Millennials and DevOps How to be Prepared

For millennials and grads who want to get a good understanding of the business point of view, as well as the tech perspective, a career in DevOps is a good place to start. The DevOps role serves as a sort of buffer between the developers and the end users, with responsibility for overseeing application deployments and providing support. Because of this position in the middle, the DevOps team gets an in-depth understanding of business requirements and the pressures the business operates under, as well as the challenges developers face in creating successful applications.

Get Tools Knowledge

Even if you have a technical degree such as Computer Science or Information Technology, classroom work most likely won't expose you to the tools typically used by Dev Ops teams to manage and automate the application release build, deployment, and monitoring processes. While experience with tools can be learned on the job, it's helpful to have experience or at least familiarity with tools such as Puppet, Chef, and Jenkins.

If you aren't able to get experience with these tools through school or a summer job, you can get familiar with them by installing free downloads onto your home computer. (Many have free trial periods or are open source). Assign yourself a small project, such as writing a program that uses some third-party libraries. Use the tools to automate building the application and running some test cases. Create a deployable package and write a script in a language such as Python to validate that the deployment was successful.

Build Interpersonal Skills

The DevOps team often has to arbitrate conflicts between business and technology demands to find a way to release the application that meets both sides' needs, so interpersonal and communication skills are key. Leadership roles in clubs are a good way to develop those skills.

Think About Your Career Path

Because of the depth of understanding the DevOps role provides, it offers a number of paths to develop your career. If you have strong programming skills, it's possible to move over to the development team, where your insight into the business can help insure the application meets unstated, as well as stated, business requirements.

It's also possible to move over to the business side, where your technical knowledge can help the business better understand how to leverage technology. Of course, you can always stay in DevOps and move up the leadership/management ladder, taking on additional responsibility and potentially overseeing all DevOps-related functions throughout the organization.

While you don't have to have your career planned out through your retirement in 40 years, having an idea of where you want your first DevOps job to lead you can help you make the right decision about which job you want to start with.

Published in Staffing News

Stay Ahead of the Curve The Importance of Continuing Education in IT

Today’s IT professionals have a wide range of educational levels, from bachelor’s or master’s degrees, to two-year associate or one-year certificate programs, to self-taught pros who may have obtained various certifications. But whether education is obtained in a classroom, through experience, or with a combination of methods, one thing holds true — in the IT industry, there’s always more you can learn.

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. For IT managers, continuing education is the key to staying on top of the industry, maintaining personal and professional development, and remaining relevant in an ever-shifting work environment. Here’s why every IT manager should strive for ongoing learning and keep up with the latest education available for your industry.

Keep your skills fresh

Most skills continue to improve with experience, but this is not always the case in IT. While real-world practice is typically the best way to strengthen basic skills, ongoing learning is required to stay up-to-date with more specialized skills. Database software tools, network management, and even operating systems are constantly evolving, and industry best practices change as the tools and systems advance.

Unfortunately, no amount of experience will help you sharpen a skill set you don’t already have — so continuing education is a requirement to learn new systems, tools, and features that can help you advance your career.

Refresher courses are also invaluable for ensuring that your credentials and certifications remain current, and that you’re informed about the latest developments in your areas of expertise.

Increase your professional value

The IT job market is tougher than ever. Even if you’re satisfied with your current position, there are any number of reasons you may find yourself looking for a new job—from downsizing or restructuring, to your organization closing its doors, or even a personal decision to seek a better career.

Continuing education is an investment in your value as an IT professional. By expanding your skills and knowledge base, while ensuring that your existing skill set remains current and up-to-date, you’ll be able to stand out among other professionals at your level. And if you re-enter the job market, you’ll be well-positioned to get hired quickly by the company of your choice.

Further your IT career

Hard work and technical knowledge are the building blocks of a successful IT career. But in order to move up the ranks of IT management, today’s pros must have more than technical skills. IT leaders are increasingly expected to not only have strong proficiency in the tech areas they work with, but also have excellent soft skills. Often, these non-technical skills are the deciding factor for who gets promoted to the next level.

