How to build a resilient IT culture

The pandemic has underscored the importance of thriving through hardship and uncertainty. IT leaders discuss how they’re adjusting their leadership practices to help foster this key IT trait for the long haul.

The word ‘resilient’ is cropping up a lot lately as a cultural cornerstone for coping with the pressures the pandemic has foisted on IT. CIOs have played a significant role in enabling organization-wide remote work strategies at speed while accelerating digital initiatives central to the business in uncertain times.

For many, the ability to shift gears, double down and navigate hardship has been a testament to an IT culture capable of withstanding and recovering quickly from difficult challenges. For others, rising to the occasion has been a crash course in resilience, offering hard-earned lessons in what it will take to thrive in IT in the months and years to come.

“The last few months have been a huge social experiment for every company around the world,’’ says Jacqui Guichelaar, CIO of Cisco, who adds that many leaders discovered their staffs can be just as productive working remotely as in the office. The upshot? Leaders must model certain behaviors in this new way of working, she says. “Traditional tactics don’t work in the new reality.”

Here, IT leaders discuss what makes an IT organization resilient, and how they are adjusting their leadership practices to ensure IT can foster this key trait for the long haul.

Put people first
Keep connected
Find common purpose
Foster career growth
Establish mutual respect
Take care of yourself as well

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7 attributes every IT leader must have

November 18, 2020/in Articles, Dallas IT News, dallas technology news, IT Job News, IT News, News /by admin

Leadership has little to do with one’s title or seniority; it’s an attribute that’s earned over time through study, practice and commitment. Are you prepared to become a true leader?

Becoming a true IT leader — someone who inspires teams to consistently reach new heights — requires skills that can only be acquired over time through hard work and a commitment to succeed.

Transformational leaders are typically described as lively, passionate, engaging and energetic. Such individuals aren’t focused only on helping teams achieve their planned goals; they also work hard to help team members reach their full potential.

Becoming a respected and prized leader isn’t easy, but it’s a goal within reach of just about anyone who’s willing to commit to the task. Here are seven fundamental attributes every IT leader needs to possess — and how to acquire them.

  1. Agility
  2. Vision
  3. Empathy
  4. Steadiness
  5. Authenticity
  6. Accessibility
  7. Curiosity

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10 tips for modernizing legacy IT systems

November 14, 2020/in Articles, Dallas IT News, IT News, News /by admin

IT modernization is a key component for establishing an agile, responsive enterprise. IT leaders lend advice on how to transform legacy tech into digital assets.

This year’s extraordinary events have accentuated the need for a modern technology environment agile and responsive enough to meet rapidly changing business dynamics — whether those are emerging revenue opportunities or work-from-home mandates.

And that means having a strategic plan for modernizing legacy apps.

“Getting rid of legacy is a perennial issue, but modernization is a top issue now more than ever,” says Diane Carco, president and CEO of management consulting company Swingtide and a former CIO.

CIOs see modernization as critical for delivering better quality software faster, running IT with more controls and insights, integrating more security, and more quickly meeting the needs of the business, according to The State of Modern Applications in the Enterprise, a 2020 report released by cloud solutions provider Ahead.

IT has plenty of work ahead to achieve those objectives, as 26% of organizations are only at the beginning stages of IT modernization, while 19% have made only moderate progress, according to The State of IT Modernization 2020 report from IDG and tech company Insight.

To move your modernization initiative forward, Carco and other leading technologists advise keeping the following 10 tips in mind.

1. Know what you have
2. Prioritize projects based on business value
3. Calculate total cost of ownership
4. Create a business-backed modernization roadmap
5. Take an incremental approach
6. Elimination is a viable option
7. Don’t shortchange governance
8. Be selective with microservices
9. Skip ahead
10. Take a product-based approach

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With IT salaries dropping, some hard-earned skills still pay

Employers are still willing to pay highly skilled IT staff a premium — but certification is making much less of a difference than it used to, a study shows.

Even with more IT workers looking for jobs in the wake of COVID-19 than were prior to the pandemic, highly skilled staff are able to demand higher pay. Increasingly, however, it’s on-the-job experience and not certifications that employers are valuing the most.

