Archive for the ‘Admin Tools and Tips’ Category

Top 10 Virtual Data Room Providers

Things nowadays are getting virtual. Companies have been able to shift a large amount of their workload to decentralized locations, from remote work teams to crowd-sourced marketing tasks.

For companies handling large amounts of confidential or third party information, managing these data is no exception to the virtual revolution. Virtual data rooms come in for enterprises or to any companies dealing with sensitive data.

What is Virtual Data Rooms and why do organizations need it?

Virtual data rooms are neutral environments in which multiple parties can interact and collaborate. You can think of it as a secure online repository for document storage and distribution. It is typically utilized during the due diligence process preceding a merger or acquisition to review, share and disclose company documentation.

Virtual data rooms have increasingly replaced physical data rooms traditionally used to disclose and share documents. With the globalization of businesses and increased scrutiny to reduce costs, virtual data rooms are an attractive alternative to physical data rooms. Virtual data rooms are widely accessible, immediately available and more secure. As security concerns grow and incidents with breaches increase, VDR providers are developing more sophisticated and reliable databases.

The greatest advantage of a VDR is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your confidential information such as financial and HR information, intellectual property, your clients’ legal documents will not be seen by third parties unless you’ve permitted them to do so. VDRs capabilities to upload large volumes of documents, tracks and audits the user and document activity and sets specific user permissions that are vital for facilitating efficient and secure document sharing.

Tips for Choosing a VDR

  • Consider the security ratings and certifications
  • Evaluate the security of the promised third-party integration’s
  • Review the User Interface
  • Test the platform and Customer support make sure that it is convenient for you
  • Flexibility – the provider should give you a platform that can be accessed via a desktop or mobile device. It should also be flexible enough to be deployed on a cloud-based or premise depending on the individual needs of your business.

Benefits of VDR

  • Security: Email, FTP and other unsecured cloud storage are no longer secure avenues for data sharing. VDR is the best method of ensuring your information is kept secure and out of reach from pervasive hackers.
  • Environment-Friendly: It’s paperless!
  • Efficiency: VDR lets you have control over the document. It helps you monitor who has access to the documents. You can have all communications encrypted and recorded and in a single place.
  • Cost-Effective: Reduced cost on travel and delay with the courier service.
  • Transparency and Appearance: VDRs help you to understand your clients, and investors better. When granting access to documents in a VDR, you gain access to all of the activities regarding that document.

Top Vendors of VDR

1. Ansarada is an AI-powered VDR solution which specializes in material information platform for material events. You also get features such as its own deal assistant app, AiQ bidder engagement, and due diligence Q&A. Its interactive assistant is developed to provide immediate answers to your questions anytime and anywhere.

2. Box is a virtual data room by Box.com. It is a platform built on the simple file sharing system for individual users. However, the VDR service on Box platform provides a more sophisticated set of permissions and security measures. This makes Box VDR better suited to sharing sensitive business documents and collaborating on projects with team members geographically located around the globe.

The key features of this data room provider include full customization with logos and company colors, easy installation, access expiry and limitations on previewing, uploading, and printing documents, as well as detailed tracking possibilities.

3. Citrix Sharefile is a file sharing service built for business-class, real-time collaboration. It automates workflows for providing feedback, requesting approvals, co-editing, and getting legally e-binding signatures to accelerate productivity. It id developed for personal and professional usage. This tool is packed in an easy-to-use platform for all types of users, even those that aren’t tech-savvy.

One of the tool’s strongest points is its robust third-party integration. Data sharing is secure and flexible. It offers a variety of security capabilities such as granular permissions, multi-level access authentication, and SSL/TLS 256-bit encryption. You can manage your security settings on your own through extended customization with an internally monitored and password-protected document archive.

4. Codelathe’s FileCloud can create Virtual Data Room (VDR) that makes document management and collaboration as effective just the way you want it. FileCloud’s easy, secure, and regulated access to your documents online, with functionality to share, review, download, comment, and archive them can prove to be a major success driver. You can securely store all kinds of documentation related to licenses, permits, contracts, intellectual property, proposals, plans, blueprints, and financial statements.

With FileCloud, setting up the VDR is simple, quick, and convenient. Once it’s set up, you can start adding people, uploading a document, tracking activity, and audit.

FileCloud powered Virtual Data Room has the potential to become the collaboration engine to drive your mega projects. The availability of critical documents with requisite levels of access privileges makes due diligence quicker and more efficient. FileCloud delivers wholesome data security and privacy, enabling you to manage complex and grand projects, without worrying about documents. File encryption and access control ensure there’s no unauthorized data access to any document.’

5. Digify is designed with a focus on protecting and tracking sensitive files, giving you control and peace of mind over confidential documents that you share online. It scales to the needs of small business to enterprise. Your data room is secure with features such as rights management, watermarking, file tracking and encryption.

If you have different sets of users, Digify helps you manage access permission at varying degrees. You can restrict forwarding, revoke access or make your files private or public. You can also set rules for downloading, so you can decide which users can save locally or print a confidential document.

6. Egnyte is a VDR designed for content collaboration, data protection, and infrastructure modernization. Beyond being a file-sharing solution, it enables seamless collaboration between your business by enabling you to access the system on any device using other devices in any app you prefer. It ensures compliant data governance across the program by enabling you to monitor usage patterns and access controls. This ensures you stay on top of private and sensitive information on your organization.

7. Firmex is an enterprise virtual data room widely used for a variety of processes including compliance, litigation, and diligence. It is highly secure, utilizing document control and DRM such as custom permissions, dynamic watermarks, lock-down files and document expire. This makes it an ideal platform for exchanging, transmitting and collaborating with sensitive documents. The system has specific solutions for investment banking, biotech, government, energy, and legal industries.

Designed for non-technical users, it has drag-and-drop ease to set up your projects quickly or move documents by bulk. It helps you to organize the files easily with a directory listing and data room index-which can be exported to PDF or Excel. A large organization with tons of documents will appreciate this feature best.

8. Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage systems with robust office-suite collaboration functionality. It includes a word processor, presentation, and spreadsheet program. At its core, it is an online storage service with a generous storage space you can use, especially if you’re using Google productivity apps and files such as images, videos, and documents. Individual users readily get a free 15GB storage and basic sharing capacity which you can use for regular files or office documents. Its collaborative office-suite is also a good cloud-based solution with its programs called Docs (word documents), Slides (powerpoint presentations), Sheets (spreadsheets), Forms and Drawings.

