In today’s data-driven world, many organizations face major hurdles as they navigate a transformation journey that eliminates silos, unifies data, and transforms it into value. For many, building a culture of innovation remains elusive.

IDC’s Future of Intelligence predictions for 2023 show what’s possible when businesses get it right. Top-quartile enterprise intelligence performers are 2.7 times more likely to have experienced strong revenue growth over 2020–2022 and 3.6 times more likely to have accelerated their time to market for new products, services, experiences, and other initiatives.

But businesses must avoid trying to solve every problem and instead narrow focus to areas like customer experience or productivity, says Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director, AMER business at Searce.

Companies that commit to clear and focused action now will achieve a competitive advantage. Searce’s work in a range of industries indicates that successful companies embrace specific strategies and tools based on an intelligent data environment as they focus on building a culture of innovation. With data at the core of business strategy, operations become more seamless.

“If you don’t embrace data capabilities to help drive your culture, you’re definitely going to get disrupted,” says Khurjekar. “We’re seeing it across every industry. It’s no longer a ‘good to have’.”

Khurjekar cites several barriers that enterprises continue to face. They often have patchwork and duplicitous software and solutions. They want a better customer experience and to increase productivity, but there’s a lack of clarity as to what that means.

Finally, companies need talent to execute, however traditional enterprises continue to struggle with attracting top talent in a challenging job market.

To bring about culture change, Khurjekar says, organizations should pick one or two use cases to start with.

Customer lens

“If you’re trying to do too many things at the same time, the overall initiative gets lost,” she says.

Choose initiatives by looking through a customer lens, she adds, and collaborate “ruthlessly” with multiple departments. Employees, too, need to see success and analytics need to be used to help them not just customers.

Leaders that want to create a culture of innovation should start by looking at their current processes with a critical eye. If processes are not helping the company to get ahead, then a change is needed.

“Even before we get to the technological challenges, it’s about the willingness to really experiment and to disrupt yourself,” says Khurjekar. “You need to have that courage as an organization to do that.”

Next, it’s crucial to embrace data capabilities to help drive that innovative culture, including an intelligent data cloud that’s agile, discoverable, intelligent, trusted, and open. An intelligent data environment gives enterprises capability and scalability from an infrastructure standpoint to solve business problems more seamlessly.

“Cloud offers a good home to be able to experiment fast and also to put use cases into production quickly,” Khurjekar says. For example, a transportation company that needs to better secure its warehouses can’t wait several years to do so. It needs to be able to quickly connect to cameras already installed for better monitoring and alerting.

Cloud enables intelligent data-driven insights and allows businesses to do quick proofs of concepts and move into production fast, she says.

She adds: “As an organization, if you say, no, I’m going to build on my own, you’re missing out.”

Cloud removes the overhead so the business can focus on solving the problem at hand.

With its data and analytics services, applied AI service, and secure API product Recognic.AI, Searce helps support clients across the entire spectrum of their data journey. Organizations that take steps toward developing a data-driven culture appreciate that this is an ongoing, long-term process.

“It is truly a journey and not a one-time thing,” says Khurjekar.

To learn more about how Searce can help, click here.


After years of compounded digital transformation, the downsides of the cloud are starting to reveal themselves. As cloud investments increase, benefits remain elusive without also investing in optimization efforts targeted at reducing cloud waste and lowering costs, that’s according to a new study published by

Research reveals that while most companies are investing more in the cloud, 80% of decision makers report cost savings as the biggest issue with existing cloud deployments. In fact, the vast majority (55%) of those respondents say costs are “extremely” challenging.

This key takeaway is being labeled the “cloud cost quandary,” the predicament companies face when they need to invest more in the cloud yet struggle to recognize value on the investments they have already made. But why is capitalizing on the cloud difficult? The research also provides answers.

Data explains why cloud cost savings are problematic

The research report unpacks root causes behind the issues of cost and achieving cost savings in the cloud. The bottom line: it’s hard to follow where the money goes, seeing how, when, and where resources are used and then allocating costs across the organization.

It’s hard to follow the cloud money trail

70% say it’s challenging to account for cloud spending and usage66% of the C-suite cite tracing spend and chargebacks of particular concern

Here’s where the cloud can spur spending surprises that are difficult to chase down.

Cloud infrastructure services generally charge a fee every time data is accessed, as well as when data limits are surpassed during storage and backup. You are also charged by the second for however long a service instance runs. Thus, understanding cloud usage at a very granular level has become a key focal point in putting boundaries around spending.

Tagging capabilities enable granular tracking of service usage, but it’s not always easy to maintain accuracy, spot IaaS instances that are little used or mis-tagged or get a clear view into usage spikes and the reasons for them. Managing tags is essential yet time-consuming when performed manually. Default dashboards from cloud providers don’t offer the speed and data-crunching benefits of advanced analytics nor the cost-cutting insights of cloud expense management platforms.

