As the trend to a borderless workplace accelerates, supporting work wherever it happens—whether at home or in the office—has become a critical need. And the demands on IT can be overwhelming.

Finding the right device with the right set of printing and scanning features to fit your employees’ needs is just the beginning. You’re also called upon to leverage the power of the cloud and keep ahead of evolving threats to your network—all while keeping devices serviced and supplied with ink and toner.

HP has services to help you remove friction from day-to-day workflows for employees, regardless of where they work. This means eliminating manual, time-intensive, and error-prone processes for end users, as well as back-office IT team members. Achieving greater productivity also allows teams to focus on more strategic business initiatives that drive growth and innovation.

Remotely manage your fleet

Simplify device onboarding with the HP Smart app

Stay productive with automatic supplies replenishment

Count on express exchange or next-businessday service

Get usage reporting in Device Control Center (DCC) and Strategic Business Reviews (SBR)

Manage your risk

Securely connect Flexworker devices to the cloud for telemetry and supplies ordering

Take advantage of HP Print Security Advisory Service

Get expert guidance from HP Security Consultants based on best practices for home and remote workers

Easily see and remediate HP Essential Security settings

Give at-home workers the print functionality they need

Depend on the world’s most secure printing with HP LaserJet Enterprise Managed Devices

Trust embedded device security features in HP OfficeJet and LaserJet Pro devices

Ship devices to home addresses

Count on a predictable rate for device support and supplies

Take advantage of flexible financing with leasing or direct purchase

Include flexworkers in your Managed Print Services contract for simple, monthly billing

Depend on best-fit devices for your flexworkers’ required page volume and print capabilities

Click here to read the full guide. To find out more about HP’s Managed Print Cloud Services click here.

HP

Facing the possibility of an economic recession, one of the world’s leading professional services companies felt the urgency to improve its grasp on spend management – the practice of fully understanding and managing supplier relations and company purchasing.

With 738,000 employees and $3.8 billion in services contracts, it was crucial for Accenture to not only identify every dollar being spent but also assess whether the organization was fully exploiting each expenditure.

But a sense of frustration pervaded the company, as procurement teams complained about limited visibility into contract terms and challenges tracking statement of work (SOW) agreements, pacts specifying goals, and deadlines expected of external employees.

The capacity to generate the SOW contracts and effectively manage services spend depended upon the region since each was reliant on different processes and documentation requirements.

Inadequate services spend visibility also increased exposure to local legal and regulatory risks.

Likewise, customers were unsatisfied with a procurement process that was disjointed and inflexible when quick changes were needed.  

Improvements were needed and the deadline was tight.

“Procurement functions require a lot of time and effort working with suppliers to negotiate the best contract with the best terms,” said Patricia Miller, Accenture’s interim Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), “but if we are not able to compare the delivered service against that agreement in a systematic way, how can we assure that the hard-earned negotiated terms were applied?” 

To relieve this quandary, Accenture launched a campaign to build a vigorous, dynamic procurement function to unlock more value by providing extraordinary visibility into services spend. 

The global standard at lightning speed

Based in Dublin, Ireland, Accenture specializes in digital, cloud, and security technology strategies, consulting, and operations, serving more than 40 industries in more than 120 countries.

Now, as it conceptualized a new platform to effectively manage services spend, it was forced to change its deployment system.

Previously, deployment planning was laborious, requiring substantial time and investment.  The lengthy process slowed feedback on solution design, as well as delivery times on changes.

Yet, Accenture had a dependable, long-term partner in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software pioneer SAP, first adopting the company’s solutions in 2004.

As it faced its latest challenge, Accenture chose SAP Fieldglass, a vendor management system for services procurement and external workforce organization, to provide reporting and analytics.

In addition to implementing a global standard template – rather than a variety of country-specific prototypes – the solution would be customized to meet local invoicing, legal, and regulatory requirements.

From submission to payment, not only would turnaround time be reduced, but collaboration and communication with suppliers were about to reach unprecedented levels.

Meeting changing markets and business demands

The function was deployed back in 2020 in the first of many country-by-country rollouts.

Although the typical technology deployment had taken an average of one year per nation, the expedited timeline enabled 14 countries to begin using the solution within 12 months.

A global management team was also formed to support the effort.

Given the importance of the implementation, constant feedback was needed, and the enhanced technology amplified the level of dialogue, streamlining both testing activities and the ability to deliver required changes.

Today, Accenture’s procurement arm is better equipped to meet changing market and business demands than ever before.

For the first time, Accenture has a heightened understanding of the “hidden” workforce associated with its service business.  Since external workers may not always fit traditional profiles, users are able to cull contract information to link specific employees to their individual skill sets.

Explained Jane M. Kennedy, Global External Management Director for Accenture, “Today, we have much-proved…visibility for management (due to) an online solution that aligns to each worker’s type of engagement.” 

Suppliers noted the ease of transitioning to SAP Fieldglass, and the pace at which entire companies were able to adopt the platform.

Currently, 2,000 suppliers have implemented the system, while $ 1 billion in services spend are managed through the function each year, resulting in a more transparent supply chain and significant cost savings.

That includes the reduced fees for document storage in regions where procurement practices were primarily paper based.

Users report 99% greater accuracy, as well as 7% error reduction per 10,000 SOWs.

