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CIO.com - IT industry
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Updated: 59 min 48 sec ago

IDG Contributor Network: Why bi-modal IT doesn't really work

1 hour 52 min ago

On paper, bi-modal IT may make sense. But this practice is not my reality. Transforming IT is a team sport and dividing teams into “old & slow vs. new & fast” does more harm than good. The fact is IT has to chew gum and walk at the same time. 

According to analysts, “Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.”

Tell me. Who wants to be on the Mode 1 team?  

The real challenge is enabling innovation across IT, at the application level, and within the infrastructure, for a solution that is agile and can respond with security that is built-in to accelerate the pace of innovation. Bi-modal IT assumes that IT’s abilities – reliability, scalability and availability – cannot function alongside newer dynamic developments and practices.

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IDG Contributor Network: What would a woman in tech do about the gender gap?

1 hour 56 min ago

The tech industry has done a lot of soul- and talent-searching in recent years to try and improve upon its dismal track record of hiring and promoting women.

According to a McKinsey & Co. study, “only 37% of workers in entry-level positions are female... and women make up only 19% of tech senior vice presidents and 15% of CEOs.” Finding like those have many of the male-dominated boards and leadership teams at tech companies asking, “What should we do?”

My answer? Let’s ask the women of the tech world. Clearly, women CIOs, CTOs and chief digital officers (CDO) who have made it to the top have some valuable insight into reaching the IT industry’s highest levels as a woman. But would they each share similar insights and tips, or would their experiences and ideas vary widely? To find out, I posed this simple question to women IT leaders from around the globe:

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CIO Quick Takes: What you need to know about women in tech

3 hours 5 min ago

Only 19 percent of CIOs at top 1,000 companies in the U.S. are women, according to a study released last year by Korn Ferry, an advisory firm.  (In case you're curious that's better than the number of CEOs and CFOs, which come at  5 percent and 12 percent, respectively. However, it trails the number of CMOs and CHROs, which come in at 29 percent and 55 percent, respectively, according to Korn Ferry data.)

While the roughly 1 out of 5 average is not particularly impressive in terms of diversity, we were curious about what those women IT leaders who climbed the ladder could share with the men and women who work in technology or interact with technology.

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How Myers-Briggs can create a stronger IT team

5 hours 36 min ago

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used personality test in the world today. More than 1.5 million people take the assessment each year. CPP, the company that owns the assessment, makes about $20 million from it annually.

But how useful is the test and what value does it have in the IT world? While it has been widely criticized for lack of scientific rigor and general ineffectiveness as a recruiting, screening and hiring tool, some CIOs use the assessment as a team-building exercise, with great results.

Bill Parks, vice president and CIO at Sonus, first started using the MBTI to enable greater understanding and collaboration within IT project teams, and swears by the assessment to better understand what motivates and drives individual team members.

[ Related story: 6 Soft skills employers should be looking for in tech talent ]

Forming, storming and norming

The MBTI helps Parks quickly identify team members' strengths and weaknesses and he can tailor his management approach to an individual's unique needs. If Parks is working with someone who's consistently changing the project scope or extending deadlines, he knows he needs to break down each stage of the project with a concrete end goal in mind, lest the project drag on. Or, in the case of an introvert, it's important to devote extra time to amplifying their voices and opinions to the more vocal, outgoing team members so critical information or insight isn't overlooked, he says.

"When you're starting a project and you're putting a team together, as you're 'forming, storming and norming,' all hell breaks loose at the beginning because no one knows how to deal with each other. So, if I have six or seven very different folks, I need to get them through the getting-to-know-you stage quickly and also learn about themselves in a very casual way. One of the first times I did this, I was on a Salesforce implementation. I had a finance person, a web developer, a production-support-person-turned-developer and a few other assorted team members. I had them all take the test to help ease the transition and the jockeying for position that can happen at the beginning of the project -- taking the MBTI helped them all realize that each one of them had unique insight and experiences and they all were bringing something to the table that was complementary to each other," Parks says.