Deciphering cloud costs on the backend is equally daunting, as invoices can be highly complex in part because of the number of line items for each fee or instance. However, with more investments in cloud, IT finance managers want to ensure resources are used effectively to keep costs to a minimum. Chargebacks and allocating costs are also critical moves for leaders trying to hold departments and lines of business fiscally responsible for digital innovation and the cloud services they use.  

And it’s not just cloud infrastructure fogging the view. The study shows a large majority (70%) of respondents reported Shadow IT as their top challenge with cloud applications. That’s understood after fast-moving changes from the past three years. Most companies today find they have an eye-opening number of unsanctioned tools, multiple redundant SaaS subscriptions, and a significant amount of unused application licenses that need to be identified and reassigned to new owners.

The bottom line: Making time to oversee the cloud—gaining visibility into expansive datasets for deeper investigation and managing accounting details—is an added burden on IT and finance teams.

Cloud waste offers evidence of the difficulties of cloud management.

Waste proves companies are mismanaging cloud resources

When it’s challenging to account for cloud usage and spending, it’s that much harder to optimize cloud resources and reap the benefits of cost savings. Another key takeaway from the study is how many digital transformation dollars are getting washed away in the form of cloud waste. The study shows 29% of cloud resources are wasted with 12% of cloud licenses going entirely unused. 

Those numbers should have any cloud innovator sitting up straight in their chair—not because they should fear exposing how much of the cloud gets squandered, but because they can now see exactly how much a cloud cost optimization program is worth—29% in savings. This is the type of program that could generate meaningful resource reallocations, ROI improvements, departmental recognition, or even personal promotion.

In diving deeper, the research shows the larger the company the larger the problem. This is particularly the case when it comes to cost savings. Roughly 68% of companies with more than $5 billion in revenue faced significant difficulty achieving cost savings with cloud, compared to 36% of smaller companies.

Capitalizing on the cloud: 3 capabilities simplify governance

Few organizations have yet to update their operational processes to handle the cloud effectively. But in the wake of compressed innovation, governance is now necessary in order to fully capitalize on the cloud. Being a good steward of cloud investments requires three cornerstone competencies, which the study respondents prioritized as the top critical capabilities for cloud management:

Cloud optimization and right-sizingMeasuring and tracking total cloud spendMeasuring cloud utilization

These are the most significant factors in maximizing ROI on cloud innovation.

To learn more about cloud expense management services, visit us here.  

Multi Cloud

The current state of the contact center agent is clear, but for those unaware or overlooking this opportunity for improvement: agent attrition rates currently hover around 40%, the cost of replacing just one agent is between $10k-$20k, and 97% of agents are sometimes or almost always burned out. Unengaged employees (undoubtedly including contact center agents) collectively cost $7.8 trillion in lost productivity, or about 11% of the global GDP. 

Whether your organization has one or two people handling customer service or a dedicated contact center with hundreds of employees, the quality of the experience of these people serving your customers cannot be overstated. A poor agent experience translates into money lost, resources strained, and inconsistent service. The role of the contact center agents spans well beyond merely picking up a phone. These individuals are undisputed stakeholders of the customer experience (CX) and vital contributors to business success.

Can 2023 be the year we start thinking differently? Avaya predicts organizations will double down on the agent experience in three ways this year:

1. Companies will rethink traditional workforce optimization concepts—driven by a focus on strict adherence to rules and procedures—and embrace a workforce engagement approach. 

Instead of being contact answering robots, agents will be encouraged to become creative thinkers, problem solvers, and true brand ambassadors—critical assets for customer experience success. As such, we’ll see workforce engagement (aimed at strengthening the mental and emotional connection agents feel toward the work they do, their teams, and their employer) take its rightful place next to established workforce management solutions in the contact center, which will get their ofaceliftift this year. 

This shift is critical for the future of contact center operations. According to the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), engaged and satisfied contact center employees are 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within a year, 16x more likely to refer friends to their company, and 3.3x more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues.

2. We can expect to see the continuation of a mindset shift at the managerial level in terms of agent criticality.

The average hourly salary of a contact center agent in the U.S. is $16.62, according to, with this rate being as high as $21.75 in states like California and New York. In California, positions including IT Technicians, Maintenance Technicians, and Certified Nursing Assistants have similar hourly rates. 

The job of a contact center agent requires a highly skilled individual who can creatively problem solve, effectively communicate, and positively influence; an impactful role for those up for the challenge. These individuals must be invested in and supported long-term just as workers in other industries, including targeted, customized training and education and the potential for raises and bonuses. Avaya expects more contact center managers to embrace this perspective and act accordingly.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be massive for contact center communications over the next 12 months. 

Avaya expects more organizations to apply AI to their contact center operations and customer communications in 2023. Doing so will reduce customer wait times (estimated to have tripled during the pandemic), improve the delivery and accuracy of content knowledge so agents can more meaningfully impact CX and influence next best action, and reduce agent busywork (ex: using AI-powered transcription to auto populate transcribed text files into the notes section of CRM records). 