For creating a global standard procurement process through its development of a novel solution, Accenture was distinguished as a finalist at the 2023 SAP Innovation Awards, a yearly ceremony honoring organizations using SAP technologies to improve business and society. You can read their pitch deck to see what they accomplished to earn this honor.

Digital Transformation

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor IFS has agreed to acquire Falkonry, the developer of an AI-based time-series data analytics tool, to boost its enterprise asset management (EAM) services portfolio.

IFS has an eye on the growing number of connected machines in factories, and will add Falkonry’s self-learning Time Series AI Suite, which can help enterprises manage and maintain manufacturing equipment, to its existing enterprise simulation and AI-based scheduling and optimization capabilities.  

EAM can be considered a subset of ERP software, providing tools and applications to manage the lifecycle of physical assets in an enterprise, in order to maximize their value. The global EAM market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% to reach $5.5 billion by 2026, from $3.3 billion in 2020, according to research from MarketsandMarkets.

Cupertino-headquartered Falkonry, which was founded in 2012 by CEO Nikunj Mehta, has customers across North America, South America, and Europe, including the US Navy and Air Force, Ternium, North American Stainless, and Harbour Energy, among others. It has raised $13.3 million in funding from investors including Zetta Venture Partners, SparkLabs Accelerator, Polaris Partners, Presidio Ventures, Basis Set Ventures, Fortive, and Next47. IFS expects to complete the acquisition of Falkonry by the fourth quarter of 2023. In June, it announced the acquisition of Poka — a connected worker software services provider — in order to boost the productivity of an overall factory. And last year it scooped up Netherlands-based Ultimo to help meet demand for cloud-based enterprise asset management technology.

Asset Management Software, Enterprise Applications, Mergers and Acquisitions

Successful CIOs, like all highly placed executives, must be adept at running an organization that’s good at getting work out the door.

Unfortunately, many of the most popular management techniques for fixing poor organizational performance don’t work. Or worse.

If you want better guidance, start with Peter Drucker’s observation that, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

Which should encourage you to take the next logical step: To improve IT’s performance, figure out which of your organization’s management practices are best at making getting work done difficult, and stop doing them. Here are some likely places to start.

Bad fix #1: Reorganize

What it is: The ever-popular Titanic iceberg collision remediation strategy of rearranging the deck chairs.

Why it’s a problem: Reorganizations don’t change how work gets done.

The usual rationale is that realigning reporting relationships removes barriers. Which it does, most often by replacing one set of barriers with a different set of barriers.

Meanwhile, reorganizations change the unwritten rules by which IT operates, as employees have to learn how to work with their new management.

Why it’s a temptation: It’s tempting because it’s easy. Just announce the new reporting relationships and leave it to everyone else to make it work.

It’s especially tempting when you have an ineffective manager — you can avoid the unpleasant conversation that tells them so, instead placing them someplace safe in the new organization to minimize the damage they inflict.

What to do instead: Just about anything.

Bad fix #2: Rely on multitasking

What it is: Asking employees to juggle multiple responsibilities.

Why it’s a problem: Employees divide their time into two buckets — orienting to the task at hand, and performing the task at hand. The more employees have to multitask, the more time they lose to reorienting, reducing the time they can devote to productive work.

Why it’s a temptation: Multitasking means never having to say no to a request. You can always promise to squeeze something in. Also, it improves IT’s performance on employee utilization — a bad but popular metric.

What to do instead: Eliminating multitasking is too much to shoot for, because there are, inevitably, more bits and pieces of work than there are staff to work on them. Also, the political pressure to squeeze something in usually overrules the logic of multitasking less. So instead of trying to stamp it out, attack the problem at the demand side instead of the supply side by enforcing a “Nothing-Is-Free” rule.

Bad fix #3: Ignore bad processes

What it is: The way work gets done is disorganized, ineffective, uncoordinated, undocumented, inconsistent, and idiosyncratic.

Why it’s a problem: When each employee independently figures out the way to get something done, IT’s practices are, in effect, in a perpetual state of alpha testing. Processes never improve because no two people ever do them the same way or build on past successes.

Why it’s a temptation: Defining, documenting, training, and insisting everyone follows well-defined processes is a lot of work, not to mention that it can make a manager unpopular. After all, for most employees doing things the way they want is a whole lot more fun than doing things the institution’s way. Worse, doing things the institution’s way and insisting on it will lead to accusations that you’re turning IT into a stifling, choking bureaucracy.

What to do instead: Encourage a “culture of process” throughout your organization.

Yes, this is just the headline, and there’s a whole lot of thought and work associated with making it real. Not everything can be reduced to an e-zine article. Sorry.

Bad fix #4: Holding people accountable

What it is: According to its proponents, it’s how to make sure everyone does their best to avoid making mistakes and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Why it’s a problem: Holding people accountable is root cause analysis predicated on the assumption that if something goes wrong it must be someone’s fault. It’s a flawed assumption because most often, when something goes wrong, it’s the result of bad systems and processes, not someone screwing up.

When a manager holds someone accountable they’re really just blame-shifting. Managers are, after all, accountable for their organization’s systems and processes, aren’t they?

Second problem: If you hold people accountable when something goes wrong, they’ll do their best to conceal the problem from you. And the longer nobody deals with a problem, the worse it gets.

One more: If you hold people accountable whenever something doesn’t work, they’re unlikely to take any risks, because why would they?

