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As IT managers we face the need to deal with two very different types of technical professionals, roughly categorized as “engineers” and “support professionals.”

Understanding the unique needs of these two job types is critical in effectively managing them — but few IT departments truly take the time to understand and appreciate the nuances inherent between them.

The first type, and by the far the best understood, is the “engineer.” This engineering role encompasses a massive array of job functions ranging from software developers and designers, architects, system engineers, network engineers. It includes anyone whose primary function is to creatively design or implement new systems of any sort.

The second type of technology worker role can be generically referred to as the “support” role. Support professions includes helpdesk, systems administration, desktop support, network monitoring, command center, etc. What separates support professionals from engineering professionals is that they are not tasked with creative processes involving new designs or implementations. Instead they work with existing systems ensuring that they run properly and get fixed quickly when something is wrong.

It goes without saying that no one real-world human is likely to ever be completely in only one category or the other, but almost all job functional in IT focus very heavily upon one or the other. It’s pretty safe to assume that almost any role will be exceptionally weighted to one role or the other.

Managing Engineers vs. Managing Support Staff

Measuring and managing engineers, from a very high level, is quite well understood. The concept of productivity is very simple and meaningful for engineering chúng tôi goal of managing an engineering person or team is to allow and encourage that role to output as much creative design or implementation as possible.

The concept of quality exists as well, of course, but we still can think generally about engineering roles in relatively concrete terms such as number of functions written, number of deployment packages produced, size of network designed, etc.

Metrics are a fuzzy thing, but we at least have a good idea of what efficiency means to an engineer even if we cannot necessarily measure it accurately.

Support roles do not have this same concept. Sure you could use an artificial metric such as “tickets closed” to measure productivity in a support role, but that would be very misleading. One ticket could be trivial and the next a large research challenge. In many cases there may be no tickets available for a long time and then many arrive at once that cannot be serviced simultaneously.

Productivity is likely to be sporadic and non-sustainable and, ultimately, not at all meaningful to measure.

Engineering positions earn their keep by producing output effectively over a rather long period of time often even spanning into months and years for large projects. The goal, therefore, with engineering positions is to provide an environment that encourages sustainable productivity. It is well known that engineers will often gain productivity by working shortened or alternative hours, taking regular vacations, etc. Not only does this often increase productivity but often greatly increases the quality of the output as well.

Support positions earn their bread and butter by “being there” when needed. If a support person is attempting to work at maximum efficiency there is a natural implication that there is a continuous backlog of support issues awaiting the support team’s attention and that there are many people requiring support who have to wait for it in order to form a queue.

By having a queue always in place this also means that support personnel are continuously taking work off the stack instead of resolving live items – either ignoring high priority items or being regularly interrupted – causing continuous context switching which significantly reduces the ability to efficiently handle the queue – whose entire purpose for existing was to create the appearance of artificial productivity in the first place.

Event Driven

Support roles are “event driven.” I like this terminology because I think it most accurately describes the mode in which nearly all support professionals work.

Whether an event is generated by a phone call, an instant message, an email or a ticket, it is an “event” that kicks off the transition of the support person from idle to action or, in some cases, from a low priority item to a high priority item.

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Managing Risk In A Connected World

Cybersecurity is in the news, but the risks posed by weak and outdated security measures are hardly new. For more than two decades, organizations have struggled to keep pace with rapidly evolving attack technologies. 

Connectivity Creates Opportunities and Challenges

Emerging technologies, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT), are taking global connectivity to a new level, opening fresh and compelling opportunities for both adopters and, unfortunately, attackers. 

IoT poses a significant new challenge, Al-Abdulla observes. “As new devices are connected, they represent both a potential ingress point for an attacker as well as another set of devices that have to be managed,” he says. “Unfortunately, most of the world is trying to achieve the promise provided by IoT projects as rapidly as possible, and they are not including security in the original design, which creates greater weakness that is very, very hard to get back after the fact and correct.”

Al-Abdulla also notes that many organizations are unintentionally raising their security risk by neglecting routine network security tasks. “Every time our assessment team looks at the inside of a network, we find systems that haven’t been patched in 10 years,” he says. “Sometimes, it’s IoT devices.”

