The CIO of Altria, a consumer packaged goods company, says innovation requires a new mind-set in the IT department.
Stories by Mary Brandel
When it comes to overall job prospects for IT professionals, 2014 will look a lot like this year, with 32% of companies expecting to increase head count in their IT shops, compared with 33% in 2013, according to Computerworld's annual Forecast survey.
IT innovation -- once a nice-to-have -- is now considered a necessity for gaining competitive edge. With globalization, changing customer behavior, the spread of consumer technologies and cloud capabilities lowering the barrier of entry to new competitors, organizations are increasingly looking to technology-induced innovations to distinguish themselves in the market.
Most of us have apparently decided we can't live without our favorite mobile device. Whether on public transportation, shopping or just walking down the street, you're more likely than not to be surrounded by people swiping screens, adjusting their earbuds or typing on a virtual screen.
To reap the value of collaboration tool investments, CIOs study employee behavior, create incentives and embed capabilities in current workflows
A year and a half ago, David Collins was trying to move from contracting work to a full-time position in IT. With rampant downsizing and a flood of new graduates, the job market was looking bleak in central Ohio, where he lives. "I knew of candidates with 20 years of experience and master's degrees who were taking entry-level positions just to get back into the industry," he says.
After months of high unemployment and a still-wobbly economy, any good news from the jobs market is going to get some traction. But even that doesn't seem to fully explain the attention surrounding a suddenly very "in" job title: data scientist.
With companies running lean and mean, professional development has increasingly become an individual sport. IT workers have learned to fend for themselves to develop needed skills and gain new mindsets for managing more effectively and adding more value to the workplace.
These days, free advice can be found everywhere, from your various social networks to your favorite advice column. But truly valuable advice typically comes from your peers or people who've made it to a career or life position that you'd like to get to someday.
In today's culture, advice on nearly any topic - relationships, health, career - is just a mouse click, touchscreen tap or Siri query away. There's even a Web site called shouldidoit.com that promises to help you make decisions in your daily life. But while you can get some good insights on the many expert and general discussion forums that pop up on the Web, there's often a sense that something is missing from that experience. Call it the human touch.
Let's face it -- when it comes to IT professional development, books might be the last place people turn. With webinars, online forums, blogs, Web sites, bootcamps and social media, books would seem like a last resort.
Few technology trends have inspired as many misgivings -- and as much misinformation - as BYOD, or "bring your own device." Is the idea of allowing employees to purchase and use their own laptops and mobile devices a security nightmare? A productivity boon? A drain on the service desk? And perhaps the biggest question of all, a cost-savings nirvana?
Eric Lindgren, CIO at PerkinElmer, will spend the next 12 months like many of his peers: hunting for cost savings that can be re-allocated to high-impact technology initiatives, such as mobility and analytics. As part of this effort, his IT group will continue to streamline the company's application portfolio, move last year's acquisitions onto its corporate-standard ERP platform and shift some fixed investments into more variable models via a private cloud.
Soft skills are not a new concept for IT. But time has run out for IT professionals who have been avoiding developing them. Now that technology is an integral part of business strategy, very few employers would settle for a candidate who could not function beyond the computer screen. And with teamwork and collaboration a mainstay of many work environments, personal interactions count, even within IT itself.
Guesswork no longer cuts it for companies trying to secure customer loyalty. Read how three businesses use analytics software to understand, respond to and even predict buyer behavior.