The vast majority of companies recognize that digital customer experiences (CX) represent a make-or-break proposition in terms of competitive differentiation, but digital strategy shortcomings are limiting their ability to deliver, according to a recent survey from Dimension Data. The resulting “Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report” indicates that very few organizations are able to connect all CX channels. Most, in fact, still rely on dated resources such as telephone and email communications to support customers. Very few consider their company’s digital business strategy optimized. And, while most said customer analytics and connected customer journeys will greatly affect CX for the near future, the majority of businesses do not collect data to review and improve customer journey patterns. “The digital dilemma is deepening, and organizations need to choose a path between digital crisis or redemption,” said Joe Manuele, Dimension Data’s group executive for CX and collaboration.
More of the Baseline slide show from Dennis McCafferty
A few years ago, my to-do list was an endless source of frustration. At the end of every day, it seemed like it had more items on it than when I started. I never seemed to get it all done.
So, in an effort to understand what was going on, I began to track how I was spending my time and saw some interesting patterns emerge. As I learned more, I started applying a productivity-changing principle to my daily “get it done” list: time-blocking.
Time-blocking is essentially organizing your day in a series of time slots. Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as they take, with a time-blocked approach, each of these time periods is devoted to a task or tasks. It immediately lets you see where you’re being unrealistic about your time and keep yourself focused on what you’re supposed to be doing.
More of the Fast Company article from Gwen Moran
What do your business requirements tell you about your best data center or cloud solution?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a trite saying but appropriate for today’s cloud infrastructure market, which seems to be evolving along much the same vendor-defined trajectory as the data center before it.
According to new data from Synergy Research Group, the top three vendors duking it out for cloud dominance are … wait for it … Dell EMC, Cisco and HPE. This may come as a surprise to some, considering commodity manufacturers in the APAC region are supposed to be taking over. But according to the company’s research, the new Big Three each hold about 11.5 percent of the market, while an equal share went to multiple ODMs in the Pacific Rim. Microsoft and IBM each held smaller shares, which means that more than a third of the market is divvied up between numerous small to medium-sized vendors.
More of the IT Business Edge post from Arthur Cole
Do you think your organization can meet the three challenges below? Thanks to my colleague David Birks for a heads-up on this article.
Disruptive technological change is the new reality. In retail, Amazon will now deliver almost anything in two days – and in some cases, two hours. In hospitality, Airbnb leverages social media to create brand loyalty that extends beyond individual trips. In financial services, a generation of nimble fintech ventures are offering products that are setting new standards in speed, convenience and flexibility. And the list goes on.
Legacy organizations must respond – or risk their survival. While each organization will transform itself in a different way, each transformation is certain to have digital at its core, because digital is driving the changes in consumer expectations, markets and products. But successfully making the transition from analog to digital is much more than a matter of moving services online or developing a social media strategy; true digital transformation requires a new approach not merely within business units, but across the entire organization and its functions (see Figure 1).
More of the Egon Zehnder post
There’s certainly no shortage of options for expanding data center capacity these days. You can renovate an existing facility or add a modular unit onsite or offsite, build one from scratch, lease data center space, or move non-critical data and applications off your servers and into a cloud … and just about any combination of the above.
Which scenario is right for your company? Whatever makes the most sense for the business, said HPE’s Laura Cunningham during her Data Center World session, “Finding the Sweet Spot for Your Data Center.”
So, it’s imperative to know the future direction and financial preferences of your company before meeting face-to-face with a CIO, CEO or CFO to ask approval for any IT project.
More of the Data Center Knowledge post from Karen Riccio
VMware exits the public cloudinfrastructure game as it shifts focus onto hybrid and cross-cloud software.
VMware is selling its infrastructure-as-a-service offering vCloud Air to global hyperscale cloud provider OVH.
VMware launched vCloud Air Network in 2014 with the aim of providing greater flexibility to users of VMware technology. Three years on, its public cloud business is set to be bought by French cloud computing and web hosting company OVH.
