Learn how to dispel the myths on data security and help your C-Suite embrace security programs important for future ready businesses.
The traditional 9 to 5 office work model is long dead. Mobile technologies have set us free and allowed us to work in almost any location imaginable. However, with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) empowerment comes the responsibility for firms to provide both end-to-end and flexible solutions, fitting every scenario.
Tags: Future Ready Workforce
Companies around the world are increasingly harnessing the power of remote working to drive performance and stay competitive in the modern business domain.
Besides new flexibility and agility, the idea of a global office space greatly broadens the talent hire pool, unlocking limitless potential for firms to source the talent they need.
With fewer requirements for office space, overheads can be brought down. Furthermore, the freedoms granted through operating remotely can boost morale internally while giving the company an attractive outward complexion in the eyes of younger, more mobile-minded workforce.
However, if the remote working dream is to be realised then management and communication must be perfect. In turn, managers need the right tools for this to happen, some of which we examine in more detail below.
Trello is a simple-to-use project management platform which uses visual appeal to project a user-friendly vibe between bosses and workers alike.
Intuitive ‘cards’ and ‘boards’ are stacked vertically and can be colour-coordinated to list projects and sub-tasks, each of which can be detailed with time-stamped project descriptions; progress reports; user comments; attachments from a variety of sources, and deadline dates.
Simple categories such as ‘To do’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’ can be created to overarch entire projects, granting all users a general view of how operations are panning out, while a client-side board enables swift and seamless transfer of completed documents.
A highly versatile cloud-based file sharing platform, Dropbox enables file uploads that can be accessed from other devices through either a Dropbox app or a web-browser. Team folders can also be set up so that all relevant parties can edit or view critical documents, videos and images.
Functionality runs throughout Dropbox, with added peace of mind brought through its syncing to all devices at all times plus data restore features, which provide essential backup.
Dropbox is free for storage of up to 2GB, but this can be elevated to 500GB per month through paid subscription. Dropbox for businesses comes with galvanised security and a start point of 1,000GB storage.
Team Viewer is another user-friendly, free, remote access platform that’s packed with innovative features, and operates smoothly across devices.
No alterations to the router or firewall configurations are needed to install TeamViewer, which supports video; voice and text messaging, and multiple file transfers. Usefully, the platform can be used to reboot a computer from a remote location, putting it into safe mode in preparation for secure reconnection.
For hosts, TeamViewer’s versatility means it can connect seamlessly with Mac, Linux or Windows computers, while clients can also connect through the full gamut of portable devices; phones or web browsers can be used to remotely control computers as a result.
Other features include the capacity to share one application window with another user, as opposed to the entire desktop, and the ability to use a local printer to print from a remote location.
This project management platform takes little time to master and offers superb facilities to plan, resource and report throughout all management processes.
It is highly customisable, making it suitable to most business environments, while Clarizen’s high performance enables it to cater to the large part of top-end enterprise requirements.
The latest version allows for advanced reporting, conditional formatting, resource load improvement and additional data-analysis capabilities. While the lowest grade package (professional) can be purchased for $30, enterprise and unlimited packages deliver huge levels of support, customisable dashboards and increased data quotas.
The tools and the talent
Project management apps have become essential components of modern enterprise, allowing bosses to monitor and collaborate in real-time with any number of colleague and clients, irrespective of location.
When efficient project management is dovetailed with a cutting edge IT infrastructure, managers can equip themselves with the software and support necessary to galvanise their teams and position for business growth.
Business strategists have for many years coined different versions of the phrase ‘change is the only constant’. But given the non-linear nature of technology development today, can we suggest that a future-ready enterprise is one that takes an even more redefined view of the terrain on the road ahead?
Nobel prize winning engineer Dennis Gabor famously said that, “The future can not be predicted, but futures can be invented.”
Is this post-millennial age, what do this really mean in a world where cloud, software-defined infrastructure, mobile and the Internet of Things appear to have the ability to reshape our core understanding of business economics?
The future, now, today
The answer is simple: the future needs to be a part of the current operational business plan, right now, today.
As IDC has succinctly stated, a ‘future-ready’ organisation is one that is always extending the abilities of its IT infrastructure and applications while also pursuing IT organisational practices that enable it to identify and address changing business and technology needs.