The average premium paid for tech certifications fell to 6.8% of base salary in the third quarter, the lowest in 7 years, according to Foote Partners’ latest IT Skills & Certifications Pay Index, while non-certified skills earned workers an average bonus of 9.6% of base salary, the same as in the previous quarter — and the highest in the past 20 years.

Those bonuses are all the more important to employees when, as Foote Partners found in a separate survey of IT jobs, not yet published, salaries dropped over the past year for 41% of job titles. Among those titles hardest hit are jobs in mobile platform computing, business systems analysis, .NET, digital product development, IT architecture, enterprise messaging, web systems, and SAP. Overall, across the 516 certifications the company tracks, the average premium for certifications declined by 1.5% during the quarter, and by 6.7% over the year to Oct. 1.

In some categories, notably cybersecurity, architecture and project management, the decline accelerated in the third quarter, although there was a slight increase in bonus pay offered for some certifications in networking, communications, app development and programming languages during the same period.

6 hidden risks of IT automation

Automation is increasingly seen as a key IT strategy for competitive advantage, but pitfalls await those who fail to heed precautions.

Across nearly every industry automation is fast becoming king. Whether it’s through IT automation, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) or some other means of eliminating or reducing manual processes, enterprises across the spectrum seek to speed up all manner of functions to remain competitive — and IT is right in the middle of this movement.

The potential benefits of automating processes can be compelling: faster completion of tasks with fewer errors and at lower costs, for example. It’s not surprising then, that demand for automation tools is on the rise.

A September 2020 report by research firm Gartner projects that global RPA software revenue will reach $1.89 billion in 2021, an increase of 20 percent from 2020. Despite economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the RPA market is still expected to grow at double-digit rates through 2024, the firm says.

Among the key drivers for RPA deployments is the ability to improve process quality, speed, and productivity, each of which is increasingly important as enterprises aim to meet the demands of cost reduction during the crisis, Gartner says.

The report predicts that 90 percent of large organizations worldwide will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022, “as they look to digitally empower critical business processes through resilience and scalability, while recalibrating human labor and manual effort.”

Automation can also come with risks, however, if organizations don’t take the needed precautions or if they fall into bad practices. Here are some issues and strategic misfires to look out for when deploying automation in the enterprise, so you can avoid unnecessary risk.

·        Automating processes before optimizing them
·        Allowing ‘automation complacency’ to take hold
·        Poor communication among stakeholders
·        Process automation misfit
·        Overlooking end user input
·        No consideration of interaction design

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The hidden costs of outsourcing

Calculating the total cost of IT services has always been a challenge, but the changing nature of IT coupled with unexpected expenses revealed during the COVID-19 crisis could leave your organization exposed to even more surprises charges.

One of the biggest mistakes an IT organization can make when outsourcing is failing to consider the total cost of the relationship — including all the hidden costs that are likely to accrue. Historically, there has been little incentive for service providers to bring these looming financial risks out into the open, so customers must be diligent about identifying these additional expenses in order to manage or eliminate them.

“Motivated customers can take this a step further and press their potential providers for greater transparency in the sourcing process. If you want to avoid unexpected costs cropping up, push your vendor to be clear about what’s included and what to expect if the engagement flexes or scales,” says Phil Fersht, CEO of outsourcing advisory and research firm HfS Research. “More importantly, the whole industry needs to get past its transactional heritage and start pushing towards genuine partnerships that are invested in mutual success.”

Veteran IT leaders understand this. But these issues have only gotten thornier. Outsourcing customers and their providers have shifted from traditional software and infrastructure solutions to cloud and everything-as-a-service. Moreover, new ways of working have been adopted to enable agile digital transformation. Add to all that the unprecedented disruption of a global pandemic.

“As most of the hidden costs are more nuanced and exaggerated than they were two years ago, it is even more critical to ensure recipients understand the impacts, know how they manifest, and ensure there is familiarity with the desired outcomes,” says Craig Wright, managing director with business transformation and outsourcing advisory firm Pace Harmon.

