Month: May 2016

Just a third of IT staff believe their organisational culture supports innovation

Claranet research indicates disconnect between CIOs and IT staff on attitudes to innovation

Despite a consensus that IT innovation leads to business gains, only a third of IT staff would say that their organisation’s culture promotes effective innovation. With senior management tending to be more optimistic about their company’s ability to foster innovation than those below, there is a clear disconnect between the expectations for improvement between CIOs/IT directors and their departments. This is according to the latest research from managed services provider Claranet.

The research, which surveyed IT professionals from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux from a range of mid-market organisations, discovered that 42 per cent of IT directors believe their organisational culture supports innovation and takes risks. However, just 30 per cent of middle management and 27 per cent for IT supervisors would agree. Similarly, while half (51 per cent) of CIOs believe that their organisation has the patience to support new ideas, only 40 per cent of intermediate management and supervisors believe that to be the case.

According to Michel Robert, Claranet’s UK managing director, the effectiveness of innovation strategies will suffer unless company stances on innovation filter through the whole of the IT department:

These results show clear differences between IT directors and less senior staff on their views on innovation within their businesses. Senior IT staff have a distinct view of their openness to innovative practices, though on the whole, it would seem that they are not the best at ensuring their IT teams feel innovation is being prioritised.

These disparities may be down to a lack of communication and capacity to innovate, which will need to be addressed if businesses are to create a culture in which innovation can thrive and reach their full potential. If IT staff do not feel the need to innovate or, indeed, do not feel able to spend time on it, they can quite easily become stuck in the same old processes leading to the business losing traction with its competitors.

As senior managers grapple with the idea of digital transformation and innovation, it’s important that they keep their eyes on the reality of their businesses. Working with a trusted partner can ease the load on the IT department, freeing up IT directors and their teams to successfully focus on their innovation strategies. By focusing on innovative, high value-add projects close to the business, and leaving day-to-day management to IT services providers, IT directors will more than likely deliver business success to their organisation.”

How to optimise the performance of your web application

There a lots of statistics – most of them probably totally apocryphal – about how much money a slow website can cost you. You only need to know this: slow web applications enrage your users.

Avoid enraging your users by following these tips:

Acceleration

First things first – make sure performance is up to scratch.

Web acceleration and regional distribution

Claranet launches new PBX-integrated Skype for Business service

Claranet, the leading managed services provider in Europe, has launched its new Skype for Business integration for the Claranet Hosted Voice service in the UK. The new service means that organisations will benefit from the superior enterprise-grade functionality of a hosted PBX system, with the front end usability of Skype for Business within the wider Office 365 family.

As a standalone product, Skype for Business is a market leading tool but it lacks the enterprise grade telephony functionality that comes with a PBX system. Claranet’s new service fully integrates Skype for Business with the Hosted Voice cloud PBX set-up, ensuring the advantages of both approaches for end users.

Many organisations have been averse to adopting full Skype for Business functionality and have maintained their PBX phone systems because telephony is still considered the central form of communication, with any change being seen as too risky. The result is that while many have adopted Skype for Business within the wider Office 365 package, they only use the video conferencing and IM functionality, maintaining the PBX phone on the office desk for voice calls.

James Mitchell, Senior Product Manager for Unified Communications, said:

Integrating an existing PBX system with Skype for Business is not straight forward, resulting in many organisations putting it quite a way down their to-do list. With our new service, customers will be able to upgrade entirely to our Hosted Voice service with Skype for Business as the front end tool. Claranet has done the heavy lifting to fully integrate the Skype for Business package with our Hosted Voice service. The service, combined with Claranet’s Office 365 offer, results in a comprehensive and reliable unified communications solution.”

The new Skype for Business service is an addition to Claranet’s existing Hosted Voice VoIP service, which provides a complete telephone system incorporating handsets and soft phones, with full integration with smartphones and tablets. Fully ISO 27001 and ISO 22301 accredited, the service is highly secure meeting all necessary standards with realistic service level agreements.

James concludes:

Studies from Broadsoft have suggested that 94 per cent of UK businesses still use an on-site PBX system, rendering the vast majority unable to take advantage of true unified communications and the benefits it entails. Attempting to connect a legacy PBX with a wider modern communications suite just doesn’t work as it results in restricted functionality and a fragmented suite of applications. Our new Skype for Business service removes all of these challenges.”

Straight from the horse’s mouth: top 5 cloud trends from across Europe

The current state of the IT industry is very prone to hype and distortion of all kinds. So there’s nothing quite like getting the latest insights straight from the horse’s mouth.

We asked 900 senior IT decision-makers from six European countries (Benelux, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, UK) a whole load of curious cloud questions. We received intriguing answers on everything from IT challenges, roles and budgets, to levels of innovation, application updates and DevOps adoption.

What did we learn?

IT departments struggling to keep pace with growing rate of business change, suggests Claranet research

‘Business as usual’ approach to IT development too slow for modern businesses

Rapidly changing business models are causing businesses to reconsider their approach to IT, as they look to capitalise on the huge opportunity for differentiation through the effective use of technology. However, this is posing real difficulties for IT departments across Europe according to the latest research from managed services provider Claranet. As business leaders across Europe seek to transform their organisations, the incremental ‘business as usual’ approach to IT improvement is increasingly unfit for purpose.

The research, which surveyed 900 IT decision-makers from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux from a range of mid-market organisations, discovered that 46 per cent of European IT decision makers find supporting fast changing business models a key challenge, up from 35 per cent in 2015. In the UK, the number of IT departments struggling to support a rapidly transitioning business is even higher, with 54 per cent of respondents citing it as a problem.

For Michel Robert, Claranet’s UK managing director, the results highlight the growing imperative for IT departments to embrace more dynamic approaches to keep up with changing business needs:

Our research shows that the IT department needs a fundamental rethink of how it approaches innovation and development. Traditionally, IT departments have incrementally upgraded their capabilities, adding new features sequentially. While this pace of development was acceptable in the past, and often the only pace permitted by infrastructure and software development limitations, it is now no longer agile enough to satisfy the needs of modern businesses.

If IT departments are to empower their organisations, and keep pace with the desired rate of change, they need to adopt more progressive approaches to IT management, focusing on practises which will boost their applications, such as public cloud and DevOps. The flexibility and agility brought by public cloud services enable IT departments to spin up new services which scale on demand, without heavy investments in additional infrastructure. DevOps, meanwhile, can increase the frequency of updates, and speed to market, ensuring the application estate can support changing business conditions.”

Robert concluded:

IT services providers have a central role in supporting their customers in handling this level of significant change. Strong partnerships are able to ease the pressure on IT leaders, giving them the tools they need to respond effectively to the needs of their organisations. Companies should look to partner with services providers who promote an application first approach. This means addressing the hosting, management and development needs of individual applications and prioritising the availability, performance and security of applications which will make the most difference to the business.”

To access the full report, visit: www.claranet.co.uk/research

Security show-down: cloud versus on-premises

Is the cloud secure?

This is literally the most-asked question in the industry: we asked 900 senior IT decision makers from across Europe to list their top IT challenges and security is their number one IT challenge.

In fact, it’s actually the accessibility of data, rather than its location that has the biggest impact of security.