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IT students bring home GGC’s first national championship E-mail
Written by John E. Kosar, III   

The Grizzlies have won their first national championship – not in athletics, but in academics.

Members of the Georgia Gwinnett College student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) recently brought home the institution’s first national championship from the 2013 AITP National Collegiate Conference in Database Design, held in St. Louis, Mo.
GGC's First National Championship
The annual conference features a range of competitions. About 700 attendees represented 70 colleges and universities, including Purdue University, Brigham Young University, Texas State University and many more of the finest schools in the country. Student teams vie for 42 trophies in 14 categories, meaning that many of the competing institution’s teams go home empty-handed.

To prepare for the stiff competition, faculty advisors Dr. Lissa Pollacia, professor of information technology, and Dr. Evelyn Brannock, assistant professor of information technology, along with other dedicated faculty in the School of Science and Technology (SST), mentored GGC’s AITP members in the evenings and on weekends. Timed, four-hour practice sessions enabled the students to perfect their strategies under the same parameters as the conference challenges.

AITP Security Council Discusses the Challenges of BYOD E-mail
Written by Brant Pirkle and John E. Kosar, III   
Last week, the AITP Security Panel presented a firsthand view of member organizations’ efforts to confront their most pressing risk and security issues.  Foremost on the agenda was an evaluation of how companies are handling “IT consumerization” trends including BYOD (bring your own device).  When employees are allowed to use their own smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to connect to company networks, a host of new security, legal, and device management challenges must first be addressed.  Tony UcedaVelez, founder of VerSprite, LLC, a global security and risk management consulting firm, encouraged panel members to discuss their strategies and policies for addressing these issues. 

By 2015, according to a recently published report by the industry research group Gartner, Inc., “mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.”  Further, by 2016, “at least 50% of enterprise email users are expected to rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client.”  This trend extends to organizations of all sizes and industries, including U.S. government agencies.  The 2012 Federal Mobility Report: Security Edition, revealed that 62% of federal agencies already allow employees to use their own personal devices at work, and 44% of federal employees who use a mobile device in their daily work tasks are using their own devices.

Many factors are driving BYOD demand. “On the one hand,” said Everett Washington, security solutions expert for Norfolk Southern, “before the theory was: we can issue what you need.  In reality, people are going out and buying their smartphones and iPads and they want to use them - they want to integrate them with their current work flow.”  Employees want “the latest and greatest” devices for both personal and work use and BYOD can remove the inconvenience of having multiple devices.  From the employer’s perspective, reducing the cost of procuring, maintaining, upgrading, and supporting devices is desirable.  Some organizations, recognizing BYOD’s potential for improving productivity, are providing stipends or reimbursement to employees for purchases and upgrades of their own mobile devices. 
Atlanta CIO’s discuss the “Consumerization” of IT E-mail
Written by Brant Pirkle and John E. Kosar, III   

Helping employees and customers be connected and collaborative is at the heart of the so-called mega-trend of “IT consumerization”.  Managing all the consumer devices, mobile applications, infrastructure changes, and security issues is the resulting challenge currently facing IT departments everywhere.  Several of Atlanta’s leading CIOs discussed this trend at the AITP’s fifth annual CIO Roundtable.

“We believe our role is to embrace and educate,” said Karen Painter, Senior VP of Enterprise Applications for Turner Broadcasting System.  “We want to provide education around social media and what kind of information should be accessible.  We’re trying to think about how we can make our service offerings available anytime anywhere,” she said.

CIO 2011 PanelDeveloping a clear policy and managing the support is a major issue for CIO’s.  “At the county, we’ve been embracing it for some time now,” said Curtis Rawlings, Assistant CIO for DeKalb County Georgia.  “The problem is support.  We have reduced staff but are expected to provide support for all this.”  Danny Bensley, CIO of Hardin Construction agreed:  “earlier this year, we opened our smart phone policy up to android and iPhone operating systems.  We’re a very small shop so we stick with browser based apps that we can work with in house.”

