develop remarkable experiences that consumers will remark about.”

Small business owners favor closing overseas tax loopholes

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

sustainable_logoSmall business owners oppose the current system for taxing U.S. multinational corporations, according to a new, first-of-its-kind poll.

The national scientific poll released today by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and the Main Street Alliance (MSA) shows that support for reform is bipartisan and widespread.

For the first time, small business owners were surveyed on specific reforms for overseas corporate tax havens.

Current tax law enables companies to defer indefinitely taxes on profits earned overseas. The ASBC-MSA poll tested three possible reforms: ending deferral, instituting a territorial system, and establishing combined reporting.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • (85%) of small business owners oppose a territorial tax system, which would permanently exempt offshore profits from U.S. taxation.
  • 76% support closing overseas tax loopholes by implementing a unitary combined reporting system, which would limit the ability of corporations to avoid taxes by shifting profits offshore.
  • 64% support ending deferral, a provision of current tax code that allows corporations to indefinitely defer payment of U.S. taxes on profits made or shifted offshore.
  • By a margin of more than two to one, small business owners prefer to close corporate tax loopholes rather than cut government spending.

To view the full survey results, visit: http://asbcouncil.org/sites/default/files/library/docs/MSA_ASBC_poll_reportTaxesApril2013

Despite hype, firms lax on big data strategy

Monday, April 1st, 2013

SasDespite industry hype, most organizations have yet to develop and implement a big data strategy.

Business analytics leader SAS and SourceMedia surveyed 339 data management professionals about their organizations’ use of data management technology. The results show few organizations taking advantage of product, customer and other data sources.

Just 12 percent of organizations surveyed are currently executing against a big data strategy in daily operations.

Few use the data they've collected to solve business problems. (Graphic: Business Wire)

 

‘The most common reasons others are not fully exploiting their big data:

  • 21 percent don’t know enough about big data.
  • 15 percent don’t understand the benefits.
  • 9 percent lack business support.
  • 9 percent lack data quality in existing systems.

For help getting started with big data, read the white paper Big Data, Data Governance and MDM about the business requirements for big data and the questions to ask along the way.

“The 12 percent of organizations that are already planning around big data enjoy a significant competitive advantage,” said Todd Wright, Global Product Marketing Manager for SAS DataFlux Data Quality.

Lack of data quality, data governance hinders efforts

Asked about the likelihood that their organizations would use external big data in 2014, just 14 percent of respondents said “very likely,” while 19 percent responded “not likely at all.” Specific concerns included data quality and accuracy, accessing the right data, reconciling disparate data, lack of organizational view into data, timeliness, compliance, and security.

The survey found no real consensus on who owns the data management strategy, with responses ranging from midlevel IT personnel up to the CEO. This confusion likely causes additional challenges in data strategy development and execution.

Atop the data management wish list: data visualization and dashboards, data profiling, SaaS

Most respondents call detailed data analysis a priority for supporting business decisions, along with increased internal reporting and information access. When asked what they want from data solutions, the number one answer was data visualizations and dashboards (73 percent), data profiling (53 percent), and SaaS (44 percent).

Customer and product data top the data types collected by organizations. The types of customer data being collected to make decisions were business-to-consumer (66 percent), end-customer data (59 percent), citizen data (29 percent) and patient data (23 percent). The product data being collected for decision making included selling-side (62 percent), buying-side (61 percent) and MRO (40 percent).

Information management pros make data pay

For additional findings, please download the 2013 Big Data Survey Brief. This online survey was fielded in December 2012 to information management professionals. The 339 respondents were screened for involvement with their organization’s data management tools and processes. The margin of error is +/-5.3 percent at 95 percent confidence level for total sample.

Talent management the top corporate strategy, execs say

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Korn FerryWhen asked what they feel is the single most important corporate strategy for their company to implement, 45 percent of global executives say talent management – and they indicate it is more critical than marketing (26 percent), financial management (21 percent) and capitalization (7 percent).

These results are from a survey of global executives conducted from February 6 to March 8, 2013 by Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY), a premier global talent management company.

Despite ranking talent management the No.1 corporate strategy, 35 percent of respondents say their companies do not have a talent management strategy in place.

Strong management team critical

Further emphasizing the importance global executives place on talent, the survey also reveals that 86 percent of executives believe that a strong management team is the most critical component to a company’s success.

Yet, 43 percent say they do not believe their company has the right management team for the company over the next 12 months and 56 percent do not believe they will have the right team five years from now. This is despite the fact that just seven percent of respondents believe their company’s strategy will remain the same in five years.

“Our survey indicates that even when top executives say that a strategic approach to determining human capital needs such as recruiting, hiring and retention is one of the highest priorities on their agenda, many companies’ talent management practices lag behind the minimum accepted standards,” said Ana Dutra , Chief Executive Officer, Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting.

“Many companies today have yet to align their talent strategies with the changing nature of business strategies.”

“What apparently has yet to take hold in companies is recognition that business strategies are constantly changing and that companies need their leaders to be able to grow and learn from their experiences as well as update their talent strategies in order to execute on more challenging business performance targets,” added Dutra.

Questions and detailed results are as follows:

Q:  What do you think is the SINGLE most important strategy for a company to implement?

