January 2015

Monthly Archives

  • IT jobs outlook: High demand, higher salaries

    With the hot job market for technology professionals, it is not surprising that salaries are up, too – though only a bit. Technology jobs site Dice.com reported late last week that technology pay was up again last year, with IT professionals earning an average annual salary of $89,450, an increase of 2 percent over 2013. More […]

  • The Highest-Paying States for Tech Pros


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    The average technology professional made $89,450 in 2014, according to the latest Dice salary survey. That’s an increase of 2 percent over 2013, and yet another sign of the technology industry’s robust health.

    When it comes to salaries, however, not all states and cities are created equal. Those tech pros living and working in Silicon Valley are the highest-paid in the country, with an average annual salary of $112,610—but that salary grew only 4 percent year-over-year, lagging behind cities such as Portland (up 9 percent year-over-year, to $91,556) and Seattle (up 5 percent, to $99,423).

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    As you click around on the map above, note how salary growth is particularly strong in parts of the West, the Northeast, and the South, while remaining stagnant (and even regressing) in some middle states. If anything, the map reinforces what many tech pros have known for years: that more cities and regions are becoming hubs of innovation. Expect that growth to likely continue through 2015.

    Dice Salary Survey Methodology

    The 2014 Dice Salary Survey was administered online, with 23,470 employed technology professionals responding between September 29 and November 26, 2014. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice site and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed. The Dice Salary Survey was adjusted for inflation in 2014: Technology professionals earning salaries of $250,000 and above were not automatically eliminated from the survey if they met other criteria.

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  • Landing a Healthcare IT Job at J2 Interactive

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    J2 Interactive is an award-winning software development and IT consulting firm specializing in customized solutions for hospitals, labs, research institutions and health-information exchanges.

    Headquartered in Charlestown, Mass., and with an office in Windsor, U.K., most of the company’s employees telecommute. As a result, the company recruits nationwide (it currently boasts 75 staffers, 72 of whom work in the IT space).

    Click here to find healthcare IT jobs.

    Lou LaRocca, president and chief executive officer, said the company is always looking for seasoned healthcare IT consultants with expertise in systems integration, application development, and especially health-information exchange.

    “We do most of our work on the InterSystems technology platform (Caché, Ensemble, and HealthShare),” he said. “So experience with those technologies is a huge plus. However, any candidate with a strong background in healthcare integration and health information exchange can be successful here.”

    How to Interpret Its Job Postings and Application Process

    If you don’t understand the buzzwords associated with healthcare IT, e.g., HL7, CCD, IHE, HIE, etc., do not apply.

    Also, J2 Interactive strongly discourages people from calling to ask if their resume has been received. “It’s a waste of time,” opined LaRocca “and it comes across as desperate. Not coincidentally, the best candidates simply don’t do it.”

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    The Interview Process

    LaRocca noted that the company’s interview process is “laid back.” While managers try to gauge the candidate’s abilities and experience (which they’ll have an idea about, thanks to a resume and cover letter), they’re also trying to get a sense of the person. “We figure that the first impression you make on a client is going to be pretty similar to the first impression you’re making on the interview” he said. “So just show up and be yourself.”

    What Makes a Good Fit?

    J2 Interactive employees are a team of telecommuters who put their customers first. It’s critical that candidates are able to effectively interact online or via phone, with both fellow team members and customers.

    LaRocca said self-motivated, fast learners who can climb learning curves aggressively and won’t need their hands held while doing so will fit in. “The work is fast paced and the projects are challenging,” he said, “and we insist on maintaining a work environment free of political nonsense and other barriers to getting the job done for our clients.”

    Experienced telecommuters will be able to get on track rapidly; but for those who find this style of work new, success often hinges on having a proper home office environment with limited distractions. If you can’t live without daily in-person interaction with your colleagues, you’ll struggle mightily.

    Finally, talented people who show they are ready to take on responsibility of any kind—whether it’s technical, project leadership, or client relationship management—can create their own significant, professional opportunity. Per LaRocca, management is not afraid to let people step up and take charge when they prove they’re able.

    See more Landing@ stories here.

