June 2015

Monthly Archives

  • Oracle Wants to Battle AWS on Price


    The price of cloud services has dipped in recent years, thanks in large part to increased competition among the big providers. That competition might get even fiercer if Oracle has its way.

    Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced this week that his company will begin competing with Amazon.com on price, according to Reuters. That’s a pretty bold proposition, as Amazon Web Services (AWS) has continually snipped prices over the past few years, but Oracle has precious little choice: sales of the company’s legacy database software licenses are down, as more businesses turn to the cloud to support backend infrastructure.

    AWS is widely viewed as the competitor to beat in the cloud-storage space, its services more widely used than similar offerings from Microsoft and Google. That hasn’t stopped other potential rivals, notably China’s Alibaba, from eying an increased market presence. If Oracle offers more commercial alternatives to AWS services, it could drive the price of cloud services—already dipping at a fairly rapid clip—even lower.

    For those who need cloud services, that’s a good thing; pennies spent on compute capacity can just as easily go to salary and other expenses. A more diverse marketplace for cloud computing and storage can also serve a greater variety of customers. But for the cloud providers themselves, this steady erosion in margins may eventually force a few of them—especially smaller competitors—out of the business entirely.

    The post Oracle Wants to Battle AWS on Price appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday voted 6-3 against the plaintiffs in the case of King v. Burwell. The ruling means more than 6 million residents in the 34 states with federal insurance exchanges can keep their tax subsidies for health coverage.

    Read more at Healthcare Finance, and also check back later today for more on this story.

    Policy and Legislation

  • Cloud Architects: More Popular Than Ever


    “Cloud architect” isn’t exactly a new role within most companies, but that hasn’t slackened employer interest in hiring for the position.

    According to Dice’s data, the number of job postings for cloud architects has more than doubled over the past two years. While it hasn’t been a steady climb—in mid-2014 and early 2015, the number of postings dipped before regaining momentum—the overall trend is clear.

    It’s easy to see why there’s so much employer interest in hiring cloud architects. The past few years have seen more and more companies shifting from on-premises datacenters and servers to cloud-based services, generating a need for tech pros who can effectively deploy and maintain next-generation architecture.

    Firms that have embraced a hybrid approach—combining on-premises servers and datacenters with the cloud—can face incredible complexity in ensuring that everything runs smoothly, which is where the cloud architect comes in.

    Tech pros who want to get into cloud architecting need to not only know the latest cloud (and hybridized) platforms, but also the software that will make their jobs easier. For example, usage of configuration-management tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and SaltStack are on the rise, as pros look for ways to automate system configuration and software deployment.

    Cloud architects also need good soft skills in order to talk and negotiate with stakeholders throughout an organization. Because cloud deployments touch so many points within your average company, an architect ends up interacting with quite a few people. There’s also a proactive element here: By working with others to tailor a company’s internal processes and culture to the cloud, the architect’s job becomes much more streamlined (although not necessarily easier, given the complexities involved in the role).

    The post Cloud Architects: More Popular Than Ever appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • What exactly is ‘population health,’ anyway?

    As anyone who either attended HIMSS15 or followed the ensuing conversation can attest, population health is currently all the rage. While reporting from the show floor, in fact, it seemed just about every vendor, from all walks of life, was trumpeting "population health" in one form or another.

    What has become eminently clear is that defining population health depends on whom you ask.

    Population Health

    read more

  • Cloud computing may help SMBs transition to modern infrastructure

    Small and medium-sized businesses currently have a lot on their plates. Some are concerned their infrastructures are not secure enough to combat cybersecurity attacks or not modern enough to sustain success. Cloud computing could be one way for SMBs in the United States to address these potential shortcomings.

    CompTIA polled 500 U.S. SMBs and discovered 42 percent cited security as one area in which they must improve. In addition to protecting critical data, SMBs are also eager to use this content to their advantage. The survey found 42 percent of participants want to improve how they accumulate and maintain information.

    "Small businesses are not immune to attacks simply because their data sets are smaller," said CompTIA Technology Analysis Director Seth Robinson. "Cyberattacks stem from a variety of motivations. Attacks of the smallest firms, where defenses are often weak, occur just as often as attacks on larger companies."