Ongoing education and personal development can help you improve your soft skills and gain a more rounded skill set that’s best suited for senior leadership positions. Some of the soft skills IT managers need for success include:

  • Communication: The ability to communicate well with team members, peers, and the C-suite, and to explain complex technical terms in language that non-tech people can understand.
  • Presentation: Successful IT leaders are able to make compelling presentations that sway decision-makers, such as executives and board members, to gain support for IT initiatives within the company.
  • Talent management: Even in organizations where HR is responsible for recruiting, strong IT managers should understand the basics of attracting and retaining talent, and participate in the process where applicable.
  • Critical thinking and decision making: A great IT leader will be able to solve problems efficiently and make the right decisions quickly.

There are many beneficial soft skills for IT managers, and many training and educational programs designed to help leaders improve these skills and advance their careers. Continuing education is a necessity for any IT professional looking to remain relevant, viable, and on top of the game in today’s fast-paced technical landscape.

How to Make a Final Selection from a Pool of Qualified Candidates

You’ve scoured resumes and held interview after interview, and now you’re faced with a happy dilemma—choosing your new hire from several equally qualified candidates. While this is a problem most IT managers love to have, it can be challenging to make the final decision. You want the best possible hire, one who’ll make a long-term, productive employee and add the most value to your company.

And of course, you don’t want to second-guess your decision down the road.

If you’re struggling to choose between two or more candidates with excellent qualifications for the job, these tips will help you make that important final selection.

Take your time

Hiring in haste often leads to significant, or even disastrous, mistakes. While your company may be operating short-handed right now, it’s better to give yourself the time you need to make the best decision and hire an excellent employee who’s likely to deliver value for years. Otherwise, you risk hiring the wrong candidate—and if things don’t work out, you’ll have to start the hiring process all over again.

Consider cultural fit

With technical qualifications being equal, an important differentiator for the right candidate is cultural fit. Look for a candidate with soft skills and personal qualities that will balance out the team they’re being hired to, as well as the organization overall. Choose someone who holds values and ethics that align with the company, and who will get along well with other employees.

Identify unique skills

Review your top candidates’ backgrounds and ask yourself what kind of unique skills each of them would be able to bring to the company. For many organizations, one of the best deciding factors is finding a candidate who has demonstrated the ability to adapt their expertise to various environments. A sense of willingness to learn new skills or adopt new viewpoints is also a big plus.

Hold a final interview round for outside opinions

Ask your top candidates to come back for another interview—and this time, have the department manager or other team members sit in. This will give you a working idea of the chemistry between the candidates and the existing team, helping you determine the best cultural fit. It’s also an opportunity to ask further, more in-depth questions about the candidates’ specific skills and experiences in areas that are most important for the position.

Look for the little things

Did one candidate arrive for the interview in formal attire, while the rest were somewhat dressed down? Did any of your top choices send a handwritten thank-you note as a follow-up to the interview? Consider hiring a candidate who took things a step further than the rest—their attention to detail is a good indication that they’ll make a valuable employee.

Pick the passionate candidate

If you’re still struggling to make a final decision, passion may be your trump card. A candidate who’s passionate about the profession, and the specific position at your company they’re interviewing for, may be the best choice.

Consider personal passions as well as professional aspirations here, and look for places where the two align. Employees will be putting 40 or more hours a week into their jobs—so they should be doing something they enjoy, or their morale and productivity will suffer.

Published in Hiring Managers

 

How-to-Make-2015-a-More-Productive-Year

Looking for a job can be stressful and time-consuming, whether you’re unemployed or unhappily employed. But with the New Year approaching, it’s the perfect time to turn things around and make a fresh start. Your job search doesn’t have to consume your life — by working smarter, you can corral your job-seeking activities and be more productive with the time you spend.

As an IT candidate, these tips will help you make 2015 your most productive year, so you can land the job of your dreams.

Ready, set, organize

Like any other task, your job search will be smoother if you have an efficient, dedicated workspace. Set up an area that will provide you with minimal interruptions — because each time you have to stop what you’re doing, it takes time to refocus and get back into the task.