    Advice for Experienced Professionals

    LaRocca said that the best way for seasoned pros to impress is with a strong resume and cover letter. “Take the time to write something, don’t just throw a resume over the wall,” he stressed. ”We routinely disqualify candidates when their resumes are poorly written, or formatted, or when it’s clear they aren’t putting much effort into their written communications.”

    Advice for New Graduates

    Unfortunately, the company doesn’t hire new graduates. Qualified candidates must be able to come in and be productive on day one. New grads won’t have the experience required for any open positions and, just as important, the nature of telecommuting isn’t conducive to the kind of structure necessary to teach people the ins and outs of this industry.

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    The post Landing a Healthcare IT Job at J2 Interactive appeared first on Dice News.

  • Scripting Languages You May Not Know

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    Scripting languages are used in everything from games and Web pages to operating-system shells and general applications, as well as standalone scripts. They allow the harried developer to do his or her job without engaging in the full compile-test-edit lifecycle; with a script, it’s just edit-and-run.

    Many of these scripting languages are common and open to modification. In a gaming environment such as Skyrim, the developers relied on a scripting language called Papyrus; Microsoft Office depends on Visual Basic for Applications, a special version of Visual Basic used to extend Word, Excel, and Outlook. But the most famous scripting language is probably JavaScript, now standardized as ECMAScript, which allows scripting in browsers.

    For more programming jobs, click here.

    While you may very well know Perl, Python, VBA, JavaScript, and others, here are five other scripting languages with which you may be unfamiliar. Each is the work (at least initially) of just one developer, and all are worth a look for anyone interested in building software.

    Wren

    Wren is a class-based concurrent open-source scripting language written in about 5,000 lines of C by ex-games programmer Bob Nystrom, author of the Games Programming Pattern book. Wren is intended to improve on the Lua scripting language via its class-based architecture. It’s small and fast and has a simple C API with less than ten function calls (it also requires a C99 compiler). Wren’s scripting language is compiled to bytecode and run by the Wren virtual machine; Bob’s benchmarks suggest it is quite a nippy beast.

    class Wren {

    flyTo(city) {

    IO.print(“Flying to “, city)

    }

    }

    Candle

    CandleScript is another single-developer scripting language. Developed by Henry Luo, Candle was built to solve issues with processing any hierarchical data. It treats markup data as a built-in data type and provides processing capabilities.

    Candle has its own markup based on XML but with a cleaner data model; it supports not only Candle Markup but XML, XHTML, HTML, MIME messages, JSON and CSV. If you are into XSLT, XQuery, and the like, then this is one to check out.

    Another thing to note: Candle goes beyond functional programming and includes procedural programming, so that it can provide flow control statements. Expressions are always functional.

    <?csp1.0?>

    function main() {

    let var = 123;

    “Outer var: ” {var} <br/>

    <div>

    let var = 345;

    “Inner var: ” {var} <br/>

    </div>

    }

    Fancy

    Fancy is a general purpose, dynamic, object-oriented programming language heavily inspired by Ruby, Smalltalk and Erlang that runs on the Rubinius VM. Developed by Christopher Bertels, it is based on a message-sending system between objects; anyone familiar with Objective-C or Smalltalk should feel at ease with it. In an unusual twist for a Ruby-like language, there is built-in support for tuples. Here’s an example that calculates the 15th Fibonacci number:

    class Fixnum {

    def fib {

    match self {

    case 0 -> 0

    case 1 -> 1

    case _ -> self – 1 fib + (self – 2 fib)

    }

    }

    }

    15 times: |x| {

    x fib println

    }

    Fancy is targeted at the Rubinius’s bytecode VM, which can use all of the CPU cores to run Ruby code fast. Rubinus runs on Mac OS X and many flavors of Unix/Linux, with Windows support coming soon.

