Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Email Marketing and Social Media Are Top Areas of Investment in 2012

StrongMail, a provider of interactive marketing solutions for email marketing and social media, announced the results of its "2012 Marketing Trends" survey, which provides unique insight into how businesses plan to budget and prioritize marketing dollars in the New Year. Conducted in November 2011, 939 business leaders participated in the global survey.

Survey Highlights

-- 92% plan to increase or maintain marketing spend in 2012

-- 60% plan to increase email marketing budget; 55% social media; 37% mobile/search (tied)

-- 45% cite data integration as primary email marketing challenge in 2012; 43% lack of resources/staff; 40% content management

-- 48% cite increasing subscriber engagement as top 2012 email marketing initiative; 44% improving segmentation/targeting; 32% growing opt-in email list

-- 68% plan to integrate email marketing with social media; 44% with mobile; 17% with search
More information on social media and email marketing can be found at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CRM Returns $5.60 for Every Dollar Invested

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications continue to deliver high return on investment (ROI), with an average benefit of $5.60 returned for every dollar spent, according to a Nucleus Research analysis.

Where other software areas show smaller incremental returns after reaping the greatest benefits in initial deployments, CRM was found to deliver significant ROI throughout its lifecycle, often enhanced by further investment. Organizations effectively deploying secondary applications, such mobile, social, marketing optimization and sales analytics can see triple-digit ROI while greatly increasing employee productivity. By deploying applications that run on top of existing CRM, companies have also seen an improvement in business forecasting and an increase in sales.

With reductions in the cost of deployment via the cloud, a focus on end user productivity, and a push towards social and mobile applications, there have been fundamental shifts in the goals of the CRM market that contribute to maintaining a high ROI. This has driven vendors to produce more rapid deployments that are developed through continued innovation in this space.

More information on CRM can be found at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Study Reveals Challenges Midmarket CMOs Face to Sustain Brand Loyalty with Today's Social Consumer

A new global IBM study of Midmarket Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) revealed that building and sustaining brand loyalty is the top concern for today's midmarket CMOs, yet 72 percent do not feel sufficiently prepared to effectively build this loyalty. Additionally, 70 percent of midmarket CMOs are concerned about data explosion, as they are tasked with making sense of highly complex information generated constantly from a variety of sources such as consumer blogs, tweets, mobile texts and videos.

Today's CMOs need to be prepared to deal with an empowered consumer who is impacting brands instantly on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels. 61 percent of midmarket CMOs are struggling with how to manage the impact of social media will have on their marketing function. Many CMOs today are focused primarily on understanding market segments versus understanding the individual consumer in order to shape marketing strategies. Fewer than 50 percent of midmarket CMOs are taking the time to understand and evaluate the impact of consumer generated reviews, blogs and third party rankings on their brands.

The proliferation of social media and mobile devices is creating a new breed of consumers who are digitally savvy and able to quickly compare and evaluate which products and services they want to buy. Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, yet 62 percent of midmarket CMOs report being underprepared to deal with the proliferation of channels and devices. This increase in the mobile shopping trend further increases marketing challenges, complicates data collection and analysis, and threatens both customer service and customer retention.

Like their peers in larger organizations, midmarket CMOs are also being held more financially accountable to their organizations to produce business outcomes at a faster pace. The study also revealed that while midmarket CMOs believe ROI on marketing dollars spent will be the most important measuring stick for determining success of their business by 2015, the study noted 72 percent of CMOs are underprepared to manage the plummeting level of brand loyalty.

Aside from current economic conditions, there's an even bigger factor impacting brand loyalty. Innovations in technology and the spread of social networking have provided buyers with new tools for discovering, comparing, evaluating, choosing and experiencing brands. With the growth of social networks and a need for transparency, trust and personal exchanges between the consumer and the marketplace are now forming the cornerstone of small and midsize marketing efforts.

More information on brand loyalty and the social customer can be found at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Consumerization Will Drive At Least Four Mobile Management Styles

Consumerization is now the primary driver of the mobile universe, and CIOs must be ready to embrace a range of more-flexible approaches to their mobile strategy, according to Gartner, Inc. At least four new mobile management styles will emerge as leaders because different groups of staff will demand different approaches.
Consumerization, app stores and mobile ecosystems are causing a proliferation of new applications and services in the enterprise. Employees increasingly seek to take full advantage of better browsers and innovative applications from app stores. Gartner estimates that 18 billion apps will be downloaded in 2011, up 114.5 percent from 2010 and will rise to 31 billion in 2012.

This array of mobile devices and applications leads to changes in society. Employees are behaving more like consumers, demanding a wider choice of devices, exploiting consumer devices and applications from app stores, and adopting new strategies such as ‘bring your own’ (BYO) IT, where employees use personally-owned tablets and smartphones for work. As a result, the distinctions between a person's role as an employee and as a consumer are more blurred than ever.

Gartner expects several new mobile management styles to include:

Control-oriented. The primary consideration is to guarantee quality of service, security, support and cost. To assure functionality, service levels, performance and security, the organization provides and strictly manages devices, contracts and applications. All aspects of the device and its applications are controlled and supported by corporate IT.

Choice-oriented. The primary goal is user satisfaction, typically in cases where users demand a greater choice of devices, but have relatively undemanding application and service needs. Undemanding needs are a necessary consequence of greater choice, because it's usually prohibitively expensive to support complex requirements on a wide range of platforms. User satisfaction cannot imply excessive risk, so the business won't abandon all management responsibility, but will exert lightweight control over devices and the service portfolio, often by limiting the range of services provided and choosing inherently safe architectures, such as a thin client. Such control tends to be more in the cloud than on the device, and support is typically much more limited than in the control-oriented regime.

Innovation-oriented. The goal is to empower users who want substantial autonomy and are often in roles over which IT has little or no control. Users want to experiment with applications and services, and develop new techniques and processes. They are in charge, and no reasonable device, application or service request can be refused. The IT organization won't abandon responsibility for critical issues such as data privacy and corporate risk; however, the controls will likely be more policy-oriented than technology-oriented. Typical users are independent, often technically sophisticated, and may not want support (even where it can be provided), but may accept advice and training.

Hands-off. The goal is to take the minimum level of responsibility for mobile devices and services, typically by not providing them. This regime is not about avoiding responsibility, but finding approaches that mean it's not necessary to take responsibility. It includes concepts such as employee-owned devices and BYO IT. Typically, IT has little or no support responsibility for devices, and may relinquish responsibility for many services (for example, by requiring users to provide their own mobile e-mail or by adopting hosted services). Any controls that are necessary will be applied in the cloud, in applications or by policies.

