Thursday, November 15, 2018

John Frazier, COO of Synoptek, Nominated to Join Technology Services Provider Advisory Board

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- John Frazier, Chief Operating Officer of Synoptek, a globally recognized managed IT services and cloud services provider, was nominated and has officially joined the Advisory Board of Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), the leading association for today's technology services organization. John now represents Managed Services on the Advisory Board of Technology Services Providers.

Synoptek provides - IT Management, Cloud Hosting, Managed Network Security, and IT Consulting services.

John carries over 27 years of experience in managed services, IT operations, security, and forensics between his positions held at Deloitte, JDA Software Group, Inc., Texas Instruments, and the United States Air Force. A few of his past accomplishments consist of building and delivering client differentiation, transforming software delivery of companies from on-premise into cloud-based, serving as a supervisory agent focused on cybercrime, and conducting world-class customer service to lead and influence his global teams. As COO of Synoptek, John is responsible for delivering the vast technology services to its large portfolio of diversified clients, which include supporting large customer sales, enhancing routine operations and evolving operational process, architecture and tools.

The Technology Services Industry Association is a research and advisory firm that aims to help technology companies grow strategically through leveraged services. The firm's profitable growth-based consulting is rooted in its data-driven insight and its community of over 35,000 technology service leaders.

Jeff Connolly, co-chair of the Technology Services Provider Advisory Board and Senior Director of TSIA's Managed Services practice, says, "John brings decades of senior-level technology services expertise to the table and we are excited to have him join our board."

As part of the TSIA Advisory Board, John is responsible for:

  • Counseling TSIA Research Executives by providing feedback and guidance on studies and services, conference content and speakers, and all other programs
  • Enhancing TSIA research initiatives and programs by participating in benchmarking procedures and serving on judging panels for industry awards and certifications
  • Acting as a community leader by advocating technology best practices

Synoptek, a global systems integrator and full-service IT consulting and management firm, is rapidly expanding in the managed service provider space. Its recent acquisition of Indusa broadens the firm's AI, BI and professional services reach to complete the comprehensive services approach and guide its clients' navigation of digital transformation and challenges from the world's most competitive and disruptive technologies and services.

"Being asked by the TSIA to serve on the Advisory Board was a valuable opportunity for me to both incorporate the strong thought leadership we believe in here at Synoptek and help shape industry thinking, direction, and movement," John Frazier adds. "My new role with TSIA will also provide me with the advantage of leveraging its research-based insight to improve the strategic, operational and financial performance of Synoptek."

About Synoptek

Synoptek provides information technology management services, consulting and IT leadership to organizations worldwide. The firm manages and operates IT infrastructure with 24/7 operations, automated toolsets, and highly skilled technologists. Synoptek has been repeatedly recognized as one of the Top 100 Cloud Services Providers by Talkin' Cloud and one of the Top Managed Services Providers by MSPMentor, among other honors from Inc. Magazine, Deloitte and more. For more information, contact Synoptek.

Media Contact

Tiffany Yang, Marketing: tyang@synoptek.com

 

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/john-frazier-coo-of-synoptek-nominated-to-join-technology-services-provider-advisory-board-300750691.html

SOURCE Synoptek



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UWF partners with IHMC to develop first intelligent systems and robotics Ph.D. in Florida

The University of West Florida has partnered with the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition located in downtown Pensacola to develop a doctoral program in intelligent systems and robotics. The program will be the first of its kind in Florida and one of only a few in the nation.

“We are very excited about this new doctoral degree program,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The program brings together the strengths of UWF engineering and computer science programs with the expertise of a world-class research center, IHMC. It’s a game changer.”

The new doctoral program will begin Fall 2019 and aligns with the University’s strategic vision for research that impacts Northwest Florida’s economic development and technology enterprise. It will serve the manufacturing, health care, defense and other high-tech industries, providing critical support to high-demand career fields.

“I’ve envisioned a program like this for a long time,” said Ken Ford, director and co-founder of IHMC. “It will attract top young talent from the world. This is such a great move not only for UWF and IHMC, but also for Pensacola and the state.”

According to a 2012 study by the National Robotics Initiative, robotics technology holds the potential to transform the future of the U.S. and is expected to become as ubiquitous over the next decades as computer technology is today. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 19 percent growth rate for computer and information technology research scientists over the next 10 years.

“The national demand for experts in intelligent systems and robotics is large, yet universities and technology firms such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon struggle to find people with the expertise and skills their organizations need,” said Dr. Mohamed Khabou, interim program director. “In a Spring 2018 survey of UWF engineering and computer science students, 66 percent of the 149 respondents indicated their interest in this new program.”

The program will attract talented students from around the world, as it will be one of only a few in the nation, joining institutions like Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Institute of Technology.