    Pikt

    Developed by Robert Osterlund, Pikt (short for Problem Informant/Killer Tool) is software for the monitoring and configuration management of Unix and Linux systems. A PIKT script looks more like a make file rather than a programming language; each script has one or more sections (init, begin, rule, end), and then individual lines are run. Below is a script that reports changes in crontab:

    crontab_change(u)

    init

    status =piktstatus

    level =piktlevel

    task “Report changes in (u) crontabs”

    input proc “if [ -e =hstdir/log/(u).crontab.bak ];

    then =diff =hstdir/log/(u).crontab.bak =hstdir/log/(u).crontab

    else =cat =hstdir/log/(u).crontab 2>/dev/null; fi”

    begin

    doexec wait “=crontab -u (u) -l > =hstdir/log/(u).crontab”

    rule

    output mail $inlin

    end

    doexec wait “=mv =hstdir/log/(u).crontab =hstdir/log/(u).crontab.bak”

    If you’re a system admin, Pikt is handy for reporting and fixing problems, scanning log files on single or networked systems, system configuration and more. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but that’s true of any powerful system. As with all of the scripting languages described here, it’s open source.

    PPL

    Following a name change from Obix, PPL is a cross-platform language that targets JVM, generating .jar or .class files. Created by developer Christian Neumanns to improve on Java with 100 percent null safety and reliability, the compiler checks for potential null pointer errors and flags them as a compile error. Other reliability features include Design by Contract, integrated unit testing, immutable objects by default, static typing and fail fast, which means detecting as many errors as possible at compile time. It plays nicely with Java, and scripts can include Java source code within them.

    The example below shows a simple input/output and includes integrated unit testing:

    command double_string

    in string type:string end

    out result type:string end

    script

    o_result = i_string & i_string   // simply return twice the input string

    end

    test                                // start of test script

    script

    test “a”                      // call co_double_string with i_string = “a”

    verify v_result =v “aa”       // verify result is “aa”

    test “foo”

    verify result =v “foofoo”

    end

    end

    end

    end

    Although the language is a work in progress, the compiler, development environment and libraries are all PPL, so it has a fair degree of maturity and stability. Overall development status is definitely at alpha, but a beta isn’t likely too far off. You can use PPL to write small executable scripts, command line utilities and simple/complex Web applications using Java JSP/Servlet technology or PPL’s PAIOM (Practical Application Input/Output Manager), which provides application interface layers such as rich user interfaces for the Web, command line utilities and application-to-application communication.

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    The post Scripting Languages You May Not Know appeared first on Dice News.

  • The Two Faces of Modern IT Environments

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    As IT has evolved in recent years, two distinct types of application environments have emerged that require different mindsets to manage.

    The first class of applications, known as systems of record, consists mainly of traditional IT deployments involving, for example, finance and ERP applications that have, up unto now, traditionally run on-premise. The second class of those applications, known as systems of engagement, are generally among the first applications an organization deploys in the cloud.

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    When it comes to anything relating to a systems or record application, all the traditional attributes of IT apply. The two biggest concerns that organizations have when it comes to deploying systems of record, which are usually run by the internal IT department, are reliability and security.

    But when it comes to systems of engagement, the two most prized attributes are agility and flexibility. More often than not, a system of engagement is deployed by a line-of-business unit trying to achieve a specific task. While security and reliability are still significant attributes of the system, most line of business units are looking for IT people who are much less risk-adverse than their counterparts working inside the internal IT organization.

    Naturally, these two distinct types of IT personalities create something of a dichotomy among IT people working not only inside an organization, but also among the job applicants who make it to the final interview. In effect, there is now what Gartner refers to as a bimodal approach to managing IT inside most large organizations, with different types of IT personalities to manage. As more systems or record begin to find their way into the cloud, that dichotomy continues to persist.

    Steve Hamilton, a managing director for KPMG Advisory Services, notes that despite the often conservative nature of the IT people running systems of records, those applications are being pushed into the cloud. “A lot of businesses feel they simply can achieve anything truly transformational unless those applications are in the cloud,” he said. “The internal IT department may not always agree, but it takes too long to deploy new applications on premise.”

    Shawn Price, a senior vice president at Oracle, suggests that one of the primary drivers of that shift is the fact that internal IT organizations are now moving to get their arms around all the shadow IT services that have grown up in the cloud over the years. “We’re seeing a rapid movement around the formalization of shadow IT services in the enterprise,” he said. “The goal is to create a common data model across applications that share a common user interface.”