More information on CRM and mobile management can be found at

Monday, November 7, 2011

B2B Marketing Executives Missing Out on Social Media Potential Despite Seeing Big Benefits

Only eight percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies in the United States are extensively leveraging social media, even though 65 percent of marketing executives surveyed by Accenture identified social media as important to their companies’ business.
The survey found that only five percent of marketing executives said they formally integrate social media with their other customer and marketing initiatives, and a full quarter of the respondents (26 percent) said they were only slightly engaged or not engaged at all with the medium.

One apparent reason for the lack of social media integration and engagement is a concern about making the wrong social media investment. Only one-in-four (24 percent) of respondents in companies that had invested in social media felt very confident about their company’s social media investment, while 19 percent had no confidence in those investments at all. One-fifth (23 percent) said their companies’ social media initiatives were delayed because their CEO was not convinced that there would be long-term success in using the medium.

Accenture’s research suggests that managers must also become more confident in their social media strategies and investments to make social media part of the core, rather than an add-on, to their overall strategy.

Limited measurement of ROI

Although measurement of return on investment (ROI) is considered a key factor in a successful social media program, only 11 percent of the marketing executives surveyed said their companies currently have systems in place to measure and track their social media ROI. However, more than one-third (35 percent) of marketing executives surveyed did recognize improvements in measurement as a factor in helping them be more effective users of social media.

While measurement remains an issue among the companies represented in the survey, the results show that the reasons for investing in social media have been clearly defined. In descending order, the motivating factors for investing in social media are: to increase engagement and positive customer experiences (60 percent), influence brand reputation (59 percent), create new revenue opportunities (52 percent), respond to customer demand (40 percent), reduce costs (25 percent) and keep up with what competitors are doing (24 percent).

More information on CRM and Social Media can be found at

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nearly 60% of Business Owners Use Social Media Tools to Communicate With Their Customers

Newtek Business Services announced the findings of its SB Authority Market Sentiment Survey, a monthly window into the concerns of independent business owners. Based on a poll of approximately 2,200 respondents, one of the key findings from the October survey is 57 percent of business owners are using social media to attract new customers and over 58 percent are using these tools to communicate with existing customers. In addition, 55 percent of business owners state that Facebook and Twitter are significant engines of growth for their business.
The full October 2011 results showed the following:

Do you use Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media to attract new customers in your business?
Yes 57%
No 43%

Is social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) a significant engine of sales growth for your business?
Yes 55%
No 45%

Do you use social media (Facebook, Twitter) to communicate with your current customers?
Yes 58%
No 42%

More information on CRM and social media can be found at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you listening? Twitter users want complaints read, addressed

It’s no secret that social media has revolutionized how consumers communicate with businesses. Instead of complaint letters exchanged over weeks, a quick 140-character tweet can garner a direct response within minutes. A recent poll conducted by Maritz Research and its social intelligence arm, evolve24, found that frequent Twitter users who have used the social media tool to complain about their customer experience with a company overwhelmingly want those companies to be listening to their comments. And, these tweeple want their public complaints addressed.

According to the September study, while only 1/3 of these respondents actually received some type of follow-up after they tweeted their complaint, 83 percent of survey participants who received a follow up to their tweet said they liked or loved hearing from the company they complained about. And just under 75 percent of those people who received a response were very or somewhat satisfied with the response they received. A little more than 15 percent said they were either very or somewhat dissatisfied with the company’s response.

For the two-thirds of respondents who didn’t receive an answer to their complaint, a similar number, 86 percent, also would have liked or loved to hear from the company. However, a striking 63 percent said they would hate or not like it if the company contacted them about something other than their complaint.

More information on customer service and support can be found at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Study Finds IT Execs View Security and Privacy, Cloud Computing and Social Media as Top Priorities

New and complex information technology (IT) risks and changing business priorities challenge today’s IT leaders, according to a new survey from Protiviti, a global consulting firm. The results of the study reveal six areas of priority for CIOs and their organizations: information security and privacy; virtualization and cloud computing; social media integration; data classification and management; regulatory compliance; and vendor management.

The Protiviti 2011 IT Capabilities and Needs Survey asked participants to assess their skills and professional development priorities through more than 100 questions covering three major categories: technical knowledge, process capabilities and organizational capabilities. Protiviti also offers insights about the areas that IT leaders expressed the most concerns about, including:

-- Social media applications and sites such as Facebook and Twitter have exploded in popularity in the past few years and new social media sites are coming online at a rapid pace. Some firms have vague or out-of-date social media policies in place that are unenforceable if inappropriate activity occurs.

-- Monitoring and achieving legal and regulatory compliance ranks high among IT leaders as an area in need of improvement. The volume and pace of regulatory change has been significant in recent years, and there are a number of regulatory issues that require IT involvement, including Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, Solvency II and PCI-DSS.

-- For every law and regulatory requirement, the company must also ask: What portion of my data does this affect? How do I classify and manage this data in accordance with the law? It also is important to note that, as a byproduct of the proliferation of new and emerging technologies, there are rapidly growing volumes of data being generated daily. By ranking, managing and classifying this data as a top “Need to Improve” competency, respondents may be saying they and their organizations are having difficulty understanding the increasingly complex regulatory landscape and how to comply with various new laws.

-- With more and more organizations transitioning to virtualized solutions as well as applications and activities in the cloud, external service-level agreements (SLAs) with an array of third-party vendors and other providers are a key concern for IT executives, according to the study. Similarly, determining a sound strategy and approach for outsourcing and off shoring are another critical area of focus, particularly given that many companies continue to seek innovative ways to save costs. However, many of these organizations lack clarity or direction about how to accomplish this effectively while continuing to deliver a high level of service and maintain compliance with company policies, applicable laws and regulations.

-- Because data breaches are costly and affect not just operations but also brand reputation, information security is another top priority for IT executives. Key considerations for leaders to consider are: How robust are our information security measures? Is our organization in compliance with industry standards for security and privacy as well as applicable laws and regulations, and do we have efficient systems and processes for tracking compliance?

More information about IT Exec's top priorities can be found at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Study Finds Global Executives Struggling to Find Sweet Spot with Social Media

Becoming social is an imperative for brands today, and while many are embracing the digital revolution, substantial improvements are yet to be made to build a brand with a distinctive social identity, according to a new global Weber Shandwick study in partnership with Forbes Insights.

