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Beyond the server room in 2011
Source: InfoWorld

IT organizations are facing unprecedented challenges that will only intensify in the coming year as companies continue streamlining their spending and reprioritizing their business strategies in a tight economy.

With regard to IT, “companies are tired of paying for what they view as plumbing,” writes InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman. “Any consideration in the executive suite about the back office and infrastructure is all about making do and cost cutting.” And that attitude even extends to security.

IT professionals are getting mixed messages. “The contradictions are evident: Be open and safe," Gruman writes. "Don't get geeky but stay on top of the new tech trends. Be business-focused and tech-savvy. Let the new generation own more of the tech, but make sure it all works. Learn to take risks but don't threaten the core. Do more with less.”

His advice: Get used to it. And embrace the opportunity to go in new directions.

He encourages IT professionals to get out of the back office by embracing new roles in data analysis and management and partnering with tech-savvy employees outside the IT department. In short, “join the larger ship, whether as an engineer partner or a player in another business unit, such as product design. Whatever you do, the future of IT is in helping make the business more successful in its own terms. Think different and be part of that future.”

New Year’s resolutions for vendors

January is traditionally the time to make promises about getting healthy, losing weight and budgeting more wisely.

Stephanie Overby of puts an IT spin on the practice. She published her resolutions for IT services customers back in December. Now, saying “it takes two to tangle up a perfectly good deal,” she offers 11 resolutions for IT services providers.

Resolution No. 1: I will help my partner get into shape. "Don't just sell your customer a new service that promises [to] save them money someday; uncover ways to shed costs now,” she writes.

Other recommendations include be yourself, share your knowledge with customers and follow the Golden Rule.

Overby also stresses the importance of candor in establishing good relationships. “Try being forthright, whether you're talking about cloud computing, offshoring or layoffs,” she writes.

A new approach to managing records

Federal agencies’ management of social media records is fragmented, difficult to define and inadequately funded, and fixing those problems will require a fundamental shift in thinking, according to a new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government titled “How Federal Agencies Can Effectively Manage Records Created Using New Social Media Tools.” Here’s an excerpt.

“Web managers have been instrumental in the suc­cess of many of the social media initiatives, and most department and agency websites contain links to social media sites hosted elsewhere. Social media hubs within departments and agencies are begin­ning to emerge, which provide not only links to social media tools but also social media policies and training materials for specific departments or agencies.

“This new media brings with it new challenges — especially for records managers struggling to apply existing records management laws and regulations to records created in a social media world.…

“These new challenges cannot be met at the agency level alone. It is time for the federal government to dramatically transform records management.”

The report goes on to recommend that a governmentwide chief records officer work with industry and federal leaders to rethink the concept of records management and coordinate with the federal CIO on an overarching information governance structure. It also recommends immediate improvements in records management training for federal employees.

About the Author

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