    It will take some time for that formalization to occur, which means that, at least for the foreseeable future, there will continue to be a dichotomy in terms of how IT applications are managed. In fact, that dichotomy is the primary reason that so many organizations are developing hybrid cloud computing strategies.

    “IT needs to bring all the key data repositories together,” said Judith Hurwitz, principal for Hurwitz & Associates, an IT consulting firm. “But there are a lot of political ramifications associated with doing that.”

    It’s not even clear that line-of-business units will be willing to give up control over systems of engagement. Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, a research firm focused on retail industry trends, notes that marketing organizations with budgets that far exceed the funds controlled by most internal IT now routinely deploy their own applications. “Most IT budgets are 1.5 percent of revenues,” he said. “That’s a rounding error inside most marketing budgets.”

    But at some point in the distant future, these distinct approaches to managing IT have to converge. “Organizations have been forced to make a choice between reliability and agility,” said Chris O’Malley, CEO of Compuware, a provider of software for IBM mainframe environments that run some of the largest systems of record in IT. “Obviously, that has to come together.”

    In the meantime, IT job applicants would do well to take into account the type of IT environment that best suits their personality before applying for their next job.

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  • In Silicon Valley, Some Giants Are Hiring

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    What’s New This Quarter

    In Silicon Valley, everyone wants to be associated with the Next Big Thing. “In the Bay Area, I’m finding that SAAS and e-commerce based companies seem to be defining the current hiring status quo for other local companies and industries,” said Alyssa Seidman, Recruiting Director for recruiting firm Randstad Technologies. “They tend to have the most progressive environments and the ability to attract and afford the best talent.” That means companies in other industries, such as financial services and healthcare, need to get more creative if they want to compete for talent.

    And some financial-services companies are very much on the hunt for tech pros. Bank of New York Mellon has opened a technology lab in Palo Alto to work on tech projects including Digital Pulse, the bank’s effort to harness the Big Data it gathers. BNY Mellon hired 20 people by the end of 2014 and will increase recruitment in 2015.

    For more Silicon Valley jobs, click here.

    On the tech-company side of things, hiring in the Valley is at a high for some firms. Google never has a problem attracting talent. The search-engine giant continues on a hiring-and-building tear, spending $585 million to buy six office buildings at Pacific Shores Center in Redwood City. It also plans to occupy all of Moffett Place, a six-tower development in Sunnyvale. Google had 55,030 full-time employees at the beginning of the fourth quarter, up almost 19 percent from a year earlier; it gets three million job applications a year and hires around 7,000. With only one in 428 applicants ending up with a job, Google is far choosier than any Ivy League University.

    Dell is on a similar path, opening up its first Internet of Things Lab, a collaborative facility for hardware and software developers to build, test, and release connected products. Located at the company’s Santa Clara office, the lab should help Dell learn more about the industry and help develop standards around it.

    Meanwhile, three Silicon Valley giants have been undergoing huge transformations in the past few months:

    • In October, HP announced it will separate into two new publicly traded Fortune 50 companies: one comprising HP’s enterprise technology infrastructure, software and services businesses (called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise), and one that will comprise HP’s personal systems and printing businesses (HP Inc). The long-rumored announcement came as HP entered the fourth year of its five-year turnaround plan. While the company said it had “inspired its workforce and management teams” and created new companies “positioned to accelerate performance, drive sustained growth, and demonstrate clear industry leadership in key areas,” what was left unsaid was the final impact on headcount.
    • eBay is also changing, with plans to eliminate thousands of jobs early this year as it preps to spin off its PayPal unit. The cuts are expected to affect workers in eBay’s core marketplace division. One rumor has eBay has trimming at least 3,000 jobs. The end result could be to make the new standalone eBay a potentially attractive takeover target.
    • IBM is taking the divestment route, selling is global commercial semiconductor technology unit for $1.5 billion to Santa Clara-based Globalfoundries Inc. IBM has about 4,000 employees in Silicon Valley, and their futures are uncertain.