Al-Abdulla’s team has observed devices with “a flavor of Linux or Windows embedded” that have not been updated since they left the factory. Security cameras, badge readers, medical devices, thermostats and a variety of other connected technologies all create potential attack gateways.

“It’s a very complicated world that we live in right now, because the attacker and defense problem is highly asymmetrical,” Roesch adds. 

The Human Factor

While following security best practices is essential to network security, many organizations remain unaware of, or pay little attention to, the weakest link in the security chain: people.

Weighing Risk Against Benefits

Security boils down to measuring risk against anticipated benefits. “One of the fascinating things about risk is that low-level engineers know where the risks are, but they don’t necessarily tell anybody,” Waters says. As an example, he cites Operation Market Garden, a World War II Allied military effort (documented in the book and movie A Bridge Too Far) that was fatally hampered by poor radio communication. “People knew those radios weren’t going to work when they got over there,” Waters says. “They didn’t tell anybody because they didn’t want to rock the boat.”

Once a risk is identified, users and IT professionals must be committed to addressing it, with the support of executives. Across all departments and in all situations, calm person-to-person communication is always a reliable and effective security tool. “If we’re running around with our hair on fire all the time, they don’t want to talk to us,” Waters adds. “We want everybody to be able to talk with us and share their risks, so we know to prioritize and trust them.”

Too much caution blocks or degrades benefits, particularly when security mandates unnecessarily interfere with routine activities. Simply telling people what not to do is rarely effective, particularly if what they’re doing saves time and produces positive results. “We talk about Dropbox and things like that,” Waters says. “If your policies are too restrictive, people will find a way around them.”

The Danger of Giving in to Ransomware

Ransomware is like a thug with a gun: “Pay up, or your data gets it!”

Problem solved? Not necessarily, says Michael Viscuso, co-founder and chief technology officer of endpoint security provider Carbon Black, who sees no easy way out of a ransomware attack. “It’s still surprising to me that people who have paid the ransom think that the game is over,” he says. “The reality is that the attacker has access to your system and is encrypting and decrypting your files whenever he wants to – and charging you every time.”

James Lyne, global head of security research at security technology company Sophos, notes that many ransomware attackers hide code within decrypted data, allowing them to reinfect the host at a future date. “Because if you’ll pay once, you’ll pay twice,” he explains.

Effective backups: IT staff can save themselves trouble and money by implementing regular backup practices to an external location such as a backup service. In the event of a ransomware infection, backup data can get organizations back on their feet quickly.

Deployment of security solutions: Measures such as anti-malware, firewalls and email filters can help detect ransomware and prevent infections. 

In much the same way that organizations boost their results through ambition and innovation, cybercriminals also are improving the way they operate. “The bad guys are entrepreneurial,” says Martin Roesch, vice president and chief architect of the Cisco Security Business Group.

Most successful cybercriminals are part of large and well-structured technology organizations. “There’s a team of people setting up infrastructure and hosting facilities; there’s a team of people doing vulnerability research; there’s a team of people doing extraction of data; there’s a team of people building ransomware; there’s a team of people delivering ransomware; there’s a team of people doing vulnerability assessment on the internet; there’s a team of people figuring out how to bypass spam filters,” says Michael Viscuso, co-founder and CTO of Carbon Black. 

Roesch says organizations have found it “very difficult to respond and be effective against the kind of threat environment that we face today,” but says security experts within Cisco have specifically targeted cybercrime organizations and achieved some success in shutting them down. 

Windows 8 To Be Smarter On Managing Mobile And Wireless Networks

Microsoft unveiled new changes in Windows 8 to provide a better experience managing mobile broadband and wireless networks. These new changes make it much easier for users to roam between networks and services, getting to what is important faster (getting work done, surf the Internet and socialize), and without hassle.

In a new article from the Building Windows 8 website, the software giant explains that users expect the same connectivity experience from smartphones on their PCs — be connected and ready wherever you are and whenever you want in a simple manner.

