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When SearchCIO asked its Twitter followers how they plan to improve their IT operations in 2015, IT resolutions ranged from improving their development cycles, taking advantage of more digital channels or -- a biggie, considering the plethora of cyberintrusions that occurred in 2014 -- building up their security processes. Above all, our #CIO-Chat-ters were almost unanimous in emphasizing their intention to put internal and external customers at the center of these strategies.
In this #CIO-Chat recap of followers' IT resolutions for the New Year, find out why 2015 just might live up to be what Forrester calls the age of the customer.
What are your IT plans for 2015?
One of the first IT resolutions tweet chat participant Mark Lorion mentioned was integrating user feedback into the application development process and embedding this Agile mindset into the company culture. He offered examples of how development teams can get closer to their customers -- not an easy feat, he admits:
Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond says it's important to begin IT projects by first admitting that you probably don't know what products are going to work and what aren't. "The reality is that even the best teams aren't sure what the right user interface design is, or what they should be doing for their customers when they first start out," he said. Start with something small and then, using actionable feedback from your customers, grow your product from there.
Cloud was another focus area for the next year for participant Stuart Appley:
2015 resolution is not giving up on driving change. Moving as much to cloud. #ciochat— Stuart Appley (@sappley) December 17, 2014
Appley isn't alone: Cloud (21%), along with security (21%) and business intelligence (BI)/big data (17%), were the top three project focus areas cited by the 333 senior IT leaders who took TechTarget's annual IT Salary and Careers Survey.
It's no coincidence that security and big data are both at the top. Some survey respondents hinted that differentiating the two is becoming increasingly challenging, particularly because of the challenges of data integration and management -- a reality follower Walker White highlighted in his resolution:
SearchCIO Executive Editor Linda Tucci corroborated this, saying that advanced data analytics is a prevalent CIO resolution:
#CIOChat Some popular resolutions among CIOs I'm hearing from: shrink cycle times, blow up legacy apps, do more advanced analytics— Linda Tucci (@LTucci) December 17, 2014
Gloria J. Miller focused on Hadoop. In 2015, she wants to find out exactly how the evolving technology can aid the business and other functions:
Hadoop 2.0 might not only help with managing transactional data, for instance, but it could also assist businesses in tackling structured and semistructured data types, big data experts told SearchCIO recently.
Senior Managing Editor Rachel Lebeaux vowed to experiment more with emerging digital platforms -- and rightly so. Many companies, including The New York Times and AT&T, are rushing to adapt to the digital economy; the convergence of social media, cloud, analytics and mobile technologies continues to create more digital channels through which customers engage:
Tweet chatters Elliott Franklin and Will Lassalle's shared IT resolution for 2015 is an oldie but goodie. Both stressed that IT should become even more involved with and build a deeper understanding of their organizations' business strategies:
#CIOChat A2. My IT Resolution for 2015 is to implement an org redesign to better align the IT dept to critical business objectives— Will Lassalle (@wlassalle) December 17, 2014
How can security be improved in 2015?
2014 was a banner year for data breaches, if you can call it that, so it's little surprise that security tied with cloud as the top priority for the senior IT leaders who responded to TechTarget's salary survey. And it's even less surprising that the majority of tweet chatters' resolutions for 2015 revolved around enhancing security.
Creating more complex passwords and coming up with discrete ones for each account, as SearchCompliance editors suggest, is one more layer of security employees can use to safeguard their data and applications. However, as followers David Chou and Lorion pointed out, there's a fine line between multilayered security and employees' willingness to implement complicated security practices:
Indeed, as follower Scott King argued, employees often sacrifice security for convenience -- until they are placed squarely in the crosshairs. He cited what happened after the cyberattack on Sony Pictures:
Participants White and Lorion offered a couple of suggestions for how to streamline security processes for users:
Perhaps even more important than bridging security practices and the user experience, participants agreed, is baking security into the company culture so that employees can function as the first line of defense:
In addition to biometric authentication, which uses physical metrics as the basis for a personalized password, organizations can also take advantage of educational awareness programs led by security experts and diversity training to educate employees, former White House CIO Theresa Payton advises.
And perhaps most important of all, users must be the focus of a security strategy, as participant Rajiv Gupta tweeted. This is especially resonant as employees increasingly work remotely, corporate data is stored outside of organizations' data centers -- and risks multiply accordingly:
Find new ways to make security user-centric. 2014 was the year of the user; 2015 is the year to put them at center of sec strategy #CIOChat— rajiv gupta (@trustedmind) December 17, 2014
What are your IT resolutions for the New Year? Share them with us in the comments section below.