A post-millennial dawn
The crucial point that needs to be appreciated here is… if you thought we had been through a lot of change in terms of information technology over the last couple of decades… then the road ahead will travels at an even faster pace.
Why is this? Look at the facts. In the immediate future (i.e. start from tomorrow onwards) we are about to witness massive changes brought about by advancements that are usually classified as elements of the fourth industrial revolution.
If we accept that the first industrial revolution was mechanisation, the second industrial revolution was mass production and the third industrial revolution was automation & the PC era — then the fourth industrial revolution is now and it is the age of ‘robotisation’.
But it’s not just robots; we are in the midst of massive advances in nanotechnology, the Internet of Things, smart cities, 3D printing, biotechnology, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, energy storage and so much more. Once again a new future-facing business has to now emerge to work with these new platforms. As IDC reminds us, “A future-ready organization has the IT infrastructure and organisational practices in place to both initiate change and adapt to outside disruptions.”
Are we over-playing things by suggesting that all these developments are about to start disrupting the business landscape? It would appear not… and there are a whole new breed of future-focused professionals trying to work out how we adapt business to the changing road ahead.
IDC’s Future Readiness category Profiles
Firms are even employing Chief Futurology Officers (CFOs), this stuff is actually happening. These CFOs are the so-called ‘future creators’ that IDC defines in its white paper linked here. IDC’s Future-Readiness Enterprise Study showed that the higher organisations move on the future-readiness scale within individual aspects and across multiple aspects, the better their business outcomes across a range of metrics.
In practical technology terms the shake up is extreme. Future-ready firms will have to shake off their own previous notions of linear business models. It will no longer be enough to build a product or service and take it to directly market in a straight line – instead, firms will need to embrace multi-channel multi-modal global delivery channels where product or services have to iterate and change far more rapidly then ever before.
Supporting this change will come down to a more flexible technology infrastructure. Open systems, open platforms and software-defined controls will be of paramount importance.
The fourth industrial revolution is a period of constant change and so firms in every vertical must now redefine themselves or face disruption that sees them ultimately go out of business. The future-ready era has begun.
Tags: Future Ready Enterprise
Companies are changing; the drive to transform business operations is very real. Progressive firms in every vertical are busy migrating towards new ‘digitisation’ strategies. These moves are brought about by technology that extends far beyond the scope of the ‘simple’ PC.
Of course we are talking about the cloud computing model of service based IT delivery, and the drive towards IT agility through service-defined datacenters.
Rip and replace?
But how do we get there? Is it a rip and replace process where we simply abandon our traditional approach to information technology? Of course the answer is no – a sensible IT transformation strategy takes applications and databases and every part of the network one piece at a time.
Future-aware firms now grasp that evolving IT, which lends itself to creating virtual functionality in physical servers, for example, can improve efficiency many times over.
But it is a question of logical building blocks i.e. we need to identify which elements of application processing and storage form mission critical elements in the total IT function… and then move to start reconfiguring and updating infrastructure to open up new avenues of productivity and new sales opportunities.
As the IDC white paper The Future-Ready Enterprise: Driving Business Results Today While Preparing for the Challenges of Tomorrow points out, the key to being future ready is the flexibility to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Locking into a proprietary offering or framework limits the organization’s flexibility and increases the risk of choosing a technology dead end.
But this progression towards digitisation may be non-linear and non-sequential. That is to say, complex business systems often take time to unravel and re-architect. Within the existing IT framework in any business we will find a variety of resources all at different levels of mission criticality, maturity, obsolescence and functionality.
The trouble with legacy systems
Intrinsic to the progression underway here will be the modernisation of legacy software systems. On the one hand, some stakeholders will want to cling onto legacy systems for all eternity. They will claim that ‘it’s called legacy, because it still works’ and so on. But leaders committed to future readiness would also be well advised to consider whether legacy systems are still delivering the right business value.
Accenture’s Matthew Taylor says that there are many ways to address past investment, but holding onto legacy systems doesn’t enable an organisation to fully realise the value that new technologies can ultimately bring.
“It’s like saying, ‘I just bought a new horse for my horse and buggy’, when the automobile is just gaining in popularity. Sure, you can still use it, but you will be behind your competitors and may become disrupted,” writes Taylor.
There’s almost a fable in that business lesson i.e. don’t buy a new horse however pretty it looks if your business really needs some other form of transport.