One of the most hard-hitting statistics comes from Gartner: 10% of all contact center interactions will be automated using AI-powered solutions by 2026, compared to only 2% currently, saving organizations approximately $80 billion per year in labor costs. 

Prepare for the agent experience with these resources from Avaya: 

Time To Think Differently l AvayaHow EX and CX Should Work Together l AvayaHow does CX correlate with EX? l Avaya

Artificial Intelligence

LEAP, one of the biggest tech events in the Middle East took place recently in Riyadh for the second year with more than 172,000 people in attendance. During the opening, Abdullah Alswaha, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia has announced that the Arab kingdom has received US$9 billion in investments to support future technologies, digital entrepreneurship, tech startups, and enhance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Some of the world’s biggest tech companies have already invested in the Kingdom, with Microsoft investing $2.1 billion in a global super-scaler cloud, and Oracle investing $1.5 billion to expand its MENA business by launching new cloud areas in the Kingdom. Huawei has invested $400 million in cloud infrastructure for its services in the Kingdom, while Zoom has partnered with Aramco to launch a cloud area in the Kingdom.

These investments are part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to diversify the economy away from its reliance on oil. The plan seeks to attract foreign direct investment and position Saudi Arabia as a leader in technology and innovation.

“A few days ago it was announced that KSA has the most productive economy in the world. the GDP is increasing more than any other country in the world, they have an ambitious plan to change. All of Saudi Arabia wants to be leaders across tech or any other area that is relevant in the world of science and technology. I think that if any company has an interest to be at the forefront of innovation, Saudi Arabia is a leader in that, with NEOM project, or KAUST University and different projects across the Kingdom. In order to make this a reality we need to rely on technology and technology is going to be the driver behind all of that so LEAP is the biggest tech event in Saudi and everybody needs to be here,” Jason Roos, CIO at KAUST University explained at LEAP.

The NEOM project is just one example of the Kingdom’s ambitious plans. NEOM is a new economic-technological area being promoted by Saudi Arabia in the northwest of the country, facing the Sinai Peninsula. The project aims to shift the economic focus from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, taking advantage of the proximity with Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, and to rival the urban innovations of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha.

In conversations with different IT vendors at LEAP, CIO Middle East had the opportunity to discuss with Fady Richmany, Regional VP and General Manager, SEEMEA at Commvault, about the huge potential for the Saudi market. “As one of the top markets in the region, it is also poised to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 and the government’s modernisation efforts also driving the creation of more sustainable operations across all industries, as well as accelerating the nation’s digital transformation”, he added. 

Recent reports suggest that Saudi Arabia is likely to spend $34.6 billion on information and communications technology, positioning it as a leader in the MENA region’s digital economic transformation. Companies like Commvault have been operating in the Kingdom for many years and are supporting key KSA entities on their digital transformation journeys.

With its ambitious plans and investments in technology, Saudi Arabia is becoming an attractive destination for tech companies looking to expand their operations and invest in emerging markets. The Kingdom’s commitment to innovation and digital transformation makes it a leader in the region and a key player in the global tech industry.

Saudi Arabia’s dedication to technology is positioning it as a leader in the MENA region’s digital transformation. With investments from major tech companies and ambitious plans like NEOM, the Kingdom is well on its way to diversifying its economy and becoming a major player in the global tech industry.

Two decades of technology-driven transformation has left many financial services firms with significant complexity and technical debt. While banking and finance organizations have aggressively moved workloads and apps to the cloud to meet changing customer needs, some remain hesitant to tackle modernization of core infrastructure and systems, fearing a disruption to the business.

In a rapidly changing environment, IT leaders can no longer put off the critical modernization decisions required to ensure secure and resilient operations, which enables rapid innovation and growth.

“There is no option for banks to ignore the increasing complexity and technical debt,” says Nick Drouet, CTO and Distinguished Engineer, Kyndryl UK and Ireland. “They need to move quickly, and at scale.”

Modernization efforts, if not planned and managed carefully, can conflict with compliance demands. With the added challenge for IT leaders in the highly regulated financial services industry is that data security and business resiliency are unassailable business objectives.

“You know you can’t get things wrong,” says Drouet. “You have to be innovative, but in a secure way. That approach applies to all industries, but it’s a heavier burden in financial services.”

Extending modernization across the business

Modernizing core banking systems, some of which still run on on-premises mainframes, is a complex operation, one that Drouet compares to an archeological expedition.  

“You need to understand which applications are talking to others, what infrastructure is supporting those applications, where data is being stored, and what condition it is in,” he explains.