Talent Management 45%
Marketing 26%
Financial Management 21%
Capitalization 7%

Q:  Has your company implemented a talent management strategy?

Yes 59%
No 35%
Never heard of

talent management

6%

Q:  Who has primary responsibility for your company’s talent management strategy?

CEO 45%
Chief HR Officer 36%
COO 10%
CFO 0%
No one 8%

Q:  Of the attributes listed below, which one do you think is most critical to a company’s success?

Strong management team 86%
Effective marketing 8%
Sound financials 5%
Long-term funding 1%

Q:  Does your company have the right management team to guide and operate the company for:

12 Months 3 Years 5 Years
Yes 57% 43% 44%
No 43% 57% 56%

Q: Do you think your company’s strategy will remain the same for the next…?

12 Months 3 Years 5 Years
Yes 40% 28% 7%
No 60% 72% 93%

Big data fueling turn to increased analytics investments

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

New research reveals that interest in optimizing the use of Big Data, Predictive Analytics and Data Discovery will help drive increased global analytic and business intelligence (BI) software and staffing investments in 2013.

The new survey details the challenges and goals that are driving analytics professionals to adopt new tools and techniques to manage the ever-increasing amount of data needed to make critical business decisions every day.

Big Data

Credit: http://www.linuxforu.com

In the survey conducted by Lavastorm Analytics, a global analytics software company, more than 600 business analysts, technologists, data analytics professionals, managers and C-level professionals were polled across a broad variety of industries – including finance, telecom, healthcare and computer software – regarding their analytic initiatives and predictions for 2013.

Three-quarters still use Excel

Three-quarters of the respondents (75 percent) indicated that they still routinely use Excel for self-service analytics processes along with at least three other tools. R language was the second most used tool, with 35 percent of respondents indicating they use it.

Of the remaining 24 self-service analytics tools, 17 of them were used by less than ten percent of the audience, showing the diversity of tools that people use to derive value from their data and optimize business performance.

The survey results, however, also show that nearly 60 percent of respondents plan to increase their analytic investments this year across a number of areas and tools, indicating that current toolsets are perhaps not meeting the top three challenges of conducting complex analytics.

According to the respondents, these three main challenges are:

  • Gleaning insights from data (25%)
  • Access to data (22%)
  • The ability to integrate and manipulate data (19%)

When asked about the specific areas of their analytics programs where investment is needed most to fix these challenges, 53 percent indicated that people would be the primary area of investment, and 51 percent said they plan to invest more in tools.

Additionally, predictive analytics (51 percent), Big Data (35 percent), dashboards (32 percent), reporting (31 percent), and data exploration and discovery (30 percent) were ranked as the top five areas for analytic investments.

Shift to non-traditional analytics

Along with 27 and 24 percent of respondents indicating that investment in advanced visualization tools and self-service analytic tools for business users, respectively, will rise, these findings indicate a shift in focus to non-traditional analytic interfaces to support data-driven growth strategies.

“Ideally, reporting would fall off everyone’s radar almost completely when it comes to investment because it’s mature and newer analytic approaches, such as data discovery, can provide significantly more value,” said Loren Johnson, Senior Analyst, Frost & Sullivan.

“The clear priorities shown in this survey are data discovery and improved methods of gathering, manipulating and analyzing information from disparate sources.”

The survey also reveals that increased use of unstructured data or new data sources (27 percent of respondents) and a shortage of analytic professionals (25 percent of respondents) are predicted to be the two most likely developments to affect the analytic community in 2013.

“The survey effectively highlights several analytics-related growing pains the industry is presently dealing with as new data sources and a new emphasis on analytics continue to emerge,” said Lavastorm Analytics CEO Drew Rockwell.

Data management a tough problem

“Overall the survey points to the fact that data management is a tough problem and requires the right tools, processes, and skilled people to access, integrate, and analyze data.

“While we see many people still using basic tools like Excel, there is a clear need for more powerful, yet easy to use, tools, such as the Lavastorm Analytics Platform and engine to tackle the problems of big data and data diversity.”

The survey pulled heavily from several analyst communities, including the Lavastorm Analytics LinkedIn group, a community of over 6,000 analytics professionals. For the full survey results, go to http://ww2.lavastorm.com/Lavastorm-Survey-Results.html.

Odd office objects: a live pig, mermaids, a pink gorilla

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
pig

A live pig may not be the best office pet.

Many professionals try to make themselves at home at the office, but some take the concept to an extreme.

We’ve seen some unusual office decor in startup offices. One in the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta had built a floor to ceiling pyramid of empty Coca Cola cans.

Another had a large wooden model of a pig. A third has a large gong they bang when they make a software sale.

In a new survey from The Creative Group, advertising and marketing executives were asked to describe the strangest or most surprising item they have seen on an employee’s desk or in his or her workspace. Here are some of their responses:

  • “A live pig”
  • “A punching bag”
  • Mermaid sculpture“A mermaid sculpture”
  • “A pair of men’s underwear”
  • “A rock collection”
  • “A hair dryer”
  • “A drawer full of clothes”

Creative professionals often have unique “tastes,” and these individuals were no exception as evidenced by the snacks found in their offices:

  • “A jar of pickled pigs’ feet”
  • “A pineapple”
  • “A rotten orange”
  • banana“My supervisor eats a banana every morning and leaves the peel on the floor until the end of his shift.”

