Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Trends

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to trends.

What Does the Future of ITSM Hold, According to ITSM Professionals

The best way to predict the future of any industry is to talk directly with those who are working in it every day. That’s exactly what ITSM.tools and ManageEngine did earlier this year when they set out to understand the future of corporate IT organizations and, more specifically, IT Service Management (ITSM). With a mission to avoid standard ITSM survey questions, they asked ITSM professionals ten questions related to potential future challenges and opportunities.

The survey resulted in their IT Service Management Future Readiness Report which discusses new technologies and changing IT roles.  You can see all of the details on their website, but if you’d like a quick summary, check out this infographic which ManageEngine also created. In summary, ITSM professionals are predicting a challenging future. Would you agree?

What Does the Future of ITSM Hold, According to ITSM Professionals

IT Industry News for September

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on The Eagle Blog on October 10th, 2017

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 2017. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of September in previous years …

Infosys logoFive years ago in September 2012 Infosys increased its management consultancy capability with the $330 million purchase of Lodestone.  Lenovo bought Stoneware, a software company focused on the cloud, and Ericsson bought ConceptWave.  A couple of interesting investment moves saw Microsoft invest in Klout and Silicon Valley VC Chameth Palihapitiya invest in Xtreme Labs.

Microsoft logoFour years ago in September 2013 Blackberry announced a quarterly loss of almost $1 million and laid off 4,500 people. Microsoft bought Nokia’s devices and services unit for more than $7 billion. Ebay paid $800 million for payment platform Braintree; Synnex bought IBM’s customer care division for $505 million; Rogers added to its data centre capacity with the $161 million purchase of Pivot Data Centres; Extreme Networks bought Entersys Networks for $180 million; and Manitoba Telephone Systems bought Epic Information Systems.

September 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft’s $2.5 billion purchase of gaming company Minecraft, Lenovo’s $2.1 billion purchase of IBM’s x86 server business and Cognizant’s $2.7 billion purchase of healthcare company, Trizetto Corp.  Hootsuite had an injection of cash and bought two companies, social telephony company Zeetl and social media marketing platform Brightkit.  Google also made two acquisitions, biotech company Lift Labs and desktop polling company Polar. There were plenty more deals announced, including Yahoo’s $8 million purchase of cloud based document hosting company Bookpad; Cisco’s purchase of private cloud company Metacloud; SAP’s purchase of expense software company Concur; Blackberry’s purchase of virtual identity software startup Movirtu and Red Hat’s purchase of mobile app company FeedHenry.

ACCENTURE LOGOTwo years ago in September 2015 there was a fair bit of M&A activity but no blockbuster deals.  Microsoft was very active, closing three deals, Adxstudio which provides web based solutions for Dynamics CRM; app developer Double Labs; and cloud security firm Adallom.  Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop; Netsuite paid $200 million for cloud based marketing company Bronto Software; and Blackberry paid $425 million for competitor Good Technology.  Hardware company Konica Minolta bought IT Weapons; Qualcomm bought medical device and data management company Capsule Technologie; Networking and storage company Barracuda Networks bought online backup and disaster recovery company Intronis; and Compugen bought some of the assets of another Canadian company Metafore.

HP logoLast year in September 2016 Tech Data paid $2.6 Billion for the technology solutions group of Avnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 Billion for Samsung’s printer business.  Other deals saw Google pay $625 million for Apogee, and restaurant company Subway bought online order taking software company Avanti Commerce.  One investment that caught my eye, in the staffing world saw Accenture invest in crowdtesting company Applause.

Which brings us back to the present …

September 2017 saw Google splash out $1.1 Billion to acquire HTC’s pixel team, strengthening its own smartphone capabilities.  In an interesting move IKEA bought gig economy company TaskRabbit, so perhaps you won’t need to put that furniture together yourself in the future!  HPE bought Cloud Technology Partners, presumably to strengthen its capabilities in that area and possibly access new clients.  Finally Edmonton company F12.net bought Vancouver’s ONDeck Systems as it pursues its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.

