Marginal Gains in U.S. IT Sector Employment in July, CompTIA Analysis Reveals
U.S. information technology (IT) sector employment recorded its second consecutive month of growth in July, though at a significantly slower pace than in the prior month, an analysis of new Bureau of Labor Statistics data by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the technology industry, reveals.
The IT sector added 4,000 jobs in July. Through the first seven months of 2016 IT sector employment has increased by 47,100 jobs and stood at 4,392,800 jobs at the end of July.
On the positive side of the July ledger, job gains were reported in computer systems design and IT software and services (up 8,200) and other information services, including search portals (up 1,500).
July job declines were reported in computer and electronic products manufacturing (down 3,100 jobs), data processing, hosting and related services (down 2,300) and telecommunications (down 300).
The IT workforce includes two components: employment within the IT sector and IT occupations across all other industries.
IT occupation employment declined by 88,000 jobs in July, a drop-off of 1.9 percent. For the year IT occupations are down by 46,000 jobs to an estimated 4,438,000.
The monthly IT occupation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes workers of all types – full-time, part-time and self-employed – which can result in higher levels of volatility from month-to-month.
For the overall economy in July, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000; the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent; and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 7.8 million.
Gartner Says by 2020 "Cloud Shift" Will Affect More Than $1 Trillion in IT Spending
More than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud during the next five years, said Gartner, Inc. This will make cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces of IT spending since the early days of the digital age.
IT spending is steadily shifting from traditional IT offerings to cloud services (cloud shift). The aggregate amount of cloud shift in 2016 is estimated to reach $111 billion, increasing to $216 billion in 2020. Cloud shift rates are determined by comparing IT spending on cloud services with traditional noncloud services in the same market categories.
In addition to the direct effects of cloud shift, many markets will be affected indirectly. Identifying indirect effects can help IT asset and purchasing managers ensure they are getting the best value out of new expenditure and are protected against risk, as well as assisting them to exploit the new opportunities caused by cloud shift.
US Tech Spend: Business Technology (BT) Investments Will Rise 10% In 2016
Forrester recently released its US technology spend outlook, which includes data on tech spend and lays out how businesses should position their firms’ tech spending plans (see image below). Key findings show that:
• While overall US tech market growth in 2016 will be subdued at 4.3% because of weak demand for hardware and licensed software, spending on business technology will increase by more than 10%, exceeding half of all new project spending.
• Cloud adoption will hit a tipping point this year, as firms' use of software-as-a-service (SaaS) as a replacement for existing software will hit critical mass.
• Next year will be a better year for the US tech market, and Forrester forecasts 5.1% growth overall and 8.9% growth for BT spending.
Contact Centers Need to Adopt Omni-Lingual Strategies to Support Growing Language Diversity & Heightened Consumer Expectations
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) in partnership with Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. released, "Lost in Translation: Leveraging Language to Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience." The new research report is the largest study ever conducted around how contact centers support languages. The report reveals that non-primary language volume will increase and that contact centers are not currently prepared to accommodate such transition.
As organizations aim to increase their global footprint and/or serve customers of all languages, they are struggling to provide omni-lingual support for voice much less self-service and digital channels. ICMI and Lionbridge's report dives into how language is affecting the productivity and success of contact centers, and provides actionable insight into how they can deploy a more strategic and scalable approach to omni-lingual support.
Contact centers continue to experience rapid change as emerging technologies have opened new communication channel offerings. While these strides have pushed the contact center into executive level conversations, language has yet to be brought to the forefront. As a result, customer experience (CX) is suffering.
When providing customer support, language is perhaps the most important component to have control over – the ability to properly and effectively communicate with the customer is crucial. However, currently 79 percent of contact centers have customers who are not native speakers of the primary language(s) that they serve. This is a large concern, since the importance of language will see an increase over the next three years – where 52 percent of contact centers expect their volume of non-primary language communications to increase over this time.
ICMI and Lionbridge's report is comprised of responses from 526 professionals from every role and level in contact centers and customer service organizations. This research also explains what information contact center leaders need, as well as what steps must be taken to reverse the stagnant position on omni-channel multilingual support. The report explores the following:
Language Support Expectations
A majority of contact center leaders recognized that customers have the expectation that they will receive service in their native language when contacting a brand - however 79 percent of contact centers have customers who are not native speakers of the primary language(s) that they serve.
Language Support Challenges
The single biggest challenge in providing support beyond a contact center's primary language is finding and retaining in-house bi/multilingual agents. Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said they provide a scripted response and make no further attempt to support customers who do not speak the contact center's primary language. Contact centers need to look at solutions that include but are not limited to in-house agents.
Language Support Strategies
The most common approach to support non-primary language contacts is to utilize in-house Bi- and/or Multilingual agents. 32 percent only informally find someone in the department that can translate or speak the language.
The Impact of Language Support on Metrics
If we don't measure quality, it is impossible to manage effectively it. 20 percent of contact centers do not even measure the quality of their non-primary language contacts.
Social Media Customer Service Declines, American Consumers Don’t Know What Good Service Looks Like
Social media is among the last places consumers want to go for customer service, according to a new survey commissioned by NICE Systems and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).And among Americans, expectations are low across the board. The NICE/BCG 2016 Consumer Experience Report focused on customer interactions with providers of financial, telecom, and insurance services. Over 1,700 people between the ages of 18 and 65 were interviewed across the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, France and Australia.
The report found that the number of consumers using social media to resolve customer service issues has dropped compared to two years ago. While daily, weekly, and monthly use of social media channels doubled between 2011 and 2013, those same categories declined between 2013 and 2015, while the number of respondents who never use or are not offered social media customer service rose from 58 percent in 2013 to 65 percent in 2015.
Respondents who do not use social media cited a number of reasons why. It takes too long to address issues said 33 percent, it has limited functionality reported 32 percent, and it isn’t feasible for complex tasks according to 30 percent. Social media was the channel with the highest percentage of abandons in both 2013 and 2015, with the number rising from 32 percent to 42 percent over that period.
U.S. consumers surveyed have lower expectations of customer service in general. Australia and European respondents thought it essential that they be automatically routed to the correct customer service agent along with their information without being transferred multiple times, and that their service provider rep be aware of their past three to five interactions with the company to tailor service to their needs. American respondents, on the other hand, said all of those actions would “exceed expectations.” In total, Americans surveyed ranked only 15 out of 25 factors as essential, while other countries’ respondents expected anywhere from 21 to all 25 attributes.
While American respondents don’t seem to mind waiting for multiple call transfers or repeating their information, having issues resolved immediately was cited by other countries and all industries, genders, and ages as the top factor in a perfect experience, valued by 51 percent of respondents. Other important factors include reps knowing what consumers need and providing an immediate solution, forwarding information and actions from department to department, and knowing what consumers already did through a self-service channel.
Other findings that can be found in the complete report include:
• Decreased satisfaction and success since 2013 across the board with all contact channels (except for mobile apps), particularly Interactive Voice Response (IVR) (down 20 percent) and social media (down 23 percent).
• Churn rates vary amongst different age groups. While 78 percent of baby boomers will leave a provider due to a customer service issue, only 54 percent of millennials will do so.
• Sharp increase in customer skepticism about the effects of their feedback, with only 25 percent thinking it likely that service providers took action based on their feedback, down from 40 percent in 2012.