Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Survey Finds 'Cautious' Brits are Lagging Behind in SaaS Adoption

The UK is behind the curve with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption, according to new research from RainStor, an infrastructure software company . The findings show that just 22 per cent of UK companies are already using a SaaS application, compared with 49 percent in the US. A further 28 percent of UK companies intend to make use of SaaS in the foreseeable future, compared with 42 percent of US companies.

The research also found that UK companies that have adopted SaaS are significantly more cautious than their US counterparts; 82 per cent of UK companies using SaaS would like to take a copy of their data at least once a week compared to 46 per cent of US companies. UK companies also cite far more reasons to take a copy of SaaS data than US companies and appear to be less willing to fully adopt a cloud model for business applications. When keeping a copy of SaaS data, 38 per cent of UK companies would prefer to keep the copy on-site, rather than with another third party cloud provider, compared with just 5 per cent of US companies.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Social Media Newest Playground for Cybercriminals

Cisco has issued its Annual Security Report for 2009, which highlights the impact of social media, particularly social networking, on network security and explores the critical role that people, not technology, play in creating opportunities for cybercriminals. The Annual Security Report also includes winners of the 2009 Cisco® Cybercrime Showcase and discusses trends in cloud computing, spam and overall global cybercrime activities that information technology professionals continue to face.

Social media experienced explosive growth in 2009. Facebook alone tripled its active user base to 350 million over the course of the year. Social media adoption is expected to continue growing into 2010, especially as more organizations realize the value of social networks as an absolute business requirement. Social networks have quickly become a playground for cybercriminals because members of these sites put an inordinate amount of trust in the other members of their communities and often fail to take precautions to prevent the spread of malware and computer viruses.

Key Findings

Spam: Social media may be where cybercriminals troll for new victims. However, spam is still a tried-and-true means for tricking people into downloading malware and persuading them to buy, for example, fake pharmaceuticals. The Annual Security Report estimates that in 2010, spam volume will likely rise 30 to 40 percent worldwide over 2009 levels. However, Cisco's own SensorBase data shows that while the U.S. and other economic leader countries (such as those within the European Union) begin to shut down spam zombies in their own countries, the rollout of broadband in developing economies (including India and Vietnam) have made them an increasing source of spam. In fact, the U.S. was toppled as the No. 1 spam sender. In 2009, that distinction went to Brazil.

Cloud Computing: While 10 years ago it would have been unthinkable for businesses to keep sensitive data outside the corporate firewall, today, with the advent of cloud computing and hosted applications, doing so is increasingly common. Many users are so trusting of cloud computing that they do minimal due diligence on who's hosting their sensitive data, and how secure the data is. The Annual Security Report recommends that organizations looking to use externalized services ask providers to explain their data security measures thoroughly.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Companies Struggle With Integration and Coordination Across Complex Partner Networks As Business Interdependence Increases Globally

Executives worldwide are struggling with the challenges of integration and collaboration across complex networks of business partners and customers in a more interdependent business world, according to a new study released by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. The study finds that 21st Century business models have become increasingly dependent on partner networks to shape customer experiences, drive innovation processes and deliver products and services to global markets. Information systems and cross-company business processes, however, are strained to keep pace.

According to key findings in the research, executives appear to be well aware of the need for significant improvement:

-- Some 68 percent of respondents indicate that business partners are essential to their companies’ go-to-market processes, customer experience and competitive position.

--More than half say their partner networks are becoming more global and complex.

-- Yet, only 8 percent of executives believe their companies are highly effective in the way they integrate and optimize these business networks.

Even in a difficult economic environment, the vast majority of companies -- some 73 percent of respondents -- are investing in programs and systems to optimize the way they collaborate with partners. 37 percent of respondents say their partner networks are contributing significant innovation, insight and value to their business, further emphasizing the return from program investment. Executives are also responding to the pressure to transform customer experience and satisfaction as nearly 4 in 10 respondents report that their customers are demanding greater visibility into both their supply and distribution chains.