Windows 8 will consolidate experience and to avoid confusion, there is only going to be one place, one UI to manage all your network connections and radios. The new Windows network settings allows you to turn radios ON and OFF (wireless, mobile, or Bluetooth), as well as the capability to disable all radios with the new “airplane mode”. All this without the need of additional software.

In the upcoming version of Microsoft Windows, network connections are prioritized based on many behaviors and it learns as you change network preferences over time. For example, if a Wi-Fi network is available, Windows 8 will automatically disconnect your mobile broadband to avoid wasting data usage and increase battery life by powering down the mobile adapter. If no preferred wireless network is found, Windows will automatically reconnect the broadband hardware.

If you manually disconnect from a network, you will no longer be automatically reconnected to it. In the case you switch to a different wireless network, Windows will give this new network a higher priority.

When moving to different network environments, while the Windows 8 PC is on standby, reconnecting will only take a couple of seconds and it happens automatically.

To avoid “bill shock”, Windows 8 takes consideration of the network cost, because of carrier data caps, and it will adjust to network accordingly. Windows will disconnects a mobile broadband connection when a preferred Wi-Fi network in on range. While on mobile broadband: data quality gets reduce to conserve data usage, and re-authentication between networks are automatically. Also Windows Update will stop during mobile broadband until you connect to a non-metered network like, for example, your home broadband or Wi-Fi hotspot. But if there is critical security update to fix an important vulnerability. In this case, Windows Update will download the update, no matter in which network you are connected to.

If you want to know how much data you have consumed, Windows 8 has a local data usage counter right from the network settings pane, and you can reset at any time — really useful to monitor data usage month-to-month or within a session, but you should take in to account that these reports may be slightly different from your carrier data usage.

Lastly, the Windows 8 Task Manger can provide more information on network usage from each installed app. This is great when you need to identify which app is using a large percentage of the bandwidth and close it to reduce data usage when you are using mobile broadband.

Here is also a video that shows some of the improvement for wireless networking in Windows 8:

Enterprise Analytics: Managing And Making The Most Out Of Big Data

Why enterprise analytics is a business imperative and how it benefits businesses?

Leveraging data and excerpting insights from it has become indispensable for businesses. As the corporate world is increasingly dealing with the ever-growing information age, utilizing data can be a growth factor for them. This means they require the ability to manage and evaluate big data that can maximize the business value buried within their

Why Enterprise Analytics is Vital?

Leveraging data and excerpting insights from it has become indispensable for businesses. As the corporate world is increasingly dealing with the ever-growing information age, utilizing data can be a growth factor for them. This means they require the ability to manage and evaluate big data that can maximize the business value buried within their data sets . Integrating the right enterprise analytics strategy assists organizations as well as decision-makers to discover the tools and techniques they need to implement to process huge data sets and derive valuable insights from them in order to deliver better business decisions. The last couple of years have seen tremendous uptake in big data and how leading companies assessed and changed the analytics game. Many have propelled this trend with the introduction of data professionals or experts to their ranks, while some companies also deployed automation frameworks that have been able to create a singular data vision.Handling, processing and extracting meaningful information from the data businesses glean is a daunting task. This requires setting up a strategy for enterprise-level analytics tracking and reporting in addition to building a robust architecture with proper planning and coordination. Gathering any kind of data presents both value and risk to any enterprise. This is why a scalable and flexible enterprise analytics architecture is critical to the success of companies. An effective enterprise analytics strategy can create a comprehensive vision and end-to-end roadmap for managing and analyzing data. It can be beneficial in risk mitigation, mapping out companies’ data management architecture, identifying and eliminating redundant data, establishing responsibility and accountability, and improving data quality and more. According to MicroStrategy’s 2023 Global State of Enterprise Analytics report, around 65 percent of global enterprises have plans to boost their analytics spending in 2023. 79 percent of respondents in large enterprises reported they will invest more in 2023. Based on industry verticals, hospitality and government respondents are uncertain about their data-driven progress . 33 percent of respondents in hospitality and 31 percent in government reported that they feel their analytics programs are behind in comparison to the 17 percent overall average. Cumulatively, telecommunications, hospitality and retail industries lead all spending with 70 percent or more of enterprises in all three verticals. It is predicted that they will increase analytics and business intelligence spending in 2023. The report further reveals that only 16 percent of organizations’ analytics technology deployment is at the maturity level to include a sophisticated architecture for self-service analytics with governance, security frameworks, access to big data, and mobile and predictive technologies supported by a center of excellence for training and support. Moreover, Gartner foresees that by 2023, the majority of pre-built analytics reports will either be augmented or even replaced with automated insights. And by 2023, AI and deep learning techniques will be prevalent approaches for new applications of data science.