This is particularly important in technology, as teams are often in a constant state of churn, or in instances of leadership changes, says Rohinee Mohindroo, a former CIO and CTO, now group president at Flamingo Ventures.

"I've used personality assessments like this in the past as a CIO, and most recently at Flamingo at the leadership level as sort of an 'ice breaker' exercise. Typically, they're helpful when you're in a new organization, or inheriting a new team to set a baseline for rules of engagement and team norms and preferences -- particularly in technology, it can be awkward and challenging to have these types of conversations, but using an assessment can really help get these conversations going," says Mohindroo.

But what it comes down to is fostering greater emotional IQ and empathy, Parks says, which is one of the most important elements in building successful, high-performing teams.

"It's honestly about focusing on the positive aspects of people on the team instead of bitching about the negatives or trying to undermine or dismiss teammates because they have different capabilities. Having my team members take the assessment helps them to look deeper within themselves and to consider their team members in new, compassionate ways, and to do this organically," Parks says.

[ Related story: Top leadership quality isn't what you'd expect ]

Safety dance

Tools like the MBTI can help foster a sense of psychological safety and trust, which are necessary to the building and maintaining of successful teams, as Google found when they set out to discover how to build the 'Perfect Team.'

Psychological safety is "a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up. It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves," writes Amy Edmundson, a Harvard Business School professor, in her study, Managing the risk of learning: psychological safety in work teams.

[ Related story: How company culture can make or break your business ]

Pulling weeds

For Parks, tools like MBTI help create and strengthen that sense of psychological safety and trust by signaling the importance of personal understanding and empathy, and weeding out toxic personalities and tendencies before they have a chance to sabotage a project.

"The hard truth is there are people who are poison. They take pleasure in other people's pain, they gossip incessantly, they aren't interested in being in a group and they are lacking in emotional EQ. They don't contribute to a team's effectiveness, and they don't last long. If you identify these folks early on, you can mitigate this, but you have to get rid of them. It's harsh, but they will erode the team dynamic into dust in no time," he says.

Tools like the MBTI can also help engender diversity of thought within teams and the larger organization, says Mohindroo, and to identify areas where you need to mix things up a bit to try and spark innovation and creativity.

"We talk a lot about diversity, and at the core of that is diversity of thought -- that's what drives great results. Now, Myers-Briggs and other personality assessments are just tools you can use to get at these deeper issues, and they do have their limitations. But it's a good general overview of how much diversity of thought and experience you have on any given team," she says.

Should you have your IT teams take a personality assessment like the MBTI? Obviously, that's a very individual decision, says Mohindroo; she doesn't believe it should be used as the sole decision-making factor when hiring or assigning roles within a project, but it could serve other purposes.

"I think it's a bit extreme to use it as the be-all, end-all indicator of success or failure. I wouldn't suggest any one assessment or tool be used in that way. But for conversation starters, fostering better communication, it's a good start," she says.

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Enterprise showdown: 5 ways the iPhone beats the Galaxy S8

5 hours 51 min ago

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is an impressive smartphone thanks to its high-end design and Super AMOLED Infinity Display. But, while the S8 does a lot of things better than the iPhone 7 Plus, there are still plenty of reasons why the iPhone 7 Plus is better for the enterprise.

While you can't go wrong with either device, businesses might want to consider these five reasons to adopt the iPhone 7 plus instead of the Galaxy S8.

iMessage

The most glaring difference between the latest iPhone and Galaxy models is a lack of iMessage on Android. The popular messaging app is restricted to the iOS and MacOS ecosystem -- and it might be a selling point if most of your contacts use an iPhone.

For the enterprise, iMessage is encrypted out of the box, while on Android, you need to download a third-party app (like WhatsApp) to get the same end-to encryption. And if your business is international, iMessage is free iPhone to iPhone, so you won't incur any SMS fees when employees travel.