"Socializing Your Brand: A Brand's Guide to Sociability" offers brand and communications executives with a starting point for developing their own best-in-class practices when creating an authentically social brand. The research was conducted online among 1,897 senior executives from high revenue companies across 50 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

According to the study, global brand executives believe that sociability is growing rapidly as a contributor to a brand's overall reputation, from 52 percent today with a projected estimate of 65 percent three years from now. Yet, a large majority (84 percent) report that their brand's sociability is not yet up to world class brand standards, despite the fact that nearly all of them (87 percent) say they have a social media brand strategy.

Socializing Your Brand – The Risks vs. The Rewards
Global brand executives consider that the rewards of using social media outweigh the risks, by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Among the rewards of social media, global brand executives count strengthening customer loyalty, improving brand recognition, helping locate new customers and prospects and improving customer service.

Nine Drivers of Leading Brand Sociability:

It's not the medium — and it's more than the message: World class brands are much more likely than the average brand to create original content. 45 percent of them create content specifically for social media purposes, compared to 28 percent of all global companies. World class brands depend upon much more than just the medium to make themselves social.

Put your brands in motion: World class companies do more than build an inventory of social media tools. They apply their tools in more social ways than the average global company. For example, they are 44 percent more likely to offer brand-related mobile content, 43 percent more likely to participate in "check-in" apps, 41 percent more likely to do proximity marketing and 40 percent more likely to have their own branded YouTube channel.

Integrate or die: World class organizations are much better integrators of brand personality — they are nearly twice as likely as other organizations to have a consistent brand personality across all social and traditional media channels and are much more likely to include a social media element to their traditional print or broadcast messaging.

Make social central: 61 percent of world class brands have a dedicated social media strategist or manager, vs. 41 percent of all global brands. According to one global executive respondent, "The most important thing we can do is to centrally plan social media activities across all channels to amplify key messages."

Listen more than you talk: World class companies fine-tune their messages to customers and integrate what is on their fans' minds into their brand stories. Nearly twice as many world class brands have changed a product or service based on fan recommendations compared to the average global brand.

Count what matters -- meaningful engagement: World class brands place more weight than other brands on their number of contributors when measuring social media effectiveness. Social contributors are ranked #1 by world class companies but #6 by other companies as a key metric.

Think global: Executives managing world class brands consider global reach as important as customer service as a driver of corporate reputation while the average global executive ranks global reach last.

Go outside to get inside: World class companies are nearly twice as likely as average global companies to engage outside support to measure their brand's social performance.

Be vigilant: To protect their social brand integrity, world class brands are always on high alert. They are 85 percent more vigilant since Wikileaks has been in the news and are 58 percent more likely to be concerned about privacy violations.

More information on Social Media and CRM can be found at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Digital Era Transforming CMO’s Agenda, Revealing Gap In Readiness

A new IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and 19 industries reveals that the majority of the world’s top marketing executives recognize a critical and permanent shift occurring in the way they engage with their customers, but question whether their marketing organizations are prepared to manage the change.

At the same time, the research shows that the measures used to evaluate marketing are changing. Nearly two-thirds of CMOs think return on marketing investment will be the primary measure of the marketing function’s effectiveness by 2015. But even among the most successful enterprises, half of all CMOs feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers.

And most of these executives -- responsible for the integrated marketing of their organization’s products, services and brand reputations -- say they lack significant influence in key areas such as product development, pricing and selection of sales channels.
The IBM study found that while 82 percent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years, only 26 percent are currently tracking blogs, 42 percent are tracking third party reviews and 48 percent are tracking consumer reviews to help shape their marketing strategies.

Customers are sharing their experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands. This shift in the balance of power from organizations to their customers requires new marketing approaches, tools and skills in order to stay competitive. CMOs are aware of this changing landscape, but are struggling to respond. More than 50 percent of CMOs think they are underprepared to manage key market forces – from social media to greater customer collaboration and influence – indicating that they will have to make fundamental changes to traditional methods of brand and product marketing.

While they identify customer intimacy as a top priority, and recognize the impact of real-time data supplementing traditional methods of channel marketing and gathering market feedback, most CMOs say they remain mired in 20th century approaches. Eighty-percent or more of the CMOs surveyed are still focusing primarily on traditional sources of information such as market research and competitive benchmarking, and 68 percent rely on sales campaign analysis to make strategic decisions.

More information on CRM can be found at

Monday, October 3, 2011

Survey Reveals 95 Percent of Respondents Expect to Maintain or Grow Use of SaaS

More than 95 percent of organizations expect to maintain or increase their investments in software as a service (SaaS) and more than one-third have migration projects under way from on-premises to SaaS, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.
In June and July 2011, Gartner surveyed 525 organizations in nine countries spanning 12 vertical industries to understand their usage patterns and key trends for SaaS in the enterprise.

Nearly 70 percent of organizations have used SaaS for less than three years, also indicating a continuing stream of net-new users for this deployment model. More enterprises are renegotiating contracts early not only to satisfy demands for more functionality and an expanding user base, but also to take advantage of improved financial terms as downward pricing pressures continue in the wake of economic turbulence and increasing vendor competition.

A comparison of Gartner SaaS user-survey results from 2008 and 2010 indicate that the percentage of decisions made at the executive level is increasing. The latest survey results show that the decision process is shifting to a joint decision between the business and IT.
Analysts found that deployments of both horizontal and vertical-specific SaaS solutions (VSS) vary greatly by industry, as do planned deployments for 2012 and those considered beyond. Many industries that have not pursued SaaS in the past are beginning to do so.

Currently, communications (52 percent), utilities (51 percent), and banking and securities (49 percent) industries rank highest with respect to SaaS deployed across the horizontal and vertical-specific categories sampled. In 2012, those industries ranking highest with respect to their plans to use SaaS include federal government (33 percent), banking and securities (22 percent) and wholesale trade (20 percent). Beyond 2012, top industries considering SaaS are manufacturing and natural resources (37 percent), wholesale trade and retail (each 29 percent).

When respondents' 2012 deployment plans are combined with those considering SaaS beyond the coming year, federal government ranked highest (60 percent), followed by manufacturing and natural resources (50 percent), wholesale trade (49 percent) and retail (46 percent).