9. iDeals Virtual Data Room is an amazing VDR option, with all the functionality you could expect from an industry-leading virtual data room provider. The emphasis is on facilitating due diligence in any industry, including M&A, real estate, biotech, and technologies. With many competing vendors requiring users to download plug-ins or other software, such as Flash or Java, iDeals works consistently across all web browsers, operating systems, and devices with no plugins required. Full mobile compatibility ensured by dedicated apps for IOS and Windows.

Secure, powerful, flexible yet intuitively accessible with a great user experience and multi-language 24/7 customer support, iDeals VDR platform is available either as a web service or integrated with the enterprises existing infrastructure.

10. V-Rooms operates in the virtual data room market for more than ten years and is repeatedly awarded for the high-quality services it provides. Its VDRs are designed exclusively for simplifying the life of deal-makers: data management, storage, and exchange occur in a highly protected and functional environment. The data undergoes strong 256-bit encryption and is accessible only for those who passed the two-step authentication process. Digital rights management allows room administrators to protect the documents and prevent their misuse: they control document saving and printing, withdraw access to the document even if the document was already downloaded. Regular activity reports keep the administrators updated about the recent activity of the users and help them to identify the most active and interested visitors. Being secure, VDRs by V-Rooms remain simple and convenient.

Recommendations

■ Consider VDRs when looking for temporary or permanent mechanisms to support highlycontrolled sharing of proprietary documents in highly regulated environments, in external-facing processes, or for collaboration with third parties.

■ Consider VDRs when the extended collaboration use case involves a joint venture or a consortium of partners, or requires centralized governance, privacy, compliance, audits trails and e-discovery.

■ Ensure IT is involved in the VDR selection process. Do not work around them as their help is key in VDR selection and configuration.

■ In other cases, especially when the cost is constrained, it is worth considering less-costly CCP alternatives — recognizing that a general-purpose tool will need customization to support specific UIs and capabilities.

Top 10 Board Portal Vendors

A board portal is a tool that facilitates secure digital communication between members of a board of directors. Board portals are made for boards and for good governance. Board portals also typically include messaging features, voting tools, meetings, meeting minutes, agenda features and other tools to help make communication as seamless as possible.

There were two factors that propelled the market development of the board portal. The first was a cadre of progressive directors who, enthusiastic about technology and tired of bulky board books, advocated electronic access to meeting materials. The second driver was the passage of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley act. This major piece of legislation, written in response to the accounting scandals of that time, threw a spotlight on board portals as a vehicle to drive governance. The “electronic board book” that emerged provided rudimentary online access — but not much more.

The true challenge of any board collaboration solution is adoption. The system you implement can only be useful if your board members like to use it. Adoption should be considered when selecting and reviewing tools. When implementing a solution, allow time for board members to get familiar with the system and to develop the habit of using it.

What to Look for in Board Portal Technology

With most board portal software performing similar functions, it’s very important to evaluate service, pricing and track record with organizations similar to yours.

  1. Adaptability: If the app you choose isn’t adopted, it’s a wasted investment that may leave you less secure than you were before. For an application to be embraced by your board, it needs to be accessible from a multitude of devices, easy-to-use and accompanied by live support at any time. Having the ability to read and annotate board materials as you could do with a hard copy is comfortable and functional; an electronic board book should be as simple to flip through as paper, but with lots of additional advantages
  2. Pricing: When comparing, the most glaring difference you will find among board portals is in the price. From the top-of-the-line to the very basic, there are meeting solutions available at varying degrees of affordability. After all, for most organizations, the solution of choice will still have to fit within their allotted budget.
  3. Features: Beyond the basic features such as event scheduling and online board books, board portals can differ in other aspects such as the availability of tools for document management, reporting, presentations, or collaboration. Will the nature of your meetings require complex permission and privacy settings? Multiple presenter roles? As each board portal will have its strengths over others, consider whether these strengths are in the areas that are most critical to your company’s needs.
  4. User Interface: Another aspect to take into consideration is the user interface of the board portal. This is particularly important if your company has executives and board directors who are not so tech-savvy and may have difficulty adapting to a digital solution. Before any savings or productivity gains are made, the board portal’s design should first and foremost be intuitive enough to make navigating around easy for users
  5. Security: Each board portal will have its own approach to securing data. Study the security safeguards that each board portal utilizes, and find the one that you are most comfortable with. Evaluate whether their security measures and data storage practices are compliant with your organization’s standards. For example, if your company deals with sensitive information and does not want to risk storing data on the cloud, you should consider on-premise hosting. However, not all board portals can provide you with that option.

Top Board Portals

  1. Admin control: Admin control offers web-based solutions as well as a separate iPad and iPhone app for secure collaboration and easy sharing of documents in business processes such as board and management work, due diligence, capital injections and stock exchange listings.
  2. Aprio: From package prep to online collaboration, Aprio board portal software is easy-to-use, affordable, and backed by the friendliest support in the business. Aprio is an all-in-one board portal that helps organizations manage board meetings and board communication, with top security and service. Aprio serves credit unions, financial institutions, crown corporations, non-profits, and government organizations across North America. All board members, management and staff can view and access documents and materials immediately, from anywhere, and at the same time.
  3. Boardable: The software is meeting-centric, helping groups schedule meetings, build and share agendas, draft and finalize minutes, vote digitally, and securely store and share documents. Boardable also centralizes all board content and communications, integrates with existing email, file-sharing, and calendar platforms, and streamlines routine tasks. A convenient mobile app improves the board member experience with on-the-go access to meeting details, documents, discussion, and tasks.
  4. BroadPAC: BoardPAC is an award-winning paperless Board Meeting governance automation software, which fosters an easy to use and convenient platform for conducting board meetings and other high-level senior management meetings via iPad & tablets. With both on-premise and cloud storage options, supported across all platforms. BoardPAC is offered with the highest data security management certification by ISO 27001 and with unlimited 24×7 support and training.
  5. FileCloud by CodeLathe: FileCloud offers secure content sharing portal for boards. Strong content security and segregation of data from the rest of the systems is important for board portals. Further, board members and top executives should be able to access the content securely from tablets and mobile phones before, during and after the meeting. FileCloud provides exactly. FileCloud can be integrated with enterprise data repositories, file servers or cloud storage systems like AWS S3.FileCloud can be deployed on the infrastructure of your choice: On-premise, public cloud and also available as SaaS service.
  6. Confluence: Confluence is an open and shared workspace that connects people to the ideas and information they need to build momentum and do their best work. Unlike document and file-sharing tools, Confluence is open and collaborative, helping you create, manage, and collaborate on anything from product launch plans to marketing campaigns. Find work easily with dedicated and organized spaces, connect across teams, and integrate seamlessly with the Atlassian suite or customize with apps from our Marketplace.
  7. Convene: Convene, the board management software used to compile and distribute papers, generate minutes and, carry forward action items for meetings. Award-winning usability makes it the choice for listed companies, SMEs, banks, governments, healthcare & non-profits in more than 80 countries. Developed by Azeus Systems, with over 25 years of experience in IT development. Convene’s network & document encryption provided by a SOC2-compliant security system ensures your users’ safety on any device
  8. Diligent: Diligent Boards is designed to be a flexible tool, with a robust set of features that are designed to reflect how board members, executives, and administrative teams actually work. Diligent also offers several capabilities that are not found on other tools, including Preview to Updates, Note Saver, Smart Sync, and Quick Build. Award-winning service is provided to all Diligent Boards users; Diligent provides unlimited training and support
  9. eShare’s Broadpacks: BoardPacks is a board portal that fully digitizes an established system of agendas, meeting packs, surveys and decision making that were previously paper-based. They help clients improve their governance and the effectiveness of their board by putting the information they need at their fingertips including board papers, training information, risks and decisions.
  10. OnBoard: OnBoard is a cloud-based board meeting management solution designed for board member collaboration before, during and after meetings.

