Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘it workforce’ Category

The SMB IT Spending Zeitgeist

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In Spiceworks' "State of SMB IT 2H 2012" survey, mobile is moving on up. Tablets continue to grow in SMBs and in the last 6 months, adoption has tipped to over half (53%) of SMBs supporting tablets on their networks.  The number of companies supporting tablets (53%) is on the verge of reaching the 59% of companies who manage smartphones on their networks.  Larger organizations are driving this trend towards more tablets in the workplace.

Click to enlarge. In Spiceworks’ “State of SMB IT 2H 2012″ survey, mobile is moving on up. Tablets continue to grow in SMBs and in the last 6 months, adoption has tipped to over half (53%) of SMBs supporting tablets on their networks. The number of companies supporting tablets (53%) is on the verge of reaching the 59% of
companies who manage smartphones on their networks. Larger organizations are driving this trend towards more tablets in the workplace.

It’s that time of year.  Google has released its 2012 Zeitgeist, telling us what’s on the minds of the world’s searchers.

Facebook, not to be out done, has released the Facebook Year In Review, “a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on Facebook.”

Now, go and ask folks what they think about Facebook’s everchanging privacy controls, and we’ll see if the Facebook Year In Review gets soon revised.

But I’m actually more interested in a big report from a small, but growing networking software and social business upstart located right here in Austin, Texas.

Spiceworks connects 2.2 million IT professionals with more than 1,300 technology brands, and offers its IT management software through a novel ad-supported model. In turn, it claims to “help businesses to discover, buy and manage $405 billion worth of technology products and services each year.”

Spiceworks just released its semi-annual “State of SMB IT Report,” a collection of statistics, trends and opinions from small and medium business technology professionals from amongst their community.

This December’s study is the seventh edition, and claims to “keep the pulse on the happenings of small and medium business IT professionals and IT departments.”

First, I’m just happy to discover they still have a pulse.

The National Federation of Independent Business’ “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is reported monthly, indicated in its November report one of the steepest declines in its history. In fact, it has reported a lower index value only seven times since it first conducted its monthly surveys in 1986.

The Index dropped a full 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5 (In 2000, by juxtaposition, it was well above 100), indicating something was rotten in November. The Index’s own Web statement suggested “it is very clear that a stunning number of [small business] owners…expect worse business conditions in six months,” and that nearly half are certain things will be worse next year than they are now, with a head nod to the looming fiscal cliff talks, the promise of higher healthcare costs, and the “endless onslaught of new regulations.”

Chicken Little, the SMB sky is falling!

Clouds, Virtualization, And Tablets Are Driving The SMB IT Spending Bus

But fear not, the SMB adoption of new technology is riding to the small business rescue, or so suggests the Spiceworks SMB IT study.

The headlines? Though IT budgets are on the rise in the SMB, hiring new staff is at a standstill. But for those still standing, in the last six months, SMBs adopted tablets and cloud services in fast-growing numbers.

Here are the four key findings:

  • Tablet adoption keeps its momentum and nears smartphone levels. Hardware maintains the lion’s share of IT spend in the SMB.
  • Adoption of cloud services spikes; desktop virtualization shows strong potential. (Can you say “Go long on VMWare??”)
  • IT budgets reached their highest point in the last three years, while hiring freezes are up.
  • BYOD is still a hot topic, though IT pros are split on the issue.

Diving down a bit, on the subject of tablets, 53 percent of SMBs now support tablets on their network, making them almost as popular as smartphones at 59 percent.

Cloud services are now used by 62 percent of SMBs, up from 48 percent in the first half of 2012.

With respect to IT budgets, they’re on the rise, averaging $162K, up from $152K in 1H 2012. But only 26 percent plan on hiring IT staff in the second half.

And on BYOD, whlie 14 percent fully embrace the trend, 32 percent say it works well for some devices, but not for others. Digging deeper, I discovered that smartphones led with 81 percent BYOD support, while tablets only garnered 62 percent.

And somewhat ironically, there’s more support for BYOD in much smaller organizations (defined here as less than 20 employees) than larger ones (50 percent in those above 250 employees).

I would encourage you to go here and register to download the full report, but the top line is this: If you’re an IT vendor looking for budget flush at the end of 2012, desktops, laptops, and servers are certainly low-hanging fruit, with tablets bringing on the most growth.

And on the software front, be on the lookout for disaster recovery and storage solutions (an IT mainstay through downturns), cloud-based solutions, and virtualization software.

Whatever you do make, just make sure you make those new purchases with “Gangnam Style” — and if you have no idea of what I’m referring to, see above with regards to the 2012 Google Zeitgeist!

