Archive for December, 2012

IBM to provide free training courses to help bridge skills gap

December 30th, 2012

In order to narrow the skills gap, IBM will be offering training resources on IT security, big data, analytics, commerce and mobile computing.

In one example, IBM is offering no-charge access to security software, that will enable teachers to show students test applications for bugs and checking network and virtualised servers for vulnerabilities.

IBM’s move comes as it unveiled its global 2012 Tech Trends Report, which found that only one in 10 businesses have the skills needed to apply advanced technologies such as business analytics, mobile computing, cloud computing and social business.

IBM has also unveiled an online resource (called the Knowledge Exchange) for educators around the world to share and collaborate on ideas and best practices.

IT budgets to rise in 2013

December 17th, 2012

CIOs across Europe are predicting their IT budgets will increase by an average of 2% in 2013, despite the downturn. But investment on capital projects will slow, as operational spending assumes higher proportion of the IT budget, research by business advisory firm reveals.

CIOs will use 2013 to invest in high-return projects to improve employee productivity, collaboration and mobility, the survey of 180 companies with combined IT budgets of $52 billion shows. IT departments are moving away from traditional process automation projects towards more strategic business intelligence, collaboration and customer-facing technologies,.

54% of IT organisations plan to increase their spending on public cloud services in 2013 in a drive to make the IT department more flexible and efficient. Software-as-a-service will account for the greatest spending, followed by infrastructure-as-a-service. Platform-as-a-service is a small, but increasing part of companies’ cloud portfolio.

Some 75% of IT organisations plan to invest in developing mobile applications next year, reflecting the growing interest in companies giving their employees access to work-based systems on the move.

Despite the efforts by CIOs to free-up cash for innovation, mandatory spending and maintenance work still makes up most of the IT budget. On average, more than two thirds of IT spending is allocated to maintenance and mandatory spending. CIOs will need to work hard to find to prioritise the demands of their business next year, given the relatively modest rise in spending.

Microsoft to drop Windows Live Messenger for Skype

December 7th, 2012

Microsoft has announced that it intends to “retire” its instant message chat tool Windows Live Messenger in favour of Skype’s messaging tool. The announcement comes just 18 months after Microsoft announced plans to acquire internet telephony firm Skype in a $8.5bn deal.

Microsoft said Windows Live Messenger (WLM) is to be turned off by March 2013 worldwide, with the exception of China, where no termination date has been announced so far. The transition to Skype has already begun with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows, which allows users to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account.

Formerly known as MSN Messenger, WLM was launched in 1999, with several enhancements taking place since then, including photo delivery, voice and video calls, and games. The move reflects the firm’s determination to focus its efforts on Skype, which replicates much of the functionality of WLM.

Analysts said when a company has competing products that can result in cannibalisation it is often better to focus on a single one.

Skype’s top-up services also offer the chance for Microsoft to generate revenue from its users and provides a more appropriate communications platform for TVs or the Xbox gaming console than WLM.

Microsoft is offering a tool to migrate WLM messenger contacts over to Skype to limit the number of users switching to rival platforms such as Google Talk by easing the transition.