Decide on the system you’ll use for organizing tracking your job search progress, and have it ready to go in your workspace. There are many different ways to keep track, so choose whichever method you feel most comfortable with that you’re likely to stick to — whether it’s spreadsheets, index cards, a weekly planner, or a tracking app.

Create a daily and weekly plan

Job seeking involves a lot of activities, and many of them are repetitive. You need to network and monitor your presence online, search for jobs, research companies, update your resume and cover letter, apply to jobs, follow up on submissions, attend interviews, and follow up with those. Developing a plan that reminds you when to do each of these activities helps you save a lot of time — and prevents you from chasing your tail.

A sample daily and weekly plan might include:

  • Monday: Review available positions you can apply to
  • Tuesday, Thursday: Research companies you plan to apply, take notes to use in your custom resume and cover letter
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Follow up with one networking contact
  • Wednesday: Google yourself and weed out negative information, if needed
  • Friday: Follow up on any applications you sent out last week

Let technology find jobs for you

Actually searching for jobs that match your criteria can take a lot of your valuable time — but you don’t have to spend hours running Google searches and scouring job boards. Most online job boards provide a free alert system that notifies you via text or email when a new job is posted that meets your search criteria. There are also several Twitter feeds for job boards that send out tweets as new job postings come in. You can typically choose either daily or real-time updates, and select the alert type that’s most convenient for you.

As you subscribe to job alerts, don’t forget to check niche online job boards as well as general boards. Niche IT job boards can provide a richer and more focused resource for open positions — which makes your job search easier.

Tailor your resume and cover letter smartly

This may not save a lot of time, but customizing your resume and cover letter according to each job you’re applying for increases your productivity by producing more targeted, effective submission materials. The better you can express your qualifications for a specific position, the higher your chances of landing an interview.

You don’t have to rework your entire submission packet every time. But at a minimum, update your resume keywords and your Summary of Qualifications according to the requirements for the job you’re applying to, and enhance your cover letter with comments about the specific company that you’ve found through your research.

Work with a recruiter

One of the most efficient and time-saving steps you can take for your 2015 job search is to work with an IT staffing agency. Recruiters handle much of the legwork for you — finding positions that you’re best suited for, submitting your resume and cover letter, and scheduling interviews.

In addition, recruiters can help you get hired faster, for better jobs. Staffing agencies specializing in IT develop long-term relationships with IT hiring managers, giving you the value of a referral to help you get your foot in the door. A recruiter can also give you access to jobs that aren’t posted for public viewing, since many hiring managers often hire directly through staffing agencies instead of posting job descriptions.

Make 2015 your year to land your dream job with a streamlined, productive job search strategy!

 

Published in Recruiting

 

5 Tips for Defending Your Systems Against Security Breaches

Every modern business has to worry about security. The threat of hackers and damaging attacks hangs over everyone with an infrastructure — as Boston Children’s Hospital discovered this spring, when hackers claiming to represent Anonymous hit them with phishing and DDoS attacks.

Fortunately, the hospital was prepared to fight back, and patient data remained secure during and after the attacks. Here are five tips from Boston Children’s Hospital’s handling of the situation that can help you safeguard your business from security breaches:

Take an active learning approach to digital security

The best defense is a good offense. Be proactive in your security measures, with preventative strategies that include:

  • Active, real-time surveillance for emerging threats
  • Risk-based modeling and analysis that considers key security factors, including risks, threats, and information systems vulnerabilities
  • Effective regulation that ensures both privacy and safety without creating excess burden

Understand your system resource dependence

In order to mount an effective defense, you need to know which systems work internally, and which rely on external Internet access. Systems connected to the Internet are at risk for security breaches and attacks — for example, the hospital’s EHR (electronic health records) system was spared in the attacks, but its e-prescribing system that connects to pharmacies online was not.

Have an email alternative

In the interests of being prepared for the worst, have a secure access and communication system in place to guard against the possibility of compromised email during an attack. At Children’s, when DDoS attacks increased beyond what the hospital’s internal IT solutions were capable of handling, they were able to shut down all websites and email, and use a secure text messaging application to communicate internally and access patient records.