“This program sets a precedent as the first of its kind in the state,” said Dr. Jaromy Kuhl, interim dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “The groundbreaking program will focus solely on research and build upon our excellent computer science and engineering programs. Students will flourish by learning from award-winning IHMC scientists, and graduates will be highly competitive in a job market with a growing demand for experts in intelligent systems and robotics. UWF and IHMC will educate the next generation of researchers to develop innovative technology that combines human and machine elements.

The Doctorate in Intelligent Systems and Robotics will train the next generation of professionals who will develop technologies combining human and machine elements through hands-on, leading-edge research – leveraging the proximity and world-class talent at UWF and IHMC.

A not-for-profit research institute of the State University System, IHMC is a pioneer of technologies aimed at extending human capabilities through a unique approach combining computer science, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, engineering, medical sciences and related disciplines.

“UWF is blessed to have such a high-caliber institute nearby, and establishing an official partnership with them to help launch this new Ph.D. program is a win-win for both institutions,” Khabou said.

To learn more about the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at UWF, please visit uwf.edu/hmcse. For additional information about IHMC, please visit www.ihmc.us.



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Office of Information Technology

Join the Office of Information Technology for the grand opening of the Digital Experience Lab (DEx Lab).

Immerse yourself in the latest virtual reality technology and experiment with other innovative learning tools in the Office of Information Technology’s newest collaborative space - the Digital Experience (DEx) Lab. Designed to offer students, faculty, and staff a modernized and engaging learning and teaching experience, the DEx lab will officially open to the UTSA community on Wednesday, Nov. 28th

Join us for light refreshments and demos of several of the technologies that are available to enhance your digital teaching and learning experience at UTSA. 



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Departments Need to Improve Chief Information Officers' Review and Approval of IT Budgets

What GAO Found

The departments GAO reviewed—the Departments of Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), and the Treasury (Treasury)—took steps to establish policies and procedures that align with eight selected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements intended to implement information technology (IT) acquisition reform legislation (commonly referred to as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA) and to provide the chief information officer (CIO) visibility into and oversight over the IT budget. For example, of the eight OMB requirements, all four departments had established policies and procedures related to the level of detail with which IT resources are to be described in order to inform the CIO during the planning and budgeting processes. Agencies varied, however, as to how fully they had established policies and procedures related to some other OMB requirements, and none of the four departments had yet established procedures for ensuring that the CIO had reviewed whether the IT portfolio includes appropriate estimates of all IT resources included in the budget request. (See table.)

Evaluation of Selected Departments' Policies and Procedures for Key Information Technology (IT) Budgeting Requirements

Selected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirement

DOE

HHS

DOJ

Treasury

1. Establish the level of detail with which IT resources are to be described in order to inform the Chief Information Officer (CIO) during the planning and budgeting processes.

2. Establish agency-wide policy for the level of detail with which planned expenditures for all transactions that include IT resources are to be reported to the CIO.

3. Include the CIO in the planning and budgeting stages for programs that are supported with IT resources.

4. Include the CIO as a member of governance boards that inform decisions regarding all IT resources, including component-level governance boards.

5. Document the processes by which program leadership works with the CIO to plan an overall portfolio of IT resources.

6. Ensure the CIO has reviewed and approved the major IT investments portion of the budget request.

7. Ensure the CIO has reviewed IT resources that are to support major program objectives and significant increases and decreases in IT resources.

8. Ensure the CIO has reviewed whether the IT portfolio includes appropriate estimates of all IT resources included in the budget request.

●= The department provided documentation that satisfied all of the OMB requirement. ◑= The department provided documentation that satisfied most, but not all of the OMB requirement. ○= The department could not provide documentation that satisfied any of the OMB requirement.

Departments: DOE = Department of Energy, HHS = Department of Health and Human Services, DOJ = Department of Justice, Treasury = Department of the Treasury

Source: GAO analysis of department data. | GAO-19-49

Where the departments had not fully established policies and procedures, it was due, in part, to having not addressed in their FITARA implementation and delegation plans how they intended to implement the OMB requirements. Until departments develop comprehensive policies and procedures that address IT budgeting requirements established by OMB, they risk inconsistently applying requirements that are intended to facilitate the CIO's oversight and approval of the IT budget.

Departments varied in the extent to which they could demonstrate implementation of key IT budgeting requirements when developing fiscal year 2017 funding requests for sampled investments. Specifically, while DOJ demonstrated that it had fully implemented the selected requirements for the majority of the investments GAO sampled, HHS and Treasury partially demonstrated implementation for a majority of the sampled investments, and DOE could not demonstrate implementation for the majority of the sampled investments. For example, DOE, HHS, and Treasury were not able to fully show that their CIOs had reviewed whether estimates of IT resources included in the budget request were appropriate for two of their respective departments' largest fiscal year 2017 IT investments. Departments often could not demonstrate that they had implemented selected IT budgeting requirements at the investment level because they had not established comprehensive policies and procedures that required them to do so. As a result, departments could not show that CIOs were sufficiently involved in planning fiscal year 2017 IT expenditures at the individual investment level.

