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Submission + - The Chicken and Egg of Digital Tech Skills Gaps

StewBeans writes: New research from IDG and MIT Sloan suggests that there's a chicken-and-egg conundrum going on when it comes to digital technology skills gaps. On one side, over half of large enterprises expect to experience a skills gap as they look to implement new digital technologies, like cloud computing and mobile. On the other hand, filling those gaps may prove difficult because the brightest technology workers want to work with companies that are digitally mature. So, what comes first? Digital transformation, or the business-savvy technologists needed to achieve it? In this article, six IT experts discuss digital tech skills gaps they are currently facing, and how they are attracting the talent they need to succeed in the digital economy.

Submission + - Should consumers control privacy in the Internet of Everything era?

Lemeowski writes: Who is responsible for ensuring security and privacy in the age of the Internet of Things? As the number of Internet-connected devices explodes — Gartner estimates that 25 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020 — security and privacy issues are poised to affect everyone from families with connected refrigerators to grandparents with healthcare wearables. In this interview, U.S. Federal Communications Commission CIO David Bray says control should be put in the hands of individual consumers. Speaking in a personal capacity, Bray shares his learnings from a recent educational trip to Taiwan and Australia he took as part of an Eisenhower Fellowship: “A common idea Bray discussed with leaders during his Eisenhower Fellowship was that the interface for selecting privacy preferences should move away from individual Internet platforms and be put into the hands of individual consumers.” Bray says it could be done through an open source agent that uses APIs to broker their privacy preferences on different platforms.

Submission + - What goes into a decision to take software from proprietary to open source

Lemeowski writes: It's not often that you get to glimpse behind the curtain and see what led a proprietary software company to open source its software. Last year, the networking software company Midokura made a strategic decision to open source its network virtualization platform MidoNet, to address fragmentation in the networking industry. In this interview, Midokura CEO and CTO Dan Mihai Dumitriu explains the company's decision to give away fours years of engineering to the open source community, how it changed the way its engineers worked, and the lessons learned along the way. Among the challenges was helping engineers overcome the culture change of broadcasting their work to a broader community.

Submission + - FCC CIO on how to stay relevant in the Internet of Everything era

Lemeowski writes: "We’re going into uncharted territory with Internet of Everything – there is no rule book. The best way for a CIO or CEO to operate in this undefined future is to create a space for creativity to blossom into innovation." That's the advice of U.S. Federal Communications Commission CIO David Bray, an Eisenhower Fellow who recently traveled to Taiwan and Australia to discuss the Internet of Everything with industry and government leaders. In this interview, Bray shares the strategic actions he believes leaders should take now to prepare for the future ahead, including updating legacy infrastructure and embracing new models of collecting, sharing, and making sense of data collected and shared by Internet-enabled devices. Perhaps most importantly though, Bray emphasizes the need for organizations of all sizes to embrace change, and encourage positive “change agents” if they want to remain relevant in an Internet of Everything era: "With the pace of change that the IoE will bring, if you try to take a top-down approach and assume you have all the answers, you’ll quickly become obsolete in this new world," Bray says.

Submission + - Overhauling IT was a life-saver for American Cancer Society

Lemeowski writes: American Cancer Society CIO Jay Ferro lets readers peek behind the curtain of the nonprofit's IT organization, saying that when he took on the role a little over three years ago, the nonprofit had 12 different divisions — each with its own independent IT set-up and more than 600 independent applications in its portfolio. In the past three years, Ferro has aligned the entire IT organization into one global entity, consolidating dozens of data centers into three; increasing spending on strategic projects from 5 percent to 40 percent, and reducing 600 core systems down to fewer than 200. His journey is a powerful reminder that while streamlining IT can often be painful upfront for IT managers, the payoff for sticking with it, especially for nonprofits, can feed into saving more lives.

Submission + - Global business leaders say they don't know enough about technology to succeed

Lemeowski writes: New Harvard Business Review research finds that only 45% of business leaders surveyed say they personally have the technology knowledge they need to succeed in their jobs. What's more, the survey of 436 global business leaders finds that only 23% are confident their organizations have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the digital aspects of their business. The report says that given the low levels of digital knowledge and skills outside of IT "it's troubling that close to half of all respondents (49%) said their department occasionally or frequently initiaties IT projects with little or no direct involvement of IT."