Perks And Priorities For It Staff Members

Free BMWs and Porsches, massage therapists who come to your desk, gourmet lunches prepared by an in-house chef, ski trips to Lake Tahoe. Join a dot-com or technology company and at least one of these perks is likely to come your way. These companies are grabbing headlines left and right with the flashy, seemingly expensive perks they use to recruit and retain employees.

While the dot-coms and technology firms are getting the press, mainstream companies are not standing on the sidelines. As competition for IT staff has reached record levels, retention strategies have become critical to the success of an IT department. In 1999 alone, 722,158 requisitions for IT workers were created, 60% of which were in non IT-industry companies, according to International Data Corp., a research analyst firm in Framingham, Mass. In 2002, there will be 846,000 requisitions overall. As retention has increased in importance, so have the number of ways to keep employees happy.

If you work in the IT department at an insurance company’s corporate headquarters, you probably will not be able to wear your well-worn college T-shirts to work or have your dog hang out in your cubicle. However, you probably will get to dress casually, and you might even earn extra days off, get fancy dinners out with a date, receive $6,000 employee referral bonusesand possibly even win trips to Hawaii and Disneyland.

Good compensation packages are always key, but fun and nonmonetary items are becoming increasingly important to valuable IT staff.

Which is most important? It depends on your workforce. A younger workforce will want more social events and compensation packages with higher risk and reward factors. A 30- to 40-year-old workforce is more likely to be concerned with job security and perks such as childcare and a training institute.

Good leadership. The biggest key to retention is the quality of your management and leadership, says Paul LeFort, CIO and senior vice president of United HealthGroup in Minneapolis. Of his 3,000-person IT staff, about 10% are in leadership roles. Employees want good mentors and leaders they can learn from, he notes.

Lifestyle issues. Offer casual dress. Consider childcare. Provide alternate work schedules and locations. For example, offer three- and four-day work weeks and telecommuting.

Education and training. Technologies change quickly and so do the skillsets required to keep up with these changes. “Companies need to spend a lot of time making sure that their employees are getting a lot of training and are being used in a way that their current skillsets will not become outmoded,” says Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va.

Corporate mission. Offer stock options in the company to encourage corporate buy-in.

Executive support. Make sure corporate leaders–CEOs, CFOs, and other nontechnical managers–are committed to and support IT.

Recognition. Provide recognition for being creative and doing a good job. “If a boss or organization is really acknowledging creativity, employees won’t leave that place–even if the place down the street pays $40,000 more,” says Dick Dooley of the Dooley Group Inc. in Riverwoods, Ill.

Keeping IT employees happy does not have to break the department budget. While trips across the country might cost a bundle, IT managers are also using a number of inexpensive benefits to retain employees. Among these are casual dress (the further your office is from the company’s CEO, the more casual you will likely be allowed to dress), alternative work schedules, book clubs, and recognition rewards.

“Retention always was important, but now it cannot be ignored,” says Al Borenstine, president of Synergistics Associates in Chicago. Borenstine, who recruits CIOs, says retention is now among the top five functions of an IT executive’s job.

It’s time to get imaginative

Retention used to be a twofold task, notes Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va. In the past, IT managers had to make sure their compensation packages (salary, bonuses, and stock options) were competitive and try to create some sense of corporate spirit within the department. Now, says Miller, HR and IT executives also must focus on employee lifestyle issues and education and training–and be creative at it all.

As an IT manager in a corporate environment, look at what you’re competing with. One IT manager, who asked that she and her company remain anonymous, says her department occasionally awards Atlanta Braves tickets to recognize hardworking individuals. A bonus during busy times is a goody basket consisting of Surge cola, candy, and stress balls, along with a certificate for a “mental day off.”