React when you see smoke — don’t wait for fire

Don’t hesitate to push the button on extreme security measures, such as shutting down websites and email. If you have the right precautions in place, you can avoid business disruption — and the ability to take swift action could save you millions in damages if cyber attacks are successful.

Don’t neglect teleconferences

Phone communications are equally at risk for security breaches. Never include conference passcodes in the body of a calendar invitation — this could get your call recorded and posted online before you even hang up. Instead, send passcodes securely through email or text applications.

Hackers pose a growing threat to the safety and security of information in every industry. Not even a children’s hospital is safe from cyber attacks. Stay up-to-date with the latest security measures, and make sure you’re protected with a proactive strategy that fights back against hackers. If you need help implementing a proactive security plan for your company, or need dedicated IT specialists to handle these threats, speak to the IT experts at The Armada Group.

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3 Career Tips for all IT Professionals

Information technology is a highly competitive industry. But rapid developments in tech and the steady global transition to digital mean that the demand for IT pros is high — so it’s a great field to work in, now and in the future. Still, those who work in IT can’t afford to rest on their laurels, especially since technology changes so quickly.

Perhaps more than any other industry, IT pros must work hard to stay in the game. And while there are many career paths and ways to succeed, some IT career strategies are universal. These three tips will help you stay on track and enjoy a long, fulfilling career, no matter where your IT trajectory takes you:

Be proactive in professional development

Keeping up with the pace of technology is vital to your success as an IT professional. If you’re not staying actively informed about changes in the industry, new platforms and applications, and other changes that could affect your role or career, you will fall behind — and other IT pros will be waiting to take your place.

When it comes to professional development in your current career, don’t wait for your employer to offer opportunities. Stay informed about major updates or replacements for the tech you’re currently using, and when they roll out, get dates and costs for training programs and make a proposal to your supervisor to enroll you.

Many employers will appreciate the initiative and pay for part or all of the training. But if yours refuses, it’s a good idea to get the training on your own dime, if you can. Community college classes and online courses are often affordable. Why should you pay to benefit your stingy employer? Because you’ll need to stay up-to-date on your skills, so you can look for a better job.

Choose to be friendly — even when you “shouldn’t”

Nearly every IT professional has faced a situation like this. You get a request for something that is clearly impossible to accomplish with your current resources — and you find out that the person who made the request is a clueless executive who gets paid six figures to make ridiculous demands that can’t be met.

Should you:

  1. Calmly explain why the request can’t be met (in non-tech terms) and offer an alternative that will accomplish something similar, or a list of resources you’d need to get the task done as requested
  2. Rant and rave in private, and then send off a tech-term-laden email that basically says no, but in fancier words, and hope it confuses the exec enough to either think something will happen eventually, or drop the issue
  3. Quit on the spot and find employment in a company that isn’t run by clueless, overpaid non-technical people

You probably know that the answer should be A (and that C is hard to come by), but it’s not always easy to be nice in this type of situation — and you may not know why you should. The reason to always take the friendly and approachable path lies in the importance of soft skills to your career.

Early IT professionals could get away with being antisocial, perpetually late, and confusingly eccentric, because no one else could fix the mystical computer problems. But today’s professionals are more tech-savvy overall, and IT pros who have great soft skills — in other words, the ability to work with people just as well as machines — are highly valued and sought after. They earn more money, too.

Never stop networking

Networking is something you do when you’re looking for a job, not when you already have a healthy career with plenty of opportunities for advancement, right? Afraid not. If there’s one secret to long-term success as an IT pro, it’s continual networking.

The more people you’re connected with professionally, the easier it is to find opportunities, or take advantage of them as they arise. If nothing else, a thriving network will help you get that next promotion, or make a lateral move within your organization when you discover a better career choice. Worst case, maintaining an updated network is a safeguard against downsizing, business failure, or unexpected personal disruptions.