Users can compile and coauthor board books and materials. Updates to materials save automatically and are instantly synced across users’ devices—including desktops, laptops, tablets (Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Windows Surface) and smartphones (Android and iPhone). Notes and annotations can be typed directly into materials and are also searchable. OnBoard includes functionality for remote data swipe, surveys, and multi-board support.

What is a Record? What is Records Management?

Record is a document or content that an organization need to keep as an evidence for an important transaction, activity or a business decision for regulatory, compliance and governance purposes. Not all documents are Records. Only a subset of documents that an organization need to preserve as an evidence are called as Records.

What is Records Management?

The ISO 15489-1: 2016 standard defines records management as “the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records”

What is Records Retention Schedule?

A records retention schedule is a document that identifies and describes an organization’s records and the lengths of time that each type of record must be retained. To give and idea ,the following section shows the general record keeping requirements of Texas State for statutory purposes. Every organization can have thier own set of record keeping requirements and records retention schedule which are dictated by industry and government compliance requirements.

      Wage and hour laws (FLSA) – while some payroll records need be kept only two years, most must be kept for at least three years under the federal law (FLSA); to be safe, keep all payroll records for at least three years after the date of the last payroll check.
      Unemployment compensation – keep all records relating to employees’ wages and other compensation, as well as all unemployment tax records, for at least four years.
      Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) – keep all payroll, benefit, and leave-related documentation for at least three years after conclusion of the leave event.
      I-9 records – keep all I-9 records for at least three years following the date of hire, or for one year following the employee’s date of last work, whichever point is reached last.
      New Hire reporting – report all new hire information within 20 days of hire.
      Hiring documentation – under EEOC rules, all records relating to the hiring process must be kept for at least one year following the date the employee was hired for the position in question; if a claim or lawsuit is filed, the records must be kept while the action is pending.
      Disability-related records (ADA) – keep all ADA-related accommodation documentation for at least one year following the date the document was created or the personnel action was taken, whichever comes last.
      Benefit-related information (ERISA and HIPAA) – generally, keep ERISA- and HIPAA-related documents for at least six years following the creation of the documents.
      Age-discrimination documentation (ADEA) – keep payroll records for at least three years, and any other documents relating to personnel actions for at least one year, or during the pendency of a claim or lawsuit.
      OSHA records – keep OSHA-related records for at least five years.
      Hazardous materials records – keep these for at least thirty years following the date of an employee’s separation from employment, due to the long latency period for some types of illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous materials.
      State discrimination laws – keep all personnel records for at least one year following an employee’s last day of work.
      IRS payroll tax-related records – keep these records for at least four years following the period covered by the records.

In the financial industry, Registered broker-dealers are subject to a variety of record-keeping requirements enforced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and self-regulatory agencies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). SEA Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4, specify minimum requirements with respect to the records that broker-dealers must make, how long those records and other documents relating to a broker-dealer’s business must be kept and in what format they may be kept. FileCloud’s Financial Services Compliance white paper shows the retention periods of various records that Registered broker-dealers need to preserve as per FINRA rules.

How FileCloud can help you in managing your enterprise records?

FileCloud offers powerful record management and governance features that allows organizations to create flexible retention and archival policies to meet any compliance requirements. The following screenshots show how one can create retention schedules for different types of records.

Retention Policies


Create Retention Policies

A System Administrator’s Guide to Containers

Anybody who’s a part of the IT industry will have come across the word “container” during the course of his/her work. After all, it’s one of the most overused terms right now, which also indicates different things for different people depending on the context. Standard Linux containers are nothing more than regular processes running on a Linux-based system. This process category is separate from other process groups thanks to Linux security limitations, resource limitations, and namespaces.

Identifying the Right Processes

When you boot one of the current crop of Linux systems and view a process with cat /proc/PID/cgroup, it immediately becomes known that this process occurs in a cgroup. Once you take a closer look at /proc/PID/status, you begin to notice capabilities. Then you can view SELinux labels by checking out /proc/self/attr/current. Also, seeing /proc/PID/ns gives you a listed view of namespaces the process is currently in.

Thus, if a container gets defined as a process that has resource constraints, namespaces, and Linux security constraints, it can be argued that each process on the Linux system is present in a container. This is precisely the reason why Linux is often considered containers and vice versa.

Container Components

The term “container runtimes” refer to tools used for modifying resource limitations, namespaces, and security, and also for launching the container. The idea of “container image” was initially introduced by Docker, and pertains to a regular TAR file comprised of two units:

  • JSON file: This determines how the rootfs must be run, including the entrypoint or command required to run in rootfs once the container starts, the container’s working directory, environment variables to establish for that particular container, along with a couple of other settings.
  • Rootfs: This is the container root filesystem which serves as a directory on the system resembling the regular root (/) of the OS.
  • What happens is, Docker starts to “tar up” the rootfs while the JSON file develops the base image. The user is now able to install extra content in the rootfs, thereby forming a fresh JSON file, and then tar the variation between the actual image and the new picture with the updated JSON file. Thus, a layered image is created.

Building Blocks of Containers

The tools that are commonly used for forming container images are known as container image builders. In some cases, container engines are responsible for this task, but numerous standalone tools can also be found for creating container images. These container images or tarballs are taken by Docker, and then moved to a web service. This enables them to be later pulled by Docker, which also develops a protocol for pulling them and dubs the web service as container registry.

The term “container engines” are programs capable of pulling container images from the container registries and then reassembling them onto the container storage. If that’s not all, container engines are also responsible for launching container runtimes.

