44% of American Consumers Say They Prefer Chatbots for Customer Service
According to new research from the 2016 Aspect Consumer Experience Index, the desire for automated interaction is real. Forty-four percent of the respondents to the company’s annual survey said that if a company could get it right they would prefer to use a chatbot or an automated assistant for customer service interaction, up 4 points from the 2015 survey. Half of them said that they would rather conduct all brand interaction via text/messaging, with 39 percent saying the digital-first methods are more effective than talking.
A key survey finding is that brands that deliver automation in isolation risk alienating customers. An overwhelming number of consumers (88 percent) expect the context of their interaction on a chatbot to follow them as they transition to a live person. Delivering on this is essential because a good number of respondents think automated assistance will end up giving them the same frustrating experience that antiquated Interactive Voice Response solutions did.
A chatbot experience, broadly defined as a self-service experience, creates good will with customers. Sixty-One percent said chatbots will allow simple to moderate requests to be handled faster. But more importantly, Two-thirds of consumers said they feel good about themselves and the company when they are able to answer a question or solve a problem by themselves without the help of a customer service agent.
The U.S. information technology (IT) sector recorded its fifth consecutive month of job growth in November, according to the IT Employment Tracker released today by CompTIA, the world’s leading technology association.
The software and technology services category led November job growth, adding 5,400 new positions, according to CompTIA’s analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation report (#jobsreport) released this morning. For the year, the IT sector has added 79,500 new jobs in software and services.
Reversing nine months of declines, computer and electronics products manufacturing employment increased in November, albeit by a modest 900 positions. For the year manufacturing jobs are down 8,100.
Job losses in data processing, hosting and related services (down 2,100), telecommunications (down 2,000) and other information services, including search portals (down 800) offset the November employment gains in the other categories.
The second component of the nation’s IT workforce – IT occupations across all other industries – had a strong showing in November, with an estimated net gain of 114,000 jobs. For 2016, IT occupations show an estimated net gain of about 200,000 jobs.
Gartner: Organizations Must Update Their Network Access Policy to Address Attack of IoT Devices
By 2020, 21 billion of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be in use worldwide. Of these, close to 6 percent will be in use for industrial IoT applications. However, IT organizations have issues identifying these devices and characterizing them as part of current network access policy, said Gartner, Inc. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must therefore update their network access policy to seamlessly address the onslaught of IoT devices.
Many IoT devices will use the established bandwidth of the enterprise network provided by the IT organization. However, it is important that the IT organization works directly with facilities management (FM) and business units (BUs) to identify all devices and projects connected to the enterprise infrastructure and attaching to the network.
Once all of the devices attached to the network are identified, the IT organization must create or modify the network access policy as part of an enterprise policy enforcement strategy. This should determine if and how these devices will be connected, as well as what role they will be assigned that will govern their access.
In order to monitor access and priority of IoT devices, I&O leaders need to consider additional enterprise network best practices. These can be defining a connectivity policy, as many IoT devices will be connected via Wi-Fi; performing spectrum planning — many IoT devices may be using 2.4GHz, but may not be using 802.11 protocols such as Bluetooth, ZigBee or Z-Wave, which may create interference; or considering packet sniffers to identify devices that may do something undesirable on the network.
While more IoT devices are added to the enterprise network, I&O leaders will need to create virtual segments. These will allow network architects to separate all IoT assets (such as LED lights or a video camera) from other network traffic, supporting each FM application or BU process from other enterprise applications and users.
ComptTIA: IT jobs across the U.S. economy rebounded after several months of sluggishness
According to an analysis by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the technology industry, of today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report, an additional 205,000 IT professionals reported employment during August. That brings the total base of core IT occupation employment to more than 4.6 million.
Modest Gains in August for IT Sector Employment
The IT sector added 4,800 jobs last month, to approximately 4.4 million jobs at the end of August. IT sector employment has increased by 54,100 jobs for the year, with gains recorded in seven of the first eight months of 2016.
Employment in computer systems design and IT software and services experienced another strong month in August, with 6,100 jobs added. Other information services, including search portals, added 1,100 jobs in August. The data processing, hosting and related services category saw a gain of 900 jobs last month.
Offsetting those gains were August job losses in telecommunications (down 2,600) and computer and electronic products manufacturing (down 700).
The IT workforce includes two components: employment within the IT sector and IT occupations across all other industries. About 44 percent of IT sector positions are in IT; the remaining 56 percent are non-IT jobs.
For the overall economy, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in August. The unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent for the third consecutive month, with the number of unemployed persons essentially unchanged at 7.8 million.
Worldwide IT Spending Forecast to Reach $2.7 Trillion in 2020
A newly published update to the Worldwide Semiannual IT Spending Guide: Vertical and Company Size from International Data Corporation (IDC) finds that worldwide revenues for information technology products and services will grow from nearly $2.4 trillion in 2016 to more than $2.7 trillion in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% for the 2015-2020 forecast period.
Among the trends in the forecast is the positive momentum displayed in big industries like financial services and manufacturing, where companies continue to invest in 3rd Platform solutions (e.g. cloud, mobility, and Big Data) as part of their digital transformation efforts. The telecommunications industry is forecast to remain relatively sluggish, although spending levels are expected to gradually improve compared to the past several years. Combined, these four industries (banking, discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, and telecommunications, which are also the industries with the largest IT expenditures) will generate nearly a third of worldwide IT revenues throughout the forecast.
Consumer purchases accounted for nearly a quarter of all IT revenues in 2015, thanks to the ongoing smartphone explosion. But consumer spending for PCs, tablets, and smartphones has been weakening, which will have a dampening effect on the IT market overall. Looking ahead, even the moderate growth forecast for the tablet market will be driven by commercial segments rather than consumer tablet sales.
Healthcare will remain the fastest growing industry with a five-year CAGR of 5.7% despite concerns that spending growth may have peaked. Banking, media, and professional services will also experience solid growth with CAGRs of 4.9% and combined revenues of more than $475 billion in 2020. Elsewhere, gradual improvement is expected in the public sector, although government purchases of technology will continue to lag behind much of the private sector. Similarly, IT expenditures in the natural resources industry are forecast to recover as the price of oil rebounds from recent lows.
In terms of company size, more than 45% of all IT spending worldwide will come from very large businesses (more than 1,000 employees) while the small office category (the 70-plus million small businesses with 1-9 employees) will provide roughly one quarter of all IT spending throughout the forecast period. Medium (100-499 employees) and large (500-999 employees) business will see the fastest growth in IT spending, each with a CAGR of 4.4%.