Why it’s a temptation: Finding someone to blame is, compared to serious root cause analysis, easy, and fixing the “problem” is, compared to improving systems and practices, child’s play. As someone once said, hard work pays off sometime in the indefinite future, but laziness pays off right now.

What to do instead: Whenever something goes wrong, first fix the immediate problem — aka “stop the bleeding.” Then, figure out which systems and processes failed to prevent the problem and fix them so the organization is better prepared next time.

And if it turns out the problem really was that someone messed up, figure out if they need better training and coaching, if they just got unlucky, if they took a calculated risk, or if they really are a problem employee you need to punish — what “holding people accountable” means in practice.

Bad fix #5: Keeping you in the loop

What it is: A consequence of the no-surprises rule — if something happens in your department, you’re supposed to know about it before it becomes visible to your peers and management.

Why it’s a problem: It isn’t a problem. Unless, that is, you make keeping you in the loop a higher priority than fixing what’s gone wrong, and especially if it means whoever is trying to fix the problem has to get managerial approval before taking whatever steps they need to take.

Why it’s a temptation: Being kept in the loop reduces the fear that a manager will be blindsided and look bad to their management. Also, it makes a manager feel important: “I have to take this call” is almost as compelling as, back in the old days, having their pager start to buzz.

What to do instead: This is a softball, isn’t it? Just make sure everyone knows that, should a problem arise, priority #1 is fixing it. Briefing you is priority #2 or #3. Or maybe #27.

Not everything is hard to figure out.

And, a suggestion

Set up an anonymous one-question survey. Invite all IT employees to participate. The one question builds on the aforementioned Peter Drucker observation: “What are we in IT management doing that interferes with your ability to do your work?

Publicize the most common responses, take them seriously, and repeat the survey quarterly.

And if any of the common responses surprise you, revisit your organizational listening program, because clearly the one you have in place isn’t working.

IT Leadership

With an ambitious 2030 sustainability agenda for its business as a whole, HP wanted to ensure its IT operations supported that larger goal. The company looked at its workforce of 70,000+ employees—and even more devices—and deployed a future-minded approach to managing its PC fleet.

To reach sustainable impact goals in its own internal products, processes, and systems, HP IT:  

Prioritised sustainability

Utilised telemetry data

Redefined device lifecycles

How HP achieved it

The company reinforced its model of refurbishing existing PCs to meet employee device demand, while repurposing or recycling those that no longer met performance parameters. IT used several of HP’s own services to make that transition by:  

Gathering data from HP Proactive Insights to gauge device health and performance in order to proactively address issues before they cause interruptions  

Using HP Device as a Service (DaaS) with Advanced Exchange and Repair to repair viable devices to extend the PC lifecycle  

Leveraging Device Recovery Services to refurbish existing devices and recycle or donate the remaining devices

Starting from a sustainable foundation

HP IT began working towards these ambitious goals by ordering devices through HP DaaS to ensure many devices and components were made with recycled materials. HP only engages with partners and suppliers who share their environmental and sustainability priorities, and even rates them via Supplier Sustainability Scorecards.

Redefining traditional lifecycles

Instead of basing replacement solely on the number of years in service, IT began using telemetry to evaluate performance and extend the life of employee devices. With HP Proactive Insights, IT can preemptively look at CPU, memory utilisation, and battery life to see when a device is having performance problems – enabling proactive fleet management targeted at real productivity issues.

Giving old devices new value

When a device’s condition warrants that it must be returned, HP Services now determines if it can be reconditioned and redeployed into the HP fleet. Devices that still have useful life but no longer meet company performance standards are donated for reuse to organisations such as schools with technology needs. PCs that are at absolute end of life are responsibly recycled, recovering as much precious material as possible and reducing negative impacts on ecosystems and communities.

Key accomplishments

HP IT engaged HP Device Recovery Services to give new life to HP-owned, employee-used devices:

Repair or refurbish 11,000+ devices, preventing them from being discarded while supporting employee demand

Support the technology needs of nearly 6,400 children by donating PCs via the HOPE Recycling Futures program

Bringing people and planet benefits

Beyond its own internal efforts, HP’s focus on sustainability continues to grow, encompassing customers and communities by:

Planting a tree for every page printed to set a new industry standard

Eliminating 75% of single-use plastic packaging by 2025

Creating better device experiences with refurbishment plans for new covers, batteries, software, boxes, and more

Lowering the overall cost per device

Ensuring fewer devices go to landfills, with an option to extend PC device useful life via refurbishment services for up to two years

Click here to read the full case study. And find out more about HP’s Sustainability Impact Report here.

To learn more about HP Sustainable Impact, click here

HP has several exciting events coming up this year – click on each to learn more. 

The CIO Digital Enterprise Forum in May presents ideas from UK CIOs and IT leaders planning the next stage of their cloud journey.

The Official CIO Summit UK presents the best opportunity to hear how your peers are tacking the biggest challenges in the UK IT industry. (This event takes place in September).

The CSO Security Summit, scheduled for November, is the best place to hear what novel approaches and innovative technologies your security peers are taking to enhance and futureproof their security strategies.

Green IT, IT Management

As a CIO you can get advice about how to be more effective from any number of sources, from what you get here in CIO Survival Guide (best practice), to other sources here at CIO.com, to, if you’re desperate, various punditries like Gartner, Forrester, and McKinsey.

Most of what you read lists what should be a CIO’s top priorities. They usually read like they were written by Captain Obvious, but that doesn’t make them wrong.