More information on CRM and SaaS can be found at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Study Finds Shared Services Executives Accelerate C-Suite Visibility; Get Closer to Customer to Deliver End-to-End Services

Executives who lead shared services organizations, designed to reduce overhead costs by consolidating administrative or support functions in areas such as finance, human resources and information technology, are increasingly accountable to the corporate C-suite, according to a new Accenture study
In fact, 59 percent of the shared services executives polled report to C-suite level officers, including their company’s top finance, operations, human resources and information technology officers. And, 17 percent of them report directly to the CEO. In a similar study completed by Accenture two years ago, only 8 percent of the shared services executives reported to the CEO.

Currently, information technology is the type of service most frequently offered through shared services organizations, according to 75 percent of the executives. More than half (58 percent) said their organizations also deliver finance services, client-facing services such as billing and collections (51 percent) and human resources (50 percent).

In the future, 42 percent of the executives said that computing technologies, such as cloud, will have the greatest impact on their organizations. As their clients’ service needs evolve, cloud computing may provide a platform for shared services organizations to scale quickly to meet business needs and still manage their risk mitigation responsibilities in a cost-effective, virtual manner.

Eighty percent of the executives said they are proposing flexible work arrangements for shared services employees who support their global organizations. These arrangements typically allow shared services employees to work from home, which provides these organizations a way to tap into skilled labor pools in a cost-effective way.

As shared services programs continue to evolve, the study shows many of these organizations are struggling with the fundamentals of achieving process excellence while elevating the quality of their service delivery to meet the demands associated with assuming a more strategic role as an IBS organization. Just under half (49 percent) of the executives surveyed reported that their shared services organization had standardized its policies, processes and supporting systems; 26 percent had standardized the policies but not the processes and supporting systems; and 25 percent lacked the supporting systems.

Looking ahead, social media is expected have an impact on shared services, according to 90 percent of the executives surveyed, with 57 percent suggesting it may offer them the opportunity for greater collaboration among employees and greater productivity. Nearly as many (56 percent) expect it to lead to improved client collaboration and service delivery and 43 percent said it may increase satisfaction among shared services employees. However, the executives are generally taking a “wait and see” approach, as they evaluate how to use the social media most effectively in a time of rapid technology change and varying levels of social media adoption.

More information on managing customers can be found at

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

By End of 2014 at Least 10 Percent of Enterprise Email Seats Will Be Based on a Cloud or Software-as-a-Service Model

By the end of 2014, penetration of cloud email and collaboration services (CECS) will stand at 10 percent and will have passed the "tipping point" with broad-scale adoption under way, according to Gartner, Inc.

Although Gartner believes that the time is right for some enterprises -- particularly smaller ones and those in industries with long underserved populations such as retail, hospitality and manufacturing -- to move at least some users to CECS during the next two years, analysts warned that readiness varies by service provider and urged caution.

Consequently, Gartner is lowering its short-term projected adoption rate for CECS. Analysts predict that most enterprises will not begin the move to CECS until 2014 when growth in the market will take off, before leveling off in 2020 as it exceeds 55 percent.

Gartner has pushed out the point at which it believes that 10 percent of the enterprise market will use cloud-based or software-as-a-service (SaaS) email from year-end 2012 to year-end 2014. Analysts said organizations are moving more slowly than anticipated for three primary reasons.

While most enterprises that have adopted CECS appear to have moved everyone to CECS, closer investigation reveals that they often retain small, dedicated, on-premises systems to maintain greater control over the content created and consumed by C-level executives -- whose communications are almost always subject to legal and regulatory scrutiny at semi-regular intervals.

More information on SaaS can be found at

Monday, September 19, 2011

North America to Account for 64 Percent of SaaS Revenue in 2011

Worldwide software as a service (SaaS) revenue is on pace to reach $12.1 billion in 2011, a 20.7 percent increase from 2010 of $10 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. The North American region is forecast to account for 63.6 percent of worldwide SaaS revenue in 2011. By the end of 2015, North America's share will represent 60.8 percent of worldwide SaaS revenue.
The top issues encountered when deploying SaaS also vary by region. Limited flexibility of customization is a top issue in EMEA, while limited integration to existing systems is the primary reason in North America and Asia/Pacific.

North America, specifically the U.S., represents the largest opportunity for SaaS, and it is the most mature of the regional markets. SaaS revenue in North America is projected to total $7.7 billion in 2011, an 18.7 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $6.5 billion. North American SaaS revenue is forecast to reach $12.9 billion in 2015.

In Western Europe, SaaS revenue is on pace to reach $2.7 billion, up 23.3 percent from 2010 revenue of $2.2 billion. SaaS revenue is projected to reach $4.8 billion in 2015. In Eastern Europe, SaaS revenue is expected to reach $131.4 million in 2011, a 29.8 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $101.2 million. Eastern Europe SaaS revenue is forecast to total $270.1 million in 2015.

SaaS revenue in Asia/Pacific is forecast to total $768.3 million in 2011, a 27.7 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $601.8 million. By the end of 2015, SaaS revenue in Asia/Pacific will reach $1.7 billion.

In Japan, SaaS revenue is projected to reach $379 million in 2011, up 20.2 percent from 2010 revenue of $315.3 million. By the end of 2015, SaaS revenue is expected to reach $629.1 million.

SaaS revenue in Latin America is on pace to total $328.4 million in 2011, a 23.5 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $266 million. Gartner analysts said that while in general the SaaS market in Latin America can be considered embryonic, many Latin American CIOs see the strategic importance of SaaS and Gartner expects overall software revenue for SaaS in Latin America to rise to $694.2 million in 2015.

More information on SaaS can be found at

Friday, September 9, 2011

Social Media Now a Source for IT Decision Making

UBM TechWeb has released its annual "Social Media at Work" research, which studies the social media consumption habits and preferences of almost 650 business technology decision makers. 
Study highlights include:

LinkedIn and Twitter are the best places for IT decision makers to talk shop:

-- 69% are using LinkedIn for professional purposes
-- 44% are using Twitter for professional purposes

IT decision makers are using social media to share information about technology vendors, products and services:

-- 66% use social media to stay connected with colleagues and co-workers
-- 59% use social media to learn about new products, services and technologies
-- 47% use social media to seek advice from peers about technology purchases

Social media helps drive IT purchase decisions:

--58% use social media to obtain information for a technology purchase

More information about social media and IT can be found at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

7 Signs That Your Enterprise Suffers from "Cloud in a Corner" Syndrome

Unisys Corporation has advice for CIOs seeking to get the most out of their investment in cloud computing: before plunging in, consider how the proposed cloud solution can best be integrated with the organization's existing mission-critical systems and IT processes.