The manager, whose company is based in the South, recently sent her employees “applause” cards–digital pictures of the team with adjectives each employee’s team members had used to describe the individual. Free key chains and pizza lunches are routine. IT folks also enjoy the corporate workout facilities, cafi, store, ATM, and soon-to-arrive dry cleaner and video store. While most of these are provided for employee convenience, the workout facilities are subsidized by the company and employees pay a nominal monthly fee.

Appreciation is big at her company, says the manager. Her boss even bought the book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson and Kenneth H. Blanchard, for each of his managers.

Google Inc., a search engine company located in Mountain View, Calif. (right in the heart of Silicon Valley), has an in-house chef. He provides free gourmet lunches and dinners, and was once a personal chef and caterer to the likes of the Grateful Dead. Google also has two massage therapists (part-time contract employees) who will come to your desk and work out the kinks you get in your shoulders when you’ve been working at your computer for too long. Employees can bring their dogs to work. The entire company took a ski trip to Lake Tahoe in February 2000.

The perks appear to be working. Cindy McCaffrey, director of corporate communications at Google, says the company has had zero turnover since its inception in September 1998. That’s far below the national average of between 15% and 16%, as calculated by IDC.

Carlson Companies Inc.

The company: Carlson Companies Inc. has about 1,000 IT employees in the Minneapolis area. The $31 billion company specializes in corporate and consumer travel, hospitality, and marketing. Its brands include Radisson, TGIFridays, Thomas Cook, and Wagonlit Travel.

The problem: The company suffered from an extremely competitive IT marketplace–what some view as negative unemployment in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.

The solution: Carlson adopted new strategies to attract and retain its staff: focus on retention; institute alternative work schedules; build a technology center with separate cafeteria and workout facilities catering to the long hours of an IT employee; offer a more casual dress policy than that allowed in other buildings on the corporate campus; provide employee-referral bonuses with retention incentives; give workgroups or teams budgets for fun–at least twice a year cover the cost of a golf outing, fancy dinner, boat ride, or other activity. The company is also considering flexible benefits that allow employees to choose their benefits based on a predetermined budget for each individual. If the employee’s spouse already has benefits, then the employee could use these budgeted dollars for additional vacation time, optional insurance, or other benefits.

On the mainstream corporate side, IT workers might not get free gourmet lunches every day, but food often plays a role in keeping IT employees happy. Having food on-site offers the basic benefit of convenience, especially for companies like Google that are off the beaten path, but it also fosters employee morale and camaraderie.

If you’re an IT worker at Carlson Companies Inc., for example, you can grab a quick breakfast or lunch at the Mega-Byte Cafeteria in the company’s tech center. Separate dining and workout facilities (open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to accommodate longer IT schedules) are only a few of the benefits available to the 700 IT employees in the two-year-old building that houses Carlson’s central infrastructure group. Dress is more casual in this building than in others on the Minneapolis-based corporate campus.

Pricey and priceless strategies

Dave Zitur, CIO and vice president of finance for Carlson Leisure Group and interim CIO for Carlson Companies, says the company has concentrated on retention for the last five years. The approach is multipronged, he says. A variety of career paths and leadership training are important parts of the equation, as are alternative work schedules–from four-day weeks (either 32 hours per or four ten-hour days) to working from home.

The company has IT forums–basically semi-annual meetings where IT employees from Carlson’s five operating divisions get together to hear about new initiatives, activities in different groups, and current business. At one recent forum, the division CIOs and CTOs cooked and served barbecue for meeting attendees. Carlson’s recognition awards, called the WOW program in the tech center, offer monthly winners everything from movie tickets to airline passes. Winners also receive pins, which they can display in their offices. The pins are about the size of a tie tack and are either bronze, silver, gold, or diamond stars.

Deep in the trenches, workgroups have budgets for fun. “We try to make sure employees have the time and money to do something fun at least once or twice a year at the group level,” Zitur says. These activities include group bowling, boat trips on Lake Minnetonka, golf outings, and, of course, meals out.