Just repetitious.

So in an attempt to provide advice you haven’t already received, here are seven venial sins of IT management, presented in no particular order, that you aren’t likely to get advice about from anywhere else.

No, don’t thank me …

1. Too much managing, not enough leading

Okay, I lied — a venial sin in and of itself. Far from being something you haven’t read before, managing-instead-of-leading is, if anything, something you’ve read far too much about.

There’s an old joke about a dog with no legs. Every morning its owner took it out for a drag.

Leadership is what makes the difference between dragging employees along and their moving in the right direction on their own.

2. Too much leading, not enough managing

You’re paid to get work out the door. That’s what managing is all about — making sure the work of the enterprise you’re responsible for gets done.

Leadership is a useful tool for making that happen (see “dog,” above). But it’s far from the only tool. Information technology is an obvious example; so are business process optimization initiatives — and with too much emphasis on leadership, managers can spend so much effort being inspiring that they lose track of what they’re paid for.

3. Arguing about chargebacks

Chargebacks fall into the Great Theory But bucket. The Great Theory part is that by charging cost-center managers for the IT resources they use, their decisions about what to ask IT for will be more prudent.

The But part happens when IT explains how much it’s charging. That’s because IT has two ways to compute its chargebacks. It can do it the simple way — allocate the IT budget to cost-center managers based on some easy-to-understand metric, like percent of the corporation’s total headcount, or the percent of the total corporate budget the cost-center manager controls.

Or, IT can get granular, computing unit costs for each type of IT resource, monitoring consumption of those resources, and multiplying consumption by unit costs.

Forget the simple approach. What makes it appealing — its simplicity — also makes it pointless: As there’s no way for a cost-center manager to reduce their chargeback costs by reducing their IT consumption, it violates the premise of the theory.

As for the granular, accurate approach, if you head down this path you can count on your entire time budget being eaten alive by arguments over whether what you’re charging is right or not.

Because this approach is complicated you can count on it being the result of numerous unprovable assumptions. And besides, no matter who wins the argument, the time lost by both parties, translated into the cost of their time, amounts to deciding which pocket the same money will come out of.

Give it up.

4. Trying to be a business person, not a technology person

You’ve read this advice, over and over and over again. It reached its epitome in companies that adopted the CTO title for the person running IT, resulting in the peculiar assertion that the top person with “technology” in their job title shouldn’t be a technology person.

So please. Consider that you’re being left off the hook. First of all, comparing the two, being a business person is easier. Second of all, unless you think the company’s CFO should be a business person, not a finance person, and that the chief marketing officer should be a business person and not a marketeer, the whole thing just isn’t worth your time and attention.

But since I have your attention anyway, here’s the bad news about the good news: CIOs who try to be business people instead of technology people are like the high school outcasts who are desperately trying to join the Cool Kids Club. They’ll still be excluded, only now they’ve added being pathetic to their coolness deficit.

5. Using ‘architect’ as a verb

Now this is just my opinion, mind you, but I don’t think architect-as-a-verb says anything more useful about what you’re going to do than substituting “engineer” as a verb. Often, when I hear “We have to architect a solution,” I see someone who, having failed to join the business Cool Kids Club, has decided to join the technology Cool Kids Club instead.

6. Employing ‘best practice’

Yes, it’s a losing battle. Frowning at someone who claims something is “best practice” when they mean it’s a good practice, a proven practice, or the minimum standard of basic professionalism is as lost a cause as griping because someone started a sentence with “hopefully” when they meant “I hope.”

Since it is a lost cause, we’ll move along to lucky number seven:

7. Shifting focus from project management to product management

Project management is how organizations make tomorrow different from yesterday in a planful, intentional way.

Product management is the business discipline of managing the evolution of one of a company’s products or product lines to maintain and enhance its marketplace appeal.

IT product management comes out of the agile world, and has at best a loose connection to business product management. Because while there is some limited point in enhancing the appeal of some chunk of a business’s technology or applications portfolio, that isn’t what IT product management is about.

What it’s about is establishing accountability and decision-making authority.

Is this different enough, not to mention enough better than project management to make it interesting?

Probably not. It’s more of a false dichotomy than a revelation.

The big finish

Now that you’ve absorbed this list of CIO venial sins, the next question is which ones you’ll try to fix first. The beauty part is that if you have time to focus on any of them, and certainly if you have time to focus on several, either you’re in pretty good shape as CIOs go, or else you’re so hopelessly delusional that it really doesn’t matter.

IT Leadership, IT Management, IT Strategy

Behind every successful IT project, you’ll find a highly skilled project manager. From hardware and software upgrades to ongoing security patches, to application development and the rollout of software itself, project managers keep your teams on task and productive.

Almost any IT pro can benefit from adding a project management certification to their list of IT credentials, showing you have the know-how to plan, schedule, budget, execute, deliver, and report on IT initiatives. Here, CIO.com outlines the most popular project management certifications that will add value and help you hone your skills this year, whether you are just starting out your project management journey or are a seasoned PM pro.

Project management certifications for beginners

If you’re just starting out on your project management career or are looking to make the switch to project management, there are certification designed for entry-level candidates. These certifications require little to no experience and have few, if any, prerequisites for taking the exams. They’re designed to certify your entry-level project management skills, while also teaching you more about project management in the process.