Submission + - How NASA JPL helped developers and operations see eye-to-eye on containers

Lemeowski writes: When developers at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory got excited about container technology, they immediately hit a roadblock with operations. Operations worried containerization was the next shiny object and that they would be left with operational challenges, writes JPL IT Chief Technology Officer Tom Soderstrom. With questions on both sides, Soderstrom shares how he bridged the divide between the two groups by getting operations people to test and understand container technology. "This was particularly important because containers are part of a much broader trend in IT – automating the infrastructure. Any new cloud startup, or any startup that works on the cloud, automates their infrastructure from the get-go. That’s not how an enterprise-built software stack and operations stack work, so initial resistance or skepticism is natural." It's a challenge he expects larger IT organizations will face as they investigate containerization.

Submission + - Even the Weather Company feels the pain of the data scientist drought

Lemeowski writes: With a forecasting system that produces more than 10 billion forecasts a day on active weather days, The Weather Company knows a lot about big data. You might think that presents huge technology challenges, but Weather Company CIO Bryson Koehler says the technology part is actually very simply to solve, relative to the challenges of finding great data scientists. "As IT professionals, we can stand up all the infrastructure and technology and data platforms in the world, but if we don't have the right human drivers for these tools, then we're not going to go anywhere," Koehler writes.

Submission + - How The New York Times is reinventing itself as a mobile company

Lemeowski writes: Two years ago, mobile was only 30 percent of traffic across all of The New York Times' products and devices. Last year it topped 50 percent for the first time. As little as two or three years from now, NYT CIO Marc Frons estimates that as much as 75 percent of its audience may come from mobile. Frons explains how the Times is engineering its technology to accommodate the shift to mobile, and what it means for the future of mobile journalism, saying: "This is a time for experimenting with form and content, since no one knows exactly what works best for serious journalism on the smartphone."

Submission + - Why the New York Times prefers open source software

Lemeowski writes: When investigating open source versus proprietary solutions for The New York Times, CIO Marc Frons says the questions he asks are surprisingly pragmatic. "If an open source solution is available, I’d prefer to use it, since I believe open source software often advances faster than many proprietary solutions," Frons said. "Today there are so many open source components in our software that I couldn’t probably even count them. We don’t really have long discussions here about what we're going to use based on whether it's open source. The question is, “Is it the right thing or not?"

Submission + - Companies are held back from using big data by IT execs scared of open source

Lemeowski writes: Most organizations are sitting on a goldmine of data, but they're not doing anything with it because technology and service vendors have led IT leaders to believe that to be "best in class analytics, you have to pay millions of dollars and wait years for its value to materialize." That is not necessarily the case, writes Sergo Grigalashvili, who oversees analytics for his company. He says open source tools and databases combined with "the government releasing treasure troves of data" can help companies see results quickly and cost effectively. The problem, he says, is there are still IT executives who "are not comfortable or even scared of using open source tools."

Submission + - How GE used IT to help make buying a turbine as easy as ordering a pizza online

Lemeowski writes: GE Digital Energy CIO Venki Rao provides an interesting look at how his IT team developed a highly-interactive retail experience that makes buying a turbine or electrical components not too different from ordering a book on Amazon or getting updates on your pizza from Domino's pizza tracker when you order online. "Why not give customers a great commercial and shopping experience, even if they’re buying a turbine or electrical components rather than a book?," writes Rao.

Submission + - Weather Company CIO: 5 reasons why I believe in open source

Lemeowski writes: The Weather Company, which oversees such brands as The Weather Channel and, has been a major adopter of open source software, deploying an open source big data analytics system for its operations. Given the company's penchant for open source software, Weather Company CIO Bryson Koehler says he is often asked why there's value in taking the open source route to solve its business challenges. Koehler outlines five reasons why he believes in open source, addressing some of the risks he hears from peers: "With open source software you have more eyeballs on an application, more people to find and fix problems, and more people to check resolutions to those problems for their validity."

Submission + - 8 advantages open source has over proprietary solutions

Lemeowski writes: Open source is still held back by IT leaders who cite concerns about security, lack of talent, existing vendor relationships, and more. But those are actually among the reasons why Red Hat CIO Lee Congdon says open source is a better alternative to proprietary solutions. Congdon lays out eight advantages he believes open source has over proprietary solutions based on his first-hand experiences: "Open source helps keep your IT organization from getting blocked because a particular capability isn’t available from a vendor. Instead of waiting for the vendor to deliver that capability, you can create it yourself."

Submission + - 8 advantages of using open source in the enterprise

Lemeowski writes: Web, mobile, and cloud solutions are increasingly built predominantly on open source infrastructure. Yet there's still a fear among many in IT about using open source in their businesses. Red Hat CIO Lee Congdon reflects on the advantages he believes open source offers over proprietary solutions: "Open source helps keep your IT organization from getting blocked because a particular capability isn’t available from a vendor. Instead of waiting for the vendor to deliver that capability, you can create it yourself," Congdon writes.

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.