At the least, make sure you’re active on LinkedIn. Keep your profile current, and update your online presence and your working resume whenever you have something new to add. You can also network casually through other social networks, business events, or even informal online gatherings with your IT peers.

No matter what type of IT professional you are, follow these tips to keep your career healthy, thriving, and moving forward. If you want to learn more about how to boost your career, or be placed in an new position within a top IT company, contact The Armada Group today.

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Published in Staffing News

 

Why Your Developers Should be Focusing on Innovation

With the rise of easily accessible technologies like the cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the digital landscape is more competitive than ever. Organizations looking for an edge need to focus on innovation — especially when it comes to apps.

App development is the new frontier for innovation and organizational change. The best way to achieve this is to give your developers room and encouragement to innovate, by making their lives easier and providing them with the tools they need to produce great apps and secure valuable intellectual property (IP) for your organization.

The following tips will help you help your developers, leading to increased innovation and driving competition in a fast-paced technical world.

Go all in with the public cloud

For most organizations, building an in-house infrastructure with enough servers, storage, and services to provide developers with sufficient resources for innovation just isn’t practical, or even feasible. The public cloud is a faster and more economical choice, both for developers and the organization as a whole.

Public clouds offer highly efficient, flexible infrastructures that can scale up as needed, and consume only those resources developers actually use. Embracing the public cloud reduces project completion times and product time-to-market, and saves you significant money.

Broaden access to tools and services

With the rise of SaaS and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), the many tools and resources employed by developers can be readily available. In the past, most organizations relied on long-term contracts for services and tools, often spending hundreds or thousands on legacy and enterprise software in the interests of cost efficiency over time — complete with drawn-out approval processes and lengthy installations and rollout.

This approach is detrimental to app developers, who may switch the tools and services they use from day to day and prefer to test out a tool before making a long-term commitment. You can encourage innovation by foregoing long-term contracts and letting developers self-select the tools they’ll use.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by giving them access to enterprise developer marketplaces, such as those from Windows Azure, Red Hat, and Heroku. These marketplaces allow developers to work with a wide variety of enterprise-ready tools and APIs, which help them build better applications, faster.

Encourage freedom from locks and controls

When your developers are locked down to a single platform or language, innovation is stifled. Allowing and encouraging them to design platform agnostic apps for the Web, mobile, and Internet of Things devices will save your developers a lot of time and grief.

What’s more, you can encourage innovation by limiting the controls placed on developer experimentation. Consider monitoring tools and API management solutions that take security measures into account, but still provide developers a window into network traffic.

Give developers time for pet projects

In general, developers are highly creative and love to make things. Regardless of what they’re working on for the organization, chances are high they’re also invested in a few personal side projects. They’ll work on these projects on their own — but your organization can benefit by allowing developers to pursue pet projects at work.

The ability to collaborate with co-workers on side projects and invest paid time in developing them often leads to positive, unanticipated developments, such as solving a business problem that was previously intractable. You may also end up with new products to add to your organization’s portfolio — AdSense, Gmail, and Google Hangouts all began as Google employees’ side projects.

If you provide your developers with tools and resources they can use without limits, and the time they need to pursue creative solutions, you’ll benefit from the innovative apps and products they turn out.

For more information on innovation – for your employees or your recruiting strategy – contact the innovative recruiting experts at The Armada Group. We know what it takes to stay at the forefront of our industry, and can help you with any staffing issue today. 

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Published in IT Infrastructure

 

The 5 most In-Demand Software Engineering Skill Sets

As technology continues to take over the world, there is a continuing and massive demand for skilled software developers. Employers are seeking software engineers who are talented with both core technologies and emerging IT areas, as innovation leads to better mobile devices, wearable tech, and even robotics.

While there is demand in nearly every area, some skill sets are particularly sought after in software developers. Here’s what employers are looking for now to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of technology.