IBM logoHPE was also in the news, announcing yet another round of layoffs, this time 5,000 people before the year ends.  Equifax hit the news, retroactively announcing a huge cyber breach affecting 143 million customers which has since cost the CEO, CIO and CISO their jobs.  CareerBuilder also announced 120 layoffs, as part of consolidation following multiple acquisitions and now a new owner.  IBM continues to take heat for the Phoenix Project, which is the Canadian Federal Governments pay system and has been a huge mess … and in all honesty there is plenty of blame to go around for this fiasco.

canadian flagThe Canadian economy has been performing well, with 22,000 jobs added in August and 374,000 jobs created in the last year.  However storm clouds are gathering with huge new minimum wage hikes coming, non-business friendly changes to labour laws, carbon taxes and new Federal Tax legislation that will impact professionals and business owners.  Some observers suggest that we might face a Government induced recession in 2018.

Elsewhere the US economy continues to perform well, and the Trump administration is proposing tax cuts for business, which should create even more opportunity and possibly threaten Canada’s economy as Canadian businesses face tax hikes.  Worldwide, generally economies and job prospects are improving.  Even Greece improved its unemployment rate 2% over the last year, from 23% to 21%.

There were a few indicators of how our changing world will impact jobs with one report suggesting 4 million jobs in the UK will be replaced by robots in the next ten years.  Another 700,000 low skilled IT jobs will be lost to automation in the next five years.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the October 2017 tech news in just about a month’s time.

IT Challenges and Priorities of North American Companies

IT Challenges and Priorities of North American CompaniesHow up-to-date are you on the struggles and strategies of your industry? Understanding what companies are facing can help you plan which skills you will enhance over coming months, as well as help you develop a better sales pitch for your contracting business. There are plenty of sources and studies available to help you understand potential clients’ agendas, and new research is being published regularly. Here are a couple recent ones…

A CDW Canada survey of Canadian organizations learned that their top security concerns are intrusion prevention (39%) and Ransomware protection (35%). Even with these concerns, most are still exploring or implementing cloud deployments; in fact, half of them are planning hybrid solutions in 2017. While most organizations are adopting cloud strategies in one way or another, only 16% would consider themselves a “cloud-first” organization.

The survey revealed some additional IT-related priorities for Canadian organizations. For example, when asked about emerging technologies that will have the most impact on their business, the top responses were analytics and big data, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, 10% plan to replace legacy tools and applications with new technologies and 31% plan to upgrade or update their current tools and applications in their unified communications strategies.

South of the border, mid-market US-based companies are having a challenging time attracting and retaining IT talent — that’s according to a recent CFO Research survey. The findings detail how 49% of finance executives state that their challenges to keep tech professionals in the company have an adverse effect on them. Once they do secure IT employees, the struggles with those people continue with technical competency, strategic planning and vision, industry knowledge, project management, and customer service skills.

Naturally, the US companies surveyed are dealing with their issue by turning to external services. Rather than training or continuing their search, CFO Research learned that most are bridging the gap by moving to cloud services and eliminating a need to source, manage and maintain computer hardware, as well as turning to managed IT services. Regardless of their concerns about costs, the provider’s ability to understand the company, service quality or security breaches, the overall feeling among the executives surveyed is that this solution has been successful.

Have you come across any recent studies about your industry that help you prioritize your training? If so, please share the links below so other readers can benefit.

Which Browser is Most Secure?

Anybody who’s worked around technology knows to never let your guard down when it comes to IT security. Just when you think you’re safe, within a simple click, your computer or entire network could be hacked, putting everything on pause until things are back to normal.

Nobody wants to deal with this stress so we do everything we can be minimize vulnerabilities. An item we rarely think twice about is which browser we’re using. After all, if I’m using the most popular one, should it not also be the most secure? According to this infographic from WhoIsHostingThis, that would be a false assumption.