Preparing to ride the path to becoming a future-ready enterprise is tough; just make sure you adopt the right vehicle for the road ahead.
Tags: Future Ready Enterprise
Such is the power of the email in business communication today, any downtime of email applications has the potential to seriously disrupt all organisations at all levels.
While challenges have largely stemmed from the need for systems to remain fully functioning at peak times, a perfect response lies in Microsoft Exchange – a robust email infrastructure that will future-proof your firm’s communications from top to bottom.
Below, we outline how this invaluable tool can be optimised to accelerate business performance in a lasting way.
Disk space can run low if Exchange storage disks are not accurately set up, resulting in restrictions on email volume. To offset this risk, specialists should be aware of disk space in advance before email space is assigned to users.
Strategising disk storage for Exchange server is important because disk latency can hinder performance. Choosing the right RAID configuration, deploying high-performance disks and spindles, and correct disk alignment will also contribute to optimised storage capacities.
Larger businesses with many users need to be aware of configuring mailbox sizes, and should enable alerts to be put in place for when thresholds are nearing their limit.
If users find they are unable to receive or send emails, it may be because their allocated mailbox quota has been exceeded. Attachments can be moved or archives can be set up to reduce the size of the mailbox, but this, in turn, should be monitored to make sure that all users have access to their original allocation.
Temporary or limited contract members of staff hired by a company can often be given mailboxes which can sit unused for extended periods after those temporary individuals have moved on. Deleting these accounts will grant more storage and boost database capacity.
Detailed knowledge of the mailbox database capacity is essential to administrators’ understanding of the mailbox database size, which in turn informs the number of mailboxes that can be deployed in any one database.
If certain teams are reliant on email sharing and large attachments, these groups can be shifted to another database to meet load and capacity requirements. Database size will also provide an approximate number of mailboxes that can be deployed.
Information on message and attachment size, together with details on the amount of data that can be sent and received, can be obtained from transaction logs for user mailboxes.
Resources and performance power can become depleted when public folders are indexed. This index only increases as a higher number of emails come into the mailbox.
An index will already take up a sizeable chunk of a 5GB mailbox, in part because your email will be indexed separately to each public folder. IT administrators should, therefore, apply indexing only to certain departments or silos, at the risk of encountering resource congestion.
A seamless Exchange service
Exchange server can be tricky for those with limited time and resources to deal with problems when they arise.
To aid the troubleshooting, diagnosis and solution processes, administrators are advised to start laying the foundations to top-level performance at the earliest opportunity. Controls on unwanted mail and sound backup protocols should provide a platform to consistently high performance in the long-term.
Leveraging the expertise of a proven industry authority, bosses can transition to a state-of-the-art Microsoft Exchange environment with an infrastructure to maximise operational efficiency in a cost-effective way.
With Dell EMC as your guide, companies benefit from proven methodologies to guarantee a successful migration that will open up all capabilities and features of Microsoft Exchange.
Mobile technology has triggered a huge shift in work culture that is still evolving every day. With whole businesses finding themselves unchained from the shackles of the traditional office, the way we view and do our work has changed in a myriad of ways. Many businesses are favouring these changes, with companies working towards IT infrastructures built around the cloud to ensure their workers have access to work at all times and places. Other businesses are still uncertain about these developments. Designing and implementing a mobility plan is a big undertaking, so a lot of research is needed before committing to anything. If you’re considering making your business more mobile, there are a few benefits and drawbacks that are well worth your consideration.
This is something that every customer looks for in a business. If customers have 24/7 access to what you have to offer, you have the opportunity to sell yourself 24/7. Your business can be live at any time and place, maximising your visibility and emphasising your availability to those viewing your business. Having constant access to your workers, no matter how remote they are, will also help to improve productivity because their production levels aren’t reliant on whether they’re in the office or not.
Mobility grants employees the luxury of taking control of their own workday. Thanks to the ability to work outside of the office, staff can organise their hours around important appointments, school runs, and any number of other circumstances. Because of this freedom, many employees seek positions with companies that have mobile options. Being able to take control in this way is useful because employees know when they’re at their most productive, so they can capitalise on this and order their schedules for you.
Work and Play?