While he has not heard of any employees asking to bring their dogs to work and take time out to walk them, Zitur says that is not out of the question at Carlson. “If it works out between the employee and his manager, then it’s OK,” he says.

CIO Dave Zitur added “fun” to Carlson Leisure Group’s workgroup budgets.

Like Google’s strategies, Carlson’s also appear to be working. Turnover among the 1,000 IT employees in the Minneapolis area has hovered around 12% for the last few years, several percentage points below the national average calculated by IDC.

And who better to recruit new IT employees than happy Carlson IT folks. The travel, leisure, and marketing company’s bonus referral program pays $2,000 up-front if a recommended candidate is hired. For the next four years, workers receive $1,000 each year on the referred employee’s anniversary date. It’s better than paying a headhunter, notes Zitur.

For Karen Bruns, director, IT, in the office of the CIO, the retention strategies have been a success. Bruns joined Carlson five and a half years ago as an IT project leader in the marketing division. Bruns is the recipient of several WOW awards and sports her pins on an 8″x10″ bulletin board in her office. For Bruns, the number one retention program is alternative work hours. “I usually don’t come in until 9 a.m. unless there’s a meeting,” she says. Bruns is also a fan of the corporate eating facilities, noting she eats lunch at one of them every day.

Training, recognition, and rewards

Like Carlson, United HealthGroup, the parent organization of managed care company United Healthcare, relies heavily on training and recognition rewards to keep its 3,000-person IT department happy, according to CIO and senior vice president Paul LeFort.

The Minneapolis-based company has a learning institute that delivers between 60,000 and 70,000 hours of professional and leadership training. That’s about 20 hours of education each IT employee per year. United HealthGroup also offers IT workers management and technology training through distance-based learning. Through a video network, select individuals can earn their masters degrees from the likes of Stanford University. There are technical courses, such as Java, C++, and other programming languages; professional development courses, such as project management, giving presentations, and managing people; and leadership training through the Center for Creative Leadership.

Industry estimates put turnover costs at between $5,000 and $100,000 per employee. Framingham, Mass.-based analyst firm International Data Corp. (IDC) estimates the cost of IT worker attrition in 2002 will reach $7.6 billion.

Recruiting is expensive. Headhunter’s fees average 30% of an employee’s annual salary.

Ensure your compensation package is competitive. Look at salary, incentive bonuses, and stock awards.

Retention should be a top priority. Don’t just give it lip service. Get corporate buy-in. Bend the rules a little–i.e., extend corporate policies and perks down the IT ladder to lower-level managers. Set aside more money for incentive bonuses in the IT department. Set aside a budget for fun activities and training programs.

Provide top-notch training. Technology changes quickly and IT workers want to keep abreast of these changes.

Recognize a job well done. Set up an awards program. Pick monthly winners and have an annual raffle or party to celebrate all the hard work. Award prizes. Put winners’ pictures in a prominent spot in your office or on your Web site.

Have some fun! Take the staff to a ball game. Cater dinner from a gourmet restaurant. Take a boat ride. Go bowling. Give each team member a stress kit (a basket filled with cola, sweets, and stress balls).

The company’s Star Award program offers recognition and, ultimately, the chance to win trips to Disneyland and Hawaii. Awards have been given for successful system conversions, new Web site designs, helping another group achieve its goals, or for working above and beyond the call of duty in order to make a delivery date, notes LeFort. The big prizes are awarded annually at a drawing held during a department wide social event, but IT individuals and workgroups are recognized monthly through the program. In addition to having their pictures on the Web site, monthly winners in this peer-recognition program are eligible for prizes such as dinners out or an American Express gift certificate.

Monthly winners from United HealthGroup’s 10 IT sites, from as far away as Ireland, link up via video to participate in the annual Star Award celebration. Hi-jinks have included a step-dance demonstration from the folks on the Emerald Isle. The company gives away between $25,000 and $30,000 worth of prizes at the annual party. Along with big trips, IT employees can win checks for $500 or $1,000.

LeFort says these programs and others have kept his turnover to about 14%. His department spends several million dollars annually on the learning institute, masters programs, Star Award, and other retention programs.