    For SMBs to safeguard data and use it in an advantageous fashion, companies will require some upgrades to their core systems. Nearly 40 percent of SMBs admitted to CompTIA their firms must modernize their IT environments. Before the advent of cloud computing, accomplishing this feat may been far more difficult. CompTIA explained, however, businesses can procure affordable cloud solutions to achieve functionality even large enterprises enjoy.

    Cloud offers world of benefits to SMBs​
    Cloud computing is affordable due to its flexible pricing model. SMBs that have purchased on-site hardware may have had to allocate upfront capital investments for the systems, paying flat rates for solutions that could never be used to full capacity. The cloud, on the other hand, is scalable, so firms no longer have to worry about wasting resources during low-traffic periods or not having enough computing power to satisfy peak workloads. All of these updates occur on the server side of the cloud hosting provider.

    In addition to offering subscription packages that can be monthly or longer, SMBs can procure cloud applications through other means. Some vendors include pay-as-you-go models, so clients are only charged for the resources they consume. This service model is ideal for companies that experience fluctuating traffic periods, such as retailers, which are flooded with activity during peak shopping ​seasons and special promotions.

    Companies interested in flexible environments can also make employee productivity even more widespread with cloud computing. Staff members, regardless of location, can use Internet-connected devices to access cloud suites to view the data needed to perform their jobs.

    SMBs are a driving force behind cloud market
    As more SMBs realize their IT infrastructures depend heavily on solutions such as cloud computing, the market for hosted services will undoubtedly increase at a healthy pace. A TechNavio report suggested the global SMB cloud industry will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 20.2 percent between 2014 and 2019.

    The research firm noted SMBs are implementing cloud environments to reduce operating costs and capital investments.

    Despite all of the advantages associated with cloud computing, there are ways that SMBs can experience hiccups with their deployments. The sheer number of different vendors available, as well as the various models, makes every decision critical to achieve efficient implementations.

    Technavio indicated SMBs do not always need the most robust cloud suites. However, they still require personalized suites that account for their unique brands and respective markets.

    Hybrid clouds in particular may support SMBs' specialized demands. Faisal Ghaus, vice president of Technavio, noted vendors are already creating hybrid environments that deliver control over critical corporate assets.

    SMBs eager to achieve successful cloud deployments should seek third-party vendors that take advantage of cloud readiness tools. Service providers with these solutions can determine how customers' critical infrastructure – networks and servers – perform in cloud environments prior to launching suites, so businesses can make the most informed decisions pertaining to products available on behalf of their clients.

    The post Cloud computing may help SMBs transition to modern infrastructure appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • What goes wrong when medical records are transferred

    What goes wrong with transferring

    The massive data breaches that struck CareFirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Anthem and Premera over the past year have sounded an alarm among healthcare IT. And with hackers eager to steal valuable patient data, it’s time the healthcare sector act more aggressively to secure private data.

    Consider that, according to research from Gartner, close to 40 million healthcare records have been breached to date. That number, Gartner’s research suggests, is a conservative estimate because it takes into account only breaches of at least 500 individuals at a time.

    Electronic Health Records

    What goes wrong when medical records are transferred

    Securing patient data starts with encryption, but equally important is the use of strong identity authentication. Authentication guarantees that the sender and recipient of healthcare data are, in fact, who they claim to be.

    Healthcare IT News


    read more

  • Should You Pursue a Tech Job Outside of Tech?


    Ask most tech professionals, and they’ll tell you that working for a big tech company is preferable to taking a tech-related job within some other industry. The perception is that tech companies are especially innovative, and pay very well. While that might be true (at least with some tech companies), a tech pro looking for a job should expand his or her search to industries far beyond tech; software engineers, application programmers, data analysts, and project managers have a vital role to play at any company.

    Making a Decision

    Jeff Remis, branch manager of an IT practice at staffing-services firm Addison Group, suggested that the decision to work at a technology company, as opposed to a technology department in a different industry, ultimately comes down to preference.

