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High Performing CIOs: Mastering IT Landscapes Print E-mail

High performers in IT are finding novel ways to optimize by holding down costs and streamlining processes across their organizations. They are also actively driving innovation and top-line growth.

Here are some select highlights of Accenture’s recent High Performance IT Research Report


High performing IT leaders see IT as a strategic asset that can help them renew vital aspects f their operations by enabling optimization and innovation within the organization. These IT leaders are investing in the digital tools, capabilities, and skills to more easily pinpoint useful data, evaluate it, excerpt it, analyze it, derive insights from it, share it, manage it, comment on it, report on it, and, most important, act on it.

Primary IT Focus: The Customer

High performing CIOs are using digital tools and systems to push for excellence across all three dimensions of High Performance IT: IT innovation, IT agility, and IT execution.

What does this mean for your organization?


According to Accenture, While most organizations continue to be internally focused on cost, productivity, and processes, high performers’ foremost objectives are related to improving the customer’s experience.

1. They are concerned about providing the right information to the right person—customer, partner, or employee—at the right time.

2. They are seeking better ways to interact with their customers.

3. They are keen to deliver new services or products to them.

High performers’ top three business objectives are related to customers needs.

The research demonstrates that High performers’ front-office applications are among their portfolio’s best performing applications in terms of technical and business adequacy—and the poorest for all other organizations found a considerable gap between the high performers and others in this regard: nearly one-third of high performers’ customer interactions are already completely self-service, with seamless interfaces across channels (for example, mobile, social media, and the Web); the comparable figure for other companies is only about one-fifth, or 21 percent.

Mastering a hybrid IT environment

The research results prove that high performers are taking advantage of all that a new hybrid approach (private and public clouds) coexisting with existing systems—has to offer.

The research also shows that high performers will expand their cloud footprint faster than other organizations by migrating a larger proportion of their workloads to private clouds by 2015 and high performers are further along in their transition to private and public clouds and increasingly to the public cloud by 2020. 


For more detail on the characteristics of the high IT performer, please see the full report here.

 

Published by myCIOview.com 

 

 

 
Securing DNS Infrastructure & Preventing DNS Attacks Print E-mail

The Domain Name System, also known as DNS, is the backbone of all Web services. The DNS infrastructure provides links between all of the data on the Web functioning as a directory system for services and applications on the Internet. When a DNS infrastructure is disrupted, it can bring a company or website down entirely. For this reason, malicious attackers often target the DNS infrastructure of a website or Web service when trying to disrupt a business.

The most common forms of DNS disruption

By far, the most commonly used type of DNS disruption attack is known as a DDoS or distributed denial-of-service attack. A DDoS attack uses a distributed network of computers to suddenly flood a DNS server with requests until the server simply cannot respond to requests anymore and becomes non-responsive. A DDoS attack is sometimes used alone or as the first stage in a more complex attack plan. Many large companies and even governments have been brought to their knees by a carefully planned DDoS attack.

A secondary form of DNS attack is called cache-poisoning. Cache-poisoning involves changing the data on a DNS server through security vulnerabilities and redirecting users to a different site entirely. Cache-poisoning is usually detected fairly quickly and can be defended against through the use of proper security methods, and thus isn't one of the primary methods used against a DNS infrastructure.

Preventing DNS attacks on the cloud

The average DDoS attack lasts 54 minutes and costs $22,000 per minute, Companies need to protect themselves from DDoS attacks preemptively, as they can occur suddenly and take a website down within minutes. Many cloud platforms today have built-in DDoS protection, sometimes as a paid for monthly service. Unfortunately, these DDoS protection services may be easy to bypass. The cloud infrastructure as a whole is less vulnerable to DDoS attacks than traditional servers but it is not immune. Load-balancing and cloud infrastructure features can greatly reduce the overall effectiveness of a DDoS attack.

Companies that want to reduce their overall vulnerability to a DDoS attack may be inclined to take control over their own IT security and install their own cloud-based automated threat detection suites, giving them greater DNS management abilities. These software suites work in the background to identify attacks and limit their overall effectiveness. Even companies that have a DDoS protection system in place should still have contingency plans for if they are brought down, such as alternate servers and systems that can be deployed quickly. For those that are more concerned about the security of their DNS system, DNSSEC will provide a fairly complete solution but will not protect against a DDoS attack.