Keep scrolling to learn which internet browsers have the most vulnerabilities, how to take matters into your own hands and secure yourself in those browsers, and learn about less popular browsers that were build specifically for privacy.

Which Browser is Most Secure? - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog
Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

The Top Online Project Management Tools

The Top Online Project Management ToolsEvery great professional, in any trade, requires tools to guarantee their work is done with as much efficiency and quality as possible. IT Project Managers are no exception to this rule and need to ensure they’re using the right tools.

Often, it is the client who makes the decision about which tools will be used; however, if your contract requires you to manage this piece, or they ask your opinion, it’s best to be prepared. For these situations, this article from FinancesOnline recommends you stick with cloud-based, online project management tools. While they understand every situation is different, the article lists five main advantages for sticking with online tools:

  • Unobstructed access to information
  • Facilitated onboarding
  • Focus on collaboration
  • Configuration
  • Affordability

If you’re sold on the idea, but unsure where to start, the article goes on to rank its 20 preferred online project management tools as follows:

  1. Wrike
  2. Asana
  3. Taskworld
  4. Basecamp
  5. Zoho Projects
  6. Smartsheet
  7. Nutcache
  8. Bitrix24
  9. Clarizen
  10. Trello
  11. Podio
  12. JIRA
  13. Teamwork
  14. ProWorkflow
  15. Easy Projects
  16. KanbanFlow
  17. dapulse
  18. Projectplace
  19. Mavenlink
  20. Taiga

Do you have a preference in project management tools? If so, please share it with our readers in the comments below. We’re eager to hear your reviews!

Quick Poll Results: Leadership is Important for Independent Contractors

Last month’s contractor quick poll dove into the subject of leadership, specifically its relevance to IT contractors. We asked our readers how often they require these skills while working on client projects and the results are clear: independent contractors need leadership skills!

More than 3/4 of respondents stated that they always or almost always require leadership skills during their contracts, while the remainder of respondents said sometimes. Not a single person answered that they rarely or never require leadership skills.

What does this mean for you? If you’re not confident in your leadership abilities, it’s time to brush up on them to continue your success as an independent contractor. Do you want to see more posts with leadership advice in the Talent Development Centre? If so, are there any specific areas? Add your requests to the comments below!

Quick Poll Results - Do independent contractors need leadership skills?

Contractor Quick Poll: What’s the worst part of job searching?

Independent contractors find themselves searching for jobs much more frequently than their counterparts in permanent IT jobs. As such, you’re most likely a seasoned veteran at job searching and have the process down to an art, but there are undoubtedly parts of the process you absolutely despise.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know what part of job searching independent contractors hate the most and regularly wish they could somehow skip over to the next step.

Learn the Worst Cybersecurity Practices, as Ranked by Hackers

Hackers seem to be getting more and more clever as time goes by. With cybersecurity improving, hackers are always finding new ways to break into digital systems to steal sensitive data. A recent survey found that a large majority of hackers (73%) note that traditional security firewalls and antivirus are irrelevant, meaning that they could be easily by passed on your device.

In this infographic, Thycotic reveals a survey that was given to hackers. This survey says a lot about the worst cybersecurity practices, and gives insight into security hacking. These astonishing survey results are a wakeup call to boost your cybersecurity efforts. Find out how to protect yourself against cybercriminals today!

Learn the Worst Cybersecurity Practices, as Ranked by Hackers

IT Industry News for August 2017

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on The Eagle Blog on September 10th, 2017
IT Industry News - August 2017This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 2017. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of August in previous years …

Five years ago in August 2012 M&A was slow with IBM busiest, paying $1.3 billion for HR solutions and services company Kenexa, plus they bought flash memory developer, Texas Memory Systems.  The other “big name” deal was Google’s purchase of social media marketing company Wildfire Interactive, reputedly for $250 million.

