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Tech trends: ICT in the UK today

The personal touch

Buying cycles are getting longer, but still people like to meet face-to-face, reveals the B2B Buyer Experience Report from Showpad. This states that while 53% of B2B buyers say their buying cycle is getting longer, 70% still demand interaction with salespeople. More than one third (38%) say they prefer to interact with a salesperson than gather information on their own and more than half say they rely on salespeople for additional information, with 54% calling them and 56% emailing them to find answers to questions. Face-to-face communications are still highly valued, with 40% of B2B buyers favouring face-to-face visits and 38% opting for on-site demos from salespeople. The content buyers find most helpful are technical specs (54%), case studies (49%), personalised content (39%) and ROI calculators (38%).

IT outages avoidable

More than half (53%) of IT outages and brownouts experienced by UK businesses – and 97% have experienced them – are avoidable, claims LogicMonitor, provider of a SaaS-based performance monitoring platform for enterprise IT and IT service providers. According to its new report, IT Outage Impact Study 2019, the most common causes of disruptive downtime are network failure, software malfunction, usage spikes/surges, third party provider outages, human error and configuration error. LogicMonitor suggests that many of these incidents could be avoided by identifying when critical hardware or software performance is trending steadily downwards or when usage is trending towards a danger level (e.g. when there is more traffic than the network can efficiently handle or when a primary storage share is running out of space).

Manchester top for IT

Manchester is the best city in the UK for IT jobs, reveals analysis by IT trade association CompTIA. Its inaugural Tech Town Index ranks 200 UK cities on a number of factors such as availability of IT jobs, opportunities for career progression, salaries and cost of living. Manchester emerges as the best place in the UK for IT pros, just ahead of Bristol and Leeds. They are followed (in order) by Birmingham, London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Bath, Basingstoke and Reading.

Small business accounting platform Xero has chosen Manchester as the location for its third UK office, partly on the strength of its tech talentpool. Co-founder and Managing Director Gary Turner said: “Manchester is the perfect fit for us. It has a vibrant tech scene buzzing with entrepreneurs, academic strength, as well as strong transport links. The city gives us a great opportunity to attract the best talent.”

Flaws to manual

Ivanti has produced a new report highlighting the productivity and security benefits of automation within employee onboarding/offboarding. Its survey of 400 IT professionals found that currently 85% of new employees don’t have all the resources they need to be productive on day one, with 27% of IT professionals saying it can take a week or more to give them everything they need to do their job. The report also highlights the security weaknesses of predominantly manual processes, with 52% of IT professionals claiming to know someone who still has access to a former employer’s applications and data. One in four (26%) says it can take more than a week to fully deprovision an employee.

What a waste

Businesses are wasting £8.8 million a year on unused cloud services, equating to over £24,000 a day, claims IT services provider Insight. A survey of 1,000 European enterprises for the 2019 European Insight Intelligent Technology Index reveals that businesses in Europe are spending £29.48 million on cloud services, 30% of which they never use.

Data breaches a valuable learning experience

When next recruiting a cyber security leader, choose one who has suffered (and survived) a data breach, advises Dr Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London. A survey of 3,000 cyber security leaders for his High Alert study commissioned by Symantec suggests that experience of a breach reduces security leaders’ future workplace stress levels and makes it more likely that they will share their knowledge with peers. He found that found security professionals who have survived an avoidable breach are 24% less likely to report feeling ‘burnt out’; 20% less likely to feel indifferent about their work; 15% less likely to feel personally responsible for an incident that could have been avoided; 14% less likely to feel ‘set up for failure’; 14% more likely to share their learning experiences; and 14% less likely to think about quitting their job. Darren Thomson, CTO of Symantec EMEA, said: “My advice to CEOs is to see a cyber professional with a breach on their CV as a strength, rather than a weakness. Clearly, it’s an incredible learning experience, but the positive impact on a candidate’s character is just as valuable – they’re less emotionally charged, better at dealing with pressure and more likely to mentor others.”

What’s holding you back?

More than four out of five businesses (85%) believe an inability to migrate legacy apps to the cloud is impacting their business negatively, reveals new research from Enterprise Performance Partner CSI. Other obstacles on businesses’ transformation journeys include an inability to update legacy infrastructure (55%), an overburdened network (41%), security issues (36%) and red tape around data movement (27%).

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