More employees are benefiting

While perks for IT departments are on the rise, not all companies single out these hard workers for benefits. At Textron Inc.’s corporate headquarters in Providence, R.I., the 16 IT employees enjoy the same perks as other HQ workers, says John Lincoln, director of information management contracts and services. These include free use of a fitness center (which also provides freshly laundered workout shorts, shirts, and socks free of charge), corporate parties and picnics, and recognition through the manager spot award program, a recognition program for all corporate employees. A group of IT employees received the reward earlier this year for their hard work (including over the New Year’s holiday) on Year 2000 issues. Textron has aircraft, automotive, industrial, and finance businesses.

Whether or not IT employees enjoy special perks depends on how critical IT is to the company’s overall mission. Data-rich industries such as insurance and retail are more likely to offer perks beyond the norm, says H. Michael Boyd, Ph.D., a program manager in the human resourcing strategies program at IDC.

Boyd says large companies have been providing many “fun” perks for awhile, but only recently have begun extending them deeper within the IT ranks. For instance, while a top IT executive may have been driving a company car and getting reimbursed for her children’s private-school tuition all along, these benefits are now being provided to IT managers further down the corporate ladder. Today, IT leaders can often send more staff to conferences, distribute more discretionary income than managers in other departments, and reimburse for more tuition than generally is allowed in other areas of the company.

“IT people are prima donnas in the market,” Boyd says. “That’s life. Companies have to do these special things.”

Retaining IT employees does not have to be an expensive proposition. While trips to Hawaii are nice, you likely will only be able to award such a perk to a handful (or fewer) of employees each year. Some of the most popular retention programs are also the least expensive. Here’s a sampling of some low-cost programs being instituted in IT departments across the country:

Casual dress. At Carlson Companies Inc., 700 IT employees in the central infrastructure group enjoy a more casual dress policy than groups working in other buildings on the Minneapolis corporate campus. Khakis and collared shirts are standard Tuesday through Thursday, jeans allowed on Friday. In the summer, these IT folks can even sport denim shorts on Fridays.

Alternative work schedules. Carlson has implemented alternative work arrangements for IT employees–everything from 32-hour weeks to telecommuting. “The retention program that is most popular with me is flex hours,” says Karen Bruns, director, IT, in the office of the CIO. Bruns started as a project leader in another Carlson operating group over five years ago.

Recognition rewards. While not quite as cheap as allowing your workforce to stagger its hours, these rewards more than pay for themselves in employee loyalty and morale. Winners usually receive a certificate or some trophy-type trifle. At United HealthGroup in Minneapolis, they often get a dinner out or an American Express gift check, and their picture appears on the company’s Web site. The company takes the program a step further by giving monthly winners the chance to win big prizes at an annual drawing–this is where the trips and large cash prizes come in.

Dinners, tickets to sports events, and free lunch. Don’t think you have to take the whole department. One IT manager in the Southeast, who asked to remain anonymous, buys a pair of Atlanta Braves season tickets and gives them to hardworking employees as a sporadic bonus.

Personal pats on the back. These can range from saying “good job,” and really meaning it, to cards with all the reasons you value an employee noted.

Book clubs. At Fujitsu Network Communications in Pearl River, N.Y., one employee took it upon himself to institute a weekly book club meeting during lunch. The fiber optics communications systems company pays for pizza or sandwiches while employees discuss not the latest bestseller but technical books and journal articles.

Mentoring programs. These pair new employees with experienced IT folks who have been through similar circumstances. At Fujitsu, the emphasis is on employees coming from other countries. Carlson has the IT Foundation program for college hires and the Smarts program for anyone in the company’s IT department who is interested.

Keycode Browser: 5 Picks That Still Support It

Keycode Browser: 5 Picks That Still Support it KeyCode was deprecated due to inconsistencies




KeyCode was deprecated for its inconsistency across platforms.

Only a few browsers still support KeyCode. Also, an alternative for it is the ‘.key‘ property.

Browsers with developer features are the best browsers for KeyCode.