The container storage is generally a COW or copy-on-write layered filesystem. Once the container image gets pulled down from the container registry, the first thing that needs to be done is untar the rootfs so it can be placed on disk. In the event that multiple layers are present in the image, every single layer gets downloaded and then stored on a separate layer of the COW filesystem. This means every single layer contains a separately stored layer, which increases sharing for the layered images. Container engines tend to support multiple kinds of container storage, such as zfs, btrfs, overlay, aufs, and devicemapper.

Once the container engine has completed downloading the container image to the container storage, it must form a container runtime configuration. This runtime configuration is a combination of input from the user or caller as well as the content from container image specification. The container runtime configuration’s layout as well as the exploded rootfs are often standardized by the OCI standards body.

The container engine releases a container runtime that is capable of reading the container runtime specification, modifying the Linux cgroups in the process along with Linux namespaces and security limitations. Afterward, the container command gets launched to form the PID 1 of the container. By now, the container engine is able to relay stdout/stdin back the caller while gaining control over the container.

Please keep in mind that several of the container runtimes get introduced for using various parts of the Linux so the containers can be isolated. This allows users to run containers with KVM separation. They are also able to apply hypervisor strategies. Due to the availability of a standard runtime specification, the tools may be launched by a single container engine. Even Windows may use the OCI Runtime Specification to launch Windows containers.

Container orchestrators are a higher level. These tools help coordinate the execution of containers on various different modes. They interact with the container engines for managing containers. Orchestrators are responsible for telling container engines to start the containers and wire networks together. They can monitor the containers and introduce ones as the load expands.

Benefits of Containers

Containers provide numerous benefits to enable the DevOps workflows, including:

  • Simpler updates
  • A simple solution for consistent development, testing and production environments
  • Support for numerous frameworks

When the user writes, tests and deploys an application within the containers, the environment stays the same at various parts of the delivery chain. This means collaboration between separate teams becomes easier since they all work in the same containerized environment.

When software needs to be continuously delivered, it requires application updates to roll out on a constant, streamlined schedule. This is possible with containers as applying updates becomes easier. Once the app gets distributed into numerous microservices, every single one gets hosted in a different container. If a part of the app gets updated by restarting the container, the rest of it remains uninterrupted.

When performing DevOps, it helps to have the agility to switch conveniently between various deployment platforms or programming frameworks easily. Containers provide the agility since they are comparatively agnostic towards deployment platforms and programming languages. Nearly any kind of app may be run inside the container, irrespective of the language it’s written in. What’s more, containers may be moved easily between various kinds of host systems.

Concluding Remarks

There are plenty of reasons why containers simplify the DevOps. Once system administrators understand the basic nature of the containers, they can easily use that information when planning a migration at the organization.

Why It’s Time For Businesses to Acknowledge the Hidden Costs of BI

Many companies are implementing business intelligence (BI) software for smarter data use, but few are achieving the desired ROI results. Why? Because the organizations hardly understand the actual costs of BI. They are focusing primarily on license metrics while comparing BI analytics tool and platform vendor expenses, not realizing that it’s only a fraction of the total ownership costs.

So, failure comes from evaluating the “sticker price” of the BI solution and comparing it with direct returns from data analysis. The cost of the BI tool or that of the present situation is underestimated. To know more about the hidden expenses of business intelligence, read below:

Scaling Costs

 

 

Businesses cut corners wherever they can, often buying low-end data tools that work fine for a year or two, but then fall short while handling the growing data quantity. Moreover, new IoT devices and other new technology increase the complexity and number of data sources.

Thus, the cheap tool you bought earlier is a short-term solution; it is not a permanent answer to your data requirements. However, by the time you realize this, you’ve already wasted considerable resources purchasing licenses, allotting training hours, and making your employees reliant on this tool.

No wonder they have zero interest in knowing more about the use of a different software tool. As a result, companies must grudgingly spend their extra resources for implementing a new, full-fledged business tool. The alternative would be to keep on working with a subpar tool that does not fulfil all their requirements.

Buying Into the Hype

A big mistake that organizations make early on is buying into the business intelligence hype – investing in the latest, most advanced BI tool just because they’ve been told they need one, rather than choosing one on the basis of its problem-solving capabilities. There’s no doubt that business intelligence is of value to companies, but spending money on a BI tool arbitrarily doesn’t do any good. You must first identify the issue you’re outlining or hoping to solve; otherwise, you will never achieve the desired results.

First, think about your business problem along with what your company hopes to achieve. Have a clear idea of the capabilities required to solve those issues or fulfil that goal. Select a BI tool that adheres to those requirements. This way, you will avoid spending money on something that has no place in your organization.

Integration Expenses

One of the key considerations in a cost-benefit estimation of BI tools is whether the current ecosystem can support the software. Another is, whether it can serve as a standalone solution for data analytics or join the cluster of other programs to be of any real value to the company. What’s important is that you understand the number of moving parts the analytical value chain contains. First, you’ve got to connect the raw sources of data and then perform ETL and data cleanse before analysis.

Most market BI tools perform only the last stage, using flashy dashboards and graphics to hide how every important backend task is delegated to an IT professional or a separate tool. Thus, you need to carefully understand the functionality you’re going to get from the desired software. Tools – both the single and full-stack varieties –  serve well as platforms for handling various activities, from data modelling to preparation to the development and sharing of dashboards.

While using proprietary database tools and ETL with data visualization software is not wrong, you must figure out how all this changes the final price, and whether you’re willing to foot the bill for the perfect analytic solution.

Manpower

 

You must also think about the price being paid for by your company as your precious employees spend more time preparing reports instead of focusing on different mission-critical activities. While this applies to the first scenario, where everything’s done through spreadsheets, when you’re getting a modern business intelligence tool, you need to ensure it upholds the standards of self-service expected by business users.

Regular enterprises sought help from qualified data analysts and IT professionals, to build BI. They needed somebody who was perfect for coding and scripting for the purpose of a different query. Though modern tools neglect this, with back-end functionality being absent means that coding and scripting happen in the initial data preparation phase. Businesses users within the company will no longer have to struggle with countless spreadsheets; they can assign the task to technical workers instead, who must operate IT-focused systems for producing reports. To avoid this, business users in your company should consider the tool and answer personal data questions, rather than relying constantly on external or internal tech support.

Opportunity Costs

When you’re unable to do something because you decided on something else, the cost incurred by the company is the opportunity cost. It’s one of the most hidden and overlooked BI expense, and you need to consider what you’ll do during that time with those resources. Although this is difficult to measure in projects, it becomes easier to find the similarities between projects and assign a value to any missed opportunity.

