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Few companies IT-ready

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Dell EMC announced the results of a new study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), which revealed that a majority of senior IT leaders and decision-making managers of large companies surveyed around the world indicate their organisations have yet to fully embrace the aspects of IT Transformation needed to remain competitive.

While there is a clear imperative for companies to transform their legacy IT, digital transformation is becoming the driving force to making IT Transformation a top priority. However the ESG 2017 IT Transformation Maturity Curve study commissioned by Dell EMC shows 95 per cent of survey respondents indicate their organisations are at risk of falling behind a smaller group of industry peers that are transforming their IT infrastructures, processes and delivery methods to accelerate their goals of becoming digital businesses.

Many organisations still measure application cycle times in months, if not years; have siloed infrastructures; and continue to grapple with rigid legacy architectures – all barriers to undertaking a successful digital transformation.

“These findings mirror how the vast majority of customers are telling us they need to optimise their existing infrastructures to take advantage of digital-age opportunities,” said David Goulden, President of Dell EMC. “However, the research shows that most respondents are falling behind a small and elite set of competitors who have cracked the IT Transformation code, and they’re competing more vigorously because of it. As organisations progress in their IT Transformation investments, they can overcome the conflict between legacy IT and digital business initiatives to realise their goals, speed time to market and increase competitiveness.”

The ESG 2017 IT Transformation Maturity Curve study was designed to understand the role that IT Transformation plays toward becoming a digital business. ESG employed a research-based, data-driven maturity model to identify different stages of IT Transformation progress and determine the degree to which global organisations have achieved those different stages based on their responses to questions about their organisation’s on premise IT infrastructure, processes and organisational alignment.

Based on the global survey responses, the 1,000 participating organisations were segmented into the following four IT Transformation maturity stages:

·         Stage 1 – Legacy (12 per cent): Falls short on many – if not all – of the dimensions of IT Transformation in the ESG study

·         Stage 2 – Emerging (42 per cent): Showing progress in IT Transformation but having minimal deployment of modern data center technologies

·         Stage 3 – Evolving (41 per cent): Showing commitment to IT Transformation and having a moderate deployment of modern data center technologies and IT delivery methods

·         Stage 4 – Transformed (5 per cent): Furthest along in IT Transformation initiatives

The majority of respondents (71 per cent) agree that IT Transformation is essential to ongoing business competitiveness. Of the “Transformed” companies, 85 per cent believe their organisations are in a “very strong” or “strong” position to compete and succeed in their market over the next few years contrasted with 43 per cent of the least mature companies.

The “Transformed” organisations report the most progress in leveraging IT resources to speed product innovation and time to market; automating manual processes and tasks; and running IT as a profit center rather than a cost center. These companies:

·         (96 per cent) Exceeded revenue targets last year, more than two times the least mature

·         Are eight times more likely than the least mature organisations to report a highly cooperative relationship between IT and the business

·         Made “excellent progress” running IT as a profit center rather than a cost center (seven times more likely than the least mature)

·         Are seven times more likely than the least mature organisations to have IT viewed by the business as a competitive differentiator

·         Leverage IT resources to speed product innovation and time to market (six times more likely than the least mature organisations)

According to ESG, the adoption of modern data center technologies, such as scale-out storage systems and converged/hyper-converged infrastructure, can improve the agility and responsiveness of infrastructure provisioning, IT project delivery and application development. The study found:

·         54 per cent of all respondents use converged or hyper-converged infrastructure to support applications

·         58 per cent of all respondents have adopted scale-out storage systems in some capacity

·         Roughly 50 per cent of respondents are committed to software-defined as a long-term strategy and have begun to implement, evaluate or plan for software-defined technologies

According to ESG, the adoption of modern IT processes, – such as self-service provisioning capabilities, running IT like a public cloud and use of DevOps methodologies – can be an attribute of a successfully transformed company. The study found:

·         26 per cent of all respondents have “extensive” or “established” self-service capabilities

·         65 per cent of all respondents have made “excellent” or “acceptable” progress toward providing end users with the same ability to provision IT resources that they can get from a public cloud provider

·         43 per cent of respondents claim “extensive” or “good” adoption of formal DevOps principles and best practices

IT Transformation is often correlated with a more cooperative and effective relationship between IT and the business, which was validated by the research. The study found:

·         36 per cent of IT organisations and their outcomes are evaluated by the C-suite or board of directors monthly, and 38 per cent are evaluated quarterly

·         39 per cent have the most senior IT executive reporting directly to the CEO

·         61 per cent of the least mature organisations indicate their line of business stakeholders view IT as a “stable service provider, but ultimately a cost center”

At Dell EMC World in May 2017, experts will explore IT Transformation and how it enables organisations to achieve their digital transformation goals.

Supporting Quotes:

John McKnight, Vice President of Research and Analyst Services, Enterprise Strategy Group

“Companies today increasingly rely on technology to grow and improve all aspects of their business. However, ESG’s research found that fully ‘Transformed’ IT organisations are admittedly rare at this time. The good news is that there are incremental benefits to be had by making any progress along the maturity curve, which can be achieved by emulating the behaviours of these ‘Transformed’ organisations.”

Adam DeMattia, Director of Research, Enterprise Strategy Group

“Legacy IT is largely unprepared to meet the requirements of the new digital business: application cycle times measured in months, if not years; siloed infrastructure that prohibits organisations from viewing their data holistically; performance bottlenecks that impact end-user experience in a world that demands constant availability and response times; rigid architectures that force organisations to make forklift upgrades as requirements change; and traditional provisioning processes in which IT is often seen as a barrier rather than an enabler for the business. Organisations must resolve this conflict between Digital Transformation goals and today’s IT reality if the business is to meet its ultimate objectives.”

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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