Associate in Project Management (APM)

The Associate in Project Management (APM) certification offered by The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) is an entry-level project management certification to validate your fundamental knowledge of the Project Management Framework. It’s aimed at those with little to no experience in project management and includes an online course that you will be required to complete before taking the certification exam. The course covers topics such as project management fundamentals, project management training, and all the basics of the project management role that you will need to be successful in the role. It’s targeted at managers and project team members, students at the graduate or undergraduate level, entry-level practitioners, and anyone with an interest in project management as a career.

Price: $175

Requirements: GAQM body of knowledge study and e-course; no formal education or experience requirements

Certified Project Manager (CPM-IAPM)

The Certified Project Manager certification is offered by the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) as an entry-level certification for those with a basic understanding of project management. It covers the necessary knowledge to “theoretically plan, organize, and implement a project effectively,” according to the IAPM. It’s designed for those who aspire to have a career in project management and doesn’t require prior experience in the field. The exam covers a range of topics, including project check, project environment, steering committees and core teams, creation of the Phase Model, creation of the WBS, cost breakdown and budget, risk analysis, project review, and more. The certification includes a combination of hard and soft skills that are relevant to the role of project manager. For novices, the IAPM offers a Certified Junior Project Manager certification and for those with extensive experience, they offer the Certified Senior Project Manager certification.

Price: Fee depends on candidate’s nationality, as pricing is based on country-of-origin’s GDP; in the US, the exam cost is $514

Requirements: None, but IAPM offers workshops through global training partners, or recommended literature for self-study. Candidates can also take a self-test to benchmark their knowledge.

CompTIA Project+

The CompTIA Project+ certification is an entry-level credential for IT professionals charged with managing smaller, less complex projects as part of their job duties. Candidates for this certification should have knowledge and experience with managing project life cycles, maintaining project documentation, managing resources and stakeholders, and ensuring appropriate communication. The exam covers project basics, project constraints, communication and change management, and project tools and documentation. It’s best suited for IT project coordinators or managers, IT project team members, business analysts, managers, directors, or team leaders.

Price: $358

Requirements: At least 12 months of cumulative project management experience or equivalent education

PMI Project Management Ready

The PMI Project Management Ready certification is an entry-level exam for those who have zero to three years of experience in project or change management. The certification covers project management fundamentals and core concepts, traditional plan-based methodologies, agile frameworks, and business analyst frameworks, among other topics. Students can “immerse themselves in the project management industry and connect with a passionate community of professionals while gaining a competitive edge,” according to PMI. The certification is aimed to set students up with the foundational knowledge they need for a career in project management, while certifying their skills and abilities as a project manager.

Price: $142

Requirements: None, but it’s recommended that candidates read at a ninth-grade level and have a fundamental understanding of computer literacy

PRINCE2 Agile Foundation

The PRINCE2 Agile Foundation certification offered by Axelos is designed for those working in agile environments to validate your knowledge of PRINCE2 governance requirements, agile concepts, and techniques. The Foundation certification covers the fundamentals of the PRINCE2 method and covers governance requirements and agile concepts such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean Start-up, and Cynefin.

Price: Price varies based on location

Requirements: None

PRINCE2 Foundation

Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) is most well-known outside the US, especially in the UK and its government entities. The PRINCE2 certifications are delivered by Axelos and focus on directing, managing, and delivering projects across all phases, pre-project, initiation, delivery, and final delivery. The PRINCE2 Foundation certification is an entry-level credential that tests basic project management terminology and methodology, and is targeted at aspiring project managers, project board members, team managers, project assurance professionals, project support professionals, and operational line managers or staff.

Price: Price varies based on location

Requirements:  PRINCE2 Foundation course

Top project management certifications

For project managers who already have experience under their belt, there are plenty of well-regarded certifications that can validate intermediate to advanced project management skills. These certifications cover project management at a higher level, and often cover specific areas of project management, such as risk and IT security. Typically, these certifications require a stronger background in project management — often requiring several years and hundreds of hours of experience and education to qualify for the exam.

Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)

Offered by the PMI, the Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification is designed to validate your knowledge of agile principles and skills with agile techniques. The exam covers topics such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP), and test-driven development (TDD). It’s aimed at those who work on agile teams or in agile organizations and focuses on seven main domains of knowledge, including agile principles and mindset, value-driven delivery, stakeholder engagement, team performance, adaptive planning, problem detection and resolution, and continuous improvement.

Price: $435 for members; $495 for nonmembers

Requirements: Candidates for the exam must have a secondary degree, 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, 12 months of project experience within the past five years or eight months of agile project experience within the past three years; a current PMP or PgMP certification (see below) can satisfy the requirement for 12 months of experience but is not required

BVOP Certified Project Manager

Business value-oriented principles (BVOP) is an agile-based framework that has grown in popularity in the UK. BVOP emphasizes business value in all project management activities and practices. The BVOP Certified Project Manager is for senior practitioners with experience in both project management and people management. The focus on a people-oriented culture sets it apart from other project management certification programs. It’s a certification aimed at senior project managers, agile professionals, product managers and owners, Scrum masters, and business analysts. The BVOP approach helps to develop professionals’ collaboration skills, and candidates for certification not only gain project and product management skills, but also learn to become more people-focused leaders. The exam includes questions from the project management, program management, and product management sections of the course materials.