Others pointed to trends in user demographics as drivers for consumerization.  “As a staffing company,” said Alan Stukalsky, CIO for Randstad Corporation, “we want to get to potential employees as quickly as possible with jobs.   We’ve built an app to allow this and we’ve had a lot of success with the 20 to 29 age group.  This group believes that email is yesterday.”

Bill Smith, CIO of Chamberlin Edmonds added: “it seems that our workforce is getting younger.  Everyone wants to use texting.  It’s a great way to communicate, but then you’ve got to manage it.  There are things you’ve got to do to control it but you’ve got to present them to your work force and allow them to grow, especially if they’re younger.  Because that’s the way they think and that’s the way they get their job done.  So you have to align with that and it’s a challenge, but it’s exciting at the same time.”

Insight from the AITP CIO Round Table E-mail
Written by Brant Pirkle and John E. Kosar, III   

Right Sourcing and Cloud Computing - Getting the Mix Right

On September 15th, the AITP Atlanta Chapter hosted its fifth annual CIO Roundtable Dinner at the beautiful Crown Plaza Ravinia in Dunwoody, Ga., the chapter’s new meeting facilities. This year’s event provided valuable insights into the ways in which Atlanta’s information technology leaders are addressing major trends facing IT departments today. The CIO’s represented a broad cross section of Atlanta’s leading technology-focused organizations with perspectives for global, public sector, and smaller entrepreneurial IT shops as well. In this article, the CIO’s discuss their organizations’ use of right sourcing and cloud computing.  The “consumerization” of IT, and the security issues surrounding these initiatives, and what CIO’s consider in making hiring decisions is covered by another article.

CIO Panel

 From Left to Right: Danny Bensley (Hardin Construction); Curtis Rawlings (Dekalb County); Karen Painter (Turner); Bill Smith (Chamberlin Edmonds); Edwin Marcial (InterContinental Exchange); Dudley White (Equifax (TAS)); Alan Stukalsky (Randstad)

Each of the CIO’s present weighed in on the pros and cons of outsourcing and discussed strategies for achieving the right balance.  Most agreed that, in the past several years since outsourcing began to change the IT business model, we have gained a better perspective on how to achieve the right mix of in-house resources and outsourcing.  “I think many companies have run really far to the right as far as outsourcing,” said Dudley White, CIO for Equifax (TAS).  “What you see now is a kind of correction as we bring back in house certain key activities and functions.”

Curtis Rawlings, Assistant CIO for DeKalb County Georgia, agreed: “We’ve rushed as an industry one way, now we’re kind of pulling back because it just doesn’t work for every situation.  We use outsourcing for efficiency and cost savings, but I have to make sure that when we’ve outsourced development, we can support it internally.” “In the past, it was really about pricing pressures,” continued Alan Sukalsky.  “Today, with outsource offerings from LatinAmerica, China, and other geographies, it’s more about quality.”

Often the decision to use outsourcing is dependent upon the type of software service and business involved.  Alan Stukalsky, CIO for Randstad Corporation pointed out that, in his company’s Professional business sector, they do more outsourcing because they need to complete projects fast and ramp up quickly.  “Our IT team is split in two,” he says.   Because we have differences in what we want to own and what is our intellectual capital.  On our General Staffing business, we do more [of our development] in house.”

Karen Painter, Senior VP of Enterprise Applications for Turner Broadcasting System, also strives to determine the right mix.  “We certainly have plenty of software services where outsourcing makes sense,” she says.    “Within our expense reporting and some of our benefits package services, for example we’re looking at outsourcing for the purpose of staff augmentation.  In our industry however, there are many areas where no products are available for purchase on the market.  In these areas, we have development efforts going on that are core to our business.  Some of these, we believe, give us a competitive advantage, and these we’re not going to outsource.”

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