In an interview with Fortune, VMware chief executive Pat Gelsinger said the sale will include vCloud operations and sales staff, datacenters, and customers. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and the buyout is expected to be completed during the second quarter of this year.
More of the ZDNet article from Danny Palmer
Like many people in the marketing technology industry, I was tickled in 2011 when Gartner predicted that CMOs would soon have bigger tech budgets than CIOs, and even more tickled when Gartner said in 2016 that it had happened. But my recent pondering of the relationship of marketing and IT departments had me rethinking the question. On an anecdotal level, I’ve never seen or heard of a company where the marketing technology group was anywhere near the size of the IT department. And from a revenue perspective, there’s no way that marketing technology companies make up half the total revenue of the software industry.
But just as I was working myself up for some back-of-the-envelope calculations, the good people at International Data Corporation (IDC) announced a report with authoritative figures on the topic. Actually, the study estimates spending on 20 technologies and 12 corporate functional areas across 16 enterprise industries in eight regions and 53 countries, comparing the amounts funded by IT departments and by business departments.
More of the CustomerThink article from David Raab
A group of researchers say they can extract information from an Amazon Web Services virtual machine by probing the cache of a CPU it shares with other cloudy VMs.
A paper titled Hello from the Other Side: SSH over Robust Cache Covert Channels in the Cloud (PDF) explains the challenges of extracting data from CPU cache, a very contested resource in which the OS, the hypervisor and applications all conduct frequent operations. All that activity makes a lot of noise, defying attempts to create a persistent communications channel.
Until now, as the researchers claim they’ve built “a high-throughput covert channel [that] can sustain transmission rates of more than 45 KBps on Amazon EC2”. They’ve even encrypted it: the technique establishes a TCP network within the cache and transmits data using SSH.
The results sound scarily impressive: a Black Hat Asia session detailing their work promised to peer into a host’s cache and stream video from VM to VM.
The paper explains that this stuff is not entirely new, but has hitherto also not been entirely successful because it’s been assumed that “error-correcting code can be directly applied, and the assumption that noise effectively eliminates covert channels.”
More of The Register article from Simon Sharwood
On average, the IT pros surveyed said their organization wastes 30% of its cloud spend.
With its days as an emerging technology behind us, the cloud is now firmly established in the fabric of modern companies: Nearly all organizations are investing in the cloud in some way, according to a recent survey report, “State of the Cloud,” from RightScale. The hybrid cloud has emerged as the most preferred option, followed by the public cloud. Regardless of the chosen cloud pathway, companies are reaping the rewards of faster access to infrastructure, greater scalability, higher availability, quicker time to market and more assured business continuity. Challenges linger, however, especially in the form of security concerns and a lack of needed staffing expertise.
More of the CIO Insight slideshow from Dennis McCafferty
The news of an IT outage impacting a large company seems to appear in the headlines more and more frequently these days and often the root cause seems to be out-of-date approaches and strategies in place for IT disaster recovery and compliance. Common mistakes that businesses make include not testing the recovery process on a recurring basis; and relying on data backups instead of continuous replication. Also, businesses are still putting all their data protection eggs in one basket: it is always better to keep your data safe in multiple locations.
C-level leaders are now realising the need for IT resilience, whether they’re creating a disaster recovery strategy for the first time, or updating an existing one. IT resilience enables businesses to power forwards through any IT disaster, whether it be from human error, natural disasters, or criminal activities such as ransomware attacks. However, many organizations are over-confident in what they believe to be IT resilience; in reality they have not invested enough in disaster recovery planning and preparation. The resulting high-profile IT failures can be used as a lesson for business leaders to ensure their disaster recovery plan is tough, effective, and allows true recovery to take place.
If it ain’t broke… test it anyway
Virtualization and cloud-based advancements have actually made disaster recovery quite simple and more affordable. But it doesn’t stop there: organizations need to commit to testing disaster recovery plans consistently, or else the entire strategy is useless.
More of the Continuity Central post