Companies that rely on their Web infrastructure need to protect their infrastructure from DDoS attacks even if they are on a cloud platform. Preemptive system protection is the only way to avoid the effects of a DNS attack due to how quickly and unexpectedly these attacks can occur. A single DDoS attack can bring down a company's entire cloud-based infrastructure, leaving them unable to perform the simplest of tasks. A DDoS cannot always be entirely avoided, but there are ways to reduce the damage.

 
US Retailers Fail to Capitalize on Cyber Monday Profits Print E-mail

With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the holiday shopping numbers are coming in droves. The good news is that 2013 is shaping up to be the busiest, most successful retail season in history. Cyber Monday, the busiest annual online shopping day of the year, made history with customers spending a record breaking $2 billion, but many retailers failed to capitalize on potential profits as they struggled to cope with the pressure of increased website traffic driven by seasonal promotions. That's according to live website performance data from our recent survey.

 Our website performance tool, Silk WebMeter, picked up a direct correlation between an increase in sales-generated traffic and a delay in website response times – a troubling situation for any retailer looking to optimize seasonal profits and capitalize on discount-savvy shoppers.

According to the research, more than ten well-known global retailers were affected by the seasonal spike in website traffic. In the US, jewelry retailer, Jared, saw its website performance drop by more than 500% on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. The site slowed from a usual 2.6 second load time to a 16 second load time when site traffic peaked between 4:00 and 5:00pm ET on December 3.

Other US retailers struggled with web performance in the lead up to Cyber Monday. Apple.com, which has one of the quickest response times at 1.2 seconds, experienced several "mini slow-downs" over the Thanksgiving weekend, including a 45 minute period on Tuesday, November 26 where average response times rose from 1.2 seconds to 26 seconds -- a 2,000% increase.

Both Jared and Apple could well have lost customers as research suggests that 40% of online shoppers will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Even minor delays to website response times can have a sizeable impact on customer satisfaction and future shopping habits. Additional findings from the research reveal:

  • 38% of online shoppers abandon websites or apps that take more than 10 seconds to load
  • 24% of customers abandon their online carts due to a website crash
  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
  • 4% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online

While it's inevitable that there will be some slowdown of website performance during seasonal peak times, retailers should have a strategy in place ahead of time to ensure their website runs smoothly during a promotional event. This includes shutting down non-essential services and increasing capacity so that their networks can handle heavy loads. This strategy can also be used as a backup plan for any retailers who find their websites under performing in the midst of a sales promotion.

The Borland website performance data makes a clear case for marketing and IT departments to work together to ensure systems are able to deal with the traffic increases generated by online promotions. While 79% of the 590 global CIOs polled confirmed they are aware of seasonal events that drive web traffic, 44% do not test their websites to see if they could handle the increase in traffic despite its importance to revenue generation.

Many marketing departments have the right to question why their website wasn't prepared for the Cyber Monday rush. IT departments need to ensure their websites can adapt to changing traffic patterns, and that their testing replicates real-world online activity. That way, retailers can adequately prepare for peak site traffic, improving end-user experience, increasing conversions, and ensuring marketing campaigns deliver the maximum return on investment.

 
Listen, Your Customers are Getting Louder Print E-mail
One of the first rules of business continually pounded into our heads is to listen to our customers. It’s simple advice that is sometimes lost in the tech community as we try to be disrupters and innovators. But the fact remains, we still have to operate and sell in the current marketplace. I recently had a great reminder of this as I worked on a project with one of our EMEA customers, Wayfare, a nearshore software solutions provider
 
Wayfare does an excellent job of listening to their customers, who have an increasing desire to exercise control over the final product. One of the most sought after needs is modernizing legacy applications, while simultaneously creating new ones to leverage the latest mobile, cloud and data integration technologies. Throughout these processes, customers want to have greater control for two main reasons: to ensure the final product matches their vision and to keep costs down.
 
In today’s market, the ability to tailor business applications in-house is quickly leaving the realm of a perk and becoming an expectation. We are reaching a critical point where the threshold of ease-of-use is intersecting with an increasingly knowledgeable user base. Consumers are used to sites like Blogger and Wordpress that make website creation effortless. So, when it comes to the enterprise, users want platforms they can understand and work with themselves without in-house programming experience or expertise. This gives them greater control over the final product and allows them to make alterations to meet their business needs. 
 
Another issue providers like Wayfare often encounter is that today’s enterprise customer not only want solutions that are better and more agile, but cheaper as well. Organizations are starting to expect the trickle down effect of end-user technology at a fraction of the price. We see this on the consumer side with products such as the iPhone 5c and the popularity of the sub $400 laptop market.
 