A migration strategy must demonstrate an understanding of core business processes to assure that the infrastructure will remain resilient and customer interactions won’t be impacted. For many banks, the end state may be a hybrid environment, where certain workloads and applications move to the cloud to increase agility and scale and other systems and data remain under the organization’s control on-premises, for regulatory reasons. In those instances, instead of moving workloads to the cloud, organizations can move cloud-like capabilities into the data center. For example, AWS Outposts runs on customers’ premises or edge locations using the same infrastructure, APIs, and tools as the AWS public cloud.

A modernization effort is often scheduled and carried out in waves. For example, one phase might include migrating VMware environments; another would address SAP applications. Kyndryl and AWS offer migration tools and services to plan and execute these steps at scale. These include a jointly established Cloud Center of Excellence and AWS Migration Hub, Database Migration Service, and Server Migration Service.

Cloud-enabled innovation

The benefits of cloud migration extend well beyond cost optimization and scalability. The cloud gives banking organizations the ability to take core processes to the next level, to build and customize new services and monetize data.

For example, a bank can use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms in an AWS data lake to study the way customers use a mobile banking app, why they visit branch offices, and when they make deposits. They can use those insights to create a highly personalized, multi-channel customer experience that increases both business volume and customer satisfaction. 

IT leaders at financial services companies recognize that cloud-driven modernization and innovation require an ecosystem of strategic partners and service providers, who bring a variety of skills and expertise. Since becoming an independent customer in 2021, Kyndryl has expanded its extensive knowledge of the needs of financial services organizations across on-premises and cloud environments. As a premier tier partner with over 8,000 AWS certifications, Kyndryl’s expertise with AWS solutions places Kyndryl as a leader in managing mission-critical, complex systems on AWS.

For its part, AWS has tuned its services to provide the security and resiliency that financial firms require, under the leadership of 500 AWS Professional Services (ProServe) financial industry experts.

Cloud-driven transformation can be daunting in highly regulated industries such as financial services. Working with Kyndryl and AWS can help IT teams execute a seamless migration without disrupting the business or its customers, while delivering the agility and scale to ensure innovation and growth.

Learn more about how Kyndryl and AWS are innovating to achieve transformational business outcomes for customers.

Cloud Computing

In economic uncertainty, it’s natural for executives to explore where to reduce spending, trim the fat, so to speak, and cut enterprising investments as a matter of caution. But this thinking is also counter-productive for all the reasons that make uncertainty so predictable. We can expect that every company is going to react this way in times of uncertainty.  

In 2023, CIOs are guided to focus on enhancing workforce engagement, customer experience, and data and AI. These are identified as key areas where technology can drive business growth and increase customer satisfaction in the process. 

Yet, it’s not uncommon for executives to cut costs in areas that actually improve customer experiences and also double-down on investments that can minimize them. 

Where winning companies deviate from the norm is that they look for opportunities to attract and retain customers by making experience and service a signature competitive advantage. The key is to understand where investments can deliver returns, accelerated time to value, and success now. 

The importance of customer experience as a competitive advantage 

Customer service is overdue for its makeover, shifting its role in the organization from a cost-center to a growth engine. More so, making service something the customers enjoy and appreciate, instead of dreading the engagement. 

Think about it this way, if 94% of your customers said that the service you provide directly influences future buying decisions, would you solely focus on the 6% who are seemingly indifferent? What if nearly half said that they’d switch brands to get better service? Well, in the last year, 71% said that they had done just that.  

Research shows that almost nine-in-ten (88%) of customers say that the experience your company provides is as important as your products and services. Best-in-class, personalized customer service is more important than ever — especially when it’s in someone’s home or business. 

For those companies that invest in customer experiences and relationships, the economic upside is already there. According to Gallup research, fully engaged customers represent a 23% premium in share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer. By increasing customer engagement, Gallup also promotes increases in customer service metrics, including: 

66% higher sales growth,  10% increase in net profit,  25% increase in customer loyalty, and  +20 percentile point increases in customer confidence.  

There’s much to be done. Only 26% of U.S. workers believe their organization delivers on the promises they make to customers. 

Field service is a sleeping giant waiting to deliver business value  

When I say the words, “field service,” what comes to mind?  

Working with service and sales leaders over the years, I can honestly say that it’s usually not “innovation” or “groundbreaking” or “growth driver.” Yet, field service is literally on the front line of the customer’s experience. And CX itself, is ranked by businesses around the world as the top priority emerging from 2020 disruption.  

Field service represents the front line of live customer service, a true human touch point. It also represents a critical, and arguably underestimated or even undervalued, customer touch point that can increase customer satisfaction, drive sales, and lead the charge for overhauling customer service as a growth engine

The time is now. 

In its State of Service report, Salesforce research learned that case volumes for 54% of service teams rose between 2021 and 2022. In response, organizations strengthened mobile workforces by increasing budgets (62%) and headcount (61%). And, the field service management market is expected to grow to an estimated $8.06 billion by 2028 as companies work to meet increasing customer demand while managing costs. 