In August 2013 IBM paid $1 billion for Trusteer, a cybersecurity company specialized in the financial services sector;  Qualcomm sold its fleet management software unit for $800 million to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; and the other big dollar buy was AOL paying $405 million for online video company Adap.tv.  Facebook bought speech recognition company Mobile Technology; Software AG bought analytics firm Jackbe; Opentext paid $33 million for cloud based software company Cordys; and SAP bought ecommerce company Hybris.

Intel logoAugust 2014 saw no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books.  Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Axxia networking chip business; Vmware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messaging capabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari.

IBM logoTwo years ago in August 2015 there were two billion dollar deals.  Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 Billion dollars for 10 years ago) to a group of investors for $8 Billion.  IBM also paid ”big bucks”, shelling out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare.  Smaller deals saw Calgary based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itLast year August 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion dollar deals.   The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy one of the larger job boards, Monster for $429 million.  A similar sized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana.  Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications.  Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee in addition to their XBox division buying interactive livestreaming company Beam.  Nutanix bought two companies to bolster its Enterprise Cloud Platform, Calm.io, a DevOps automation company and PernixData, which offers data analytics and acceleration capabilities.   Other smaller deals saw Palantir, an analytics and consulting company buy data visualization startup, Silk; and Magnitude software bought Vancouver based, data access and analytics company Simba.

Which brings us back to the present …

Cisco logoAugust 2017, as has been the case for most of this year was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec is selling its website security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity.  Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought consulting company in Pittsburgh, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX.  While not a pure tech play the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100million for Confluence.

Infosys logoThere was some drama at Samsung, as Jay Y Lee was jailed for 5 years for bribery.  There was also some internal drama at Infosys that saw their CEO Vishal Sikka resign.

The Canadian economic indicators were mixed, but new proposed tax reforms, NAFTA negotiations, new labour laws in Ontario and an impending carbon tax will hurt clearly have a negative impact on the Canadian economy.  Meanwhile, the US economy seems to keep adding jobs and have fairly positive indicators.

It is also interesting to look at the various job situations around the world noting very low unemployment in places like Japan, Germany and Hong Kong with very high unemployment in France, Greece and Spain.  The impact of Brexit on the London job market also seems to be a growing factor.

Eagle logoThat’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the September 2017 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!

Change Management – How to set yourself apart as an OCM Consultant

Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

Change Management – How to set yourself apart as an OCM ConsultantWhen Eagle first launched the Executive and Management Consultant division back in 2011, Change Management quickly became an area of specialty. Clients often complained that there was a general lack of understanding about the skill, and when they asked technical staffing agencies for qualified resources they would often confuse it with technical change management and end up with a handful of ITIL resumes.

There is no question that Change Management is an essential part of project success, whether for system implementations, business transformations or organizational change efforts. Data available on Prosci’s website sites that “Initiatives with excellent change management are six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management.” This highly specialized skill requires that consultants can operate at both a strategic and tactical level, working closely with senior executive level stakeholders to drive transformation efforts, while understanding how the nuances of business change will impact employees at all levels of an organization and ensuring that they are not only adequately trained but ‘bought into’ the efforts.

With many people becoming interested in the field and Prosci and other certifications readily available, there has been a notable increase in consultants coming into the market over the past 2-3 years. So how do experienced Change practitioners set themselves apart in this ever-competitive market?

The ACMP is the global Association of Change Management Professionals. Last year, they introduced the CCMP designation – which is a globally recognized credential that ‘defines best practices in Change Management’. Unlike other certifications that require no previous experience or training, the CCMP has stringent eligibility criteria (similar to the PMP certification process). This has given the CCMP certification much more credibility in the market. Gaining the CCMP is one of the ways that experienced Change practitioners can differentiate themselves in the market. Are there other ways that you have set yourself apart? We’d love to hear from you!