Addressing The IT Labor Challenge

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Back in April, I blogged here about the new IBM PureSystems line of servers that have been in the works for some years and backed by $2 billion in investment by IBM.

Here we are a few short months later, and we’re seeing some substantial uptake of this new line, including in growth markets.

Just a few updates:

  • Over 700 IBM Business Partners have now adopted IBM PureSystems, and 1,300 of those have completed training on the new lines
  • 160+ solutions and “patterns” of expertise have been developed both by IBM and our partners across 20 industries
  • New financing options now all for organizations to defer the first payment for IBM PureSystems for 30 days

Organizations around the world are increasingly looking for ways to reduce IT complexity and overcome the growing worldwide skills shortage. Today, approximately three-quarters of global employers cite a lack of experience, skills or knowledge as the primary reason for the difficulty filling IT positions.

Egads!

Because of this, organizations are searching for new ways of computing that don’t require the additional commitment of significant resources or employee training to set up and maintain.

And voila, IBM PureSystems.

PureSystems meets this demand by providing patterns of expertise –- a new technology model that builds on the experience of thousands of IBM clients and radically streamlines the set-up and management of hardware and software resources.

Global Clients Embrace IBM PureSystems  

Since launching in April, clients around the world are using IBM PureSystems to reduce IT cost and complexity. For example:

  • BPTP, a leading Indian real estate company, selected IBM PureSystems to streamline its IT infrastructure to improve the overall home buying experience for its customers. Established in 2003, BPTP has experienced rapid growth over the last decade. Sustaining and building upon this growth required BPTP to find a better computing and storage solution. To meet these challenges, it selected IBM PureSystems for all of its processing and storage requirements.
  • PCCW, a leading information technology outsourcing company based in Hong Kong, has selected IBM PureSystems as the foundation for its new Enterprise Solutions Superstore — an online environment for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). As a result, they are now able to offer customers applications on the cloud using a Software-as-a-Service model.
  • ValeCard, a multi-industry conglomerate based in Brazil, has achieved 40 percent growth annually over the past three-years. Facing rapid expansion of its business, ValeCard turned to IBM PureSystems to manage thousands of transaction records from contracts with large companies and government entities. Additionally, ValeCard is using IBM PureSystems to help it meet an increasing set of new regulations and standards for data availability.

IBM’s Partners Drive PureSystems Adoption 

For IBM Business Partners, PureSystems creates a new opportunity to help clients solve the complexity of enterprise IT.

From resellers to distributors and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), more than 700 Business Partners are supporting IBM PureSystems.

PureSystems currently run tens of thousands of existing ISV applications across four operating environments including Windows, Linux, AIX, and IBM System i.

Additionally, Business Partners have created more than 160 new solutions and applications that are optimized to run on PureSystems. These patterns of expertise, which span 20 industries, can be accessed through the IBM PureSystems Centre.

They include leading solutions from some of the world’s largest ISVs, including ERP systems and applications for the banking, marketing, healthcare and energy industries.

Numerous partners are also installing PureSystems in their own datacenters. For example Computer Gross, a managed service provider in Italy, and OneTree Solutions, an ISV from Luxembourg are both using the cloud capabilities of IBM PureSystems as a way to more easily meet the needs of their customers.

PureSystems Training, Certification, & Validation

To help address the new opportunity that PureSystems presents, IBM is also providing training, marketing, certifications and technical validation support to business partners.

For instance, dozens of IBM Innovation Centers in cities such as Bangalore, Dublin, Johannesburg and Shanghai are helping Business Partners develop and test their applications using IBM PureSystems. Business Partners can also bring their clients to IBM Innovation Centers to see PureSystems technology at work.

In addition, more 1,300 business partners — ISVs, managed service providers, resellers, system integrators and distributors — have been showing their support and interest in PureSystems by attending Business Partner Day and training events in 27 cities around the world.

PureSystems cloud capabilities are also drawing interest, with 500 developers using the PureSystems Cloud Trial to create applications through IBM’s SmartCloud that are ready to run on IBM’s new expert integrated systems.

IBM Financing For PureSystems

To help credit-qualified clients easily acquire IBM PureSystems, IBM Global Financing is making available a range of financing options.

As a result, clients will be able to avoid paying cash up-front, while lowering their total cost of ownership.

This is the first time that clients can lease the entire value of the system, including hardware and software.

Credit-qualified clients that elect financing can see immediate benefits with PureSystems while deferring their first payment for 90 days. Additionally, IBM Global Asset Recovery Services can buy back servers, including those made by HP and Oracle, for clients migrating to IBM PureSystems.

There are two models of the PureSystems family available — PureFlex System and PureApplication System.

PureFlex System enables organizations to more efficiently create and manage an infrastructure, while PureApplication System allows organizations to quickly deploy and reduce the cost and complexity of managing applications.