Price: $130

Requirements: No previous professional project management experience required; free study guides and preparation materials available online

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Certified Associate in Project Management certification is the precursor to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification (see below). For professionals without a college degree, or with only rudimentary project management experience or those who want to achieve their PMP certification in steps rather than all at once, the CAPM is a stepping-stone to the more rigorous PMP.

For more information, see “CAPM certification guide: Certified Associate in Project Management exam explained.”

Price: $225 for PMI members; $300 nonmembers

Requirements: High-school diploma, associate degree or equivalent, and at least 1,500 hours of project management experience or 23 hours of project management education.

Certified Project Director

The GAQM’s Certified Project Director certification is the credentialing body’s highest-level project management certification. This designation is designed for experienced project managers who are involved in directing multiple complex projects and programs. The certification focuses on managing, budgeting, and determining scope for multiple projects, multiple project teams, and assessing and mitigating interdependent risks to deliver projects successfully. The CDP program is only for those who have significant project management experience.

Price: $280

Requirements: Qualified candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate degree or global equivalent and must hold one of the following certifications: a PPM certification from GAQM; a PMP certification from PMI; a PRINCE2 Practitioner certification from APMG; or a CPM certification from GIAC 

Certified Project Management (CPM)

The EC-Council was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to address issues of cyberterrorism and the information security of nations at large. The EC-Council’s Certified Project Management certification course is for project managers who want to benchmark their skills through hands-on experience and across various management techniques and tools necessary to successfully manage complex projects efficiently. The course includes on-demand instructor-led training videos, online CyberQ Labs, a continuing education video subscription, and live instructor-led training in-person or online. You can select from three course options: The basic package includes a single video course, labs, e-courseware and the certification exam; the midtier package adds on the CodeRed continuing education video subscription and live instructor training; and the top-tier package includes an additional certification course, exam insurance, and online exam prep.

Price: $999 for the single video course package; $2,999 for the unlimited video courses; or $3,499 for the full live-course bundle

Requirements: No prerequisites

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

The use of agile methodologies has become standard, so it’s not surprising that IT practitioners uniquely qualified to manage projects in agile environments are in high demand. While there are different Scrum master certifications available, the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance is a great jumping-off point for project managers getting started as Scrum practitioners. The Scrum Alliance, which offers this credential, is a nonprofit organization that encourages the adoption of Scrum and agile practices, promotes user groups and learning events, and provides resources for professional development. The organization boasts more than 450,000 certified practitioners worldwide.

For a deeper look at the CSM, see “CSM certification guide: Certified ScrumMaster exam explained.”

Price: Varies by training provider, but approximately $995 to $1,395

Requirements: General familiarity with Scrum; completion of two-day CSM training course

Master Project Manager (MPM)

The American Academy of Project Management (AAPM) has modeled the Master Project Manager (MPM) after the “professional licensure” model that many professions such as pilots, engineers, doctors, and lawyers follow. The AAPM focuses on professional project managers, but also includes professionals with business and technical management responsibilities. The MPM certification is aimed at senior project managers and project directors who have an undergraduate or master’s degree.  

Price: $300 for application, review, processing, review, initiation, and certification

Requirements: Three years of project management experience and training; waivers available for professionals holding a master’s degree, with other qualified training and experience, the military or project management instructors

PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner

Building on the PRINCE2 Agile Foundation certification, the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certification takes the foundational knowledge covered in the first exam and validates your ability to apply it in real-world management examples.

Price: Price varies based on location

Requirements: Agile Foundation certification

PRINCE2 Practitioner

In addition to its entry-level Foundation certification (see above), PRINCE2 offers the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification, which tests advanced project managers who have already achieved PRINCE2 Foundation. The certification is targeted at experienced project managers, project board members, team managers, project assurance professionals, project support professionals, and operational line managers or staff.

Price: Price varies based on location

Requirements: One of the following: PRINCE2 Foundation, Project Management Professional (PMP), CAPM, or an IPMA certification

Professional in Project Management (PPM)

The Professional in Project Management (PPM) is a midtier project management credential from the GAQM. The GAQM’s project management certifications are focused on a broad knowledge base and emphasize effective resource allocation, clear direction, adaptability to change, effective communication, and assurance of quality deliverables at minimal risk. The certification covers how to plan, execute, control, and complete project schedules and how to develop project measures, approach project control, and lead project teams. It focuses on project management fundamentals, project management training, effective planning and scheduling, team building, risk management, crisis management, time management, leadership skills, communication strategies, and knowledge management. The PPM is targeted towards intermediate to experienced project managers who are involved in risk and crisis management, and who are involved in the day-to-day management of projects.

Price: $340

Requirements: GAQM body of knowledge study and e-course; no formal education or experience requirements, but candidates should have at least some project management experience to pass the exam

Project Management in IT security (PMITS) 

The Project Management in IT Security (PMITS) certification from the EC-Council focuses on how to manage IT security projects and how to enhance the success rate for organizations and IT managers. The course associated with the certification guides students through an operational framework for designing IT security projects, providing a roadmap for how to enhance and implement IT security in an organization, and outlining global best practices followed by other experts in the field. It’s specifically designed for federal employees.