As always, the onus is on the buyer to beware. To that end, here are some of the most common hidden costs likely to emerge during the course of an outsourcing engagement today.

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CIOs grapple with how to jumpstart innovation amid pandemic

September 24, 2020/in Articles, Information Technology, IT, IT News /by admin

IT leaders turn to emerging technologies from strategic vendors and VC partners to help keep collaboration and innovation humming in a work world gone remote due to the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred a proliferation of rapid-fire transformations, with IT leaders working through punch lists of priorities aimed at preserving business continuity. But with work from home (WFH) decrees eliminating workplace tête-à-têtes, CIOs are wondering what will happen to serendipitous innovation.

As much as CIOs like to boast about IT staff productivity since they were sent home in March, simulating the water-cooler conversation that can spark fresh ideas is difficult. And humans who have glazed through scripted back-to-back Zoom sessions all day are unlikely to pivot to an ad-hoc meeting to expound on The Next Big Idea. Frustration borne by Zoom fatigue and the lack of face-to-face interaction mounts.

“This is going to prove to be very challenging,” says Craig Williams, CIO of networking company Ciena.

The pandemic could have come at a worse time

It’s hard to argue that a pandemic is well-timed, but when the coronavirus gripped the U.S., CIOs, who had met with their C-suites and boards in late 2019 to strategize their IT roadmap for 2020, were already executing on their digital strategy, says Carol Fawcett, CIO of Golden State Foods, a purveyor of condiments, dipping sauces and other foods for McDonald’s, Starbucks and other brands.

Inspired CIOs and their teams executed on their digital strategy, accelerating moves to Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another equivalent, boosting VPN licenses and network capacity and accelerating migrations to cloud software. They reprioritized projects as needed, Fawcett says.

Fresh research from the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey suggests this momentum will continue, as 47 percent of 4,200 IT leaders surveyed say COVID-19 has permanently accelerated digital transformation and adoption of emerging technology.

Read more HERE

The 7 most popular IT pilot projects today

The coronavirus pandemic has IT leaders shaking up IT priorities, with innovation pilots shifting to areas and technologies best suited to set up their organizations for near-term success.

Tech spending is trending downward, with multiple studies showing IT is once again being asked to do more with less.

A July report issued by research firm Gartner said worldwide IT spending in 2020 will drop 7.9 percent from last year’s figure. IDC in May predicted a 5.1 percent decline in worldwide IT spending. And a survey of 100 IT leaders from Apptio found that 80 percent feel pressure to cut IT spend, while 50 percent have already cut budgets.

CIOs are clearly tightening budgets as the pandemic and its economic fallout have forced cost-cutting measures across many organizations. Yet these same events are also driving the need for new tech-enabled services. The Apptio survey, for example, found that 63 percent of the IT leaders report an increase in demand for IT capabilities. As such, CIOs continue to move forward with innovation-aimed projects — albeit more selectively.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2020

Between the pandemic and the subsequent economic upheaval, these are challenging times for everyone. But the networking industry has some elements in its favor. Technologies such as Wi-Fi, VPNs, SD-WAN, videoconferencing and collaboration are playing an essential role in maintaining business operations and will play an even greater role in the reopening and recovery phase.

At the same time, it has become obvious that as enterprises continue to migrate applications to the cloud, data-center networking will cease to be a high-growth industry. So what are the most powerful networking companies doing? They’re diversifying, expanding into new product areas, and moving up the stack beyond nuts-and-bolts connectivity and into areas such as hybrid-cloud management and the automation of networking processes.

This year’s list of the 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking includes traditional networking powerhouses, with an emphasis on the extent to which they’ve embraced these new approaches, along with pure-play market leaders in areas such as wireless networking and hyperconverged infrastructure. (Editor’s note: Power is a subjective quality, and this list is not a ranking based on simple, quantifiable metrics. Our list is ordered, with input from industry watchers, to reflect the companies that are making the biggest power moves and the broadest impact on the network industry.)