Upfront Payments

Companies often buy business intelligence upfront due to a combination of factors, from high pressured sales strategies to promises of big discounts, to decision makers failing to realize the best course of action. This can significantly add to your BI program expenses and also lead to shelfware if your employees fail to receive proper tool training or remain clueless about the positive impact of the tool and refrain from implementing and using it within the organization. To prevent wasting the company money, you should seek out a BI tool vendor that gives you the opportunity to begin small, prove that the concept is useful to your business, and then scale as required.

Unanswered Questions

 

 

Successful BI depends on people in various roles, and even when the project is deployed, many of those roles continue to play a vital part. However, end users will only enter into the process if they think the question they want to answer is worth their effort and time. We automatically assume that a new BI solution is going to be better, which is precisely why we invest resources and time into implementing it. But does it answer the questions of the end users? Think about the questions not asked because they weren’t worth the effort. Or worse, if they were worth it, but the user refused to wait due to lack of time, and so, made an instinctive decision.

Businesses thinking about BI will rarely have the necessary visibility into these missed questions until they discuss the situation with end users. The price of an unasked question may be considerable, for example when you’re deciding if you want to pull or extend a specific marketing campaign.

Workflow Expenses

 

Rather than look at BI from a tech perspective, you need to consider it also from an end user’s workflow perspective. These costs are recurring, and directly affect the other indirect expenses discussed earlier. While we’ve discussed the price of not asking a specific question above, what price do you have to pay when you do ask and receive a response? If you’re lucky, you won’t have another business intelligence platform decision on your hands for several years, but the workflow to get new answers will keep on repeating itself.

 

Concluding Remarks

So, it becomes evident that several sources of cost exist outside the upfront expenses of procuring and managing a solution. If you think that offering data-driven insights is a valuable function, you must try and appreciate the actual cost of your company’s BI solution.

 

Sources:

How to Include BI in Your 2019 Budget

https://www.thoughtspot.com/data-chief/elephant-room-hidden-cost-bi

Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Business Intelligence

 

The Evolving Role of A CIO – And Why You Need to Know It

It wasn’t until recently that CIO became a job title recognized across the world, and particularly within organizations that consider technology as a strategic pillar. However, after an initial glory period, the scope of a CIO’s role started getting stonewalled.

For instance, in many companies, the CIO is seen as somebody who ensures that technology becomes an enabler for the other C-Suite executives to achieve their goals. For several others, it’s about one leader for oversight of everything the company is doing to replace on-premise systems with cloud-based alternatives.

However, the modern CIO’s role cuts through deeper waters. This guide tries to bring these latent ripples to the surface, to truly present the scope of a CIO’s role in the true shape.

 

Follow The Leader!

 

Being Torch Bearers for DevOps Process Transformation

Though DevOps is certainly not a new idea anymore, only a precious few organizations have been able to implement it. Done rightly, DevOps enables an enterprise to make technology a driver of quick process improvements that enable it to do business better. The reverse, sadly, is also true.

DevOps’ unrelenting focus on speed of development could as easily become the cause of frequent system crashes and application downtime for an enterprise. Here, success is dependent on a visionary leader who is also able to implement tight controls over the release process, with a focus on quick and credible feedback loops to quickly stabilize the system.

 

Blockchain? IoT? Both?

Industrial IoT proved to be one of the most talked about enterprise technologies in 2017. The transformative impact of smart sensors and connected devices in an industrial environment has held CIOs in awe for some years now. Though the emergence of the end to end IoT vendors diluted the fame-equity of the CIO in many industries, there’s a trend that’s helping CIOs reclaim the lost ground. And that’s in the form of BIoT.

The blockchain is the system of community-based digital ledger management that offers practically hack-proof information management. The same technology can also be used to offer credible information from a vast network of sensors in millions of devices. The information such captured will help analysts bring out insights that help them create processes and products that add immense value. Individually, as well as together, blockchain and industrial IoT are immensely powerful technological forces that need a potent CIO to be channelled properly for a company.

 

Technology versus Humanity

 

Safeguarding The Enterprise’s Digital Assets

As per a recent PwC survey, 61% of CEOs consider cybersecurity as a major threat to national and commercial interests. And, all of them look up to CIOs to make the enterprise prepared to combat even the most sophisticated cyber-attacks.

CIO’s role, in the context of cybersecurity, was often imagined to be limited to cybersecurity vendor management, data security process improvement, and disaster recovery and business continuity assurance. However, the modern CIO has to shape the IT strategy of the company with cybersecurity concerns firmly in mind.

In a scenario where every new access point in the enterprise IT ecosystem adds to the threat surface area, CIOs need to help organizations strike the right balance between security and mobility. Considering the huge value of intellectual property and digital assets, the ‘value’ of the CIO in ensuring these assets remain secure is immense. Particularly after the multiple ransomware attacks in 2017, enterprises have realized how crucial the CIOs role is in terms of upgrading the security readiness of an enterprise.

https://images.pexels.com/photos/356056/pexels-photo-356056.jpeg?w=940&h=650&dpr=2&auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb

 

The Modern CIOs Role in Making the Best Technologies Truly ‘Best’ For the Company

An IBM study done back in 2016 revealed that 58% of the CIOs consciously pursued technologies with the potential to truly transform processes and deliver superb business value. Though ‘disruption’ has been overused to such an extent that the word has stopped meaning anything, it has to be said that these CIOs realize the risk of remaining still in times when technologies are growing at breakneck speed.

The modern CIO is not content with managing his/her enterprise’s me-too journey on the boar of a new technology. The modern CIO knows that he/she has to choose the boat, the route, the speed, the crew, and the destinations. These are the kind of leaders that take risks, have a vision, can build teams, and motivate the urge to innovate without the fear of failure.

 

Making The Company’s Technological Foundation Strong Enough to Support Super-Fast Growth

The goal of growth for the enterprise is common to all C-suite employees. However, the CIOs responsibility is to build system capabilities and technological capabilities that can support fast growth. Considering the pace at which economic models are changing, the focus of large enterprises on growth via mergers and acquisitions, and expansion of SMB operations across international borders, enterprise technologies need to be scalable, flexible, and highly customizable. This can only happen when the CIO continues to upskill and expand his/her horizons. The role of a CIO, hence, is a growth enabler and not an operation enabler.

 

How Can Traditional CIOs Evolve Into Present and Future Ready CIOs?

It’s natural for today’s IT leaders to wonder – what skills does it take to become a successful CIO? Well, considering how the role of CIO has evolved beyond technology management, today’s leaders need to quickly upgrade their understanding of how technologies enable better business. Also, the political awareness required to manage a vast number of stakeholders within the technological environment is essential to achieve sustainable success in the capacity of a CIO. Apart from the technological awareness, CIOs need negotiation and business skills. Also, relationship management and partner management will become more important over time.