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Browsers differ from each other based on the kind of features they offer. These features determine what kind of services the browsers are available.

However, browsers can be categorized based on their uses. For instance, some browsers are best for developers, while some are good for regular daily use. Hence, we’ll discuss the Keycode browser support.

Nonetheless, after the deprecation of Keycode, it became unsupported on several platforms. However, there are ways you can still use it on some selected browsers. Unfortunately, not all browsers supported Keycode after it was deprecated.

There are some specific features that browsers are expected to have before being able to use KeyCode. Features like JavaScript accessibility, fast browsing speed, and security are essential for Keycode browser support.

Is KeyCode deprecated?

KeyCode was deprecated a while ago and thus, making the feature unavailable for mobile browsers. The reason for its deprecation was that it was inconsistent across platforms.

Also, the same implementation can be noticed on different operating systems or using different localizations.

Although KeyCode is deprecated, you can still use it on some browsers.

What are the best browsers that still support KeyCode?

Opera is the best browser for JavaScript. The Opera browser has many developer tools you can use for debugging and testing. However, it is one of the few browsers that still support KeyCode. Also, the browser has a customizable interface that allows you to adjust your screen sizes and resolutions.

Moreover, Opera has a repository where you can download and add plugins and extensions to your browser. Extensions help you improve your browser features and make it easier to work with them.

We recommend that users update their Opera browser to the latest version. It will fix any bug that may cause difficulties when using KeyCode on your browser.


Run JavaScript KeyCode with zero issues with this versatile and secure browser!

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Mozilla Firefox is one of the oldest browsers in the market. Over the years, it has undergone several improvements that help it perform better than other browsers.

Firefox has a developer’s version embedded with developers’ features like JavaScript inspection. However, despite KeyCode deprecation, Mozilla Firefox is one of the browsers supporting it.

However, not all versions of Mozilla Firefox support KeyCode. Hence, users need to download the Firefox Developers Edition to utilize KeyCode smoothly on their devices. The Firefox Developer’s edition is the most developed browser for KeyCode and similar JavaScript-related platforms.

⇒ Get Mozilla Firefox (Developer’s Edition)

Google Chrome is a Chromium-based browser. It is a reliable browser for Java-related platforms like KeyCode. There are several features that users can enjoy on the Chrome browser.

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Furthermore, Google Chrome is one of the fastest browsers in the market. It helps users load sites quickly without encountering any difficulties. Also, it comes with developer tools like HTML inspection and modifications for CSS or JavaScript on any website. Likewise, Chrome has inbuilt components like Adblocker, VPN service, and syncing features.

Nevertheless, KeyCode only supports the latest version of Google Chrome. It is because the older versions don’t have the features that can work with KeyCode.

⇒ Get Google Chrome

Brave is a secure browser. It is a new-generation browser with many features that make it better than some old browsers. However, it is the best browser for user privacy and security.

Also, developers have features that make the browser suitable for products like KeyCode. Hence, it is a browser that supports KeyCode.

Moreover, it is a browser built on Chromium code that helps with web development. Likewise, Brave browser features inspect elements that allow you to read and modify JavaScript code on your browser. The browser is strong enough to run and debug JavaScript components.

Furthermore, Brave browsers feature some inbuilt tools like HTML support, CSS and JavaScript coding, and lots more. Likewise, it has an inbuilt code editor that allows users to highlight syntax for more than 20 languages.

⇒ Get Brave Browser

However, Vivaldi helps you to debug JavaScript on your browser in real-time. Likewise, users can easily navigate the browser.

The browser has an inbuilt VPN that allows you to surf the internet without being detected.

⇒ Get Vivaldi

What can I use instead of KeyCode?

Since the KeyCode property is deprecated, the feature is no longer available. So, the need to get an alternative is essential.

The best alternative for KeyCode is the ‘.key‘ property. Using the ‘.key‘ property helps to set the value for the key pressed that can have single or multiple characters.

Furthermore, we recommend that users download the latest versions of the browsers discussed. It will help prevent issues like the KeyCode by working.

There are other difficulties users can encounter online. Hence, we recommend you check our article about the best browsers that natively support WebP.

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