The top 5 foundational skills

The hot new thing is always in demand, but some developer skill sets simply don’t go out of style. Recent research from IT career service Dice.com states that the five highest-searched skill terms for software developer candidates are:

  • Java / J2EE: The Java platform retains its place as the most in-demand skill for software engineers — which isn’t all that surprising considering how many applications and systems are powered by Java.
  • .NET: Microsoft’s user-friendly framework comes in second, thanks to an overwhelming majority of businesses that run on Microsoft.
  • C++: This high-level, general-purpose language is versatile enough to remain in demand for many employers.
  • C#: Designed in the tradition of Java and implemented primarily on Windows, C# is the fourth most sought-after skill set on the list.
  • SQL: Database software is a primary objective for numerous businesses, especially those looking to capitalize on Big Data — so this database language enjoys high demand among employers.

The search terms that round out the top 10 on Dice.com’s list include “senior,” HTML, “web,” C, and Linux. These skills are essential must-haves for businesses across every industry, and demand for them won’t drop any time soon.

The hottest emerging software skills

In addition to core skill sets, employers are looking for software developers with up-and-coming talent. Current and near-future technology development in fields like the Internet of Things and wearable tech is driving demand for fresh new skills that are still “in beta,” so to speak, compared to core skills.

Some of the most sought-after emerging IT skills include:

  • Mobile technology, including Android and iOS platforms
  • Embedded systems and the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Robotics
  • Wearable technology
  • Hadoop
  • Big Data

Software developers with mastery of traditional platforms, who’ve incorporated one or more of the hottest emerging skill sets, can likely expect their pick of careers as employers compete for top talent. In addition, the modern business environment prefers software engineers who also have a great business sense and strong soft skills.

For help finding candidates who posess these skills and more, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today. We understand the skills candidates need to have to succeed in today's IT environment, and maintain a vast network of talented candidates who can fulfill all the requirements of your business.

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Published in Recruiting

 

Micro-jobbing takes your data science strategy to the next level

An uncertain economy has given rise to a variety of non-traditional employment scenarios. The expanding popularity of contractors, temporary employees, and freelance workers has launched a new variation on independent contractor arrangements, called micro-jobbing — and there are many ways this freelance-style platform can benefit your business.

What is micro-jobbing?

Like contractors, micro-jobbers are independent employees who contract their services to companies or individuals. The primary difference between traditional contractors and micro-jobbers is the length of the job. While independent contractors typically work on projects for several months to a year, micro-jobbers take on smaller tasks that can be completed in days to weeks.

Therefore, the scope of micro-jobbing projects is smaller than that of contracting jobs. Where a contractor might design and implement a new software application for a company, a micro-jobber may offer services as an independent tester, or create a new feature for an existing application.

Micro-jobbing and data science

Many people perceive micro-jobbers as third-rate outsourcers who may be from a foreign company and probably offer low-quality work for equally low prices. However, micro-jobbing is a viable platform for a lot of top talent — creative and motivated individuals who prefer not to work in an office environment, and enjoy choosing their own jobs and setting their own hours.

Data science is a complex field, but many skilled micro-jobbers have recognized the market value of this skill set and acquired experience in fields like information management, data filtering, and predictive analytics. There are a number of data science micro-job tasks that can add value to any IT department.

The benefits of micro-jobbing

Micro-jobbing arrangements are mutually beneficial for both companies and talent. For IT professionals, micro-jobbing provides a way to earn extra income without the restrictions of a traditional employment setting. And for organizations, hiring micro-jobbers allows you to gain valuable resources and services without the need for a full-time financial commitment.

Enabling micro-jobbing in your organization

For most companies, building the capacity for micro-jobbing requires a bit of organizational development and restructuring. Here are three steps you can take to pave the way for micro-jobbers in your organization:

  • Understand the scope of micro-jobs. Be realistic when deciding on the tasks you want to assign to micro-jobbers. A full-time commitment of three to six months isn’t suitable for this platform — instead, choose tasks that can be completed in a few weeks or less.
  • Work with procurement to fast-track onboarding. Because micro-jobbers are very short term, you’ll need a way to bring them into the organization quickly and efficiently. Be sure to discuss your micro-jobbing program with procurement and emphasize the difference between micro-jobbers and independent contractors, so they know what to expect.
  • Recruit micro-jobbers with a custom platform. Most of the existing popular platforms for micro-jobbers, such as Elance and TaskRabbit, are focused primarily on low-skill, low-paying tasks. To recruit talented micro-jobbers, your company may be better off building a branded platform and marketing your site directly to the data science community.