 

Concluding Remarks

The CIO is an enterprise’s torchbearer when it comes to the wide and often dimly lit fields of technology. From continually improving technology delivery process to securing the digital and intellectual properties of the company, from keeping the enterprise’s technology foundation strong to embracing and adopting disruptive technologies – the CIO does it all, and a lot more.

 

 

Author: Rahul Sharma

Reliable Tips That Will Prevent You From Being Victimized by Ransomware

In spite of the fact that it’s causing millions of dollars of cybercrime-related damage to businesses annually, not many enterprise computer users truly understand what ransomware is. Naturally, till the time WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks became global discussion points in the first half of 2017, even the general understanding of this form of cybercrime wasn’t any good. A recent survey done with business executives revealed that 1 in 3 would agree to pay to retrieve stolen or locked data. For organizations that have already been targeted once, the percentage becomes almost double (55%).

 

A Refresher on Ransomware

Ransomware is perpetrated via spam links and phishing emails, which eventually lead to the installation of codes that lock out your computer’s data, after which the perpetrators ask you to pay ransom to get the data unlocked. Because business and massive financial value (even if it’s notional) it’s clear that the ‘revenue model’ of ransomware will keep on motivating cybercriminals to advance their means and methods. The responsibility of keeping your data secure rests with you. And there’s a lot you can do. Read on.

 

Become a Data Backup Ninja

Why would anybody pay a ransom if they had another copy of the locked data available! The way to do so has become a process at backing up your business data. For starters, you have the option of storing your data in external hard disks. That’s because the costs per GB of this mode of storage are dropping regularly. Then, there are many affordable clouds based storage service that you can trust to automatically sync up your imports data folders to an online database, ensuring you always have the latest data backup ready. Even cybersecurity experts agree; next to having a reliable anti ransomware software protecting your computers, taking regular backups is the best way to stay safe from ransomware.

 

Separate Personal and Work Activity to Different Hardware

Your business data is invaluable. Separating business and personal work to different hardware can be a pain, but the rewards are worth the pain.

Invariably, the applications and web-based tools you use for personal work aren’t half as secured as the applications that your business’ IT team takes care of. Don’t let convenience become a cause of falling prey to ransomware.

 

Educate End Users about Ransomware Cyber Crime and Related Tactics

Lack of awareness that cyber criminals are out there on the prowl is a major reason why people end up as victims of ransomware. To make things better, leading organizations are already using these strategies:

  • Conducting regular training to make employees aware of terms such as spear phishing, social engineering, etc.
  • Simulating social engineering attacks with the help of internal IT to showcase vulnerability
  • Making it mandatory for end users to pass regular security quizzes and tests

 

It’s high time you used a mix of these strategies.

Patch, patch, and patch

 

Ransomware primarily targets minute security flaws in popularity enterprise software. By keeping applications at their best stable state ensures you plug the monitor gaps that cybercriminals can otherwise exploit.

 

Thankfully, most enterprise software vendors release security upgrades frequently. The best practices are to always embrace these upgrades. Activate the automatic update option for your business applications.

 

Add Later After Layer of Security

Having a layered approach to foil ransomware attacks in particular and malware in general works great guns for a business. This means making the conscious effort to not depend on a single mechanism of keeping ransomware at bay. So, a firewall won’t do alone. It must be supplemented by strong antivirus, with specific ransomware combat capabilities.

 

Thankfully, this doesn’t always mean that you have to inflate your cybersecurity budgets because most security products tend to anyways bring in a layered protection approach. Also, remember that most ransomware codes run execution files from the Windows App Data folder or the equivalent folder on other operating systems. So, disable the permissions for executable files to be run from these locations.

 

Cryptolocker ransomware

 

Restrict Privileges of Computers Operating As A Part of a Network

The big difference that ransomware makes on a computer that’s a part of a large network is that once one of the computers if affected, the ransomware can duplicate itself on all other computers in the network, and hence, multiply the damage. This is exactly why cybercrime groups target business networks most often.

Ransomware gets the same privileges as the computer it’s hosted in. So, if an infected computer has local or global admin privileges, the ransomware will be able to use the same wrack havoc. Surely enough, such a network will witness most computers infected with the same ransomware, because of the lack of control over admin privileges.

You’d much rather struggle with ransomware on one computer, than ransomware on the entire network.

 

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Use Latest Versions of Web Browsers

Since most ransomware installations initiate from web activity, you need to do everything possible to keep your Internet sessions safe. One reliable method is to always update Mozilla Firefox, IE, Chrome, or whichever browser you’re using because the upgrades invariably make the browser more secure against newer kinds of malware.

 

https://media.defense.gov/2017/Jun/06/2001758041/780/780/0/170606-F-AY392-0001.JPG

 

Be Convinced Before You Open a File

We’re living in times where we encounter attempts of cyber-crime (of varying intensity) almost every day. Drastic problems call for drastic measures; one of them is to be careful about what you click on and open from the web. Emails, in particular, are a primary source for cybercriminals to send carefully planned messages with infected files, or malicious links, which lead to malware (specifically, ransomware) installations. So, if you make it a practice to question the source of emails before opening any attached files, you will significantly improve your prospects of staying protected from ransomware.

 

Concluding Remarks

As we finish finalizing this piece, the Atlanta ransomware attack news (25 March 2018) is beginning to send the world into another frenzy! These are tough times; stay secure.

 

 

Author – Rahul Sharma

Top End User Computing Trends that IT Leaders Need to Sync up within 2018

The world of end computing continues to evolve at breakneck speed. Enterprise employees want the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, using any device, any web browser, and experience the kind of UX they like. Enterprises have every reason to work towards delivering this experience, because it boosts productivity, enables workplace mobility, and enhances the work experience of employees. In a world where innovations from personal space are seeping into business workplaces, it’s imperative for IT leaders to be on the top of the trends in end-user computing. We’ve covered some of the most important ones in this guide.

Contextualized Security

End-user computing security hardly requires any underscoring as one of the most important trends that IT leaders need to track and stay on the top of. In 2018, however, it’s likely that enterprises will start making the move to implement contextual end user computing security mechanisms.

Contextual security takes several user-specific variables into account to determine the right security-related action. These variables include:

  • The roles and privileges assigned to the user
  • The roles and privileges assigned to the parent group the user is a part of
  • The most commonly used transactions, applications, and processes for a user
  • The average session length
  • The general set of locations from which secured application access is made by the user
  • The browser, IP, and device the user uses to access enterprise data

These technologies are hence able to create unique user profiles, match user behavior to the profile, and based on any deviations, can initiate tasks such as:

  • Blocking access
  • Reporting potentially malicious activity to the IT security team
  • Alter the user profile to allow the deviation, following a proper mechanism of authorizations and approvals.