This analytical approach, Unisys says, is the surest defense against "cloud in a corner" syndrome, where new cloud solutions become isolated from the rest of the IT environment and don't contribute the business value they should.

Unisys advises IT organizations to look out for telltale signs that they have fallen prey to "cloud in a corner" syndrome:

1 - Your team is evaluating a "cloud stack" solution without first putting in place a comprehensive strategy and framework for integrating it with your existing IT environment;

2 - You lack clearly articulated criteria and metrics for cloud success from both IT and end-user perspectives;

3 - You're well into implementation before all stakeholders agree on use cases, roadmaps and expected changes to IT and business processes;

4 - The technology underlying your cloud is so new, none of your IT people know how to operate it and you have no readiness plan in place so they can learn to do so;

5 - You need to create duplicate service, security and risk management processes because your new cloud environment won't accommodate those you already have;

6 - You have not defined and communicated how your team's roles and responsibilities will change with a cloud service delivery model; and

7 - You're already developing a second cloud solution because the first one didn't meet the organization's needs.

The way to avoid "cloud in a corner" syndrome in the first place - or to approach follow-on cloud initiatives - is to raise the focus above the technology and instead create a comprehensive blueprint for cloud success. The first step in this process is to look at cloud delivery models in the context of the total IT infrastructure.

More information on cloud computing can be found at

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Market for Social CRM Is on Pace to Surpass $1 Billion in Revenue by Year-End 2012

The worldwide social customer relationship management (CRM) market is forecast to reach over $1 billion in revenue by year-end 2012, up from approximately $625 million in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide social CRM is projected to total $820 million in 2011.

However, analysts said spending by buyers on social software for marketing, customer service and sales increased by 40 percent in 2010, but social CRM remained less than 5 percent of the total CRM application market. More than 100 vendors have social CRM offerings. Most are not profitable and generate annual revenue of less than $1 million.

Most vendors remain relatively small and unprofitable, although many grew 50 to 100 percent in 2010. In order to thrive in the future, analysts said that social CRM vendors will need to provide clear benefits for companies and communities, demonstrating multiple use cases for sales, marketing and customer service processes.

Today's vendors differentiate themselves on the basis of functions, process workflow, analytics and ease of use or superior experience delivered through professional services. The functions that social CRM vendors offer tend to reflect one of four typical starting points:

- Hosting and supporting a branded or private-label community, and providing the surrounding functions
- Monitoring, listening to, surveying and responding to private-label or independent social networks
- Facilitating the sharing of B2B or business to consumer (B2C) contacts through communities
- Establishing community product reviews largely to facilitate online sales

Four other factors will also differentiate vendors:

- Seamless interoperation between public social networks and internal collaborative communities
- Integration of processes with traditional, operational CRM applications, such as multichannel campaign management, a customer service knowledgebase or a sales lead application
- Application-specific analytics to help prove the ROI of the social CRM application
- Partnerships with global system integrators, or digital or interactive agencies and consultants, to promote and deploy the applications

Gartner analysts said that R&D in social CRM will center on five areas: (1) deeper integration with traditional CRM processes; (2) tools to measure ROI; (3) deeper integration with social network services -- particularly Facebook and Twitter; (4) increased use of analytics; and (5) new use cases for social CRM.

More information on CRM can be found at

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gartner Survey Highlights Consumer Fatigue with Social Media

There are signs of maturity in the social media market, as some users in certain segments are showing “social media fatigue”, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. The survey reveals continued localization of usage, whereby certain country-specific social characteristics dictate preferences. However, large global brands such as Facebook are making headway in countries where they have not historically been strong.

Gartner surveyed 6,295 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 74, in 11 developed and developing markets in December 2010 and January 2011. Consumers were asked about their use of and opinions about social media sites with the aim of examining usage trends and how enthusiastic users were about social media in general across a range of countries.

Of the respondents, 24 percent said they use their favorite social media site less than when they first signed up. These respondents tended to be in segments that have a more practical view of technology. But 37 percent of respondents, particularly those in younger age groups and more tech-savvy segments, said they were using their favorite site more.

Gartner analysts also examined whether the type of social media site respondents used affected their enthusiasm. Given that 24 percent of respondents indicated that they were using their main social site “a little less” or “a lot less” than when they first started using it, respondents were asked what negative factors might be influencing their decision.
Although none of the options given to the respondents resonated extremely highly, 33 percent said they were concerned about online privacy. Attitudes to privacy were also age-related, with teenagers citing privacy concerns significantly less often than older respondents (22 percent of teenagers agreed or strongly agreed that privacy concerns were decreasing their enthusiasm, against an average of 33 percent).

From a geographical point of view, some of the more mature social media markets -- Japan, the UK and the US -- corresponded to the global average trend -- with roughly 40 percent of respondents using the site more than when they first started, 40 percent using it the same amount, and 20 percent using it less. Markets where enthusiasm was higher included South Korea and Italy, where nearly 50 percent of respondents said they used their social media sites more. At the other end of the spectrum, countries with the most respondents saying they used the site less included Brazil and Russia -- both with between 30 and 40 percent of respondents exhibiting less enthusiasm.

More information on CRM and Social Media can be found at

Monday, August 8, 2011

Half of all Organizations Will Revise Their Privacy Policies by End-2012

Gartner has identified the top five issues that privacy officers must pay particular attention to in 2011 and 2012:
1. Data Breaches Continue to Be a Top Concern

Data breaches rank high on the priority list because of their visibility, but preparing for and following up on breaches is actually straightforward. Most controls exist anyway if security management is working properly. This topic should not consume more than 10 percent of a privacy officer's time.

Organizations should compartmentalize personal information, restrict access, encrypt data when transmitting it across public networks, encrypt data on portable devices, and encrypt data in storage to protect it from users who have been given too much privilege, from rogue administrators and from hackers. Consider data loss prevention tools, tokenization, data masking and privacy management tools.

2. Location-Based Services Exploit Personal Information in Unprecedented Ways

Location information can be GPS information, the nearest cell tower, information about wireless access points, indoor positioning information, speed, altitude, smart meter identifiers and IP addresses. Not every organization processes geolocation data, but the area is evolving rapidly, and a specific way of processing may suddenly surface as a privacy scandal (e.g. smartphones storing more location information than expected).

Many providers are still in the "collect" stage rather than the "use" stage. They compile vast amounts of information, often without a clear plan of what to do with it. This violates a fundamental privacy principle: Collect information only for the purpose for which you need it. Depending on the nature of the business, privacy officers will focus 5-25 percent of their time on location-based services.