No need for fancy accoutrements for these workers, whose decor was homemade:

  • “A wall of empty soda cans”
  • “A jar of soda pop tabs”
  • “A desk full of paper airplanes”
  • “So many paper dolls that you can’t see anything else”

These employees had only to look to their desks for a blast from the past:

  • “A cell phone from 1986″
  • “A LIFE magazine from 1934″
  • “Antique model cars”
  • “A lava lamp”
  • “A 1950s-era television”

Then there were those whose office accessories revealed a somber side:

  • “A bottle opener in the shape of an eye; when you open a beverage, it appears to be crying”
  • “A flowerpot shaped like a skull”
  • “A marble tombstone”
  • “A bottle of vodka”

The office can be lonely, which may be why the next few workers showed up to work with these companions:

  • A Siamese fighting fish.

    A Siamese fighting fish.

    “Siamese fighting fish”

  • “A large black rat”
  • “A tree frog”
  • “A stuffed pink gorilla”
  • “A bug-eating plant”

Finally, there was this sentimental individual, whose coworker may have left but isn’t forgotten:

  • “A person who sat next to the employee left the company, so the employee cut out a picture of the guy’s head and put it on a wooden stick on his desk.”

“Creative professionals like to surround themselves with things they find visually engaging or inspiring, but there can be too much of a good thing,” said Donna Farrugia , executive director of The Creative Group. “Displaying items that could cause people to question your professionalism can work against you.”

The Creative Group offers four tips for creating a polished workspace that inspires creativity:

  1. Play nice. Some companies have guidelines about what employees can and can’t display in their work area. If your employer has no formal policy, take cues from how colleagues have customized their offices.
  2. Don’t offend. Your workspace is on display for your coworkers, clients and bosses to see, so keep that in mind when selecting decor. Avoid off-color calendars, political posters, racy photos and other items that can raise eyebrows.
  3. Be a minimalist. Showcasing a few souvenirs or gizmos can provide the eye candy you need to stay inspired, but filling your work area with too many knickknacks can be distracting.
  4. Keep it neat. Even if you’re highly effective and efficient in your role, a cluttered or messy workspace can give others the impression that you’re disorganized. Make time each week to clear your desk of old papers, food wrappers and additional debris so you have room for new projects and paperwork.

The survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals.

It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 750 telephone interviews — approximately 575 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 175 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees — in the United States and Canada.

Your competitors are watching you

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

fuld-logoYour competitors are watching you. A new survey conducted by Fuld & Company shows that an increasing number of firms are investing in competitive intelligence programs to analyze their competition.

“Quietly but definitively, companies around the world continue to invest heavily in uncovering one, simple fact for senior executives:  What is my competition going to do next?” said Leonard Fuld , President, Fuld & Company.

The Cambridge, MA-based company does research and analysis, strategic gaming, intelligence process consulting, and training to help clients understand the external competitive environment.

“Increasingly, the C-Suite is arranging for direct access to information on competitor activity in real time, rather than burying the intelligence function many layers below within the corporation.”

            Among the study’s  major findings are:

  • Super programs with multi-million dollar budgets have emerged with relatively generous budgets and lots of influence in the C-Suite.
  • In Asia and in Europe, companies with intelligence budgets of more than $2 million or more did not exist five years ago but today represent 2-3-percent of all intelligence budgets.
  • In North America, programs that spend more than one-million dollars increased from approximately 5-percent of all corporate intelligence program budgets to nearly 10-percent of all budgets.
  • Across the board, from Asia, Europe to North America, the surviving corporate intelligence programs have increased their influence and direct reporting to the C-Suite. All regions report an approximately 5-percent increase of their programs that report directly to the chief executive’s office.
  • Professional service firms far outshine any other sector with over 28-percent of the programs surveyed reporting to the C-Suite. Consumer firms and Technology/Telecom are next with each reporting over 22-percent of their sector reporting to the CEO, CFO, or COO.

IT pros with these skills remain in demand

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Robert HalfFourteen percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed recently plan to expand their IT teams in the second quarter of 2013, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report.

Many, however, say they find it challenging to recruit IT pros with the skills they need.

In addition, 61 percent of CIOs said they will not be adding positions but will fill IT positions that open in the next three months. Twenty-two percent will not be hiring, even to fill an open position, and 2 percentexpect to reduce their IT staffing levels.

Q2 IT Hiring Forecast

CIOs adding more staff to IT departments 14%
CIOs planning to hire only for open IT roles 61%
CIOs planning to put IT hiring plans on hold 22%
CIOs planning to reduce their IT staff 2%

“We continue to see strong demand for IT workers as companies increase their investment in technology initiatives, including security, data mining and mobile,” said John Reed , senior executive director of Robert Half Technology.

“Companies are finding it most challenging to recruit technology professionals in specialties such as network administration and database management.”

The IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm.

The survey is based on more than 2,300 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies in 23 major metro areas with 100 or more employees.

Recruiting Challenges
Seventy percent of CIOs surveyed said it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

Respondents cited networking (16 percent), data/database management (13 percent) and applications development (12 percent) as the most challenging functional areas in which to recruit.

Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments
The survey results suggest that CIOs are optimistic about their companies’ growth and IT investments. Eighty-nine percent of CIOs reported being somewhat or very confident in their companies’ prospects for growth in the second quarter of 2013.

Seventy-two percent of CIOs also said they were somewhat or very confident that their firms would invest in IT projects in the second quarter of 2013.

Skills in Demand
Among the technology executives surveyed, 51 percent said both network administration and database management are the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT department. Desktop support followed, with 48 percent of the response.

Many firms struggling with virtual data protection, CIOs say

Monday, March 4th, 2013

cloud computingAn independent survey of 500 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) across the USA and Europe found that enterprises are still not experiencing the full benefits that virtualization brings to data protection.

The survey found that capabilities, complexity and cost all affect implementations.

Indeed, in a number of areas enterprises’ data protection capabilities have actually diminished since the last report in late 2011.

  • Key findings:
    • 68% of CIOs feel that their backup and recovery tools will become less effective as the amount of data and servers in their organization grows.
    • Recovery of virtual servers is only a little faster than that of physical servers, at 5 and 6 hours respectively. This is actually worse than in 2011, when recovery took 4 and 5 hours.
    • Every hour of downtime costs an enterprise $324,793: meaning that downtime is, on average, costing organizations at least $1.6 million per incident.
    • Recovering individual files and application items can take even longer: for example, recovering individual emails takes on average 14 hours.
    • Regardless of recovery times, enterprises experience problems with more than 1 in 6 recoveries.
    • 88% of CIOs experience capability-related challenges with backup and recovery, 84% with complexity and 87% with cost: showing that data protection is still not a simple task.
    • 58% of CIOs are planning to change their backup tool for virtual environments by 2014.
  • Currently, virtual infrastructure accounts for 51% of enterprise servers, with this expected to grow to 63% in 2014.
  • CIOs are not blind to the data protection issues these growing virtual infrastructures present.
  • 88% of CIOs identified capability challenges affecting their ability to backup and recover virtual servers, while 84% recognized complexity challenges and 87% cost issues. Similarly, 77% of those enterprises using agent-based backup tools were experiencing problems or management issues with the technology.
  • These included excessively complex management (43%), backups failing too often (32%), restores failing too often (28%), the cost of the technology (20%) and agents slowing the performance of servers (18%).
  • One sign that enterprises are beginning to recognize this is that 58% are planning to change the backup tool used for virtual servers by 2014.
  • The primary driver for this is financial, with 51% changing due to Total Cost of Ownership and 42% due to current hardware and software costs.
  • Complexity is a reason to change for 47%, while failure to meet Recovery Time Objectives (32%) and Recovery Point Objectives (24%) are also factors.

 

Small biz owners think government favors big business

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Capitol building

The interests of large corporations are invariably prioritized over those of small businesses, most business sellers believe.

A survey of thousands of prospective business buyers, sellers and business brokers revealed a groundswell of resentment towards Washington policymakers.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents who were selling a business through BusinessesForSale.com think federal economic policy serves the needs of big business to the detriment of America’s 23 million small firms, which account for 55% of all US jobs. More than half (51%) strongly agreed with this statement.

Taxes punish small businesses

A clear majority also believe that tax authorities punish small businesses punitively while treating corporate tax evaders leniently. Forty-three percent strongly agreed with this assertion and 35% agreed to some extent, with just 2.8% disagreeing to any extent.

Nearly four in five – 78% – of respondents who were planning to sell a business also agreed that burdensome regulation was proliferating and becoming more complex, with 48% strongly agreeing. Nineteen percent had no opinion either way, leaving just 2% that felt the regulatory burden was easing.

Widespread dissatisfaction

Andrew Markou , CEO and co-founder of BusinessesForSale.com, says, “Our survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction among small-business owners about how they’re treated compared to multimillion dollar companies.

“Whether its tax evasion or red tape, it’s often one rule for corporate America and another for the mom-and-pop store.

“But while Big Business has shed four million jobs since 1990, small businesses have created eight million jobs for the US economy. Helping small businesses is clearly the easiest way to boost the recovery.”

Investors wary of firms with cybersecurity problems

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

lockCompanies that are not paying attention to cybersecurity may find it tougher to acquire and hold on to investors.

More than 70 percent of American investors are interested in reviewing public company cybersecurity practices and nearly 80 percent would not likely consider investing in a company with a history of cyberattacks, according to a new nationwide survey of investors released by HBGary today.

The survey of 405 U.S. investors (+/- 5% margin of error), conducted by leading research firm Zogby Analytics, also found that more than 66 percent of investors are likely to research whether a company has been fined or sanctioned for previous cybersecurity incidents.

“For some time, we have said that cybersecurity cannot be a ‘checkbox’ item on a company’s operational to do list,” said Ken Silva , senior vice president of cyber strategy for ManTech’s Mission Cyber & Intelligence Solutions Group.

High cost of cyberattacks

“This survey proves that today’s investors are more educated about the damage cyberattacks can cause to a company’s brand and financial bottom line. The high cost of cyberattacks cannot be understated.”