    Programmers and database analysts can be found in both [tech- and non-tech companies],” he said, “so the decision of which one to work for comes down to work-life balance and management-style preferences.”

    Tech companies have a reputation for long hours and an ultracompetitive atmosphere, which can dissuade some potential employees who want to maintain that good work-life balance. But no two organizations are the same: You can find lucrative paychecks and punishing hours in the financial-services industry, for example, and challenging technology issues in pretty much any sector that deals in large amounts of data. In recent years, some tech companies have also embraced reasonable hours and flexible benefits as competitive differentiators, opening themselves to candidates who seek more balance.

    Selecting the Best

    When you work for a technology company, you’re developing software or hardware that helps people do their jobs in other industries; technology is the focal point of all employee efforts. When you work in the technology department of another industry, you’re usually modifying or maintaining the hardware and software that helps your colleagues do their jobs; technology is seen as a means to an end.

    Those differing missions and viewpoints can significantly impact your working environment. Whether applying for a job in a tech or non-tech industry, advised Sean McLoughlin, tech practice director for executive search firm HireMinds, it’s smart to ask which technologies are in use, and how often they’re updated: “Ask about the team in place and what they do day-to-day, and try to meet them if you can.”

    Outside of the tech world, he added, focus your job-hunting efforts on companies that see their technology department as a resource, rather than a cost center: “They’ll take the time and invest in their people.”

    At companies outside the tech sector, tech pros are expected to act as a bridge between the technology department and the operational side of things. Consequently, you must be good at translating and breaking down difficult ideas to laypersons, as well as justifying any outlay on key technology.

    For job candidates, it’s smart to see which employers prioritize tech investment. Some of the world’s largest companies outside of the tech industry are also the largest IT spenders. According to research firm IDC, Wal-Mart was the largest IT spender worldwide in 2014. Bank of America placed second, followed by Citigroup, AT&T, and JPMorgan Chase.

    Follow the Money

    With the economy on more solid footing than it’s been in years, the competition for talent is heating up. Many of the larger companies outside of the tech world are vying for the same professionals as tech companies, and they’re paying more in order to compete. But with some groups of tech pros, that might not be enough.

    According to Meredith Whalen, a senior vice president at IDC, “attracting Millennials” has become a harder task for non-tech firms. Millennials want to work for innovative employers, and sometimes perceive large companies outside the tech world as terminally behind the times. That could open up opportunities for older workers who have the necessary tech skills, and are willing to cast a wider net when it comes to prospective employers.

    What Hiring Managers Think

    Lest you think that hiring managers at tech companies will look askance at your experience outside of a tech company, think again: The types of firms on your resume matter less than the actual skills and experience you earned in those previous positions.

    Whatever employer they target, Remis noted, job candidates should focus on highlighting relevant experience, especially if they lack in industry-specific work: “It’s less about who you’ve worked for, as much as who can produce results. For example, there are many transferable skills, like HTML5 and C#, that can ensure an IT candidate is best positioned to shift between roles, companies, or industries.”

    The post Should You Pursue a Tech Job Outside of Tech? appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • Alabama passes joint resolution to delay ICD-10

    State senators in Alabama passed a joint resolution calling on Congress to hold off on ICD-10.

    “We hereby urge Congress to delay the implementation of ICD-10 and create an impartial committee to study the problems with implementation and develop recommendations to address the many unintended consequences that have not been adequately evaluated,” according to Senate Joint Resolution 279.

    What does this actually mean?

    ICD-10 & Coding

    read more

  • CIO Resume Makeover: How to add flavor to a bland resume

    Plain vanilla’s fine if you’re talking about ice cream, but it doesn’t belong anywhere on a resume. Scott Kressner had a lot going for him — solid resume formatting, a great mix of experience and technical knowledge, as well a lengthy stint at RUSH Enterprises during which he steadily rose through the ranks. But his […]

  • Mission Health Named a Top 15 Health System in the Nation

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 20, 2015) – For an unprecedented fourth consecutive year, Mission Health has been named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics. The Truven Health study identifies the nation’s 15 best health systems and is the only study that aggregates both individual hospital and health system-level performance to […]