3. Cloud Computing Challenges Traditional Legal and Technical Privacy Protection

Cloud computing and privacy are innately at odds. Privacy laws apply to one country; the public cloud, in its ideal form, is not related to any country. Privacy officers should not accept "no" for an answer when asking whether the processing of personal information in the cloud or abroad is allowed. Most privacy laws have some flexibility, guidance is evolving slowly and, in many cases, there are legally acceptable solutions.

Organizations should focus on the location of the legal entity of the provider, not on the physical locations of its operation centers. Privacy officers — and enterprise decision makers — should support IT's cloud and offshore initiatives where possible while achieving maximum privacy protection for the individual customer or employee. This will consume 20- 30 percent of the privacy officer's time.

4. The Value of Privacy Determines Necessary Protection, but It Is Difficult to Quantify

The value of privacy and the sensitivity of personal information are impossible to determine without context. Personal information has hardly any value or sensitivity. Rather, it depends on how data is being processed. There is no right or wrong. Finding the balance between "not enough" protection and "too much" protection is an ongoing process. Legal requirements are a bad guideline as they trail technical innovation and cultural change by several years.

Privacy officers should set up a process to identify stakeholders for personal information, gather requirements from them, influence the design of the business process and applications, and plan for adjustments. Once this process has been created, its execution should take the privacy officer no more than 10 percent of his or her time.
5. Regulatory Changes Are Imminent and Ongoing

Regulatory changes should not distract privacy officers from pursuing their strategies, because most regulatory changes will only have a mid- to long-term effect. Absent of any specific laws or regulatory guidance, organizations must interpret existing, generic privacy legislation for emerging technologies like smart meters, indoor positioning, facial recognition on smartphones correlated to photo databases, vehicle and device locators, presence detection, body scanners, and others.
Monitoring of regulatory changes and, consequently, adjusting the organization’s privacy strategy are important tasks, but they should consume more than 5-10 percent of the privacy officer’s time.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Technology Sector Job Cuts Plunge 60%

In past years, the 6,500 job cuts announced this week by Cisco Systems probably would not have stood out, particularly in a sector that at one time commonly saw job-cut events numbering in the tens of thousands. This year, however, the Cisco announcement stands out as the largest job cut of the year in a sector that is experiencing record low downsizing.

Technology firms announced just 14,308 job cuts in the first half of 2011, a 60 percent drop from the 35,375 cuts announced during the same period a year ago, according to a special report on technology-sector job cuts released by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

While first-half job cuts announced by telecommunications, electronics and computer firms were up slightly from 11,450 job cuts announced in the final six months of 2010, the increase probably does not signal a resurgence in tech-sector downsizing.
The 14,308 tech-sector job cuts announced so far this year represent just 5.8 percent of the 245,806 job cuts announced across all industries. In contrast to the 60-percent decline in tech-sector job cuts, the overall job-cut total for the first half of 2011 is down only 17 percent from last year’s six month total.

The biggest decline in tech-sector job cuts was experienced by computer firms, which saw the number of planned layoffs plunge 81 percent, from 16,964 in the first half of 2010 to 3,178 this year. The only other industry to see a bigger drop in layoffs this year is pharmaceutical, where job cuts declined 86 percent from 34,987 to 4,771.

Job cuts announced by telecommunications firms dropped 57 percent from 16,005 in 2010 to 6,813 this year. Firms in the electronics industry were the only segment of the tech sector to see an increase in job cuts. Layoffs among these employers increased 79 percent from 2,406 a year ago to a 2011 six-month total of 4,317, which is still very low by historical standards.

According to payroll figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment within computer systems design and related services has grown by 42,000 since the beginning of 2011. Computer and electronics manufacturers have added more than 12,000 workers to their payrolls.

More information on the technology sector can be found at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mobility Is the No. 1 Driver of Enterprise SaaS Adoption

Enterprises are moving to the cloud, according to Yankee Group's 2011 US FastView: Cloud Computing Survey. Remote/mobile user connectivity was the top motivation for deploying software as a service (SaaS), cited by 48 percent of enterprises--a 92 percent increase over 2010. With mobility as an impetus, 38 percent of enterprises project the deployment of over half of their software applications on a cloud platform within three years compared to just 11 percent today.

Other survey findings include:

-- Public versus private argument is dead. Adoption is up across the board, with private cloud still most widely deployed (63 percent) but public cloud and managed public cloud making gains (58 percent and 51 percent, respectively).

-- PaaS is gaining momentum. In 2011, 41 percent of very large enterprises (more than 10,000 employees) have already deployed or are considering deployment of platform as a service (PaaS) within the next 12 months, compared to just 32 percent in 2010.

-- Consumerization is profoundly impacting enterprise IT. Seventy-five percent of respondents agree that consumer apps put more pressure on IT to make enterprise applications more like consumer applications.

More information on cloud computing can be found at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Worldwide Software as a Service Revenue Is Forecast to Grow 21 Percent in 2011

Worldwide software as a service (SaaS) revenue is forecast to reach $12.1 billion in 2011, a 20.7 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $10 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. The SaaS-based delivery will experience healthy growth through 2015, when worldwide revenue is projected to reach $21.3 billion..

Gartner defines SaaS as software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers an application based on a single set of common code and data definitions, which is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers anytime on a pay-for-use basis, or as a subscription based on use metrics.

During the past two years, the significant industry buzz surrounding SaaS and other off-premises models has shifted to cloud computing. Cloud computing is a broad concept, of which SaaS is only one variation, representing the application layer of the overall cloud architectural stack. However, SaaS has been a lead indicator of the cloud concept for some time. Gartner estimates that 75 percent of current SaaS delivery, as measured by revenue, could be regarded as cloud services, and this could exceed 90 percent by 2015 as the SaaS model matures and converges with cloud service models.

Customer relationship management (CRM) continues to be the largest market for SaaS. SaaS revenue within the CRM market is forecast to reach $3.8 billion in 2011, up from $3.2 billion in 2010. Gartner expects SaaS to represent nearly 32 percent of the CRM market's total software revenue in 2011.

SaaS revenue within the content, communications and collaboration (CCC) market is on pace to surpass $3.3 billion in 2011, up from $2.8 billion in 2010. The CCC market continues to show the widest disparity of SaaS revenue generation, with SaaS representing just 5 percent of enterprise content management (ECM) in 2010 but approximately 83 percent of Web conferencing.