    Luckily, startups continue to do well. October was the hottest month in two years for angel, seed, and Series A funding of startups, according to a report from research firm CB Insights. More than $1.2 billion was invested in October, up 56 percent from October 2013. Silicon Valley accounted for about a third of the deals and more than half the dollars invested nationwide in the month, with eight of the top 10 fundings all happening in the Valley.

    Skills in Demand

    “Over the past six months, I’ve noticed an increase in demand for individuals that have UI development experience,” Randstad’s Seidman said. “Specifically, candidates that have experience with newer front end technologies like Node.JS, Angular.JS, and Python are in the highest demand. They’re more efficient and easier-to-scale than older technologies.”

    “The Bay Area is experiencing intense IT hiring due to continued software platform upgrades, virtualization projects, and mobile initiatives,” added Megan Slabinski, Bay Area district president of IT recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. “We continue to see a war for talent for in-demand roles including front end developers, data analysts, system administrators, and system architects.”

    According to IT recruiting firm Mondo’s 2014-2015 Salary Guide, the top three skills currently in demand in the Bay Area are Application and Software Development, E-commerce, and Database Administration.

    Sixty-one percent of Bay Area technology executives surveyed by Robert Half Technology said that both database management and desktop support are among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT departments. Network administration followed in third place. Also in demand: Network Architects, Cloud Engineers, MongoDB Experts, and Hadoop Experts.

    Salary Trends

    According to the 2014-2013 Dice Salary Survey, the average salary for a Silicon Valley-based IT professional is the nation’s highest at $108,603, up 7.2 percent in the previous year and 23.6 percent above the national average of $87,811.

    According to Mondo, Data Scientists; Oracle, Hadoop, and Neteeza developers; AWS consultants; and MySQL developers are currently seeing the largest salary jumps.

    Leading Industries

    • Information Technology
    • Technology Manufacturing
    • Software Development
    • Construction
    • Defense/Aerospace

    Local Employment and Research Resources

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  • Why Haven’t You Started Your Job Search?

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    The economy is improving and the unemployment rate in IT remains dramatically low—2.6 percent during 2014′s third quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Developers, engineers and security specialists are in high demand. For tech professionals, it would seem like an ideal time to look for a new job.

    So why do some hesitate?

    The reasons vary, recruiters suggest. Of course, some people are happy where they are; but others who’ve kept their skills current, worked on cutting-edge projects and had a real business impact will sometimes stay in place, foregoing the opportunity to increase their salary and experience. No matter how favorable conditions seem, they can never quite get themselves to send out their resume or even put out the word to their network.

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    In some cases, people trip themselves up in a quest for perfection, said Ben Hicks, a partner at search firm WinterWyman in Waltham, Mass. “Some people want everything perfect: the exact right company, location, pay, benefits, people on the team.” In other cases, they’re forever revising their resumes, believing that one more draft will get that document to some optimal point. In still others, they’re waiting for the perfect time to make a move—after their next bonus comes through, or as soon as their current project is completed, or…

    The risks of falling into such patterns are evident. The most obvious is you’ll remain at your current job, possibly long past the time when it would have been right to leave. And while the economy is gaining strength now, at some point fortunes will change and the candidate-driven job market will revert to one where employers have the advantage.

    This quasi-job search—where you’re perpetually thinking of moving, but not actively looking—can be distracting, Hicks points out. When people end up in a long, frustrating process, they can neglect things that are important in the here and now, such as their work, company and health.

    What to Do

    Does any of the above sound familiar? If you want to make a move but seem to be stalled in your efforts…

    • Take a step back. Sometimes you need to pause and take an honest, self-reflective look at your situation. If you’re convinced it’s time for a move, but your resume never seems quite right or no position looks like a good fit, ask yourself whether your expectations are realistic. Try to identify what parts of a job are the most important to you, and consider where you’d be comfortable compromising.
    • Think about your long-term goals. Are you clear about the type of position you’re looking for and the kind of company you’d like to join? For example, if your heart’s in the startup world and you’re only looking at jobs with brand-name companies, that could explain why nothing’s getting you excited. Be sure that you’re matching your job search to the career path you want to pursue.
    • Talk to someone. Maybe there’s a colleague with whom you can sit down, or a career coach, or a recruiter you like. Whoever it is, sometimes it helps to have a conversation about where you want your career to go, as well as your near-term goals. Hicks believes this is another way to help you identify areas where you’re comfortable compromising.