Price: $250

Requirements: Must be over 18 years old to complete the exam; candidates are recommended to have an intermediate proficiency level

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The gold standard in project management certifications, the Project Management Professional certification offered by the PMI is a rigorous test that covers absolutely everything you need to prove your knowledge and skill in managing the “triple constraints”: time, cost, and scope. The certification validates your project leadership experience and expertise and demonstrates your capabilities to help organizations work more efficiently and perform better. The exam covers topics such as managing conflict, leading teams, building effective teams, training and empowering team members and stakeholders, executing projects to deliver business value, assess and manage risks, engage stakeholders, plan and manage budgets and resources, among other topics.

For more about the PMP, and tips on how to pass it, see “PMP certification: How to ace the Project Management Professional exam.”

Price: $405 for PMI members, $575 for nonmembers

Requirements: Four-year secondary degree plus three years of project management experience, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours project management education or CAPM certification; or a high-school diploma, five years of project management experience, 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education

Program Management Professional (PgMP)

The Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification offered by the PMI is designed for program managers who are senior-level practitioners who are responsible for advancing the organization’s strategic goals. Candidates for this exam should have extensive experience managing multiple, related projects and navigating complex environments across various departments, job functions, regions, or cultures to align results with organizational goals. The exam covers topics such as strategic program management, program life cycles, benefits management, stakeholder management, and governance.

Price: $800 for members; $1,000 for nonmembers

Requirements: A secondary degree or global equivalent, 48 months of project management experience or a PMP certification and 84 months of program management experience within the past 15 years; those with a four-year degree will need 48 months of project management experience or a PMP certification and 48 months oof program management experience within the past 15 years

Careers, Certifications, IT Skills, Project Management Tools

By: Shruthi Kalale Prakashan, Sr. Manager, Product Marketing, Aruba Central.

For many organizations large and small, the COVID-19 pandemic was the tipping point for cloud adoption. Unsurprisingly, more than half of enterprise IT spending in key market segments will shift to the cloud by 2025, according to Gartner. [1] As the cloud continues to play a key role in building resilience and enabling agility, the role of the network is more critical than ever before. However, the transformative benefits of cloud cannot be realized (or may even be negated!) without a modern network to support it.

How should IT organizations modernize their network management in response to new market pressures and how can a cloud-based approach help?

Four modern network management challenges

Today’s network is facing new market pressures, including:

Hybrid work becomes mainstream: According to Gartner, if an organization were to go back to a fully on-site arrangement, it would risk losing up to 39% of its workforce. [2] Enabling secure and efficient hybrid work is now table stakes for IT teams.Growing network complexity: Networks are growing in size and complexity, often leading to siloed network management with multiple, disjointed tools that result in a high rate of manual errors, alert fatigue, and downtime.Compliance and security: Securing the network is harder than ever before due to the rapid implementation of cloud-based services in response to the pandemic and the increasing adoption of IoT.Critical talent shortage: Organizations are increasingly struggling to recruit and retain talent with specialized skills. Only 12.5% of enterprises believe it is very easy to hire and retain skilled networking professionals. [3]

It comes as no surprise that network operations professionals believe they could reduce problems by nearly half if they had better network management tools. [4]

How can cloud-based network management help?

Cloud-based network management solutions are gaining traction as organizations seek to consolidate their tools, drive better efficiencies, and lower costs. In fact, IDC projects that half of all new implementations will rely on cloud-based network management.

Aruba’s cloud-based network management solution –

Aruba Central – is a powerful, scalable solution that offers a single point of visibility and control to oversee every aspect of wired and wireless LANs, WANs, and VPNs across campus, branch, remote, and data center locations. Built on a cloud-native, microservices-based modern architecture, Aruba Central is an AI-powered solution that simplifies IT operations, improves agility, reduces costs, and minimizes risk by unifying management of all network infrastructure.

Benefit 1: Improved agility

Zero-touch provisioning accelerates the process of onboarding, configuring, and provisioning network devices with a guided setup wizard, flexible configuration options, and an intuitive installer app.‘Single point of control’ that enables IT to stage configuration changes just once, instantly validate them and push the new settings to every applicable device across the network, eliminating device-by-device updates.Enhanced programmability with open APIs and webhooks makes it easy to integrate with other tools in the technology stack such as ServiceNow, Ansible, Slack and much more.

Benefit 2: Enhanced efficiency

AIOps and automation eliminate manual troubleshooting tasks, reduce average resolution time by as much as 90% for common network issues, and increase network capacity by as much as 25% through peer-based configuration optimization.User experience monitoring provides user and IoT device application assurance and rapid troubleshooting through easy-to-deploy Aruba User Experience Insight (UXI) sensors that simulate end-user activities with admin-defined frequency.Natural language search allows administrators to use natural language to search for and quickly find relevant contextual information, enabling rapid first-level triages of issues.

Benefit 3: Reduced cost

Unified management of wired, wireless and WAN networks eliminates the use of multiple management tools, additional appliances and associated administrative and licensing costs.Training and development costs are reduced as network teams do not need to learn different tools or spend cycles on patching and maintaining the solutionCost of Downtime and truck rolls are reduced through AI-based proactive identification and root-cause of issues before they become actual problems with business impact.

Benefit 4: Minimized risk 

AI-powered IoT visibility eliminates network blind spots and reduces the risk of cyberattacks by using ML-models to accurately identify and profile hard-to-detect IoT devices.Simplifies policy management and streamlines the adoption of Zero Trust security at global scale by using overlays based on widely adopted protocols such as EVPN/VXLAN.High availability with live firmware upgrades that can be scheduled during non-peak operation hours to reduce maintenance windows and ensure continuous operations, eliminating potential downtime.