But, investors are not only looking at the actual attacks.  Indeed, 66 percent of investors feel that corporate responses to cyberattacks are more noteworthy than the actual attack.

“This is good news,” said Jim Butterworth , chief security officer for HBGary. “Fortunately, corporations now have access to cutting-edge tools to conduct monitoring, incident validation, response and other key phases of incident response on their own – without need for expensive services.”

Stolen Data: What Matters Most to Investors

cyber security imageBy a wide margin, the survey reveals investors are twice as concerned if a company had a breach of customer data (57 percent) versus theft of intellectual property (IP) (29 percent).

“Consumer data breaches grab the headlines and the large liability settlements.  But the lack of concern for IP theft, underscores the need for broader education about the financial risk IP theft poses to a company,” said Jim Butterworth , HBGary chief security officer.

“The pilfering of American company trade secrets and other sensitive data is happening every day  – costing our corporations billions of dollars in lost revenue.”

Economy losing billions to espionage

According to a 2012 report by the FBI, “Economic Espionage: A Foreign Intelligence Threat To American Jobs and Homeland Security,” the American economy is losing billions of dollars to economic espionage each year.

When an organization’s factory or device blueprints, confidential trade deals or other sensitive intellectual property are stolen and duplicated by a foreign entity, there are multiple costs to the victim company such as the loss revenue in the competitive marketplace and cost of creating new go-to-market ideas.

In addition, a cyberbreach can financially impact an organization’s customers, partners, etc. – all of whom must incur thousands of dollars in costs to mitigate the threat.

Three-quarters of job-seekers never hear back from employers

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

CareerBuilderIt’s a frustrating element of job hunting: you send a company your cover letter and resume for a position where you know you’re ideal, but you don’t even hear back from the employer.

You’re not alone. he vast majority (75 percent) of workers who applied to jobs using various resources in the last year said they never heard back from the employer, according to a nationwide CareerBuilder survey.

While this is discouraging to the job seeker, it also negatively affects the employer.

The survey shows candidates who have had a bad experience when applying for a position are less likely to seek employment at that company again and are more likely to discourage friends and family from applying or purchasing products from that company.

The study of more than 3,900 U.S. workers was conducted online by Harris Interactive from November 1 to November 30, 2012.

How important is it to acknowledge every job applicant?
Eighty-two percent of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job regardless of whether the employer is interested.  Nearly one-third (32 percent) of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or services from a company that didn’t respond to their application.*

What constitutes a bad applicant experience?
Twenty-six percent of workers have had a bad experience as a job applicant, citing a lack of follow through, inconsistencies from the employer or poor representation of the company’s brand as the primary culprits.

  • Employer never bothered letting me know the decision after the interview – 60 percent
  • Found out during the interview that the job didn’t match what was written in the job ad – 43 percent
  • Company representative didn’t present a positive work experience – 34 percent
  • Company representative didn’t seem to be knowledgeable – 30 percent
  • Employer never acknowledged receiving my application – 29 percent

What would workers do if they have a bad applicant experience?
The effects of one candidate’s negative experience can lead to a broader impact on the employer’s ability to recruit or sell products.  Workers said if they are dissatisfied with the way their application is handled by an employer, they would:

  • Never seek employment at the company again – 42 percent
  • Tell others not to work there – 22 percent
  • Tell others not to purchase products or services from the company – 9 percent

What would workers do if they have a good applicant experience?
The study found that a good applicant experience can have positive long-term effects for organizations regardless if the candidate was actually hired.  Workers said if they are happy with the way they are treated by an employer when applying for a job, they would:

  • Consider seeking employment with the company again in the future – 56 percent
  • Tell others to seek employment there – 37 percent
  • Be more likely to purchase products or services from the company – 23 percent

“From the second job seekers are viewing your job ad and applying to your company, they are forming an opinion of who you are as an employer and as a business,” said Sanja Licina , Ph.D. and Senior Director of Talent Intelligence at CareerBuilder.

“One bad applicant experience can have a ripple effect with candidates not only vocalizing their dissatisfaction with how they were treated, but encouraging others not to apply or even buy products from that company.  It’s so critical that your employment brand effectively carries through at every touch point with candidates.”

Easier to use, powerful security products needed even by IT pros

Monday, February 18th, 2013

lockWhat do IT professionals need to meet their increasingly complex security concerns? A new survey by SolarWinds, which sells IT management software, suggests they need powerful and easy-to-use security products.

The survey of more than 160 IT pros found that 86 percent specialize in areas other than security but are nevertheless responsible for it.

Forty-nine percent of respondents spend 40 percent or more of their time on IT security and compliance, while only seven percent of IT pros consider security their full-time job.

Top security concerns

The top IT security responsibilities, concerns and priorities revealed that securing today’s IT infrastructure will take a concerted and coordinated effort across all IT functions.

  • The top five security and compliance responsibilities are managing networks; security infrastructure — firewalls, IDS/IPS, endpoint; servers; data exchange — email, file transfer, websites; and (a tie) desktops and mobile devices
  • The top three IT security and compliance concerns are data loss, external threats, and cloud security and privacy
  • The No. 1 security priority is preventing data loss

Complex security tools a problem

Most significantly, nearly all respondents cited complexity of security tools as the No. 1 reason they felt their organization is not able to respond effectively to security challenges.