Mobile technology has blurred the line between work and rest like never before. Mobility has been celebrated for creating flexible work environments for employees, but it’s important to note that working hours have been growing concurrently. The ease at which people can tap into work on their laptops and phones has encouraged a culture of obsessive email checking and second glances at projects outside of work. This isn’t healthy because the brain needs to unwind after a long day in order to recuperate and rest.
Mobility is becoming more flexible and accessible every day, but with these improvements come vulnerabilities. Cyber-threats are becoming increasingly common, which is an especially worrying risk to any business handling sensitive data. When looking at mobility options, security is the foremost issue that needs to be addressed and planned for. It is entirely possible to have a safe, secure mobile solution, but it takes a lot of planning.
There are many more considerations that need to be taken into account, but these aspects of mobility are some of the most common benefits and problems that businesses experience. To get the full scope of how mobility could affect your business, it’s best to discuss your options with mobility consultants or providers. Planning – both financially and strategically, is essential to execute the perfect mobility system for your business.
When we surveyed 2,810 global CIOs,* both males and females ranked their top priorities as analytics, infrastructure and data center, cloud, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and mobile technologies. However, the genders differed on how much they anticipate their budgets will increase in 2015. Here, female CIOs expect to increase their budgets by 2.4 percent in 2015, whereas male CIOs report average increases of just 0.8 percent. The difference may be attributed to a difference in how they make the business case for funding.
This was the second year in a row that the women in our survey expected greater budget increases than the men. While it’s not entirely clear why this difference exists, additional survey data indicates that women consistently use different metrics than their male counterparts to report value and benefits, and the metrics vary based on their reporting structure.
Female CIOs get increases regardless of reporting structure
According to the data, reporting structure impacts the budgets of male CIOs more significantly and adversely than female CIOs. When male CIOs report to the CEO, they report a significant budget increase (2.8 percent) while the women receive slightly less (2.2 percent), but their budgets remain essentially flat in all other reporting relationships with the exception of the COO reporting where a slight negative budget trend appears.
Female CIOs expect to receive budget increases regardless of reporting line, and most significantly when reporting to the CFO (3.2 percent) and in the “other” category at 4.2 percent. According to the survey, the most common titles included in the “other” category included CIO/enterprise CIO (denoting that the survey respondent was a business unit CIO reporting to the enterprise CIO), director/executive director, vice president, general manager and chief administrative officer (CAO) in that order of frequency. Several of these titles are CEO equivalents, and therefore the budget increase is consistent with the CEO numbers.
“The data shows that both reporting relationship and gender impact the metrics that CIOs use to make prioritization decisions.”
— Tina Nunno, Gartner Fellow
Male and female CIOs apply value metrics differently
The use of project value metrics is critically important to many enterprises as it forms the basis for making prioritization and investment decisions. The gender data reveals several interesting variations. First, female CIOs are 7 percent more likely to use strategic value as a project value metric than their male counterparts (77 percent vs. 70 percent). Moreover, there are interesting variations when the gender data is compared to reporting lines. When the CIO reports to the CEO, women’s use of strategic value as a metric rises to 82 percent, while for men it moves to 71 percent, and the gap becomes more striking.
When the CIO reports to the CEO, 51 percent of women, compared with 37 percent of men, use net present value (NPV). Similarly, more women report using ROI, compared with men (77 percent vs. 67 percent), when reporting to the CEO. CEOs are most often concerned with positive cash flow, associated with the NPV metric, and yield on investments, which is more closely associated with ROI. While this indicates that women adapt more readily to CEO priorities, it may be a signal that male CIOs would benefit from adjusting their metrics more when reporting to CEOs.
One of the most extreme differences in the metrics data appears when the CIO reports to the COO. In this situation, only 12 percent of female CIOs report using NPV, compared with 42 percent of the male CIOs, a 30 percent differential. Their use of ROI becomes virtually identical at 65 percent vs. 66 percent for female and male CIOs, respectively. COOs are most often interested in productivity and efficiency of operations. ROI provides that insight with initial set-up costs and projected incremental expenses and costs. Women CIOs may be tailoring their metrics and messaging more radically by leaving out NPV as a metric if they believe the COO to whom they report is not interested in it.
Male CIOs tell a more CFO-centric story
Ultimately, male CIOs’ use of value metrics varies little across reporting structure. It is interesting to note that the project value metrics are most similar when men and women report to the CFO. In this situation, there is the least variation in the gender results. This reveals the possibility that male CIOs approach value metrics as though they report to the CFO, even when they are reporting elsewhere. Male CIOs must examine whether they are being adaptable enough in their metrics and messaging to suit their reporting structure.