The Role of AI, ML, and DA in Enhancing End-User Security

Masters of the end user computing market are focusing on enhancing the state of existing security technologies by leveraging the prowess of data analytics (DA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). Organizations are already spending a lot on AI technologies, and hence many of them already have a strong base to build their futuristic end user computing security towers on. IT now has more sophisticated, data backed, and pattern dependent methods of detecting intrusion. Security technologies in 2018 will start offering inbuilt analytics and machine learning capabilities to transform the end user computing world for the better.

Managing Complexity of Device Diversity

Gone are the days when the average enterprise had merely desktops, laptops, and VoIP phones on employee desks. Today, the range of devices used by employees in a tech-powered enterprise is expansive, to say the least. There are satellite phones, handheld devices to record information, barcode scanners, tablets, smartphones, smart speakers, and whatnot. And, we’re at the edge of the transition to Industrial Revolution 4.0 powered by IoT. To make the ecosystem more complex, there are too many operating systems, web browsers, and communication protocols in play.

Managing this complexity has been a challenge for enterprises for some time now. It’s just that in 2018, they will see the giants in the end user computing market release products that help them out. Today, enterprises want that their employees should have access to their personalized desktops on whichever computer they use for their work, anywhere. These are virtual desktops, and already being used aplenty by enterprises across markets. In 2018, the leading vendors will look to make their VDI services available across device types, and address operating system variations.

Diminishing Lines Between Commercial and Business Apps

Dimension Data’s End User Computing Insights Report in 2016 highlighted how several enterprise rates their state of business apps maturity lowest among six areas. This stat truly captured the need for businesses to start focusing on delivering superior app experience to end users. Because these end users are accustomed to using terrific apps for their routine life management (productivity, transportation, note taking, bookings, communication, data management, etc.), their expectations from equivalent business apps are as expansive. This makes it important for IT leaders to keep a stern eye on the progress of business apps at their workplaces. An important trend in this space is the use of personalized app stores for user groups, as made possible by Microsoft Windows 10 app store.

Increased Adoption of Desktop as a Service

DaaS must be an important component of the virtualization strategy of any enterprises. Now, traditionally it’s been seen that services such as Amazon WorkSpaces have been restricted to only being viable for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. However, it’s going to be exciting to watch for developments in this space throughout 2018.

  • Vendors are likely to release updates that will help address challenges around desktop image management and application delivery.
  • DaaS applications that can act as extensions to your data centre will appear on the surface, driving adoption.
  • Integrated services such as Active Directory, application manager, and Microsoft System Center will also help further the adoption of DaaS.
  • New services, functionalities, and configurations will be kept on adding to DaaS solutions.

A useful option for enterprises will be to seek the services of consultants with experience in VDI strategy.

Video Content Management

Video has become a crucial content format for enterprises. The importance of video content is clear from the kind of estimates tech giants are making; for instance, Cisco estimates that 80% web traffic will be made up of video content access, by the end of 2020.

Enterprise end users require video content for DIY guidance, or to share the same with their end customers. Also, field employees need tech support via video content to be able to quickly manage their technical issues. Video Content Management Systems, hence, will become important for the enterprise from an end user experience point of view.

Concluding Remarks

Throughout 2018, expect to witness pressing changes in the end user computing market. Primarily, vendors will push to increase adoption of advanced, feature rich, and power packed end-user computing solutions.

 

 

Author – Rahul Sharma

Top End User Computing Trends that IT Leaders Need to Sync up within 2018

The world of end computing continues to evolve at breakneck speed. Enterprise employees
want the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, using any device, any web browser, and
experience the kind of UX they like. Enterprises have every reason to work towards
delivering this experience, because it boosts productivity, enables workplace mobility, and
enhances the work experience of employees. In a world where innovations from personal
space are seeping into business workplaces, it’s imperative for IT leaders to be on the top of
the trends in end-user computing. We’ve covered some of the most important ones in this
guide.

Contextualized Security

End-user computing security hardly requires any underscoring as one of the most important
trends that IT leaders need to track and stay on the top of. In 2018, however, it’s likely that
enterprises will start making the move to implement contextual end user computing security
mechanisms.
Contextual security takes several user-specific variables into account to determine the right
security-related action. These variables include:
• The roles and privileges assigned to the user
• The roles and privileges assigned to the parent group the user is a part of
• The most commonly used transactions, applications, and processes for a user
• The average session length
• The general set of locations from which secured application access is made by the user
• The browser, IP, and device the user uses to access enterprise data
These technologies are hence able to create unique user profiles, match user behaviour to the
profile, and based on any deviations, can initiate tasks such as:
• Blocking access
• Reporting potentially malicious activity to the IT security team
• Alter the user profile to allow the deviation, following a proper mechanism of
authorizations and approvals.

The Role of AI, ML, and DA in Enhancing End-User Security

Masters of the end user computing market are focusing on enhancing the state of existing
security technologies by leveraging the prowess of data analytics (DA), artificial intelligence
(AI), and machine learning (ML). Organizations are already spending a lot on AI
technologies, and hence many of them already have a strong base to build their futuristic end
user computing security towers on. IT now has more sophisticated, data backed, and pattern
dependent methods of detecting intrusion. Security technologies in 2018 will start offering
inbuilt analytics and machine learning capabilities to transform the end user computing world
for the better.

Managing Complexity of Device Diversity

Gone are the days when the average enterprise had merely desktops, laptops, and VoIP
phones on employee desks. Today, the range of devices used by employees in a tech-powered
enterprise is expansive, to say the least. There are satellite phones, handheld devices to record
information, barcode scanners, tablets, smartphones, smart speakers, and whatnot. And, we’re
at the edge of the transition to Industrial Revolution 4.0 powered by IoT. To make the
ecosystem more complex, there are too many operating systems, web browsers, and
communication protocols in play.
Managing this complexity has been a challenge for enterprises for some time now. It’s just
that in 2018, they will see the giants in the end user computing market release products that
help them out. Today, enterprises want that their employees should have access to their
personalized desktops on whichever computer they use for their work, anywhere. These are
virtual desktops, and already being used aplenty by enterprises across markets. In 2018, the
leading vendors will look to make their VDI services available across device types, and
address operating system variations.