The proportion of enterprise resource planning (ERP) revenue attributed to SaaS overall is still in the single digits, at approximately 7 percent of the overall ERP market. ERP SaaS offerings contributed approximately $1.5 billion to the SaaS market in 2010, and by year-end 2011, Gartner expects this to increase to $1.7 billion. The penetration of SaaS within ERP varies greatly between subsegments, with human capital management (HCM) being the most penetrated (in terms of adoptions and revenue growth) and enterprise asset management (EAM) and manufacturing being relatively unaffected by SaaS.

More information on Software as a Service can be found at

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

IT Managers Have Their Heads in the Clouds: Worldwide Cloud Server Revenue to Reach $9.4 Billion by 2015

Eager to simplify their current IT environments and introduce new initiatives to enhance overall business value, IT leaders are embracing server cloud computing as a viable option for decreasing complexity by adopting converged systems that arrive pre-integrated and ready for use (private cloud) or are offsite entirely (public cloud). According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide revenue for servers deployed to public clouds will reach $3.6 billion in 2015 while private cloud server revenue will balloon to $5.8 billion.

IDC's research found that public clouds are generally being built on simpler server hardware with a focus on energy efficiency, density, and cost control. The reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) for public clouds tends to be built into the software layer (through failover and virtualization). As a result, public cloud computing is a unit story with lower average selling values (ASVs) than an average x86-based server. IDC forecasts the number of servers shipped for deployment in public clouds will reach more than 1.2 million in 2015, representing a 2011-2015 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1%. 

More information on cloud computing can be found at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

IDC's Forecasts Global CRM Market to Grow by More Than $1.3 Billion in 2011

The global CRM applications market enjoyed a solid recovery in 2010 with year-over-year growth of 6.2% and revenues of $16.5 billion, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Customer Relationship Management Applications Tracker. IDC expects the CRM applications market to continue on this trajectory in 2011 with revenues approaching $18 billion on 7.6% year-over-year growth.

Within the CRM applications market, three of the four functional markets are forecast to grow at above average rates for 2011. The customer service and marketing applications markets are forecast to grow at 8.2% and 8.8% respectively, while the sales applications market will grow 8.6% year over year in 2011. Meanwhile, the contact center market, which experienced a modest decline in 2010, will rebound to 5.4% year-over-year growth in 2011.

Within the customer service market, three of the top 5 large countries (UK, Germany and France) are forecast to grow at an 8.2% annual rate in 2011, while Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, and Russia are expected to drive strong growth in the marketing applications market. With the exception of Brazil, these same countries are forecast to experience even stronger growth in the Sales applications market.

Despite consisting of just four functional markets, the overall CRM applications market remains fragmented with many vendors vying to gain share. Outside the top 3 vendors, a total of 19 vendors achieved more than $100 million in CRM software revenue during 2010, representing more than 35% of total market share. Oracle, SAP, and were the only vendors to amass more than $1 billion in CRM software revenue worldwide in 2010. 

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CRM Adoption Strong Among SMBs

Small to mid-sized businesses are embracing CRM solutions and the percentage of CRM functionality they use is higher than one might have anticipated, according to the results of a May survey conducted by research firm ITIC who polled over 200 SMBs. A full 74% of survey respondents indicated they have a CRM platform, and 52% of participants said their companies use at least 50% of the CRM's functionality.

Meanwhile half of the survey respondents said they are analyzing requirements or evaluating (new or upgraded) CRM solutions with an eye towards adoption; another 20% plan to install a CRM solution within the next six to 12 months. Ironically, 26% of the survey participants said they've used a CRM solution for over 10 years while an equal 26% of respondents revealed they do not currently use CRM.

An 86% majority of respondents cited features and performance as the factors that most influenced their CRM purchasing decision. Among the larger CRM vendors, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage and Sugar CRM are the most popular with survey participants. However the combination of lesser known CRM brands plus homegrown CRMs outscored the larger CRM firms.

The web-based survey recorded 200 responses to multiple choice and essay questions. Over 95% of respondents were from North America and represented more than 30 different vertical markets. ITIC supplemented the survey by conducting nearly two dozen first person interviews with C-level executives, systems administrators, third party consultants and service providers. 

More information on CRM can be found at

Monday, June 20, 2011

Growth in the number of CIOs deploying green IT

Almost three-quarters of CIOs have deployed green IT within their organization, with an additional 8% planning to do so by the end of 2012, finds new research from Ovum.

According to a survey by the independent technology analyst, the number of organizations using green IT grew to 73% in the second half of 2010, up from approximately 68% in the first half, as tightened IT budgets and a sluggish economy forced IT decision-makers to scrutinize spending and wake up to the potential cost savings green IT can deliver.

Looking ahead to the end of 2012, Ovum’s survey revealed that a further eight% plan to deploy green IT.

Ovum surveyed CIOs about five major categories of green IT: data center virtualization, data centre power and cooling technologies, desktop virtualization, printing and paper usage management, and power management tools for PCs and monitors. All will experience growth in penetration over the next couple of years.

Of these different areas of green IT, data center virtualization has the greatest penetration, with 52% of the CIOs Ovum spoke to saying they use it. According to Ovum’s survey, this figure will grow to 65% over the next couple of years.

More information can be found at

Friday, June 17, 2011

Social media represents 45% of total media consumption among IT professionals

The 2011 Social Media Index: Wave VII was conducted between April 19 - 29, 2011. A total of 1,562 IT professionals from 109 countries participated. Participants were drawn directly from the IT community at

The goal of this survey was to gain insights from executives and professionals on topical issues that affect decision making. Participants shared input on their use of social media for workplace decision making, mobile technology usage and planned purchases, and the viability of online games for job training.

The results of the survey revealed:

-- Among IT professionals, social media consumption outpaced editorial and vendor content consumption. Respondents consumed social media at a rate of 6.77 hours per week, versus 4.29 for editorial content, and 4.16 for vendor content.

-- Social media represents 45% of total media consumption among IT professionals (compared to 28% for editorial and 27% for vendor content).

-- More than 64% currently own a smartphone and over 37% plan to purchase a tablet computer in the next 6 months.

-- Over 81% are motivated to participate in online communities by the desire to help peers solve problems.

Other results include:

-- Over 67% use social media to stay current and learn what their peers know.

-- eBooks with interactive features are the most preferred source for information about new products, followed by videos and self-assessment/ROI calculators.

-- IT professionals spend 3.69 hours per week accessing social media on their mobile devices, a 54% increase over 2010 consumption rates.