Continuity

If your company relies heavily on iOS and MacOS, then the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 plus offer the best in continuity. The iPhone, Mac and iPad are designed to work seamlessly across one another -- you can start an email on one device and finish it on another. You can even make and receive phone calls from a Macbook if your iPhone is nearby.

The best part is it's built into every Apple device, so IT won't have to purchase or support a third-party solution. It's easy to maintain and requires little on IT's end. Plus, it's an ecosystem that most workers will be familiar with, allowing them to stay productive.

[ Related story: 5 underrated features of the Samsung Galaxy S8 ]

User-friendly OS

Android has come a long way in ease-of-use, and that's especially true on the S8. Samsung's latest Android skin features less bloatware than ever before and it's more intuitive than stock Android. But it's still nowhere near as user-friendly as iOS.

There's a lot more to customize in Android, but with that comes more opportunity for feature-overload. Apple's devices work, and they work well. In contrast, a device like the S8 will take a little more effort to get it the way you want it.

Apple is at an advantage because the company builds its hardware and software, whereas Android is adopted by different manufacturers. Apple's closed eco system means they can optimize their already lightweight OS to work as best it can on the iPhone and iPad.

The user-friendly nature of iOS also means there's less of a learning curve if IT departments deploy iPhones. Chances are, most of your company is currently using or has already used an iPhone in the past, so IT can spend less time training, answering questions or troubleshooting.

Apps

Android apps are looking better than ever -- and with some, like Spotify, there's hardly a difference between the iOS and Android versions. And, while Android mobile apps might be catching up, that's only true on smartphones. There are far more apps on iOS that are optimized for the iPhone and iPad, while Android apps are severely lacking for tablets.

The reality is Android apps aren't a priority for app developers; it's easier to develop on iOS and expand to Android once it gains popularity. That means it's also easier for businesses to build enterprise apps on iOS and deploy them quickly. They won't have to consider developing for multiple platforms or hardware.

Fingerprint Scanner

The worst feature on the Galaxy S8 is the fingerprint scanner, which is located on the back of the device right next to the camera. You'll get used to it -- I have -- but you will smudge your camera more often than you'd like. And it's not as intuitive as a fingerprint scanner built into the home button, a feature most of us have grown used to.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus still have the fingerprint scanner in the home button, which will help IT ensure that employees are using secure unlock methods. And that's especially true since the Galaxy S8 facial recognition can be tricked with a selfie. Giving everyone easy access to a home-button fingerprint scanner will make it easier for IT to ensure enterprise mobile devices are properly secured.

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CEOs' lack of success metrics dampens digital prospects

April 24, 2017 - 8:38pm

CEOs view digital technologies as a vital engine to drive revenue growth and boost the bottom line, creating runways for CIOs to innovate and create their way to new customer-facing capabilities. But with most CEOs lacking a coherent definition of digital and fewer than half of CEOS lacking a success metric for their digital efforts, measuring whether their efforts are paying off is difficult.

Gartner analyst Mark Raskino, who surveyed 388 CEOs during the fourth quarter of 2016, says CEOs' definitions run the gamut from "paperless" services automated by computers (the '90s definition of digital) to ecommerce and digital marketing (the early 2000s definition) to more modern digital tools, including internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Such inconsistency threatens the viability of digital business efforts, Raskino says.

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Bringing AI to enterprise integration

April 21, 2017 - 10:15pm

Driving long distances (or using New York City's subway system) used to be a much more complicated affair, generally requiring maps, a sense of direction, some luck and the occasional stop to ask questions of strangers.

Turn-by-turn navigation apps have changed all that: You may still take a wrong turn along the way, but the apps usually get you back on track with little fuss. Self-service integration specialist SnapLogic is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help its customers achieve that sort of turn-by-turn navigation when it comes to enterprise integration.