“SolarWinds research shows that what works for security among large enterprises does not translate to the entire market,” said Jim Hurley, President of Wellington Research. “Usability and effectiveness are critical factors no matter what size an organization.”

“Securing IT is not just the role of a security expert anymore,” said Brandon Whichard, senior director product marketing, SolarWinds.

It’s not even the role of the IT department in many cases. Webmasters and bloggers often have to manage their own security and that can be difficult if their training has been primarily editorial or marketing.

 

Cloud adoption posing greater challenges than many anticipated

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

cloud computingThe benefits of cloud computing have been much touted, but many companies are finding higher than expected costs and challenges in implementing, operating and governing cloud use, says a survey from KPMG International.

The KPMG survey, The cloud takes shape, polled more than 650 business and IT leaders across 16 major global markets and found more than half of the organizations already working in the cloud. However, the survey found about one-third of respondents said the costs of moving to the cloud were higher than expected, and a similar number noted significant implementation challenges.

Rick Wright , KPMG’s Global Cloud Enablement Program leader, said it appears some companies are only focused on the technology aspects of cloud to the detriment of their core business goals.

“One of the most important lessons uncovered by this research is that business process redesign needs to be done in tandem with cloud adoption, if organizations hope to achieve the full potential of their cloud investments,” said Wright, a partner with KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm.

Process redesign necessary

KPMG“Simply put, executives have found that simultaneous process redesign is central to addressing the complexities that often arise in the implementation and operational phases of cloud adoption.”

According to KPMG’s analysis of the survey data, business executives are moving past cost savings as a final goal for operating in the Cloud. Wright explained that other long-term benefits can include more efficient overall processes, flexible operating models, and faster speed to market.

KPMG’s survey noted that two of the top three cloud objectives identified by more than 20 percent of business executives were to enhance new market entry and drive business process transformation.

Develop a more strategic approach

Although companies are finding Cloud to prove more than an IT cost reduction tool in the long run, a more strategic approach needs to be developed at the outset to realize the proper benefits, especially as organizations move more of their core and sensitive data and processes to the Cloud, according to the survey.

“When thoughtfully implemented, many providers could actually offer robust and resilient security measures and controls that could enhance overall security in the cloud,” said Greg Bell , a U.S. principal and services leader at KPMG LLP. “Functions that – until just recently – were considered too sensitive or complex for Cloud are now being put on the table.”

The report highlighted specific aspects of cloud implementation that can significantly impair or enable an organization’s ability to reap its rewards.  These include:

  • Security: Cloud adoption should improve, rather than weaken, security concerns. Nevertheless, more than one-quarter of the companies surveyed have found that security-related challenges can be extensive and are a prime example of where business executives and IT need to work together to create a cloud security strategy.
  • Regulation: In many cases, companies said that while regulation is not hindering cloud implementation, they are working proactively to address future legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Tax: Organizations are approaching the tax structure of Cloud deployment strategically and are even finding a cloud environment can make a significant difference to the company’s tax position and bottom line.

“We see time and again that the federal, state and international tax implications of various Cloud deployment approaches can significantly impact an initiative’s ultimate ROI,” says Steve Fortier , Cloud Enablement lead for Tax at KPMG. “Bringing the tax department into discussions early can help companies avoid missing out on cost-saving opportunities or inadvertently creating significant tax risks.”

“Considering a strategic approach is necessary to focus on core business goals while moving portions of the organization into a cloud environment, organizations should also look to leverage the opportunities for business transformation and change management that can occur as a result of a move into the cloud,” added Wright.

How long will the traditional office survive?

Friday, February 1st, 2013
home office

Home office setups can be more sophisticated than those of most work offices.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans say they’d choose to work virtually if they could. But despite abundant Internet access and increasingly powerful mobile devices, more than half of Americans (53%) believe the concept of the traditional office will last at least another 50 years.

Americans who would choose to work exclusively in an office over working virtually would value the superior discipline, connectedness and information security the traditional office provides.

These are among the top findings in a recent survey of 2,512 American adults conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ricoh Americas Corporation, a leading provider of business information solutions.

Fear of irrelevance?

Americans were asked to choose between working exclusively virtually (from home, coffee shop, library, etc.) or exclusively in an office. In citing specific advantages of the traditional office, workers were expressing a fear of irrelevance that virtual work can engender.

“Virtual office technology has not yet caught up to employees’ fears that they may become irrelevant if they’re not perceived as being fully engaged with the traditional office,” said Terrie Campbell , Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Ricoh Americas Corporation.

“While mobility is a signature of the new workforce, workers know they need to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues and superiors to demonstrate their ongoing value, especially in the current economic climate. Although the world is making significant advances in videoconferencing and information management, there’s no perfect substitute yet for meaningful face time. But innovation is moving at unprecedented speeds in this area, and progress will come.”

home office

A high tech home office.

Personally, I’ve worked from a home office for the majority of the last 13 years, but writers and editors can be significantly more productive outside of a traditional office environment. Social distractions do not help a writer stay in the zone when working – whether writing, editing or doing research.