Diminishing Lines Between Commercial and Business Apps

Dimension Data’s End User Computing Insights Report in 2016 highlighted how several
enterprise rates their state of business apps maturity lowest among six areas. This stat truly
captured the need for businesses to start focusing on delivering superior app experience to
end users. Because these end users are accustomed to using terrific apps for their routine life
management (productivity, transportation, note taking, bookings, communication, data
management, etc.), their expectations from equivalent business apps are as expansive. This
makes it important for IT leaders to keep a stern eye on the progress of business apps at their
workplaces. An important trend in this space is the use of personalized app stores for user
groups, as made possible by Microsoft Windows 10 app store.

Increased Adoption of Desktop as a Service

DaaS must be an important component of the virtualization strategy of any enterprises. Now,
traditionally it’s been seen that services such as Amazon WorkSpaces have been restricted to
only being viable for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. However, it’s going
to be exciting to watch for developments in this space throughout 2018.
• Vendors are likely to release updates that will help address challenges around desktop
image management and application delivery.
• DaaS applications that can act as extensions to your data center will appear on the surface,
driving adoption.
• Integrated services such as Active Directory, application manager, and Microsoft System
Center will also help further the adoption of DaaS.
• New services, functionalities, and configurations will be kept on adding to DaaS
solutions.
A useful option for enterprises will be to seek the services of consultants with experience in
VDI strategy.

Video Content Management

Video has become a crucial content format for enterprises. The importance of video content
is clear from the kind of estimates tech giants are making; for instance, Cisco estimates that
80% web traffic will be made up of video content access, by the end of 2020.
Enterprise end users require video content for DIY guidance, or to share the same with their
end customers. Also, field employees need tech support via video content to be able to
quickly manage their technical issues. Video Content Management Systems, hence, will
become important for the enterprise from an end user experience point of view.

Concluding Remarks

Throughout 2018, expect to witness pressing changes in the end user computing market.
Primarily, vendors will push to increase adoption of advanced, feature rich, and power
packed end-user computing solutions.

Author : Rahul Sharma

The Skills That Separate a Great IT Manager from Good Ones

Working in the IT industry means dealing with a rapid pace of change that impacts everything, right from operational practices to remunerations. Plus, the complexity of systems, applications, and processes is mindboggling. Then, systems and processes are so interlinked that managers can’t take a single decision without dealing with several little-known variables. Plus, clients are always pushing to shrink delivery teams and cut costs every year. Of course, there are cybersecurity and compliance risks to make life tough.

It’s commendable, then, that there are great IT leaders in most enterprises, driving progress, and enabling everyone around them. In this guide, we’ve covered some of the skills that separate a great IT manager from the merely good ones.

Understanding the People behind the Employees

Of course, understanding one’s people is a skill relevant to managers in every industry, and not particularly IT. However, IT presents specific challenges that make it crucial for a great manager to understand the people in his/her team.

In a typical IT team, there are people who are keen to learn the latest technologies and work using latest tools. Then, there are people who wish to grow their expertise within a specific technology and come closer to the business impacts of the technology. Put an employee in a role that’s in utter contrast to his/her key technology learning motivations, and you’ll have a might mess to manage very soon. Instead, great IT managers are always prepared to go to great lengths to understand their team and help them take up IT operations and delivery roles that match well with them.

 

Emotional Intelligence

It’s been suggested that emotional intelligence accounts for almost 90% of the difference between good and great managers in general. IT managers who take conscious efforts to upgrade their emotional intelligence reap the benefits in the form of respect from all related stakeholders, faster and better conflict resolution and even quicker and more valuable promotions. When pressures from all sides (clients, internal auditors, dissatisfied employees, and supervisors) mount, the great IT manager is able to exercise caution, care, and courage in dealing with situations. Emotional intelligence also helps IT managers understand the intrinsic feelings and desired of different players around them, further enabling them to frame their communication so as to appease, satisfy, and convince them. A keen sense of observation, coupled with high EQ, is the perfect recipe for success for an IT manager.

 

The Ability to Upgrade One’s Technical Knowledge

In a typical IT manager’s routine day, there are 2-4 meetings, several discussions on project KPIs, and brainstorming on new projects and campaigns. With an eternal stream of deadline bound deliverables to manage, it’s tough for IT managers to find out the time and desire to upgrade their technical knowledge. However, strong technical understanding is essential for managers to maneuver conversations with teams comprised mostly of IT engineers. Plus, employees are quick to identify IT managers who fail to account for the limitations and strong points of technologies and tools while devising plans and strategies.

 

The Ability to Delegate Extensively and Correctly

IT is an industry where the depth of subject matter knowledge is so much that it almost accepted that individuals won’t possess it. Thus, IT managers always need to rely on several people to take control of projects. This calls upon managers to showcase dexterity in delegating tasks to others (again, this links back to the skill of knowing your team). Developments in IT business sphere and operational management frameworks are so fast that IT managers always need to anticipate the need to keep their time free for proactive management. This is only possible if they delegate tasks like a pro.

 

Communication

A no-brainer, for sure. But why does an IT Manager need to be super strong in communication? The answer – because the very nature of the product or service is such that customers don’t exactly understand or appreciate the nuances unless somebody explains them in a language they are comfortable with. Only a strong communicator, hence, can detect unsaid emotions among client representatives and mold communications accordingly.

 

The Ability Of Being Decisive

Expect an IT manager to face several situations every day, wherein they are expected to make quick decisions. Whether it’s something short-term such as estimating resourcing needs for a new project to something with long-term consequences, such as deciding among a few equally potent vendors for a virtualization project – IT managers have to rely on their intuition, experience, data, advice, and heuristics to be able to manage such situations. Unremarkable IT managers fall into the trap of extracting data from different sources for every decision they need to make. Equally obnoxious, of course, is the practice of taking hasty decisions and letting your teams bear the brunt of the same. The great IT manager strikes the right balance.

 

Creating A Culture of Innovation

Considering the breakneck speed at which the dynamics of IT industry are changing, teams that fail to innovate will fail to exist in a few years. How does an IT manager, then, foster the spirit of innovation, particularly considering how important it is to also maintain operational discipline? Well, great IT managers do so by:

  • Ensuring innovators that they’ll find their leaders by their side, even if the innovators don’t deliver the desired results.
  • Connecting innovators with the right people, at the right time.
  • Explaining the value of innovation and experimental trials with different options to clients.

 

Calculated risks, taken consciously – that’s a good mantra to live by. It takes continued focus on extracting valuable lessons from failures, documenting them, and sharing them with the entire team, for IT managers to truly grow their people.

 

Concluding Remarks

Amidst all the challenges of working in the IT industry, great IT managers manage to stay calm, deliver projects within deadlines, and grow their teams and themselves. This guide presents some of the skills that help them do so.

 

Author: Rahul Sharma