Implementing a smart micro-jobbing strategy can help your organization take your data science to the next level. The available talent pool is huge, and bringing in micro-jobbers can not only strengthen your overall data science strategy, but also help to keep your in-house team sharp, focused, and challenged. Talk to our recruiting experts today to find out how The Armada Group can help your company implement its best staffing option. 

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Published in IT Infrastructure

The Problem with Wearable Technology

 

Wearable tech is a relative newcomer to the technology landscape. Not too long ago, gadgets like Google Glass and the Pebble Smartwatch belonged in the realm of science fiction — but today, wearable technology is a fledgling reality. And it’s poised to have a significant impact on the business world.

While wearables were initially introduced as consumer technology, the focus is shifting toward enterprise applications. In fact, industry experts say it’s not a matter of if wearables will become part of the corporate culture, but when. But like any new technology, there are some issues surrounding wearables that CIOs and IT departments should be aware of in order to prepare for the entry of these smart gadgets into the workplace.

Here are some of the most common pitfalls to watch for involving enterprise wearables:

Wearable technology is not well defined

In modern terms, the latest crop of wearable tech devices is still in its infancy — and no one knows exactly what constitutes a wearable. Most personal wearables are centered around fitness or health, and often have connectivity with a mobile application. Devices that are considered enterprise wearables are largely smartglasses and smartwatches.

But new gadgets and categories are emerging, and there is no set definition for wearable technology. This can be problematic for CIOs and IT departments, especially when it comes to defining workplace policies for wearables, if you’re not sure what those policies should apply to.

Smart gadgets suffer from development challenges

As a relatively new technology, wearables face some serious concerns that impact performance and user experience. Some of these challenges, particularly for smartwatches and smartglasses, include:

  • Energy inefficiency for color displays
  • Insufficient Internet connectivity, often creating the need for companion devices
  • Poor battery life
  • A lack of standards for waterproofing charging connectors
  • Privacy and security concerns over personal data collection
  • Awkward design issues

These challenges could make it difficult to integrate wearables into an enterprise environment, particularly the connectivity and security concerns.

No standardized platform for wearable tech

Much like smartphones and tablets, the wearables industry is working without standardized platforms. There are also no regulatory standards in place for wearable tech, bringing challenges for IT departments when it comes to measuring and reporting from a regulatory perspective.

Ideally, wearable software should be hardware-agnostic. Greater collaboration between wearable designers and enterprise developers could lead to platform standardization and across-the-board success — but for now, software systems for wearables are diverse and fragmented.

IT departments have a smaller margin of error

The enterprise wearables industry brings some unique potential pitfalls to IT, especially for rolling out new wearable tech. Smartglasses in particular come with different user experience and design requirements, and many IT departments have no prior exposure to working within these requirements.

In addition, overreaching is a common problem for wearable rollouts — IT departments take on too much, too soon, on the strength of the marketing hype surrounding many of these hot new gadgets. The best strategy is a controlled, small-scale first deployment to test the waters before taking wearables company-wide.

Wearables and legacy systems don’t mesh

The majority of new technologies are designed for integration with legacy systems. This is not so with wearables. Organizations may introduce wearable tech expecting to see productivity gains, only to discover that the utility of wearables relies on tapping into other corporate systems — and there is no easy way to bridge the two.

One of the largest stumbling blocks with wearable integration is data input. Legacy systems are generally built to accept keyed data, but most wearables don’t have keyboard inputs. Instead, they rely on voice or touch input that doesn’t translate to the legacy infrastructure.

The gains made possible by wearable tech are not sufficient to support the expense of replacing existing systems. Instead, CIOs and IT departments need to find a way to bridge wearables with legacy infrastructures in order to derive enterprise value from introducing these new devices to the workplace.

For more on how wearables and other new technologies can fit into your company structure, contact the IT experts at The Armada Group today.

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