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IDG Contributor Network: The disruption and promise of artificial intelligence

April 21, 2017 - 5:20pm

There’s no shortage of books, news articles and comments in social media about how artificial intelligence (A.I.) is shaping our future. Although it’s still blazing a trail, we’re on the brink of A.I. disruption that will change all industries and society at a very deep and fundamental level. I believe it will be one of the next great wealth generators.

My optimism about A.I.’s growing potential arises from many successful use case examples as clear evidence that A.I. is now getting the scale, maturity and the ecosystem in which it can be effective. Although A.I. has been developing for 20 to 30 years, it’s gaining enough elements necessary for a supporting ecosystem.

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Cushman & Wakefield CIO builds innovation through partnerships

April 21, 2017 - 4:03pm

Intense competition in the $2 trillion commercial real estate market is driving technology startups to pitch property sellers on their latest applications to help close sales. Adam Stanley, CIO of commercial real estate powerhouse Cushman & Wakefield, has a system in place to vet those pesky vendors.

Cushman & Wakefield

Adam Stanley, CIO of Cushman & Wakefield.

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IDG Contributor Network: 3 foundational characteristics needed for social media success

April 21, 2017 - 3:19pm

With over 2.5 billion worldwide users, the flow of information on social media moves at an unprecedented speed. As businesses everywhere are learning, being successful in social media marketing is not as simple as it looks.

A captivating post requires a great deal of research and planning. When done correctly, social media can do wonders to spread brand messaging to widespread audiences. In fact, a report by Social Media Examiner found that nearly 90 percent of marketers claimed their social media efforts were responsible for increasing business exposure last year.

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CW@50: A look at life on the job in IT through cartoons

April 21, 2017 - 11:30am
February 2013: Managing expectations

Image by John Klossner, © Computerworld

People in other walks of life may tend to think that tech careers are all about high salaries, signing bonuses, flexible schedules and state-of-the-art offices boasting beanbag chairs, Ping-Pong tables, espresso makers and unlimited artisanal snacks.

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Linux, PCs and Trump’s ‘Buy American’ problem

April 21, 2017 - 11:00am

Some PCs are assembled in the U.S., but not many. This includes those from Lenovo, the China-based firm that runs a factory in North Carolina. Apple operates a Mac Pro assembly plant in Austin, but makes many of its other products overseas.

Lenovo and Apple may have an edge in selling PCs to the U.S., under President Donald Trump's recently signed "Hire American, Buy American" executive order signed this week, say analysts.

All PCs are made with components sourced globally, but vendors that assemble products in the U.S. may gain preference. Trump's executive order doesn't spell out how "buying American" will work for IT suppliers -- if it happens at all.

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IDG Contributor Network: Adaptive intelligence for improved human-robot interactions with patients

April 20, 2017 - 5:00pm

Humans are collaborating with unlikely partners to improve infectious disease environments. They are partnering with robots. Human-robot interaction (HRI) is the study of the interactions between humans and robots. This field is multidisciplinary and covers human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, robotics, natural language understanding, design and social sciences. Combining the best of science fiction, academic speculation and healthcare optimism, we are ready to explore the future of HRI.

The three laws of robotics

Safe interactions are essential, whether we’re talking about artificial intelligence, machine learning or HRI. As artificial intelligence advances and the line between robotics and humans blurs, the human-robot relationship becomes more complex. Separate, not shared, workspaces, the establishment of safe zones, and the presence of humans represent attempts to decrease the risk of people being injured by robots in our quest to inject more technology into efforts to solve human problems.

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MongoDB database as a service offering goes global

April 20, 2017 - 4:14pm

MongoDB today announced that it has expanded support for its MongoDB Atlas database as a service offering to 14 Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions across the globe. MongoDB Atlas is a cloud-based version of the company's open source, NoSQL document-oriented database.