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What is NoOps? The quest for fully automated IT operations

Automation has IT leaders eyeing the possibility of environments with no hands-on operations work. But this evolution of DevOps may be more pipedream than practical reality.

Automation has become a widely used tool for streamlining IT operations, and Mindtree is one such organization removing manual processes from its infrastructure as it moves toward delivering a more fully automated environment.

The consulting and managed service provider’s strategy follows an ambitious goal prevalent in many tech organizations: To get away from the conventional work of IT operations and let machines handle it instead.

Such an environment, where there’s virtually no hands-on operations work, could deliver a faster, more frictionless development and deployment experience — meaning better turnaround times for business requests for new functions and services, says Rene Head, global vice president of infrastructure at Mindtree.

“It’s not just about IT delivery excellence; it’s a win for the business as well,” Head says.

That’s the promise of NoOps, an emerging IT trend that is pushing some organizations beyond the automation provided by DevOps to an infrastructure environment that requires no operations work.

What is NoOps?

NoOps is the idea that the software environment can be so completely automated that there’s no need for an operations team to manage it. NoOps, for “no operations,” is a concept that pushes forward a trend that has been on the march for a decade or more.

To be clear, NoOps is not the same as outsourcing your IT operations. It’s not about moving to SaaS or the cloud and expecting those vendors to run operations — although both managed service providers, such as Mindtree, and cloud companies are indeed on the NoOps journey themselves to gain more speed and agility in their own infrastructure.

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6 soft skills IT needs to succeed in the digital era

When it comes to transformation, tech expertise goes only so far. IT leaders must look for and develop traits not traditionally required for technologists in order to succeed in the years ahead.

As their companies seize on automation, AI and other leading-edge technologies to remake themselves into digital organizations, they’re finding they don’t have the skills they need.

Consider some numbers released by Gartner this fall: The IT research firm found that 70 percent of employees have not mastered the skills they need for their existing jobs while 80 percent lack the skills they need now and for future career success.

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The 8 biggest IT management mistakes

July 15, 2019/in Articles, Dallas IT Managers, IT Management, IT Managers /by admin

Sure, nobody’s perfect. But for those in charge of enterprise technology, the fallout from a strategic gaffe, bad hire, or weak spine can be disastrous. Here’s how to avoid (or recover from) big-time IT leadership mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes. Most are harmless, some are embarrassing but forgivable, and some can take your career — or your company — down with them.

Some of the most common IT gaffes include becoming trapped in a relationship with a vendor you can’t shake loose, hiring or promoting the wrong people, and hiding problems from top management until it’s too late to recover.

When you’re in charge of enterprise technology, the risks are much higher and the fallout from mistakes can be much worse. So we’ve ranked them by order of severity: Level 1 (an embarrassing story you’d tell over a beer, but maybe not right away); Level 2 (one you can recover from, but don’t expect to be on the fast track for promotion); and Level 3 (you’re fired).

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7 ways IT leaders derail their careers

Falling off track is easy when you make a mistake that can turn a career superstar into a bit player.

The moment typically arrives without warning. An IT career that showed every sign of success — steady promotions, salary increases, a better office — suddenly slams to a halt. You’re fired, demoted or involuntarily plateaued. What happened?

It’s impossible to rebuild a broken career without first understanding how it was derailed. The “Success Express” frequently slips off the rails due to a mistake, oversight, offense or miscalculation made in total innocence or ignorance. Often, the victim doesn’t even realize that he or she has made a career-crippling move.

1. Not looking beyond IT

2. Failing to acquire critical non-IT skills

3. Neglecting business relationships

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The 10 most in-demand technology certifications for data and IT pros

In the world of IT and data management, certifications are important benchmarks that many organizations value when looking to hire people to fill various roles. And at a time when enterprises are especially hungry for certain skills, documentation that’s mapped to a specific skill set based on standardized testing is useful to employers as well as professionals.

The most in-demand data management certifications today reflect where many organizations are placing their emphasis as they look to leverage information resources.

