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3 Tech Trends Retailers Can’t Afford to Ignore

mobile-credit-cardLike other industries, retail is experiencing rapid technological change — change that, if disregarded, could have a negative impact on business. That’s why it’s so important for business and IT leaders to keep abreast of the latest in retail technology.

Let’s take a look at some of the important trends in retail IT, and how they can help businesses like yours see success.

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Healthcare Providers Take a Shot in the Cloud

TGSyringe-and-clouds-200x200Like businesses in a host of industries, healthcare providers have set their sights on cloud computing, hoping to gain competitive advantages and better serve doctors and patients by moving important data and operations to cloud-based systems.

In fact, the healthcare cloud computing market is expected to grow to nearly $5.4 billion by 2017, according to a recent study by the firm MarketsandMarkets. This growth in healthcare cloud is part of a larger trend in telehealth, which is predicted to grow by 55 percent this year.

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When It Comes to IT Challenges, You’re Not Alone [INFOGRAPHIC]

Leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises know all too well the challenge of trying to compete in a crowded marketplace while still keeping up with business demands. It’s especially challenging when when one demand, such as IT services, takes up time and money that could be spent instead on growing the business. 

We know that business leaders like you want to be able to free up IT staff from tasks that keep them from focusing on the bigger-picture work that drives business revenue. Or you want to reduce risk and downtime that cause loss of revenue and reputation.

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Four Reasons Why Businesses Like ITaaS

For a sector driven by rapid change, it’s always discouraging to hear IT catch blame for being a corporate bottleneck.

Yet it’s a refrain growing all the more common with the widespread adoption of SaaS, IaaS and other cloud-based service offerings that enable IT circumvention. And it’s one that continues to push IT leaders to redefine their strategies and policies.

One way IT can retain the control and compliance it needs and still give end users what they want is to operate “as-a-Service,” a movement the industry is calling IT-as-a-Service, or ITaaS.

What is ITaaS?

Outsourced ITaaS transforms IT organizations from a traditional business cost center to a service provider. With this type of model, IT organizations can become more business-focused and introduce a new level of agility to their company.

Under this scenario, internal employees become clients of the IT department and pay the IT department as they would an external contractor for a regular, predictable maintenance fee to come in and perform a certain number of services.

The IT department decides what on-premise or off-premise hardware, software or cloud applications and infrastructure are needed, and they provide the exact services necessary to keep all internal business units happy. Business users simply decide what services they want from a menu of options, letting the IT department make the decision as to what products or vendors will be available to the users.

Why Outsourced ITaaS Models Deliver

The benefits of ITaaS vary across organizations and needs. There are, however, four common advantages to transforming your IT model using outsourced ITaaS, including:

  1. Cost Predictability: IT service costs are more predictable from month to month. Plus, in many cases, expenses are billed back to the business unit requesting the services, never affecting the IT budget.
  2. Better Focus: IT departments will no longer be in the business of day-to-day IT tasks and problems. Instead, they will strictly deliver services that better advance current and future business requirements.
  3. Self-service: Business users no longer have to wait on the IT department to get the products they need for their latest project. Instead, they simply go through the catalog of previously vetted cloud service providers and choose the right cloud solution for their project.
  4. Scalability: IT departments no longer need to worry about increasing or decreasing capacity or capabilities in the short timeframes normally demanded of changing business needs.  Make sure to select an outsourcing vendor that keeps at the forefront of technology trends, such as cloud, and takes on the burden of technology obsolescence.

Want to learn more about ITaaS? Join me September 23 at the Gartner Outsourcing & Strategic Partnership Summit, for a deep dive into how ITaaS can help your business minimize risk and improve innovation. 

Walt Strubbe is managed services principal at CenturyLink.

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Internet of Things and Security: 5 Factors to Determine Risk vs. Reward

200by200securitythumbprintWe’ve talked about how the Internet of Things — the rising connectivity and communication among objects, users, and the Internet — is becoming the next big thing for businesses across industries.

In the healthcare sector, for instance, IoT is helping both providers and patients see benefits such as scaled expertise, ongoing monitoring, and hospital prevention.

But, as with any technology seeing an upswing, it’s to be expected that there will be associated security questions and challenges. This is especially true because what makes IoT so powerful — the potential to share information immediately with everyone and everything — inherently creates a security threat.

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4 things cloud services will do for your business, starting today

LPresize4 things cloud services will do for your business_imageWe’ve heard that cloud is a technology that will change the future. It is being said that someday, it’ll be the way businesses buy all of their technology. While all this may be true, you don’t have to wait for the future to bring cloud services to your business. Both large and small businesses are using cloud services for greater flexibility, to free themselves from managing complex technology and, importantly, to save money. So, can it help your business?

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How businesses save time with Cloud

LPresizedsave time with cloud_image supportIt’s not news that cloud has brought about a revolution in technology. It has proven to be a major breakthrough for business capabilities.  It offers many tangible benefits for real-world businesses that need to meet the demands—and take advantage of the opportunities—of today’s instruments, and the interconnected and intelligent world. One of the key benefits in making the move to cloud is centered on “time,” and how it makes the best use of it. Here are a few reasons why:

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More Mobile, More Apps: Is Your Business Ready?

We’ve known for a while now that mobility is a force in the enterprise — the rise of BYOD and app development are evidence. But the numbers are pointing to something even stronger: Mobility as a mainstay in business.

Consider that this year, U.S. adults will spend almost half of their overall media time — 43.6 percent — with digital. Of that time, 19.4 percent will be spent on mobile, compared with 19.2 percent on laptops and PCs, according to a July study by eMarketer. And that doesn’t even cover how employees and businesses are using mobile in the workplace.

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