As mobile representatives serving on a company’s front lines, field service teams have a unique opportunity to manage these expectations and grow customer relationships through interactions that drive repeat revenue.  

Field service drives revenue and cost savings 

If you think about luxury goods and retail, many employ a strategic service offering called “clienteling.” Clienteling is a personalized approach – cater to high value customers in stores. As its evolved, data, insights, mobile tech, AI help service professionals deliver real-time personalization, promote satisfaction, and increase customer lifetime value (CLV). 

In field service, mobile workers are gaining the ability to deliver clienteling-like experiences for every customer. By delivering enhanced customer experiences, field service can significantly contribute to growth. 

New Salesforce research found that 86% of decision makers at companies with field service teams believe these teams are critical to growing the business.  

Fifty-two percent of high-performing field service workers say that their company’s management views customer service as a revenue generator. Specifically, 69% of high-performing mobile workers say their organization tracks revenue generated by customer service. And 82% of strategic organizations depend on mobile workers to upsell products and services. 

With product expertise and knowledge of customer purchases, service history, and usage data in hand, field service teams can tailor recommendations to every customers’ unique needs. As a result, those mobile workers who convert meaningful engagement into upselling or cross-selling opportunities realize an average success rate of 65%. 

Field service management, powered by AI and automation, enhance productivity and employee experiences 

For 93% of mobile workers, there is a direct link between employee experience and the customer experience. After all, mobile workers are brand ambassadors, and they are the face of your company.  

Salesforce research found that 65% of field service representatives feel the weight of customer expectations, more than any other type of service worker. As such, in addition to customer experience, employee experience is also key.  

An overwhelming majority (94%) of service professionals in high-performing organizations cite productivity as a major or moderate benefit of field service management. This should serve as an important consideration as executives look for ways to cut operational costs without compromising customer satisfaction. 

To better support their field service teams, organizations are improving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction with field service management tools. Of the 96% of high-performing field service organizations that use field service management, 90% report increased agility, 55% report higher productivity, and 53% report improved job satisfaction. More so, 98% of mobile workers credit it with productivity benefits. 

Automation and AI are also further unlocking efficiency and productivity opportunities. 

Research shows that 78% of high-performing field service organizations use AI, and 83% use workflow automation.  

For example, with AI-powered tools, like thoughtfully designed chatbots, mobile workers can efficiently schedule appointments, get real-time updates, and quickly find answers to questions.  

With conversational AI, service agents can transcribe conversations in real-time, gain insights, personalize engagement, save time, and the need for customers to repeat themselves.  

Additionally, automation-enabled workflows simplify the ability for mobile workers to create new accounts, place equipment orders, schedule appointments, and automate time-consuming, mundane tasks out of their day-to-day routines.  

Added up, agents get time back to be more creative, spend time engaging customers, and cultivate customer relationships. More so, AI reduces response times and accelerates first time fix rates, enabling mobile workers to serve more customers faster while boosting customer satisfaction. 

In summary 

Research makes a compelling case for businesses to invest in the areas that can drive business growth, improve employee experiences, and foster more loyal customers. As such, field service, and customer service, are no longer cost centers, but instead strategic areas for investment, to deliver a new kind of ROI for these times, return on innovation. 

Business, CIO, Employee Experience

The tech industry has long been known for its lack of diversity and, as a result, there’s been a big push for companies to take DEI strategies seriously. Diversity not only helps organizations perform better but fostering equity and inclusion can also strengthen recruiting and retention rates, as well as overall employee satisfaction.

In fact, diverse companies have been shown to have a 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee and three in four job seekers and workers prefer diverse companies, according to data from a 2022 BuiltIn report. The report also found that diverse management increases revenue by 19% and gender-diverse companies report performing 15% higher financial returns than the industry median.

These five companies provide strong examples of successfully implemented DEI strategies that have helped diversify the talent pipeline, close skills gaps, and create opportunity for underserved populations. Through internship programs, apprenticeships, returnships, and other unique talent and upskilling programs, these examples can help inspire the right DEI strategy for your organization.

AllianceBernstein diversifies its tech talent pipeline

AllianceBernstein has been heralded in the financial services industry for its employee satisfaction, work environment, compensation, career opportunities, and diversity by The Everest Group. And it is the Nashville, Tenn.-based company’s wide-ranging DEI efforts that truly stand out.

AllianceBernstein works directly with job training nonprofit Year Up, which connects the global asset management corporation with tech talent from underserved populations. The company also offers career transition programs for former pro athletes and military members, and partners with the Nashville Software School to offer vocational training. AllianceBernstein also recently added full-time, paid apprenticeships, and tuition-free web development bootcamps alongside the Greater Nashville Technology Council (NTC). The company also recently launched an HBCU Scholars Program, providing up to 20 students with scholarships after completing a 9-week summer internship.

