ICT sector showing mixed results

September 24, 2012

ITCRA: ICT sector showing mixed results
The ICT contracting sector is performing well in a difficult economic market, but there is significant regional and industry variability, according to the latest results of ITCRA’s SkillsMatch Contractor Salary Survey. The survey analysed 1,112 contract placements made by ITCRA Member recruiters between March and August 2012. Julie Mills, CEO of ITCRA, said there was a shift back to longer-term contracts over this six month period, while the number of available contractor roles fell. “While it may be a temporary shift, the percentage of contracts over one year fluctuated between 5.2 per cent in March and 11.2 per cent in July,” said Ms Mills. “At the same time, the overall number of available roles fell by 15.5 per cent between the second and third quarters of 2012. Project manager roles saw the greatest drop, falling 32.2 per cent over this time,” she said. Between March and August, the average annual salary for an ICT contractor was $129,071, while the average hourly rate was $83.46. However these rates varied depending on the specific role and company sector. “For example, ICT contractors working for financial and insurance services companies earned an average of $160,706, while those working for education and training companies earned an average of $118,190,” said Ms Mills.

Big data strategy critical, staff shortages a concern
A new global survey, Big data: lessons from the leaders, finds a strong correlation between financially successful businesses and a well-defined data strategy. Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by business analytics leader SAS, the report explores how far the more than 700 companies surveyed have come on their journey toward a mature data strategy. It further identifies how to exploit the massive amounts of data companies collect. Nearly half of companies that “significantly outperform their peers financially” reported a well-defined data strategy – four times the number performing on par with peers. The survey suggests companies should prioritise business goals to determine a data strategy and hire employees with the knowledge and skills to manage big data initiatives. The impact of data on the business landscape is unprecedented, with the amount and types of data that organisations have access to growing exponentially. According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the world now creates the same amount of data every two days as was generated between the dawn of civilisation and 2003. Additional survey insights include:

  • Social media is mainstream. Some 66 per cent of companies surveyed are collecting Web data about their customers, but just 22 per cent said that social media and Web data significantly affects customer experience; this number jumps to 32 per cent among high-performing companies.
  • The need for speed. Sixty-five per cent of respondents said the speed at which their companies process data has increased over the past year. High-performing companies in the survey experienced “significant” increases, compared to just 17 per cent of other companies. Increased speed has the most significant effect on strategic decision making (63 per cent).
  • People as assets. Data scientists and data stewards are necessary for gaining insight from data. Yet the survey finds skilled data workers in short supply.
  • Reporting is half the battle. Properly communicating the results of data-driven initiatives has challenged many organisations. Results must be shared with employees at all levels in various departments – from IT to C-level – in a language they can easily understand.

Download the survey at http://www.sas.com/apps/sim/redirect.jsp?detail=SIM97518_3341

Australian companies need to step up efforts to stop data breaches
Recent data from the Ponemon Institute suggests that the average cost of a data breach to Australian companies is about $2.16 million per incident. Based on last month’s compromise where half a million credit card numbers from Australians were stolen and hackers racked up $25 million in fraudulent transactions it’s no longer a case of “can we afford to be PCI compliant”, its “we cannot afford not to be compliant”. Sydney-based IP Solutions International is a leading provider of PCI DSS-compliant solutions and they are taking this message to the upcoming 2012 PCI DSS Compliance Conference in Sydney. The annual PCI DSS Compliance Conference, now in its fourth year, is designed to encourage merchants, security specialists, and PCI compliance professionals from across Australia to share insights and practical information regarding their efforts to achieve PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) compliance. It’s an important event for all organisations that process large volumes of credit card payments that need to be PCI compliant.

Aussie innovation fights melanoma
An Australian design team has paid an integral role in the design of a new camera with advanced photographic technology to help win the fight against deadly melanoma and address Australia’s worrying statistics. World leaders in melanoma surveillance, MoleMap has developed a unique camera specifically designed to more accurately photograph and map moles for early melanoma detection. This innovation, developed over the past five years, was recently launched at the 2012 World Congress on Dermoscopy in Brisbane – where it sold out immediately. The technology is being used in the global network of MoleMap clinics, by dermatologists and general practitioners across Australia and New Zealand and will soon be available in the US. The camera, named the DermLiTe DLCam, is designed specifically for imaging skin lesions, utilising a cross polarising light unit to illuminate the lesion for dermoscopic views and a high intensity LED light for clinical views. These custom designed light units create strong contrast and give better definition, allowing for more accurate diagnosis of melanoma. The camera has only a few controls allowing it to be quickly and easily used by nurses, doctors and other medical staff with minimal training. General Manager of MoleMap Australia Mary Boldiston, says more than 1800 Australians die annually from melanoma and the new technology will increase the accuracy of the mole mapping process. Boldiston says it will also greatly improve access to the MoleMap program as further clinics are rolled out across Australia and doctors start using the camera in their day to day practice.

Interactive Intelligence wins Frost & Sullivan’s Company of the Year, Contact Centre Systems
For the third consecutive year, Frost & Sullivan has honoured Interactive Intelligence Group with its Company of the Year, Contact Centre Systems North America, 2012  award. The Frost & Sullivan contact centre award is based on objective research backed by its decision support matrix methodology. Frost & Sullivan credited Interactive Intelligence’s leading performance to its constant innovation. “Developing innovative, attention-grabbing customer engagement solutions has been the hallmark of Interactive Intelligence since its founding in 1994,” Frost & Sullivan principal analyst, Nancy Jamison said. “The firm has set a course that its competitors have followed, and in doing so it has achieved considerable marketplace success.”

NBN creates 130 jobs for the Gold Coast
Minister Conroy official opened the NBN National Contact Centre on the Gold Coast last week, which will create up to 130 local jobs. As the NBN rollout ramps up across Australia, the contact centre at Varsity Lakes will play a critical role in responding to enquiries from the general public, property developers and businesses. “The 130 new jobs at the National Contact Centre are in addition to the 16,000 to 18,000 construction jobs expected to be created at the peak of the NBN rollout,” Senator Conroy said. “NBN Co is on track to meet its target of having work commenced or completed for 758,000 homes and businesses across Australia by the end of the year.”

Computer old-timers reunion lunch
All golden-oldies are invited to gather at The Little Snail Restaurant, 50 Murray St Pyrmont NSW on Friday the 9th November at noon for 1 pm. If you used punched cards or paper tape in your career, you qualify. And if you used 8″ floppies you qualify too! guest speaker, will be Dr Peter D. Jones AM, arguably Australia’s first high tech entrepreneur. Peter’s career has spanned from using Silliac, founding Techway and being on the Australian Telescope Steering Committee. There will be a display of memorabilia and historic computing relics to complement Peter’s career. Confirm your attendance to Max Burnet by email to mburnet@bigpond.net.au or phone 02 9484-6772.

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Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland