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The Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality

2016/12/16 Comments off

SpiceworksSpiceworks launched a new report today –Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality – that examines organizations’ adoptions plans of emerging technology like IoT, AI, VR, and 3D printers and the expected impact in the workplace.

The survey results show that among these emerging technologies, IT pros expect IoT devices and AI technology to have the biggest impact in the workplace. They don’t expect mass adoption to take off for VR and 3D printers, but some industries have significantly higher adoption rates than the industry average.

Key findings:

  • Artificial intelligence

o   Apple Siri is most commonly used in the workplace, but Cortana expected to overtake Siri in next 12 months

o   Over next 5 years, 60% of companies plan to adopt machine learning; 72% plan to deploy business analytics with AI; 32% plan to deploy self-learning robots

  • Internet of things

o   As with AI, security is the top concern with IoT in the workplace

o   Healthcare industry has highest adoption rate for IoT at 28% with an additional 50 percent planning to adopt it

  • Virtual reality

o   Only 7% of companies use VR and 13% plan to adopt it; Construction/engineering industry has highest planned adoption rate at 27%

o   Cost is biggest barrier to adoption; security/privacy is the least concern

o   IT pros surveyed named Oculus the most innovative leader in VR

  • 3D printers

o   Only 11% of companies use 3D printers and 22% plan to adopt them; Education industry has highest current adoption rate at 45%

o   As with VR, cost is biggest barrier to adoption and security is least concern

[Ken’s Notes]

No VR for BusinessThis report, like all reports from Spiceworks, is excellent and accurate. There’s a lot of hype around virtual reality (VR) tech and it will have some adoption in universities and in specialty businesses, but for most of us, don’t invest too heavily in anything VR-related. Most businesses don’t need VR and those that do, already have it in some form.

One point I disagree on, and it’s not uncommon for me to do so, is artificial intelligence (AI). For the past many* years, I have thought that AI would be the one technology that really surpassed all the others in terms of adoption, especially for voice-controlled applications, like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. I’ve waited for 20 years for a decent voice-recognition program so that I don’t have to type, but can just dictate. Yes, I know about Dragon, and it’s pretty good. But I want something that’s truly ready for prime time.
For me, voice recognition is the first step in AI. Once you have voice recognition, then you can create programs to respond to commands and to perform complex functions. I need for it to be better than my R2D2 robot and the current state of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. There are a lot of applications for voice recognition, but we just haven’t tapped into them yet.

Overall, this is a very thorough report. I like the visual statistics and the comparisons. I think that you’ll find it enlightening. Use the Comments section to tell me how closely these statistics come to your reality.

*many – A bunch. More than I’m going to tell you about.

Explore these truly relevant IT industry certifications

2016/01/15 Comments off

CertifiedIf you’re an IT professional or someone wanting to break into the glamorous world of IT, then you’ve probably considered certification. Perhaps your employer wants you to certify or maybe you think it’s time for a career move and you want to explore IT certifications. It’s confusing because there are so many certifications out there and not all of them are valued by employers or other IT staffers. This guide will help you identify the relevant certifications and why they’re relevant.

Almost every major vendor has some sort of certification plan for its products. I want to caution you against those. If a certification has a vendor label on it, I suggest that you pass it by unless you work with that product exclusively. There are, of course, exceptions. Cisco is one of those exceptions. Cisco certifications, such as the CCNA, CCIE, and CCNP are valuable, valued, and the most sought after in the business. The reason? They’re hard to pass. But that is only one reason. Other reasons include: There are jobs in the network administration field, you have to have significant experience to pass them, the jobs available for individuals who hold those certifications pay well. But exercise a bit of caution here. They’re expensive to take. The training is expensive too. The fail rate is very high, so unless you’re 100 percent dedicated to it, don’t waste your money and your time.

CompTIA certifications are highly valued in the IT business too. After Cisco, these are the ones that everyone wants. The reason? They’re vendor neutral. Certifications such as Security+, Server+, Network+, Linux+, and A+ test your knowledge of the topic while remaining vendor agnostic and that’s only a sampling of CompTIA’s certifications. Training sources are up to you and not required. You can register, pay, and take a CompTIA exam any time you wish. Your life experience can be your training. Other reasons why CompTIA exams are so valuable is that they test every aspect of a topic in considerable depth. If someone has, for example, passed the A+ exam, there’s a body of knowledge you know that individual has at his or her disposal and there’s no question about it.

ITIL Foundations certification is an extremely valuable certification, especially with larger companies, because of policies and regulations centering around change control. ITIL Foundations classes are relatively expensive and the test is rigorous, although many trainers boast a very high pass rate. My suggestion is that you focus during the three-day long class and study until you’re bored for the exam.

Microsoft CertificationsMicrosoft certifications are a whole different animal unto themselves. Some of the certifications are very difficult to pass, while others require no experience and very little study in order to achieve success. During the late 1990s, certain Microsoft certifications were shunned by the IT community because there were so many newbies entering the field who we dubbed, “Paper MCSEs.” It was true. A person with no experience could attend a class and pass the MCSE exam. It was this exam that turned many IT professionals against certification programs and against those who were certified. Microsoft has revamped its certification program considerably since those days and the number of Paper MCSEs has dropped significantly in response to those changes. These days an MCSE is a good place to start, but only if you couple it with another vendor neutral certification or two, such as the CompTIA ones.

The Microsoft Developer certification program is excellent as is its database certification track. If you have aspirations beyond tech support, check those out.

VMware certifications are another exception to the vendor certification smackdown that I gave earlier. VMware certifications for its core products are highly valued. The VCP is an honored and honorable certification. The training is expensive and the test is rigorous. Take the plunge if you have some experience and the training behind you. Couple it with another vendor neutral certification for better value.

Project Management certifications are absolutely essential in gaining any kind of momentum behind your career as a project manager. The PMP is the gold standard in the industry for project management professionals. There are too many related certifications to mention here, but these are widely recognized and considered required for positions in the industry.

Fortunately in some jobs, you can negotiate IT training that leads to certification, plus the testing fee which can be quite high in some cases. Be prepared to sign a contract for payback if you leave the job in less than a year of service after such training.

A word of caution about certification. When you certify on a product, be aware that when the new version of that product hits the market, you’ll have to certify on the new product as well. In some circles, we call this the “certification money racket.” This means that even if you are certified on Product X version 6.0, when Product X version 7.0 is released, you’ll have to take a new class and pay a new testing fee to certify. And most certifications, vendor-oriented or vendor neutral have an expiration date.

Most professionals who I know who are “certification junkies” (The ones who have several certifications behind their names) consider new certifications as continuing education and part of the cost of being an IT professional.

If you’re interested in becoming a certification instructor, the exams are the same, but you’ll have to achieve near perfect scores on the exams to attain instructor status.

No certification is worth the price if you don’t have experience, although many newcomers believe (falsely) that certification without experience helps them break into the business. My best advice is to get some real world experience (at least one year) and couple that with your certifications. If you’re serious about the IT business, especially in large companies, this approach will give you the highest return on your investment. If you can’t acquire an entry level job in which to gain some skills, buy or lease some computer equipment and learn on your own. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, there will be a team of skeptical IT professionals who will test your knowledge and they might not be nice about it, so lose the attitude and show that you know something practical as well as having the certification. Best of luck to you in your pursuits. Feel free to contact me for further information and pointers.

Disclaimer: This was a non-sponsored post.

Sponsorship: If you wish to sponsor a post or to have a product reviewed, contact me.

Ken Hess’ Topics of Interest

2014/01/17 Comments off

I am always looking for article ideas and topics from readers, companies, PR folks, friends, and techies. This page is where I post my current needs. I have a variety of venues for articles. I decide where I post the information according to interest, audience, and other factors.

If a topic is posted here, I’m interested in interviews, discussions, podcasts, infographics, ideas, and data related to it. Feel free to contact me via email (ken-at-kenhess-dot-com) or Twitter (@kenhess) to continue the dialog. Please read the complete list of needs and the list of things I’m not looking for.

CURRENT NEEDS:

Internet of Things & Machine to machine communications

  • Users
  • Use cases
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Statistics
  • Perspectives
  • Security
  • Pain Points
  • Successes
  • Clever applications

Security

  • Breaches, thefts, hacks
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Successes
  • Costs and cost data
  • Challenges

Virtualization

  • Special virtualized workloads
  • Interesting applications
  • Challenges
  • New frontiers
  • Cloud applications

Consumerization/BYOD

  • Solutions
  • Challenges
  • Success stories
  • Pain points
  • Productivity Apps
  • Security

Big Data

  • Case studies
  • Statistics
  • Users
  • Alternatives
  • Challenges
  • Solutions

Offshore outsourcing

  • Failures
  • Expose’
  • Non-performance issues
  • Challenges
  • Cost vs. return
  • Scams, deals gone wrong, security problems

Technical Startup Companies

  • Profiles
  • Innovations
  • Technology overview
  • David and Goliath stories
  • Successes

NOT CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR:

Funding information
Partnerships/Strategic Partnerships
Healthcare-related
Fashion-related
Food-related

Calling all Technical Authors or Want-to-Be Technical Authors

2013/10/02 Comments off

You, the Author!The following is a list of book topics for which my agent is looking. Are you an author or have you wanted to be one? Drop me an email at: ken (at) kenhess (dot) com and I’ll fill you in on the details–at least as many details as I have.

Here’s the list:

  • Database security
  • Cloud consolidation
  • Privilege analysis
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Database as a Service (DBaaS)
  • Back-up and the Cloud
  • R Techniques for Big Data
  • R programming
  • Solaris
  • Database and OS administration
  • Application consolidation
  • Integrating technologies (Database, servers, OS)
  • *aaS (Anything as a Service)
  • Assembly language programming
  • Lambda programming in Java
  • Fast Data
  • BPM
  • SOA
  • Middleware
  • Enterprise data quality
  • BPM for Healthcare
  • Process Modeling for Healthcare

Now’s your chance, so go for it. You have nothing to lose. If you’re successful, you’ll have fame, fortune, precious jewels, expensive cars…OK, so you might not have any of those but you might see your book in a bookstore and definitely on Amazon.com. And you’ll be able to call yourself a real author.

Categories: Articles, General Info

IBM Offers $4 Billion in SMB Financing and a New Mobile Credit App

2012/11/21 Comments off

IBM recently announced that it is providing its ecosystem of business partners with $4 billion in financing for credit-qualified clients over a period of 12 months. This financing, available through IBM Global Financing, can make obtaining credit easier and more accessible to enable IBM’s Business Partners and their clients to acquire technologies such as cloud, analytics and PureSystems.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) consistently reports that well over 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first five years due to lack of capital. Since this segment is responsible for nearly 65 percent of global GDP, representing more than 90 percent of all businesses and employing more than 90 percent of the world’s workforce, SMBs play a critical role in a global economic recovery.

Financing is one of the biggest challenges limiting the success of SMBs today.

Clients can now take advantage of these new technologies with no money down and by simply making monthly or quarterly financing payments. For example, many of the offerings are less than $5 per user per month (over 36 months) for 100 users.   In addition, these technologies can now be up and running in a matter of two to three days, saving SMBs up to 50 percent in cost and time.

The new solutions also include analytics for SMBs to tackle “Big Data” challenges to help better extract insight and spot trends to make better business decisions and identify new market opportunities.  These offerings will combine technologies from IBM’s recent acquisitions.  In fact, the survey highlighted analytics as the top priority by more than 83 percent of CIOs.

IBM is also launching a new mobile app as another step to simplify the way IBM’s Business Partners can apply for financing and gain access to credit within minutes via any mobile device.

IBM Global Financing can provide credit qualified clients access to the capital you need to quickly and affordably move to IBM. Working with IBM can simplify the process and provide you a financing structure that helps you preserve cash, improve your financial return and mitigate risk.

IBM’s Global Financing Site

IBM Rapid Online Financing

 
IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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Categories: Articles, Cloud, General Info

IBM’s Global Cloud Initiative Hits MSPs Where It Helps

2012/10/03 Comments off

On September 26, 2012, IBM launched a global cloud initiative focused on providing technical expertise to Managed Service Providers (MSPs)*. But, expertise isn’t the only thing IBM offers up for MSPs; it enables organizations to explore cloud computing on IBM technology, namely, IBM’s SmartCloud and PureSystems. Businesses look to MSPs for assistance in leveraging the power and the availability of cloud-based solutions. Unfortunately, many businesses aren’t taking advantage of cloud solutions due to a technical knowledge gap. IBM’s initiative enables MSPs to build their businesses by offering deep technical cloud expertise and the hardware quality to make it work.

As part of the global cloud initiative launch, IBM opened new Global Centers of Excellence for greater access to technical expertise and to better address the growing need for cloud services and support. The Centers are located in Shanghai, Tokyo, Ehningen (Germany) and in New York City.

IBM’s initiative will allow MSPs to gain hands-on experience and face-to-face interaction with cloud experts to build confidence in recommending cloud solutions to their customers. IBM cloud technology is built on open standards and enables MSPs to provide cloud-based offerings to customers more economically, more quickly and with more expertise than the closest competitor.

One of the major barriers to cloud computing adoption has been security. IBM understands, better than anyone, the requirement for security in the cloud. Healthcare facilities, law enforcement agencies, financial institutions and educational institutions are especially security conscious. IBM and its partners, such as Perimeter E-Security, assist your company and your MSP in securing communications and your data without breaking your bank account in the process.

IBM’s global cloud initiative has netted more than 1,400 MSP relationships to date. The IBM-MSP relationships enable small and medium-sized businesses access to the best available technologies and true cloud computing expertise at an affordable price in every country on the planet.

This initiative solidifies IBM’s dedication to small and medium-sized businesses and enables those businesses to compete in a global market regardless of size or physical presence. By helping the MSP, IBM is helping you to compete, to collaborate and to focus on your customers.

*A Managed Service Provider is a hosting company or an access provider that also offers IT consulting services to assist customers in network management, setting up online services, creating and managing virtual private networks, storage management, setting up telephony services and cloud computing. MSPs may act as an outsourced IT services company for business customers.

For more information:

IBM PureSystems
IBM SmartCloud
IBM Global Financing
Managed Service Provider Information
IBM Midsize Business (Video)
Perimeter E-Security

IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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Categories: Articles, Cloud, General Info

JouleX and Saving Money in Your Data Center. The Heat is On. (Podcast)

2012/08/26 Comments off

JouleX Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tim McCormick, and I discuss how to save significant money in your data center by knowing where your energy is going. You might be surprised at the numbers and how much you can save. It’s shocking to know how much money and energy are being needlessly wasted. And, we’re not talking “green” anything, except money. Give special attention near the end of the podcast when Tim tells you the scale of the savings that current customers see in their data centers. IBM is a JouleX Strategic Partner.

JouleX_TimMcCormick_24_Aug_2012

Length: 26:26. MP3 format. Rated G for all audiences.

IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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