“The more perspectives we can have in the room, having different ideas, people that have different lived experiences, people that have different backgrounds — that really matters,” says Janessa Cox-Irvin, global head of diversity and inclusion at AllianceBernstein.

LinkedIn partners up for a more diverse IT future 

Like AllianceBernstein, LinkedIn also partners with job training nonprofit Year Up, but takes the relationship a step further by pairing an employee volunteership program with workshop events for Year Up students. Through a long-standing partnership that started in 2011 with the company’s first CEO, Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn has long been working to open and diversify its talent pipeline.

The company has a dedicated internal team with employees tasked with maintaining and growing the LinkedIn’s relationship with YearUp, which works to connect underserved young adults with opportunities in the IT industry through a career readiness program that includes an internship. Students are given training on hard and soft skills to prepare them for IT careers, along with hands-on experience in their desired field.  

LinkedIn offers two unique programs alongside YearUp: LinkedIn Coaches and Investment Days, which are referred to as InDays. Through the LinkedIn Coaches program, employees receive training to become coaches to help connect Year Up students seeking job advice and other career resources. On InDays, which occur twice a year, LinkedIn hosts all current Year Up students for an on-site event featuring career workshops, mock interviews, networking events, and resume workshops.

Corporate partners typically offer financial support and internship opportunities, but LinkedIn has invested even more by setting aside significant resources to support the relationship with Year Up. Year Up students get the chance to connect directly with LinkedIn employees, receive support on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles, attend mock interview workshops, and have the chance to network with professionals in the industry.

AAMC’s intentional DEI strategy helps employees flourish

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a prime example of how a strong and focused DEI strategy can help a company flourish. The organization’s DEI Council focuses on establishing employee resource groups, evaluating reporting systems for biases, and having a critical eye on inclusion at every level. The organization also hired a DEI director to build a small team under HR to serve as a dedicated leader focused on fostering inclusivity in the organization.

It was important to the leadership at AAMC to create a formal strategy and framework to address racism and to offer anti-racism training through the Sustained Dialogue Institute. The company has worked to eliminate bias in hiring to ensure a more diverse workplace, identifying and eliminating problematic terminology, and implementing DEI goals that are tied to leadership performance. It became important to the organization that they model DEI from the top down, making it something they put into regular practice, rather than just lip-service.

“Our formalized DEI strategy focuses on our workforce and challenges our workplace, culture, leadership, the ability to lead in an inclusive way, including partnerships, community engagement, outreach, and more,” says Yvonne Massenburg, chief human resources officer at AAMC.

The organization has focused on creating more avenues for employees to voice opinions and feel heard through town hall meetings, management meetings, and ongoing meetings with leadership where employees can connect with leadership. The goal is to create various pathways for employees to feel heard and seen, without fear that it will impact their career opportunities. It’s about fostering a welcoming environment where people feel comfortable challenging the status quo.

IBM returnship helps restart IT careers 

Taking time away from the tech industry can make it dauting to return, but programs such as IBM’s Tech Re-Entry Program help ease the transition. Program participants are called “returners,” and they aren’t interns, entry-level hires, or apprentices — they are viewed as highly experienced professionals with extensive backgrounds in IT. Therefore, the experience is shaped differently than it would be for a less experienced intern or apprentice.

One IBM returner, Anju Nair, had to take a 15-year break from her IT career to focus on her health and her family, deciding to return to her career once her daughter entered grade school. However, she knew the transition wouldn’t be seamless but soon found IBM’s Tech Re-Entry program and joined the data scientist program. She attributes the program to helping her build confidence and recognize her value to the industry.

“I was confident in my skills, because I had the prior experience, I knew what I was working towards, and I knew I was open to learning; but to get that opportunity is the toughest part,” Nair says.

The program is unique in that it focuses on experienced professionals, rather than entry-level workers or young adults. It’s meant to demystify the process of getting back into the industry, bridge any skills gaps in technologies or skills, and help candidates get a feel of the current corporate landscape. The program diversifies the pool of talented candidates by breaking down unfair barriers that have historically been in place for those with gaps on their resumes.

Accenture bridges IT gaps with apprenticeships

Accenture’s apprenticeship program is a strong example of how these training programs can fill skills gaps and diversity the IT talent pipeline. Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to “earn while you learn,” offering a nontraditional path towards a lucrative IT career. Accenture decided to launch its apprenticeship program when the organization realized they weren’t accessing all available pools of talent, especially candidates without a traditional four-year degree in IT, according to Pallavi Verma, Accenture’s senior managing director of North America Quality and Risk Lead.

“It’s really about providing opportunity for people and for us to open up our pool of people. There’s many pools of talent and we recognize that we shouldn’t be looking at just one pool of talent,” Verma says.

The apprenticeship programs are developed at a local level, enabling Accenture to ensure it is recruiting local talent and building relationships with local colleges and training programs. The program supports candidates enrolled in community college and those with a four-year degree in a nontechnical field who want to change career paths. Examples include an architect, a food truck operator, natural gas pipe fitter, and an English teacher who all wanted to be reskilled for IT roles through the apprenticeship program.