Both have already shipped to leading clients in 5 continents.

You can learn more about IBM PureSystems in the Expert Integrated Systems blog here.

Crashing While Driving While Texting

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So I watched the Chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, last night as she made the rounds on the news channels about the NTSB Safety Board’s recommendation for a nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.

Though I know there will be lots of business interests, not to mention political ones, against such a ban, I thought the Chairman made a compelling argument, and as I delved into some of the details and case studies that informed the board’s recommendations, it became even more difficult to argue with.

Mostly.  But more on that later.

Mind you, this is my take on the situation, and I’m sure there are lots of other points of view that I hope this announcement instigates some discussion around, and of course, I only speak for myself here.

But first, let’s survey some of the facts and incidents the board cited in the press release it issued around its decision:

  • On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.
  • The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.
  • The Missouri accident is the most recent distraction accident the NTSB has investigated. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.

These were just a couple of the initially cited incidents.  The Board came loaded for bear with a variety of others:

  • In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured
  • In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided head on with a freight train – killing 25 and injuring dozens.
  • In 2009, two airline pilots were out of radio communication with air traffic control for more than an hour because they were distracted by their personal laptops. They overflew their destination by more than 100 miles, only realizing their error when a flight attendant inquired about preparing for arrival.
  • In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious “duck” boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer;
  • In 2010, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a truck-tractor in combination with a 53-foot-long trailer, left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities

So what about the recommendation?  It specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task, like GPS devices) for all drivers.

The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communications campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

‘According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents”, said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”

Controversial?  No doubt.  Sensible?  Largely.

Once upon a time, I used to find myself on occasion texting and driving, particularly on the freeway, until a couple of times I nearly rear-ended someone.  Then, I very quickly came to my own empirical conclusion that driving while texting was not conducive to “smarter driving” and went back to enjoying my car stereo.

As far as the complete and entire ban on voice discussions in the car, particularly considering the introduction of technologies like OnStar and Lynx — which make voice communications much more seamless and integrated into the overall driving experience (volume control on the steering wheel, voice activation and dialing, etc.) — I’m curious if maybe there could be some more research to help fully understand the safety and economic impact of such a robust ban.

But in any case, I do think the NTSB Safety Board is heading in the right direction, so to speak, and to put the exclamation point on the report, the report cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers which found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, emailing, or accessing the Internet.

163 times!  You can go here to see more about the NTSB report and recommendation.

So, not to be scientific or anything, I’m looking to elicit input from the crowd in the following poll on what your thoughts are regarding the NTSB announcement.  Vote early and often!

Less is More?

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It’s good to see some good news these days.

EWeek has a story today that suggests the tech sector hasn’t been hit nearly as hard as some other industries in terms of job losses.

That’s not to say it’s been pretty.

According to the story, between January and June, we lost 115K jobs, much of that in tech manufacturing.

Overall, starting in June 2008, tech lost 224,100 jobs, a 3.7 percent workforce decline in the IT sector, as opposed to the overall U.S. private sector, 5.1 percent.

I guess things could be worse…unless you’re one of that 3.7 percent.

If you did lose your tech job, you might want to thinking about sending your resume to the gang at Twitter.

The Wall Street Journal Deal Journal reports today that Twitter is nearing a deal to close as much as $100M of new funding from as many as seven investors.

The new valuation from these investors has Twitter worth an estimated $1B.  Them’s a whole bunch of Tweets.

Speaking of Twitter, has anybody checked out the new TweetDeck on the Mac (I’m at V 0.30.5)?

Wow, that full Facebook Newsfeed with photos and links and all is VERY cool and extremely useful.  More and more, TweetDeck is my Twitter/Facebook-streaming console du jour.  Keep up the great work there, yo.

If you didn’t like the new TweetDeck (and it’s doubtful that you did), soon you’ll be able to use a new tool from Google to comment right there on the Website.

Google “SiteWiki” is a new Google Toolbar addon, which is intended to let anyone with a Google account comment about a Web site or even add content.

Crowdsourcers, start your engines…and your markup!

This move extends the Google juggernaut to ALL Web pages everywhere throughout the known Universe.

Sources are telling me that the new Mars toolbar extension, which allows Martians to communicate directly with we humans via the Google operating system, will be entering beta shortly.

But only after Google can get the temperature on Mars WAY up…it’s too frickin’ cold there now, even for the Google Chrome browser, which was thought to be impervious to extreme temperatures at either end of the thermometer.

Me, I’d just like to be able to say hi to Marvin and hear him say just one more time:

“Capture that creature and return my elunium pu36 explosive space modulator!”

Written by turbotodd

September 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm

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