Getting started with cloud-based network management

120,000+ customers worldwide are already making significant improvements to their network management and operations with Aruba Central. In a customer survey we conducted with TechValidate, nearly a third of Aruba Central customers reported that they’ve halved their previous networking costs and nearly two-thirds of surveyed customers are able to resolve network or user issues at least 50% faster.

Learn how you can modernize your network and evolve network management strategies with the Aruba Unified Infrastructure and Aruba Central.

References:

[1] Enterprise IT Spending, Gartner, Feb 2022

[2] 9 Future of Work Trends Post Covid-19, Gartner, Jun 2022

[3], [4] Network Management Megatrends 2022, EMA, Apr 2022

This blog was published on blogs.arubanetworks.com on 01/16/23.

Cloud Management

Cloud architectures and remote workforces have effectively dissolved the network perimeter, the traditional line of defense for IT security. Lacking that decisive boundary, the work of security teams has changed. Now to guard against data breaches, ransomware, and other types of cyber threats, protecting network endpoints is more important than ever. 

But protecting endpoints is a priority with a massive scope. Endpoints encompass everything from employee laptops, desktops, and tablets to on-premises servers, containers, and applications running in the cloud. Endpoint security requires a comprehensive and flexible strategy that goes way beyond what security teams relied on a decade or more ago. Then IT assets were nearly all on-premises and protected by a firewall. Those days are over.

Ransomware continues to evolve

Ransomware continues to be a major threat to organizations of all sizes. After declining for a couple of years, ransomware attacks are on the rise again. They increased 23% from 2021 to 2022. 

Not only are attacks more frequent, they’re also more disruptive. In 2021, 26% of attacks led to disruptions that lasted a week or longer. In 2022, that number jumped to 43%.

On average, each of these attacks cost its victim $4.54 million, including ransom payments made as well as costs for remediation. As bad as these numbers are, they’re poised to get worse. That’s because in the past year, attackers have adopted new models for extorting money from victims.

Business email compromise attacks

Another prevalent form of attack is business email compromise (BEC), where criminals send an email impersonating a trusted business contact, such as a company CEO, an HR director, or a purchasing manager. The email, often written to convey a sense of urgency, instructs the recipient to pay an invoice, wire money, send W-2 information, send serial numbers of gift cards, or to take some other action that appears legitimate, even if unusual. If the recipient follows these instructions, the requested money or data is actually sent to the criminals, not the purported recipient.

Between June 2016 and December 2021, the FBI recorded over 240,000 national and international complaints about BEC attacks, which cumulatively resulted in losses of $43 billion. Ransomware might make more headlines, but BEC attacks are 64 times as costly. And they are becoming more frequent, increasing 65% between 2019 and 2021.

“Endpoint monitoring won’t stop a BEC attack,” explains Tim Morris, Chief Security Advisor, Americas at Tanium. “But it might tell you a little more about the person who opened the email and what they did with it. Context can give you the clues you need for determining whether the attack is part of a broader campaign, reaching other recipients with deceptive messages.”

Practical tips for endpoint management

How should CIOs and other IT leaders respond to these evolving threats? Here are five tips.

Treat endpoints as the new network edge.

With so many people working remotely and 48% of applications running in the cloud, it’s time to recognize that the new line of defense is around every endpoint, no matter where it is and what type of network connection—VPN or not—it’s operating with.

2. Identify all devices connecting to the network, even personal devices not officially authorized.

“You can’t secure what you can’t manage,” says Morris. “And you can’t manage what you don’t know.” Security Operations Centers (SOC) need to know all the endpoints they’re responsible for. Audits of enterprise networks routinely find endpoint management systems miss about 20 percent of endpoints. SOC teams should put tools and processes in place to ensure they have a complete inventory of endpoints and can monitor the status of endpoints in real time.

3. Patch continually.

Patching has always been important to ensure endpoints have access to the latest features and bug fixes. But now that software vulnerabilities have emerged as a major inroad for attackers, it’s critically important to ensure patches are applied promptly. Organizations can’t hope to respond to supply chain attacks like Log4j without putting in place automated solutions for software bills of materials and patching.

4. Drill.

Once you have a cybersecurity plan, a cybersecurity toolset, and a trained staff, it’s important to practice hunting for threats and responding to attacks of all kinds. It’s helpful to take a Red Team/Blue Team approach, assigning a team of security analysts to break into a network while another team tries to defend it. These drills almost always uncover gaps in security coverage. Drills also help teams build trust and work together more effectively.

5. Get endpoint context.

When attacks occur, it’s important to respond as quickly as possible. To respond effectively, security teams need to understand what’s happening on affected endpoints, no matter where they are. Which processes are running? What network traffic is taking place? What files have been recently downloaded? What’s the patch status?

Analysts often need answers in minutes from endpoints thousands of miles away. And they don’t have time to install new software or hope the remote user can help them set up a connection. Security teams need to have a system already in place for analyzing endpoints and collecting this data, so that when any type of attack occurs—even attacks like BEC attacks—they can collect the contextual information needed for understanding what happened and what threats remain active.

Cyber threats are becoming more prevalent, more sophisticated, and harder to identify and track. For more tips—five more in fact—on how to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and ensure that when attacks occur, they can be contained quickly and efficiently, check out this eBook.

Security