The on-the-job training provided by the apprenticeships enable students to learn through real-life scenarios that can’t always be replicated in a classroom setting. The apprenticeships create opportunity where it may not have existed before and open Accenture to tap into fresh perspectives, ideas, and backgrounds to create better products, services, and software.  

Diversity and Inclusion, Women in IT

Imagine an airport that uses computer vision to track errant luggage in real time, or a commercial kitchen able to detect refrigeration conditions and prevent spoilage. Imagine an amusement park outfitting its rides with sensors that can talk directly to operations for upgraded safety and better guest experiences. Imagine a factory or a chain of retailers reducing energy and cutting equipment downtime. 

These scenarios are not imaginary. They are playing out across industries with the help of edge computing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and an innovative approach known as Business Outcomes-as-a-Service.[1]

In each case, the company has volumes of streaming data and needs a way to quickly analyze it for outcomes such as greater asset availability, improved site safety and enhanced sustainability. In each case, they are taking strategic advantage of data generated at the edge, using artificial intelligence and cloud architecture. And they’re achieving significant wins.[2]

Here, we explore the demands and opportunities of edge computing and how an approach to Business Outcomes-as-a-Service can provide end-to-end analytics with lowered operational risk.

From the Edge to the Cloud and Back

Computing at the edge and the far edge allows for data to be processed near the point where it’s generated. The speed and volume of data flowing, often in real time, from sensors and other IoT devices, comes with potential for enormous gains in business and operational intelligence. But this advancement also adds complexity. 

Most organizations still need methods for analyzing data at the point of conception so it can be acted upon immediately. Some have managed to derive meaningful, rapid and repeatable business outcomes from their IoT data streams and analytics using Business Outcomes-as-a-Service (Atos BOaaS), developed by Atos, an international leader in digital transformation. Already, Atos customers have reported positive experiences.

“For a retail customer, we’re talking about 66,000 hours saved in maintenance and compliance for maintaining the edge environment, which translates into about 480 metric tons of CO2 saved every year — thanks to automation and end-to-end monitoring,” said Arnaud Langer, Global Edge and IoT Senior Product Director at Atos.

Four Key Benefits of an End-to-End Analytics Service

As many tech and industry leaders are noting,[3] businesses are now prioritizing value and speed to deployment. Outcome-based solutions delivered in an as-a-service model allow companies to realize this rapid time-to-value. 

Those using a turnkey, scalable BOaaS platform are quickly able to manage an entire AI and IoT ecosystem from one dashboard, across the cloud, edge and far edge.[4] The solution allows them to generate value from real-time data using a platform for ingesting, storing and analyzing continuously streaming data. It’s bringing advanced analytics and AI capabilities where they’re needed most – the edge. Already deployed in commercial kitchens and retail chains, on factory floors and at amusement parks, the solution has shown the following benefits.

Value: Increased uptime of critical assets with predictive maintenanceSustainability: Reduced onsite support and carbon footprint with touchless operationsSafety: AI-enhanced computer vision for safer, efficient operationsCost-effectiveness: Full operational expense (OpEx) as-a-service pricing and operational model

For a manufacturer or retailer, for instance, an equipment or IT interruption would typically impact employees, customers and revenue due to the traditionally painful restoration process. But the monitoring BOaaS system reduces downtime by detecting interruptions before they occur so that remediation can happen before the equipment fails, while it is still running, and before any downtime is experienced – and the problem can often be resolved remotely. If immediate remedies are not possible, the system will alert staff then procure and ship a replacement part to arrive on site. Employees can securely connect to the platform and deploy the applications they need via the cloud, minimizing impact to business operations. 

Across industries, data streams often surpass the ability to capture and analyze information. By tapping into hundreds of untapped endpoints and millions of data points that were previously underutilized, the Atos system allows real-time innovations. For example, AI based predictive maintenance and computer vision to monitor all hardware—lowering support costs, decreasing IT complexity and driving decarbonization.

The Technology Behind Business Outcomes

It was a tall order for Atos: Harness the power of data by bringing together hardware, software, and AI in one OpEx solution. 

To most effectively develop BOaaS as a touchless, end-to-end managed service, Atos leveraged the compute and storage power of Dell Technologies. Atos chose Dell Technologies’ Streaming Data Platform[5] for its ability to deliver reliable, fast and secure data pipelines from edge to cloud.

“Using Dell Technologies solutions, we’ve already achieved a 10% reduction in downtime. This can save up to millions of dollars annually,” Langer said. In the future, we expect to triple that to 30% lower downtime, saving untold millions per customer, per location.”

Watch this video to learn more about how Atos and Dell are enabling game-changing innovation at the edge. 






IT Leadership

In today’s fast-paced business world, where companies must constantly innovate to keep up with competitors,depending on fully customizable software solutions created with programming languages and manual coding is insufficient.