Among the most popular certifications, according to technology staffing and consulting firm Robert Half Technology, are:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Cloud Platform Infrastructure
  • Java
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • DevOps
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect
  • .NET
  • Agile and Scrum
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate/Cisco Certified Network Professional
  • VMware
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional

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Top Five Reasons Tech Pros Should Earn Professional Certificates

eWEEK DATA POINTS: New IT jobs will require adeptness in relatively new fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. Better get prequalified.

It’s no secret that tech automation is poised to upend many traditional careers. The good news is that if you have the right technical background, your skills are in greater demand than ever. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Consumer Technology Association, 92% of employers reported that they’ll “need more employees with technical skills.”

Many of these jobs will require adeptness in relatively new fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science.

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What an IT career will look like in 5 years

Emerging technologies and shifting workplace demands are reshaping the IT career horizon. Here are the changes experts see unfolding for IT roles and how IT work gets done.

If you sketched out how IT roles will change in the coming years, you’d likely envision tech roles maturing around emerging and high-value technologies, such as AI, data science, and the cloud, as well as a continuing focus on security across industries and business divisions.

These topics frequently came up in our discussions with tech leaders about the near future of IT roles. But so too did surprising insights — including potential new positions that don’t exist today.

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7 ways to make IT operations more efficient

Chances are your enterprise’s IT operations could use some improvement. Here are tips for getting key services on the fast track to higher performance and cost savings.

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6 soft skills IT needs to succeed in the digital era

When it comes to transformation, tech expertise goes only so far. IT leaders must look for and develop traits not traditionally required for technologists in order to succeed in the years ahead.

Read more here

10 bad IT hires to avoid

A bad IT hire can have a crippling ripple effect on team productivity. Here, IT leaders share their IT hiring horror stories — and tips on how they could have been avoided.

Tech leaders who’ve been in business for a while will recognize this scenario: A new hire who looks great on paper (or LinkedIn) gets a desk, an ID card and an attitude. Your promising new IT staffer is turning into a bad hire horror story.

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9 career lies IT pros tell themselves

IT lifers who see promotions and bleeding-edge projects handed to their colleagues may end up telling themselves it’s just a fluke, when in fact, their career path is stalling. And while it pays to fight for good opportunities rather than take flight from a problem, being in denial about your career can hurt your chance to make a correction.

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Essential traits of business-driven IT leaders

The CIO role is quickly transforming into one responsible for driving business change. Here’s how to shake up your approach and envision — and realize — positive business outcomes.

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13 signs your software project may be doomed

14 top paying big data jobs

14 top paying big data jobs | Information Management

Opinion The biggest data breaches and digital security threats of 2019

Winning the war for talent

Software projects can get derailed before you know it. Here are the subtle warning signs that your latest app dev initiative isn’t going quite as well as it seems. Read more…

What are the top IT jobs by salary?

Top IT salaries cluster around the current need for data analysis, cloud, and security expertise. Let’s look at top roles by salary

According to the Robert Half Technology 2019 salary guide (a trusted resource with data for more than 75 positions in the IT field), here are the top IT jobs by salary for 2019, ranked by national median salary:

1. Big data engineer: $155,000

2. Mobile applications developer: $143,500

3. Information systems security manager: $139,000

4. Applications architect: $135,750

5. Data architect: $133,500

6. Database manager: $129,500

7. Data security analyst: $125,500

8. Software engineer: $124,500

9. Wireless network engineer: $122,000

10. Data scientist: $121,500

Some other hot IT hiring areas worth mentioning include DevOps and cloud. DevOps salaries remain competitive because employers are competing for people with experience in a relatively new specialty. That means with some project work, you can transition into a DevOps-oriented job from a more traditional role.

Some other hot IT hiring areas worth mentioning include DevOps and cloud. DevOps salaries remain competitive because employers are competing for people with experience in a relatively new specialty. That means with some project work, you can transition into a DevOps-oriented job from a more traditional role.

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Want faster IT? Stop thinking like an IT engineer

Engineers may build a race car when the user asked for a bicycle. Here’s how IT leaders can encourage a more humanistic approach to problem-solving

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