The study underscores that information systems and cross-company business processes, are not keeping pace with increased business interdependence to enable companies to achieve round-the-clock collaboration, shared innovation, improved productivity and cooperative customer handling:

-- Only 6 percent of respondents say they currently have end-to-end data and process integration across their partner networks, although 51 percent report at least some level of integration with select partners.

-- Some 64 percent of respondents say they have either no ability or an unsatisfactory ability to extend and leverage their internal systems to selling and service partners.

-- Some 75 percent say they have no ability or an unsatisfactory ability to extend and leverage their internal systems to suppliers and outsourced service providers.

--Only 26 percent of respondents say they are effective in sharing customer data and insights with partners to enable innovation.

The study found that business network transformation holds multiple direct benefits to customer experience, including faster time to product resolution (55 percent), reduced cost of customer support (42 percent) and better innovation around products and services (45 percent). Some 42 percent of respondents say they rely heavily on suppliers and outsourced services to meet customer needs and more than 51 percent say integration of partner networks with the customer is important to delivering enhanced service and support.

The study makes it clear that outsourcing, supplier and demand chain partnerships are contributing far more than just cost savings and operational capacity for today’s global businesses. Executives are concerned with improving productivity across their value chains as indicated by at least 25 percent of respondents signaling a significant need for improvement in supplier vendor management, global procurement and sourcing; customer handling and support; sales and customer acquisition; transportation and warehousing; order management and fulfillment; and product lifecycle management.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

Security Concerns Hinder Cloud Computing Adoption

Concerns about the security of cloud computing environments top the list of reasons for firms not being interested in the pay-per-use hosting model of virtual servers, according to new research by Forrester Research, Inc. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents from enterprises and 51 percent from small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) cited security and privacy concerns as their top reason for not using cloud computing.

Other key highlights of the survey include:

--X86 server virtualization adoption has now reached most firms. Seventy-two percent of enterprise respondents are using or upgrading x86 server virtualization, up from 54 percent in 2008. Fifty percent of SMB respondents are using or upgrading x86 server virtualization, with an additional 24 percent planning to do so within the next 12 months.

--Cloud computing adoption is lagging. The firms surveyed showed low interest in pay-per-use hosting of virtual servers, one of many types of cloud service offerings in the market. The percent of enterprise respondents using pay-per-use hosting of virtual servers is effectively unchanged from 2008, with three percent using or expanding usage, although the percentage interested and without specific plans has increased. Only four percent of SMB respondents have already implemented pay-per-use hosting of virtual servers compared with two percent in 2008. Security, maturity, and concerns about costs led as the reasons why firms are not using cloud-hosted servers.

--Green IT awareness is rising. Interest in increasing the electrical efficiency of the data center rose from 2008, with 60 percent of enterprise respondents saying they are interested or very interested in doing so compared with 51 percent last year.

More information on the CRM industry can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

IT Organizations Will Spend More Money on Private Cloud Computing Investments Than on Offerings From Public Cloud Providers Through 2012

Despite the economies of scale offered by public cloud providers, private cloud services will prevail for the foreseeable future while public cloud offerings mature, according to Gartner, Inc. Through 2012, IT organizations will spend more money on private cloud computing investments than on offerings from public cloud providers.

Gartner defines public cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies. Private cloud computing is defined as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to internal customers using Internet technologies.

Private cloud services will be a stepping stone to future public cloud services and, over time, will span both private and public cloud resources in a hybrid manner. For many large enterprises, private cloud services will therefore be required for many years, perhaps decades, as public cloud offerings mature.Gartner analysts said appropriate investments in private cloud computing will also make it easier for enterprises to gradually use public cloud services in the future. For services destined to be cloud at some point in time, enterprises should evaluate the return on investment from developing private cloud services, while waiting for external offerings to mature.

Enterprises also need to be aware that some IT services are destined for the cloud computing style and others are destined for more integration and intimacy with the business. Once it is established that a particular service is destined for cloud computing, then a decision needs to be made as to whether it makes more business sense to wait for a mature cloud service to appear or to develop private cloud services sooner.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com