It does require discipline. You have to be at your desk just as much as you would be in a traditional office. And to make it work well, it helps to have an actual home office with a door you can close and sophisticated equipment. I’ve been using dual monitors in my home office from 2000 on and did not have those in any of my brief stints in traditional offices.

Working virtually has advantages beyond productivity and the lack of a dress code, though. It saves on the use of fossil fuels and reduces their environmental consequence, eliminates the time and stress of commuting, and slashes the time used for meetings and water-cooler chat in offices.  (TechJournal Editor Allan Maurer).

The generational paradox
RWhen Americans who chose the office were asked why they preferred it over working virtually:

  • 66% said they would be more disciplined and productive there.
  • 51% said they would want to socialize with colleagues.
  • And 39% said they would feel more secure about accessing, scanning, storing and printing information from an office.

Surprisingly, younger people seem to be the least enthusiastic about working virtually. In fact, 18-to-34-year-olds were the age group most likely to prefer working in an office (43% of them chose the office vs. 31% of those age 35-54 and 36% of those age 55+).

Areas for improvement
Meanwhile, two-thirds (67%) of employed adults feel dissatisfied about something in their current work situation, including the inability to get the information they need in a timely manner (18%); the organization being out of date with the latest technology trends (14%); too much paperwork (14%); and failure of co-workers to use technology tools to their full potential (12%).

“Although this dissatisfaction isn’t great news, it’s good that so many American workers appear devoted to improving their personal and organizational performance through better processes and technology,” said Campbell. “At Ricoh, we provide aBusiness Information Solutions approach to helping organizations and their employees collaborate more closely and productively whether they are working from home, a hotel room, their traditional office or all of the above.”

In fact, Ricoh has empowered its own employees to “go BYOD” (bring your own device). They can use any smart phone or tablet they wish to connect remotely with important sales, service and administrative applications. Ricoh has also propagated policies and controls across all of these devices, maintaining the ability to wipe them clean if an employee leaves.

Most people need more help controlling online privacy, survey says

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

MicrosoftPeople feel they have little to no control about how their data may be collected by online companies, according to data released by Microsoft to mark Data Privacy Day 2013.

They are also increasingly in search of trusted sources of information to help them make better choices about their online privacy.

Highlights of the research include the following:

Forty-five percent said they feel they have little or no control over the personal information companies gather about them while they are browsing the Web or using online services, such as photo-sharing, travel or gaming.

Help is available through services such as Do Not Track, (Suggested by the TechJournal, not Microsoft).

Four in 10 in the Microsoft survey said they feel they totally or mostly understand how to protect their online privacy.

Family & friends a top source of privacy information?

An equal number of people (39 percent) said they are turning to friends and family, as well as company privacy statements, as their top source for privacy information.

Just an aside here, but while some of our friends might provide good privacy information via say Facebook, we wouldn’t rely on that without turning to privacy statements and guides.

A third say they’re paying attention

A third of those surveyed (32 percent) said they are paying attention to companies’ privacy reputations, track records and policies when choosing which websites to visit or services to use.

We seriously doubt that a third of the population spends much time checking a comany’s privacy reputations, regardless of what they might say in a survey.

“As online activities have become a valuable part of daily life, privacy is incredibly important. At Microsoft, we strive to help our customers manage their personal information online by providing easy-to-understand privacy policies, settings and guidance,” said Brendon Lynch , chief privacy officer, Microsoft.

What do you think about that? Has Microsoft been committed to good privacy policies?

Microsoft has created a new video series called “Privacy in Action” to highlight features that can help people better manage their personal information online. The videos, as well as guidance and information about privacy options in Microsoft products and services, will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/yourprivacy.

 

Doctors skeptical of their online ratings, survey finds

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Doctor at computer

Doctors don’t care much for consumer online reviews, but many do check them.

Google a physician’s name and you’re likely to come up with a dozen consumer websites that claim to rate doctors. But a new survey found that physician leaders view online physician ratings as inaccurate, unreliable and not widely used among patients.

The survey found that physicians much prefer internal organizational ratings based on actual performance, as opposed to the consumer websites that many physicians consider to be nothing more than “popularity contests.”

The survey, conducted by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) was sent to 5,624 ACPE members and 730 responded.

Frustrated with consumer ratings

Results showed most physician leaders are frustrated with consumer online ratings. They complained the sites contain sampling bias and invalid measurements of competency.

“Health care, like most other industries, has clearly entered an era where measurement and reporting have increasing importance,” said Peter Angood , MD, CEO of ACPE. “This important new survey illustrates the strong concern among physician leaders about the quality and integrity of current reporting strategies and the data they are based upon.”

Here at the TechJournal, we’re not surprised doctors don’t like consumer ratings. Many medical professions seem to feel that consumers are just not qualified to rate them. They do focus on customer service rather more than medical competence, but considering what medical professionals earn, they could use better customer service skills in many cases.

Not used much by patients?

Only 12 percent of these respondents believe patient online reviews are helpful. A far greater number (29 percent) said they are not used very much by patients and don’t affect their organization; 26 percent called them a nuisance.

If patients don’t use them, you have to wonder why they’re a nuisance.

Most of the survey respondents (69 percent) admitted they checked their profile on an online consumer website, but 55 percent believed few of their patients have used an online physician rating site.

