Survey: Measurement and Analysis Across the Entire IT Infrastructure Is Key to IT Operational Excellence
Continuity Software, a provider of service availability risk management solutions, announced the results of the Continuity Software IT Operations Analytics Benchmark. Based on results collected across a variety of industry verticals - including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail - the benchmark underscores the importance of operational analytics in meeting IT performance goals.
The IT Operations Analytics Benchmark survey's key findings include:
Large organizations are the most common users of analytical tools to monitor and measure IT performance goals.
-- 57% of the large organizations surveyed use analytical tools to monitor, and measure IT performance goals (versus just 29% of small companies).
Cross-domain operational excellence is mostly measured by uptime.
-- 89% of the organizations surveyed measure uptime across most or all IT domains; 66% measure performance; 51% measure the number of open issues.
Frequently tracking configuration consistency helps organizations meet their goals.
-- 53% of the organizations that track configuration consistency on a daily basis across the IT infrastructure are meeting or exceeding their goals, compared to 31-33% of the organizations that track only portions of the infrastructure.
Better measurement and analysis tools are required for IT operations excellence.
-- 40% of organizations surveyed cited better measurement and analysis tools as the most effective means for achieving operations excellence, followed by tools to detect cross-domain IT configuration issues (22%) and tools to enforce IT best practices (19%).
Storage and network performance rank highest.
-- 71% of the organizations surveyed monitor storage and network key performance indicators (KPIs); other areas of IT operations that are commonly monitored and measured include applications (69%), databases (66%), and clusters (49%).
Cloud environments continue to lag behind.
-- Only 14% of the organizations surveyed monitor and measure cloud KPIs.
-- 43% of the organizations never analyze configuration consistency in their cloud environment.
ForeSee Releases the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition
ForeSee, the global leader in technology-driven customer experience analytics, today released the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition. Based on data gathered during 2013’s holiday shopping season, the report features company-level and channel-specific customer satisfaction analysis for the top 100 U.S. retailers.
The new FXI Retail report offers a comprehensive view of satisfaction at the Company-level and across every applicable sales channel including Store and Contact Center as well as Web and Mobile. The study is based on more than 67,600 surveys collected between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, 2013, for the 100 biggest U.S. retailers as reported by the Fortune 500 and Internet Retailer's top 100 websites. Retailers listed in this report include Amazon, Dell, L.L.Bean, Apple, QVC, Keurig, Costco, Ralph Lauren, Victoria's Secret, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Groupon, Family Dollar, Best Buy, Toys"R"Us, zulily and others.
Company-level: retailers that satisfied the most (and least) during 2013’s holiday shopping season:
Amazon (90) and L.L.Bean (90) tied for the highest Company-level satisfaction. While this is the first time ForeSee has studied Company-level satisfaction during the holidays, the L.L.Bean website has scored an 80 or above in Web satisfaction eight out of the nine years measured, and Amazon has topped the Web satisfaction list every year. Amazon and L.L.Bean set the bar for customer experience excellence.
Priceline.com came in with the lowest Company-level satisfaction (76), as well as one of the lowest Web satisfaction (75) and Mobile satisfaction (73) scores.
Store channel: Apple, which prides itself on stellar Apple Store customer experiences, lost to the supermarket chain Publix Super Markets in Store satisfaction with a score of 86 – three points higher than Apple’s score of 83.
53 percent of retailers register merchandise as the main priority affecting in-store purchase, and 35 percent register service.
Web channel: While Amazon (88) led the pack for Web satisfaction, some retail sites such as vitacost.com (86), keurig.com (84) and llbean.com (84) are creeping closer. Basspro.com (83) and crateandbarrel.com (80) tied for the most improved sites with seven-point gains in customer satisfaction from last year.
57 percent of retailers identify merchandise as the top driver affecting customer web experience, compared to only 7 percent that register price.
Mobile channel: In a category that saw satisfaction stagnate this year, Walmart (80) was the only company to experience a significant increase of more than three points in Mobile satisfaction, seeing a five-point improvement from 2012’s score. Again, Amazon led the pack with a Mobile satisfaction score of 87.
38 percent of retailers register functionality as the top priority affecting the mobile customer experience, above both merchandise (34 percent) and content (31 percent).
Contact Center channel: QVC (88) beat Amazon (85) in Contact Center satisfaction by three points. Costco (85) and O’Reilly Auto Parts (85) tied Amazon in Contact Center satisfaction.
55 percent of retailers record knowledge of the customer service representative as the top priority affecting the customer contact center experience.
Worldwide IT Spending on Pace to Reach $3.8 Trillion in 2014
Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.1 percent increase from 2013 spending of $3.7 trillion, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. In 2013, the market experienced flat growth, growing 0.4 percent year over year.
Spending on devices (including PCs, ultramobiles, mobile phones and tablets) contracted 1.2 percent in 2013, but it will grow 4.3 percent in 2014. Gartner analysts said convergence of the PC, ultramobiles (including tablets) and mobile phone segments, as well as erosion of margins, will take place as differentiation will soon be based primarily on price instead of devices' orientation to specific tasks.
Enterprise software spending growth continues to be the strongest throughout the forecast period. The 2014 annual growth rate is expected to grow 6.8 percent. Customer relationship management and supply chain management (SCM) experienced a period of strong growth.