Instead, enterprises increasingly are pursuing no-code and low-code solutions for application development. No-code and low-code development entails creating software applications by using a user-friendly graphic interface that often includes drag and drop. These solutions require less coding expertise, making application development accessible to a larger swath of workers. That accessibility is critical, especially as companies continue to face a shortage of highly skilled IT workers. In fact, IDC has identified low-code/no-code mobile applications as a driver of the future of work.

“The key difference between traditional and no-code and low-code solutions is just how easy and flexible the user experience can be with no-code and low-code,” says Alex Zhong, director of product marketing at GEP. “Speed has become more and more important in the business environment today. You need to get things done in a rapid way when you’re responding to the disruptive environment and your customers.”

The traditional application development process is both complicated and multilayered. It entails zeroing in on the business need, evaluating and assessing the idea, submitting the application development request to IT, getting evaluations and approvals to secure funding, designing, creating and producing, and doing user testing.

“Traditionally it’s a lengthy process with many people involved,” Zhong says. “This can take quite a few weeks and often longer.” Not only does the time workers spend accrue but various costs also quickly add up. “The new way of application development reduces complexity, tremendously shortens the process, and puts application development more in users’ hands.”

Here are some other benefits of no-code/low-code solutions over the traditional approach:

Projects are more malleable. “With local solutions, you can make changes quicker,” says Kelli Smith, GEP’s head of product management for platform. With fewer levels of approval and cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy to tweak ideas on the fly and make improvements to applications as you go.

Ideas are less likely to get lost in translation. With traditional development, sometimes ideas aren’t perfectly translated into a product. With the user at the helm working closely with IT, ideas are more likely to be accurately executed.

IT and the business work better together. No-code and low-code solutions are typically driven by someone close to the business, but IT is still involved in an advisory role — especially in initial stages. The relationship becomes more of a collaborative one. “The business is developing together with IT,” Smith says.

Developers are freed up for more complex work. With the business more involved in application development, IT workers’ time is freed up to dedicate to more complicated tasks and projects rather than an excess of manual or administrative work.

Often, moving away from traditional application development is a process for enterprises. Companies may start with low-code solutions and gradually shift toward no-code solutions. The evolution requires a culture change, vision from leadership, and endorsement from IT.

Importantly, employees also need to be empowered to participate.

GEP believes that no-code/low-code is the way of the future. The company is leading efforts in no-code and low-code solutions through partners and investments in solutions. “In today’s environment,” Zhong says, “no-code/low-code is simply key to giving enterprises more flexibility.”

At GEP we help companies with transformative, holistic supply chain solutions so they can become more agile and resilient. Our end-to-end comprehensive, unified solutions harness technology to change organizations for the better. To find out more, visit GEP.

Supply Chain

As popularity of project collaboration software grows along with other software-as-a-service products, a research report from SaaS purchasing platform Vertice shows that more than 90% of enterprises are overpaying for these tools.   

The project collaboration software market is estimated to reach a value of $27.40 billion by the end of 2022, from $21.69 billion in 2021, according to a report from Grand View Research, which links the growth to factors such as the evolution of the workplace and the rising need to incorporate effective means of team collaboration across different geographies in an enterprise due to the pandemic.

Another survey, conducted by market research firm Gartner, showed that there was a 44% increase in the use of SaaS-based project collaboration tools between 2019 and 2021.

This increase in usage of these collaboration tools have led more than 80% of vendors to increase their price listing by 10% every year since 2019, the Vertice report showed.

Lack of pricing transparency is a challenge

A lack of transparency in pricing seem to be the biggest challenge for enterprises when buying project collaboration software, resulting in overpayment for these tools, according to the Vertice report.

A meagre 14% of software vendors selling project collaboration software list prices on their website or through third parties, the report showed.

The nondisclosure of pricing poses a significant challenge for enterprises as they are not able to compare pricing across a variety of vendors, the company said in its report, adding that most project collaboration vendors require a consultation with their sales teams before they quote a price.

Lack of pricing transparency also plagues the broader SaaS category as well. Only 45% of vendors list pricing online, while 55% of vendors obscure pricing from potential customers, a separate report from OpenView Venture Partners showed.

Is long-term commitment the answer?

Considering long-term commitment or multiyear contracts could be the only solution that an enterprise might have when looking to seek discounts while buying project collaboration tools, Vertice said.  

Currently, 89% of project collaboration vendors offer discounts based on term length, the report showed.

In addition, the autorenewal clauses of software contracts also contributes to price increases, Vertice said, noting that 91% of vendors have autorenewal clauses stipulated in their contracts and nearly 72% of project collaboration vendors have clauses that allow them to change their pricing at any given time.

“It’s typical for vendors to automate the cost increases that are passed onto customers,” the company said in a statement.

Budgeting, Collaboration Software, Enterprise Applications