Of the physicians who checked their online profiles, 39 percent said they agreed with their ratings and 42 percent said they partially agreed. Nineteen percent didn’t agree.

They don’t like health care organization ratings, either

The survey also revealed skepticism about ratings conducted by health care organizations such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), The Joint Commission and Press Ganey, too, although they are viewed more favorably than online consumer sites.

Most (41 percent) described their feelings about them as neutral. Another 29 percent said the systems were helpful, while 14 percent said they were a waste of time.

Personally, we suspect the truth is that medical professionals tend to resist being rated, period. We think a reliable, national, outcome-based rating system for doctors and hospitals is way overdue.

For complete survey results and related articles, go to acpe.org/measures.

 

Business leaders looking to human capital, operations, and innovation

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The Conference BoardBusiness leaders in London, New York, and Shanghai agree: In an environment of slow economic growth and limited opportunity for double digit sales growth, continuous improvement of internal capabilities is no luxury or fad. It’s a prerequisite for organizational survival.

So finds The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2013, a report published today based on a survey of CEOs, presidents, and chairmen from the world’s leading companies.

Between September and November 2012, over 700 senior executives were asked to identify and rank the most pressing challenges they face, and their strategies for addressing each one. Worldwide,human capital — how best to develop, engage, manage, and retain talent — was named the leading challenge (out of ten choices).

Operational excellence stood in second place, followed by innovation and customer relationships.

Significantly, leaders in Asia, Europe, and the United States all included these same four among their top-five challenges. Both the challenges named and the high level of regional convergence mark a shift from previous editions of the annual survey.

“The results of this year’s survey are quite illuminating,” said Bart van Ark, executive vice president and chief economist, The Conference Board, and a co-author of the report. “Since 2008, we had seen CEOs express extreme concern about external pressures on the business environment, especially in those regions hardest hit by the economic crisis.

Last year, we saw ‘global political/economic risk’ and ‘government regulation’ both ranked as top-four challenges worldwide. In CEO Challenge 2013, leaders seem to be turning away from macro factors outside their control to look hard at their own organizations, employees, customers, level of efficiency, and capacity for innovation.”

Controlling the Controllable

The convergence across regions toward “controlling the controllable” in a tough environment can be seen in each of the top challenges and strategies named.

  • Human capital was named the number-one challenge in both Asia and Europe. In Europe it rose dramatically from seventh place a year ago. In all three regions — as well as in China and Indiaindividually — CEOs’ top strategy for addressing human capital is growing talent internally. Globally, provide employee training and development and raise employee engagement are also primary responses.
  • A new challenge category, operational excellence, encompasses strategies for creating a more efficient, cost-effective organization. (It replaces CEO Challenge 2012‘s cost optimization category.)Across regions, raising employee engagement and productivity is seen as key to this objective. In Asia — where growth has tempered but is still relatively strong — invest more in key technologies is also a major strategy for CEOs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, U.S. and European CEOs are focused more on reducing baseline costs.
  • Innovation, last year’s top global challenge, fell to third. Although Asian CEOs named invest in new technologies as their key approach, six of the top ten global strategies for innovation draw on human capital, including creating a culture of innovation, develop innovation skills for all employees, and find, engage and incentivize innovative staff. In the U.S. and Europe, the top rank given toengage in strategic alliances with customers, suppliers, and/or business partners reflects a longer-term strategy for growth.
  • Globally, customer relationships rose from 2012′s seventh most-pressing challenge to fourth. CEO’s top-two strategies reveal a mutually supportive two-pronged approach to the challenge: enhance quality of products/services and sharpen understanding of customer/client needs.

People-Driven Strategy

The survey finds that among the many strategies that CEOs mention to tackle their main challenges, the focus on using the firm’s human capital is predominant. The people focus is also clearly much broader than just developing an organization’s leaders.

“Of course, the risks of economic or geopolitical shocks haven’t gone away,” said van Ark. “The world in 2013 remains an uncertain place, from Beijing’s leadership transition and Washington’s deficit and debt battles, to the still-unresolved Arab Spring and European debt crisis. But CEOs have become used to frequent crises. Now they’re focused on people-driven strategies to create value in what may be a slow-growth landscape for years to come.”

The Conference Board CEO Challenge online, www.ceochallenge.org, features the complete 2013 report and past reports, as well as a full program of supporting content including CEO interviews, a discussion forum, and related research such as the quarterly CEO Confidence Survey. Visit for a calendar of CEO Challenge briefings featuring The Conference Board thought leaders in cities worldwide, available for interested sponsors.

 

Consumers want seamless mobile shopping experience

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

smartphonesConsumers seek personalized and integrated multi-channel experiences to make their everyday lives easier, according to a global study of shoppers and retailers by NCR Corp.

In particular, they want more mobile options.

Among the findings:

  • Globally, 52% of shoppers say they want the option of using mobile technology to scan and pay for items while shopping. However, among major retailers around the world, only 12% offered this solution;
  • Almost 70% of shoppers around the world say they would welcome personalized offers delivered electronically, while only 27% of grocery retailers provided this service;
  • In the United States, 80% of grocery shoppers want access to electronic coupons, but the study found only 35% of U.S. grocery retailers offer electronic coupons.
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