As Wayfare CIO Wim Martens, puts it, “They are aware of the need to modernize their application so they can keep or gain a competitive advantage, but they are also interested in achieving this in a cost-effective manner.” The bottom line is that organizations want to modernize, but are increasingly price conscious throughout the decision making process.
 
Price then leads to value. In Wayfare’s case, their customers want tools that allow for the needed flexibility to efficiently keep pace with change. They want the ability to seamlessly deploy their applications across multiple platforms to fluctuate with the changing tides of device popularity. More specifically, they want to spend time and money perfecting the final product, rather than worrying about whether it will work on the latest devices or platforms.
 
Organizations using legacy tools to develop applications are increasingly aware of this shortfall. We are finding that they are more willing to invest in new technologies when we can show them a reasonable bottom dollar, and then explain how to stretch it. In other words, it’s no longer acceptable to wait for the next technological breakthrough to upgrade your legacy system. Customers want to invest in a solution that is agile enough to carry them through several device innovations and mold to fit the altered landscape.
 
In the end, customers are no longer willing to blindly bend to the capabilities of technology. Solution providers are the ones that need to be ready and able to shift their technology to the needs of the customer. Whether those customers are interested in modernizing applications or developing new ones, providers must listen and respond to their needs. As IT decision makers become more discerning, providers that don’t do the same risk losing valuable customers.
 
Karen Tegan Padir is the Chief Technology Officer and a Senior Vice President at Progress Software.
 
CIO of Goodwill, Andre Bromes, Speaks Enterprise Apps and Real Needs of Employees Print E-mail

Innovi Mobile’s Dan DiMassa interviews Andre Bromes, CIO of Goodwill Industries of New York/New Jersey, to talk about using mobile apps to improve services in a social non-profit organization.

When it comes to cutting-edge enterprise apps most think Fortune 500 for profit companies. But that didn’t stop Andre Bromes and his team from bringing Goodwill to the mobile era.

Goodwill Industries of New York and New Jersey

Dan: Can you tell us your favorite tech innovation/strategy you implemented?

Andre: My favorite strategy (challenge) was the conceptualization of empowering a mobile workforce. This was just a thought about 10 years ago and now it is a full onslaught of a reality check!

I remember fiddling around with this when the only viable mobile data solution out there was Sprint’s EVDO, cellular broadband network and it was in its infancy. I remember going through an Atlanta based company to install these green, very industrial looking boxes that would accept the Sprint PC card and turn them into WiFi units – a process that is now easily done with MiFi.

Technology has caught up to and connected the various pieces in the puzzle needed to make the mobile worker a fully independent “biped office”.

Dan: Bringing your organization mobile, what was hardest part?

Andre: The hardest part was adoption. Governance almost always breeds discontent. As a matter of fact, we are still facing that challenge today and always will. Consumerization is not a new concept.

Dan: What is your best hint when it comes to mobile strategy?

Andre: How the younger generation (teens, young adults, etc.) use technology. They are actually my hint for most strategies involving tech and how it scales.

Dan: If you could give one piece of advice for a CIO starting an enterprise app project, what would you say?

Andre: Understand the need, identify the audience(s), and answer the question of why they would need and not why would they want it.

Dan: What big issues is Goodwill facing in 2014?

Andre: Our biggest concerns are security and governance. We need to continue to make sure that every strategic endeavor takes these two tenants into consideration with the understanding that the “New IT” needs to do both really well, while being really transparent. It is the lack of being transparent that contributed to our (IT groups in  general) customers turning elsewhere for solutions that we were to slow or inflexible in making. We have to do better than being the car alarm or the Chicken Little Tech, that both eventually get ignored. If the sky is falling, get a bigger and better structured umbrella to protect your sensitive areas, do not keep your customers behind locked doors until it stops. Eventually they will find a way to a solution and then we are forced to find a way to protect that solution. Point being, we need to be a strategic partner and an integral part of the solution set, not a reactive, lumbering group herding cats to provide assurance (after-the-fact) that systems are protected (very hard, almost impossible).

———–

With a slogan of: “We help people earn a living, improve their lives, and strengthen their families and their communities” I highly recommend following Goodwill on their website and Twitter to see who they are helping and how you can help.

Side Note: Congrats on being named in Forbes Top 25 Most Inspiring Companies!

 
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