In a new study commissioned by Adobe and carried out online by YouGov, it would appear that businesses put too much emphasis on using email as an admin tool. Out of the 1,151 office workers polled, which represented both public and private sector organizations with at least 50 employees, some 30 percent of respondents said they spend more than five hours a month on 'unnecessary administration work.'
"Businesses are over-relying on email as an administration tool," said David Gingell, Adobe's senior director of marketing, EMEA. "There are more efficient ways of collating data. [For example] electronic forms can simplify the collection and automate sharing of data in the back office, and for many organizations, electronics forms is a fairly straightforward business case in terms of return on investment."
Despite what Gingell says, only 17 percent of the respondents said they use electronic forms, while 11 percent still rely on paper. The vast majority of respondents -- 72 percent -- said they use email, and according to Adobe, this is costing UK companies around $13.5 billion a year.
Oracle on Thursday announced the launch of a new software platform called Enterprise Manager 11g. According to Oracle, the platform introduces a number of IT consolidation efforts, including:
Business-driven application management
Integrated application-to-disk management
Integrated systems management and support
"It's about trying to finally get control of this complex thing called IT. We're just getting to the point in the industry and in Oracle's strategy where that's now possible," Oracle President Charles Phillips said Thursday during an event in New York, which was webcast.
Enterprise Manager 11g will go up against competing management platforms from the likes of IBM, Hewlett Packard, CA, and BMC. Where Oracle might have an advantage, however, is by offering customers a complete solution in one package.
"It's basically hard to go against the Big Four on their own terms, so you have to change the rules of the game," said Michael Cote, an analyst with Redmonk.
In a survey titled "Meetings Dos and Don'ts," PGI, a provider of meeting and collaboration solutions, found that IT professionals and small to medium-size business (SMB) owners have a few gripes with video conferencing, most of which center around etiquette.
What's interesting about this is that both IT and SMB survey respondents admitted to the same behavior that they find annoying in others, like checking email, searching sports scores, or leaving the room altogether. More than half of those that took the survey said they multitask during meetings, while relatively few admitted to getting caught.
"While people want total attention when they are leading a meeting, everyone also demands the freedom to multitask as needed," said Boland Jones, CEO and Chairman of PGI. "No matter where people are in th world, technology makes it possible to replicate a face-to-face meeting over the Web, while liberating attendees from the strict decorum expected when people sit in the same room. As meeting experts, we know firsthand that people thrive when together, virtually or physically."
Ranking as the No. 1 irritant among SMB owners and IT professionals is when others engage in side conversations, followed by checking personal emails.
IT specialist and Fortune 500 company EMC on Wednesday reported record financial results for the second quarter in a row. According to EMC, first-quarter consolidated revenue was $3.9 billion, an increase of 23 percent compared to one year ago, while GAAP net income rose 92 percent year-over-year.
"EMC is off to a strong start in 2010, turning in the best first quarter in company history with record first-quarter revenue, high double-digit profit growth and all-time record free cash flow," said Joe Tucci, EMC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our private cloud strategy and focus on four multi-billion dollar markets—each expected to experience rapid growth for many years to come—are resonating very well with customers. We are confident in our ability to lead the next major wave of IT, maintain a long-term double-digit revenue growth rate and continue to take share."
EMC's Information Infrastructure business was particularly robust, rising 22 percent year-over-year to settle at $3.3 billion. The company also cited strong demand and double-digit revenue growth for its Symmetrix storage product portfolio. VMware, for which EMC owns a majority stake, contributed $632 million in revenue to pot.
Market research firm Gartner believes that IT spending will continue to trend upwards this year and is projected to reach $3.4 trillion worldwide. That would represent a 5.3 increase over 2009, though Gartner was quick to point out that a dollar today isn't worth what it was yesterday.
"Following strong fourth quarter sales, an unseasonably robust hardware supply chain in the first quarter of 2010, combined with continued improvement in the global economy, sets up 2010 for solid IT spending growth," said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner. "However, it's important to note that nearly 4pp of this growth will be the result of a projected decline in the value of the dollar relative to last year. IT spending in exchange-rate-adjusted dollars will still grow 1.6% this year, after declining 1.4% in 2009."
Much of the growth will come from the infrastructure market, including software to build, run, and manage an enterprise. On the hardware side, Gartner predicts spending to reach $353 billion in 2010, a 5.7 increase from 2009.
"Computing hardware suffered the steepest spending decline of the four major IT spending category segments in 2009. However, it is now forecast to enjoy the joint strongest rebound in 2010," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 162,000 new non-farm jobs in March as the unemployment rate held firm at 9.7 percent. Areas of growth included construction, manufacturing, healthcare, temp jobs, and government contracts.
Under the "Computer Systems & Design" category, however, some 5,800 jobs were lost between February and March, but it might not be as bad as it seems. Tech jobs were up by 4,200 over a three month period ending in March, and while the numbers are still being tallied, it looks as though one-year net gains will come in positive at 9,500 new jobs.
"The job growth this month is an encouraging sign, but we still have more work to do," Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement. "Fifteen million Americans are still unemployed, and 6.5 million have been looking for work for more than six months. That is why it is important Congress pass continuations of COBRA health coverage and unemployment benefits."
Casting a cloud over the mostly positive figures is long-term unemployment. About 414,000 more workers in March claimed unemployment benefits for 27 weeks or longer.
According to Cisco, IT departments are crying out for more collaboration tools, even though many employees feel constrained by corporate policies.
Be that as it may, a recent global study by Cisco suggests that 77 percent of IT decision makers plan to increase spending on collaboration tools this year. Left to their own devices, more than a quarter of those surveyed who work at organizations that prohibit the use of social media applications admitted altering the settings on their corporate gadgets in order to gain access, saying they "need the tools to get the job done."
Of those who said they expect spending to increase on collaboration tools, 56 percent said such spending would likely increase by at least 10 percent, and probably more. India and China seem to be the most progressive in adopting the technology, Cisco said, though the majority of IDTMs recognize the importance of collaboration tools, specifically the need for better video conferencing equipment, Web conferencing, and Internet Protocol telephony.
Mozilla's latest browser ushers in a bunch of new features and security enhancements, but not everyone is impressed with Firefox 3.6. Among the browser's critics is the German federal computer security agency.
"Buerger-CERT recommends the use of [an] alternative browser until Mozilla has released Firefox version 3.6.2," Buerger-CERT, a project of the Federal Office for Security in IT, posted last Friday.
The recommendation is in reaction to a vulnerability disclosed by Russian researcher Evgeny Legerov, which as since been confirmed by Mozilla.
Mozilla plans to patch Firefox 3.6 by March 30 at the latest. In the meantime, there's now a beta version of 3.6.2 available, which reportedly does include the patch in question.
Not that Big Blue's ego needs any more stroking, but according to a new survey, IBM is trusted by consumers more than any other IT company when it comes to securing and protecting personal information and overall privacy.
"We are honored to be recognized by consumers as the most trusted business-to-business company in Ponemon Institute's survey," said Harriet Pearson, vice president, Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at IBM. "As data rapidly moves from the desktop to the cloud, consumers are more aware and concerned than ever about the security and privacy of their personal and sensitive information. IBMers worldwide are committed to delivering trusted and secure technologies, services and solutions that protect the privacy of our clients' most valuable and critical assets and operations.
On a related note, the study reported that 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, which is down from 45 percent last year, and 56 percent from 2006. Identity theft ranked as the top concern and a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while half of those surveyed said notice of a data breach was a big factor.
What a difference an OS makes. Whereas those in charge of IT took a very cautious approach to Vista, Windows 7 is enjoying a much warmer reception and more rapid adoption rate.
"We have 50 percent of our users, that's 2,500 machines, deployed on Windows 7 in 2010," said Jim Thomas, CIO at Pella.
By the end of next year, Thomas says that number will likely rise to 90 percent. That's quite the contrast to Vista, in which some 80 percent of IT organizations shunned, according to Gartner.
There are big benefits to be had in moving to Windows 7, suggests Thomas, who says that upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 has resulted in a 80 percent reduction in the number of system images he'll need.
"It has to do with drivers and Windows 7 being able to understand and adapt to them versus having a specific image built," Thomas explained.
IT execs are also drawn to Windows 7's faster boot times, though the redesigned task bar can go either way, depending on who you ask.