    Job searches don’t always have a clear start. “Most people don’t wake up one day and decide they’re going to look for a new position,” Hicks noted. “They dip a toe in the water.” As a result, many job seekers don’t think through their objectives and compromises—even though they need to do just that.

    As Hicks points out, sometimes having that conversation with yourself can lead to the realization that you shouldn’t change jobs: “Coming to the realization more quickly is better.” Doing so will save you from wasting time on a job search when you don’t really want to make a move.

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  • Cisco goes back to its roots with its cloud strategy

    Cisco has become synonymous with cloud computing over the years, especially for its Intercloud offering, which enables businesses to create highly flexible environments to support their companies. Network World’s Brandon Butler recently detailed how Cisco’s cloud approach has changed over the years.

    Butler explained the idea of Cisco standing toe to toe with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft in the cloud arena was not really a smart approach. Instead, the business has other ideas to differentiate itself in this expanding market.

    “We’re going back to our roots,” proclaimed Nick Earle, senior vice president of Worldwide Service Sales at Cisco, as quoted by Butler. “We’re going to provide connectivity to the clouds.”

    This approach led to Cisco releasing Intercloud in 2014. Butler noted the solution includes Intercloud Fabric – internal software – and application-centric infrastructure that automatically supplies resources based on specific workload demands. The suite enables businesses to migrate applications to and from different models, including public and private environments, as well as hypervisors.

    Security is undoubtedly one of the main concerns regarding any cloud implementation. Organizations want to be sure any data and applications housed in a cloud environment are protected, since they lack physical control over such resources. The Cisco Intercloud employs safeguards directly related to workloads, enabling traffic to be encrypted.

    Cisco investing heavily in Intercloud
    Cisco appears to be putting its money where its mouth is in terms of developing the Intercloud. In 2014, the company announced it will invest more than $1 billion in its cloud infrastructure through 2016, building “the world’s largest global Intercloud” with the help of its partners.

    Robert Lloyd, president of sales and development at Cisco, said customers and vendors are looking at Cisco to develop both an open and secure cloud suite that minimizes risk and creates value.

    “Together, we have the capability to enable a seamless world of many clouds in which our customers have the choice to enable the right, highly secure cloud for the right workload, while creating strategic advantages for rapid innovation, and ultimately, business growth,” Lloyd added.

    Cloud computing figures to play a critical role in the Internet-connected workplace. Cisco detailed this market will be worth $19 trillion in the next decade, prompting the vendor to create scalable Interclouds that deliver collaborative, mobile and video services.

    Firms relying heavily on cloud computing for competitive advantage
    In addition to boosting collaboration and efficiency, organizations are looking at cloud computing to deliver a competitive advantage of their rivals. If Cisco can work with its partners and other vendors to create scalable environments that support this desire, the Intercloud will likely become even more critical to the IT industry in the near future.

    A Netsuite-commissioned survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan found 81 percent of U.S. businesses have achieved a competitive advantage using cloud computing solutions.

    Lynda Stadtmueller, vice president of Frost & Sullivan’s cloud services program, said the U.S. tech industry is evolving at fast rate. Companies need tools to remain innovative during ever-changing economic conditions. This desire is not only to achieve a competitive advantage, but “survive.”

    With vendors such as Cisco throwing their weight around in the cloud computing industry, organizations have an opportunity to adopt one of the most innovative technologies going. Firms are expected to implement cloud environments at even faster rates than they are currently doing so, signaling that the service is here to stay.

    Organizations planning an implementation should use cloud readiness tools to select the best model for their unique businesses.

    The post Cisco goes back to its roots with its cloud strategy appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • Asheville North Carolina – #2 Best Startup City

    This week Popular Mechanics announced the 14 Best Startup Cities in America. Asheville ranked #2, scoring high for its thriving brewery startups, the Accelerating Appalachia accelerator, Venture Asheville and the Asheville Angels. The iconic magazine on popular technology is read by over 1.2 million people across the U.S. The article comments, “As you make your […]