The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.
Last quarter, Gartner's forecast for 2014 IT spending growth in U.S. dollars was 3.6 percent, a 0.5 percentage points higher than the current forecast.
The data center systems spending growth outlook for 2014 has been cut from 2.9 percent in our previous forecast to 2.6 percent. This is mainly due to a reduction in the forecast for external controller-based storage and enterprise communications applications. These segments represent 32 percent of total data center system end-user spending.
Gartner has slightly revised downward the IT services compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2017. The largest contributor to this revision comes from reductions in IT outsourcing — specifically, in colocation, hosting and data center outsourcing growth rates.
Nexus of Forces Will Drive More Than 26% of Total Enterprise Software Market Revenue by 2017
Enterprise software buying is increasingly shaped by the Nexus of Forces, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that technology providers must realize that the disruptive forces of cloud, information, mobile and social will reach mainstream status in 2014 and create new technology requirements, drive new purchasing and establish new competitive realities.
2017, Gartner estimates that new IT buying based on the Nexus of Forces will drive more than 26 percent of total enterprise software market revenue, up from 12 percent in 2012. This represents more than $104 billion to new worldwide enterprise software revenue from cloud, information, mobile and social initiatives in 2017.
Cloud and SaaS popularity and adoption have continued to increase since 2008. Buyers are under pressure to mitigate operational costs, evaluating less-capital-intensive alternatives and more modern software. In addition, annual increases in technical support and maintenance fees and business disruption because of upgrades from suite vendors are prompting IT managers to evaluate other options and vendor choices.
Cloud-based offerings need to be tailored to specific needs and requirements. First-time purchases are commonly characterized by short time frames, limited computing requirements, and line-of-business or departmental buying. More comprehensive and mature usage of cloud-based offerings is more strategic and frequently represented by long-term projects to transform technology access/use with oversight and funding from IT management.
Information, Analytics and Content
While business intelligence (BI) and analytics have been a top CIO priority for years, recent purchasing patterns show that spending with CIOs is in more of a "wait and see" mode. Most net new spending is currently driven from outside the IT department. BI, analytics and data analysis are well-established for most large companies in traditional subject areas, such as finance and sales, but there is still extensive growth potential for diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive projects.
Enterprise content management (ECM) can be viewed as both a business-IT strategy as well as a set of software technologies. As an IT strategy, ECM helps organizations take control of their content and, in so doing, boost effectiveness, encourage collaboration and make information easier to share. As software technologies, ECM consists of applications for content life cycle management that interoperate, but that can also be sold and used separately.
Mobile and social forces are frequently leveraged for new ECM projects with purchasing from line-of-business managers and marketing/sales groups. New strategic and sophisticated ECM initiatives are being funded at the CxO level to focus on information governance and regulatory compliance requirements.
Emphasis over the next few years will be on providing enterprise-class support for mobile data and applications, rising on top of the existing enterprise mobile architectures. This will be driven by key technologies, such as enterprise mobile management systems (EMMSs), mobile containers, enterprise application stores and mobile collaboration.
Tablet and mobile users are demanding mobile device applications that exploit the capabilities of these devices and that can integrate into existing corporate systems. This trend is pushing the application software market in a new direction, and a mobile application product strategy has become a strategic imperative for all application vendors.
Social and Collaboration
The promise of the converging social, mobile, cloud and information forces is directly relevant to delivering successful collaboration and social software initiatives.
For many organizations, first-time internal usage of social and collaboration software is primarily focused on individual and small-group communication and sharing. For organizations that are looking to move from an initial or trial phase to a richer experience and more sophisticated stage of usage, emphasis shifts to focusing on collaboration in the context of work activities. This includes enterprise-level commitments for collective intelligence, community building, knowledge sharing and virtual teaming as key drivers of expanding and enhancing usage. IT managers need to work with their users so that social and collaboration software blends naturally with the tasks they need to carry out every day.
The just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report shows that 16 percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed recently plan to expand their IT teams in the first half of 2014. This is up 5 points compared to projections from the previous six-month period (July-December 2013). Another 67 percent plan to hire only for open IT roles, 15 percent plan to put hiring plans on hold, and 2 percent expect to reduce their IT staffing levels in the first six months of the year.
The surveys were developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by an independent research firm. In order for the study to ensure that companies from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper number of employees in the U.S. Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis and has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.
Key findings include:
In terms of recruiting, 63 percent of U.S. CIOs said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today, compared to 68 percent in the last half of 2013. It is most challenging to find skilled talent in the functional areas of networking (17 percent), security (14 percent) and help desk/technical support (13 percent).
Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments
The survey results suggest U.S. CIOs are becoming more optimistic about their companies' growth and IT investments. Eighty-eight percent of CIOs reported being somewhat or very confident in their companies' prospects for growth in the first six months of 2014. This compares to 86 percent in the last half of 2013.
Sixty-nine percent of CIOs also said they are confident that their firms will invest in IT projects in the first half of 2014. This compares to 63 percent in the last six months of 2013.
Skills in Demand
Fifty-seven percent of U.S. technology executives surveyed said that network administration is among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT departments. Windows administration and desktop support followed, each with 51 percent of the response.