More information on Social Media and IT can be found at

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Study Reveals Midmarket CIOs Look to Business Analytics to Drive Innovation and Growth

A new global study of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) by IBM reveals that the top strategic technology investment over the next five years at outperforming midsize organizations is business analytics, with cloud computing emerging as the fastest growing technology area for CIOs.

Today, 83 percent of midmarket CIOs surveyed identified analytics, the ability to extract actionable insights from "Big Data" as their top-priority investment area, while there was a 50 percent increase in the number of midsize organizations that plan to invest in cloud computing, compared to IBM's 2009 midmarket CIO study.

Midsize businesses together with small enterprises are responsible for nearly 65 percent of the global GDP, representing more than 90 percent of all businesses and employing over 90 percent of the world's workforce. The IBM study looked at what constitutes the fundamental tasks of the CIO and what traits define the outperforming CIOs as they infuse technology into products, services and processes to transform their business, drive profitability and expand into new areas.

Both CEOs and CIOs in the midmarket are braced for continued volatility. This year, technological factors emerged among the top three concerns for CIOs, in addition to the market factors and macroeconomic factors that they cited in the 2009 survey. These three concerns are equally shared among CEOs at midsize companies surveyed earlier this year.

CIOs are looking to invest in technologies such as analytics and data mining that not only help them better utilize structured data, but also unstructured data in the form of videos, blogs and tweets that can be obtained through the social web.

The Shift to Cloud and Mobile Computing

The technology area that has grown most as a top priority area for CIOs in the midmarket in the past two years is cloud computing. In fact, CIOs are now 50 percent more likely to pursue investments in cloud over the next three to five years to take advantage of the flexibility and cost effectiveness of using hardware and software resources offered through the cloud.

Trends such as the explosive growth of internet-connected devices and smart phones are driving CIOs to consider more powerful ways to harness mobile applications that drive commerce, better collaboration and enhanced workforce mobility. According to the study, the percentage of CIOs who now plan to invest in mobility solutions, including smart phones and mobile applications, jumped by 11 percent over 2009, to 72 percent.

Top trends from the CIO Study:

-- Midmarket CIOs are focused on gaining deeper insight and intelligence (77 percent), people skills (68 percent) and client intimacy (67 percent) over the next five years.

-- 72 percent of CIOs at midsize organizations are focused on integrating business and technology to drive innovation.

-- CIOs of midsize companies are harnessing the following tools and methods to turn data into actionable information: data warehousing (64 percent), visual dashboards (64 percent), master data management (63 percent), client analytics (63 percent).

More information on CIOs and analytics can be found at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cloud Insecurities: 43% of Enterprises Surveyed Have had Security Issues With Their Cloud Service Providers

Most enterprises face apprehension over adopting cloud computing, and with good reason: Nearly half (43 percent) of enterprise IT decision makers reported a security lapse or issue with their cloud provider within the last 12 months, according to a recent global cloud security survey conducted by Trend Micro.

The global survey of 1200 U.S., UK, Germany, India, Canada and Japan IT decision makers uncovers the insecurities and concerns surrounding their journey to the cloud. It confirmed that, on the whole, enterprises are moving toward the cloud at a brisk pace and are initiating a giant multiplicative wave of new deployments. Although slightly over 10 percent of the respondents currently have cloud computing projects in production, close to half are either implementing or piloting new cloud applications.

Despite cloud computing's growing popularity in most countries, confusion is still at play among enterprises, some of whom don't recognize what cloud computing services are. When presented with a list of cloud computing services, 93 percent of the respondents said they are currently working with at least one of them. And yet, 7 percent of the same respondents said that their company has no plans to deploy any cloud computing service – a contradiction.
Performance and availability puts the focus on security

While security is still the major hindrance toward cloud adoption, more enterprises are now perceiving performance and availability of cloud services to be of near-equal consideration. According to the survey, the top barriers respondents see in adopting cloud computing services are: Concerns over security of data or cloud infrastructure (50 percent) and performance and availability of cloud service (48 percent).
Data in the cloud is vulnerable without encryption

When it comes to safeguarding sensitive data stored in the cloud, enterprises turn to encryption. 85 percent of respondents(2) said they encrypt data stored in the cloud. And before taking the plunge into cloud adoption, more than half of survey respondents said they would be more likely to consider a cloud provider if encrypted data storage were included in the offering. Nevertheless, most commonly used encryption key management techniques used in the cloud today are vulnerable.

More information on Cloud Computing can be found at

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths

Collaboration initiatives fail because IT leaders hold mistaken assumptions about basic issues, according to Gartner, Inc. IT leaders should determine which of five factors – technology, roles, process, metrics and workplace climate – to change to achieve successful collaboration projects. The five collaboration myths Gartner has identified are:

1. The right tools will make us collaborative
Technology can make it easier to collaborate when applications mirror a more intuitive, fluid work style, but selecting a tool without addressing roles, processes, metrics and the organization’s workplace climate is putting the cart before the horse.

2. Collaboration is inherently a good thing
Many organizations can’t articulate what benefit they hope to achieve by employing social media to become more collaborative. This decreases the likelihood of achieving a successful implementation. The most successful social media initiatives solve real business problems. The KPI impacted must be real and relevant to the business.

3. Collaborating takes extra time
When IT leaders perform a thorough analysis of the target audience's workflow to make sure key integration points among applications are identified, they will avoid the common mistake of simply layering collaboration tools on top of existing applications that workers are expected to use. If collaboration and social software tools are not integrated with other critical applications, workers must shift context -- which slows them down -- or duplicate effort (e.g., cut/paste from one application to another).

4. People naturally will/will not collaborate
Depending on their level of cynicism, people believe that humans naturally collaborate, or naturally don't. While there are individuals at each end of the spectrum, most are somewhere in the middle and can be encouraged to collaborate under the right conditions. IT leaders should ignore the reluctant minority and work on motivating the majority of workers who can be persuaded to collaborate when expectations are clear and collaborative behaviors are rewarded.

5. People instinctively know how to collaborate
Without a set of expectations about what it means to work collaboratively with others, individuals will be forced into using their own interpretation of collaboration. Few organizations have a clear set of guidelines that describe how people should interact with each other to produce optimum results. A better approach is to clarify what attitude a collaborative individual needs to bring to their work, what abilities and skills they need to master and what personal style works well in a team setting. It is also critical that managers demonstrate the behaviors they want their employees to mirror.