When it launched the service in June of 2016, MongoDB made it available only in the five AWS regions that offered three availability zones to ensure the best availability and performance. But its users' global footprint, the pressures of data sovereignty and compliance regulations and the need for operational databases to be close to the applications they power all made it clear that the footprint needed to grow, says Sahir Azam, vice president, Cloud, MongoDB.

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Trump’s H-1B reform resolves few questions

April 20, 2017 - 1:58pm

U.S. President Donald Trump signed his so-called “Buy American, Hire American" executive order on Tuesday, aimed in part reforming the H-1B visa process for temporary foreign workers. The order clarifies that the new administration does indeed intend to address the visa program -- heavily used by IT outsourcers both foreign and domestic — this year. However, the details of the proposed reforms — and the powers of the executive branch to compel changes to the system — remain murky.

[ Related: Trump to order wholesale H-1B reform ]

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Facebook aims to let people type from their brain, hear with skin

April 20, 2017 - 5:43am

Facebook revealed Wednesday that it is working on technology to let people type straight from their brains at 100 words per minute.

A team of over 60 scientists, engineers and others at its secretive Building 8 research lab are working in the area Facebook describes as silent speech communications. Another project is directed at allowing people to hear with their skin, for which the company is building the necessary hardware and software.

“So what if you could type directly from your brain?” Regina Dugan, vice president of engineering and Building 8, asked Wednesday at F8, Facebook’s annual two-day developer conference.

For Facebook, the question seems to be far from speculative. “Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech,” Dugan wrote in a Facebook post. The executive has previously headed an advanced technology and projects group at Google and was earlier director of the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). "It sounds impossible but it is closer than you may realize," she said.

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Procter & Gamble names Coke IT vet as new CIO

April 19, 2017 - 10:37pm

Procter & Gamble today announced Javier Polit as its new CIO, replacing Linda Clement-Holmes, who is retiring after 35 years with the consumer packaged goods company. Polit, who assumed the position on April 17, joined P&G after working at The Coca Cola Company since 2003 and as global CIO of the beverage maker's Bottling Investments Group (BIG) since 2007.

Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble's new CIO Javier Polit as its new CIO.

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Humans are (still) the weakest cybersecurity link

April 19, 2017 - 7:56pm

Humans remain the weak link in corporate data protection, but you might be surprised that it isn't only rank-and-file employees duped by phishing scams who pose risks. Some companies are lulled into a false sense of cybersecurity by vendors. You read that right:Some enterprises believe the shiny new technologies they've acquired will protect them from anything.

Just ask Theodore Kobus, leader of BakerHostetler’s Privacy and Data Protection team.

BakerHostetler

Theodore Kobus, BakerHostetler’s Privacy and Data Protection team.

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IDG Contributor Network: The state of the industry: the biggest regional tech trends of 2016

April 19, 2017 - 5:00pm

It’s become a cliché, but still rings true: 2016 was yet another milestone year for the U.S. tech industry. Employment rose nearly 3 percent, according to CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2017 report, our annual comprehensive analysis of the nation’s tech industry. IT sector hiring accounted for approximately 10 percent of all jobs added to the U.S. economy last year.

Even with a net gain of 182,000-plus jobs, U.S. employers posted job openings for more than 626,000 core technology positions during the fourth quarter of 2016.

As the tech sector continues to mature, regional differences have become more pronounced, but some industry trends ignore geographic boundaries. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the report:

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Baidu will share autonomous vehicle technology

April 19, 2017 - 5:15am

Hoping to get self-driving vehicle companies to share a common platform rather than design from scratch, Baidu said Tuesday it would offer its technology for autonomous driving to other companies, while also partnering in the sourcing of components and hardware.

Baidu will offer a vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud data services, and will open source code and capabilities in obstacle perception, trajectory planning, vehicle control, vehicle operating systems and other functions, as well as a set of testing tools, it said in a statement.

The project called Apollo, after the U.S. moon missions, could help speed up the development of self-driving cars, making the technology available sooner to smaller car makers and users at a more competitive price.

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