The data shows that both reporting relationship and gender impact the metrics that CIOs use to make prioritization decisions, as well as how they communicate value to the enterprise. Both CIOs and those to whom they report should examine the metrics they use and the gender and organizational dynamics that determine their selection and use.
Give the CEO more insight
Additionally, 32 percent of female CIOs agree that there is a shift from backward-looking reporting to forward-looking analytics, and this compared with 22 percent for male CIOs. This difference becomes more extreme when the CIO reports to the CEO, when the percentages become 42 percent and 23 percent for female and male CIOs, respectively. Predictive data is foundational to strategic outlooks and discussions, and therefore a high priority for many CEOs.
No ideal IT budget number
It is important to note that increasing the IT budget is not a CIO objective in and of itself. However, as executives, both male and female CIOs must have the ability to successfully cut IT costs when appropriate, and convincingly make the case for additional funding when additional investment is appropriate to address the enterprise IT needs. Male and female CIOs must review their use of value metrics and how they position the IT budget to ensure that they can appropriately influence executive leadership in effective IT financial management.
*CIOs responding to the worldwide Gartner CIO Agenda survey represented more than $397 billion in CIO IT budgets in 84 countries. Females totaled 13.6 percent of the respondents.
Tina Nunno, vice president and Gartner Fellow, will examine CIO leadership issues at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015, October 4-8 in Orlando, Florida. This article was written by Gartner Inc. from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
The age of the cloud is upon us, and businesses are really starting to see its potential. While some businesses are holding back from moving to the cloud due to uncertainty, there are a lot of valid benefits to nurturing a cloud culture in your business. If your company is at a point where you are considering joining the movement towards cloud culture, there are some fantastic ways in which you can capitalise on the future of cloud. Here are some ways you can gain a lot by migrating to the cloud:
- No limit to the greatness of your staff – Businesses that utilise the cloud are seeing a rise in their pulling power when it comes to recruitment and retention. Not only are workers attracted to technologically up-to-date firms, but the cloud provides more mobile and better tools for employees to work with. The cloud also opens up opportunities for recruitment that are otherwise impossible, such as people who live too far to commute, or even in different continents and time zones. Cloud mobility allows for a more 24-hour working day with employees accessing their work around the world, improving productivity in the long run.
- Investment in innovation – The landscape of business has changed dramatically over the past few years. Where only a few companies used to be able to apply innovation to their businesses, now the ability to invest in innovation is widespread and firmly within the grasp of many businesses; this is due to saved costs and ease made possible by the cloud. In the new culture of the cloud, your business can effortlessly get to work and generate ideas.
- Keep up-to-date – One of the most useful features of the cloud is the constant stream of tried and tested updates that most cloud providers apply automatically. For instance, you don’t have to worry about downloading up-to-date versions of your vital software while risking viruses in that limbo period between your older and newer versions if you forget. The cloud gives you the ability to get updates quickly and automatically, which also opens up time for your staff that would otherwise be spent on manual IT work.
- Less training – The ease of which you can use cloud-based applications means that staff who come into any given project can immediately start using software that is, if not already native to them, easy to pick up on. Furthermore, due to the universal nature of the cloud, the chances of a colleague close by being able to confidently use and explain applications are also high. Issues of various versions of a product being implemented are also avoided so that it really is easy for everyone to learn and pick up on the same programs.
- Scalability – the return on investment of using the cloud is huge because of its potential to grow with your business. Rather than being chained to lots of physical servers that cost a lot when it comes to maintenance (let alone the costs incurred when wanting to add to your IT infrastructure for expansion) your growth options are so much more flexible and vast when it comes to the cloud.
When you’re looking into a possible shift to the cloud, it’s important to look at all of the potential pitfalls and positives. But because of the prevalence of uncertainty surrounding future-ready tech, it’s easy for businesses to focus on the negative potential of deploying it without fully looking into the huge array of opportunities and positive impacts that it can have on your company. The fact is that cloud-based infrastructures encourage productivity, learning and growth; these are all highly attractive opportunities that are well worth considering capitalising on. Make sure you take your time and do your research and you’ll find the right solution for your business.