All four selected departments lacked quality assurance processes for ensuring their IT budgets were informed by reliable cost information. Specifically, the selected departments did not have IT capital planning processes for (1) ensuring government labor costs have been accurately reported, (2) aligning contract costs with IT investments, and (3) utilizing budget object class data to capture all IT programs. This resulted in billions of dollars in requested IT expenditures without departments having comprehensive information to support those requests, and nearly $4.6 billion in IT contract spending that was not explicitly aligned with investments in selected departments' IT portfolios. This was due to a lack of processes for periodically reviewing data quality and estimation methods for government labor estimates, as well as a lack of mechanisms to cross-walk IT spending data in their procurement and accounting systems with investment data in their IT portfolio management systems. In August 2017, OMB developed a new approach of using a standard set of categories to group IT spending that, if properly implemented, has the potential to provide departments and CIOs enhanced visibility into IT costs across the portfolio. Nevertheless, until departments establish processes for assessing or otherwise ensuring the quality of relevant IT cost data used to inform their IT budgets, department CIOs will have less assurance that their budget includes appropriate and comprehensive estimates of IT resources.

Why GAO Did This Study

In December 2014, Congress enacted FITARA, which was intended to improve covered agencies' acquisitions of IT. FITARA also provided an opportunity to strengthen the authority of CIOs to provide needed direction and oversight of agencies' IT budgets.

GAO was asked to review whether CIOs' IT budgeting practices are consistent with FITARA and OMB's implementing guidance. This report addresses the extent to which selected federal agencies (1) established policies and procedures that address IT budgeting requirements, (2) could demonstrate that they had developed fiscal year 2017 IT budgets for sampled investments consistent with FITARA and OMB guidance, and (3) implemented processes to ensure that annual IT budgets are informed by reliable cost information.

GAO selected four departments to review. These departments had the two highest and the two lowest average initial selfassessments scores of compliance with OMB's FITARA guidance, as well as a fiscal year 2017 IT budget of at least $1 billion. Within each of the departments, GAO also selected the component agencies with the largest fiscal year 2017 IT budget. For each selected department and component agency, GAO reviewed relevant IT budget policies and procedures, analyzed a sample of major and non-major investment proposals against key OMB requirements, and determined whether selected departments captured government labor costs, among other things.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making 43 recommendations to the eight selected departments and component agencies to address gaps in their IT budgeting policies and procedures, demonstrate implementation of OMB requirements, and establish procedures to ensure IT budgets are informed by reliable cost information. HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service agreed with our recommendations. DOE partially agreed with one recommendation and agreed with the other recommendations made to it, as well as with the recommendations made to its component agency—the National Nuclear Security Administration. Treasury neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendations.

For more information, contact Carol C. Harris at (202) 512-4456 or harriscc@gao.gov.



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Dent Wizard Names New Vice President of Information Technology

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center recognizes health information technology staff

OGDENSBURG -- Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center recently celebrated National Health Information Week by recognizing the hospital’s health information technology staff.

Healthcare information technology has become increasingly advanced with its ever-growing range of capabilities, responsible for collecting, managing, and integrating the large volume of digital clinical, financial, and operational information generated daily, with the aim of enhancing safety, effectiveness, and efficiency.

Shown in the photo are some of CHMC’s information technology team: seated in front, Jim Flood and Mark Hall; standing in back, Greg Robb, Ben Smith, Patrick Nelson, Doug Hadlock, Aaron Langley, Ben Loveless, Kim Colburn, Chris Lowery, Janice Rogers, and Margaret Smith.



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BRIEF-Alibaba Health Information Technology Announces Strategic Cooperation Agreement With Alipay

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd :

* ANNOUNCES ENTRY INTO STRATEGIC COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH ALIPAY

* UNDER AGREEMENT, ALIBABA HEALTH TO ESTABLISH AND OPERATE A HEALTHCARE CHANNEL ON ALIPAY'S USER END Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:



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Starcom Information Technology Ltd - Announcement under Regulation 30 (LODR)-Newspaper Publication

In terms of Regulation 47 of the SEBI (Listing Obligations And Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015 the Company has published Extract of statement of Un- Audited Financial results for the quarter & half Year ended September 30, 2018, which have been considered, approved & taken on records by the Board Of Directors, at their meeting held on Wednesday, November 14, 2018,

The said financial results have been published in The Financial Express edition dated 15th November 2018 & in Sanjevani (Kannada newspaper) edition dated 15th November 2018.

Further, in pursuance of Regulation 30(4) read with Schedule III (A) (12) please find below enclosed copy of Newspaper articles as published in abovementioned newspapers.

Kindly take the same on your record.

Pdf Link: Starcom Information Technology Ltd - Announcement under Regulation 30 (LODR)-Newspaper Publication

Source : BSE - www.bseindia.com



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Huawei wins top prize at the King Khalid awards

Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices, has won the first prize of the prestigious King Khalid Responsible Competitiveness Award. 

The award was presented at the annual award gala which took place on November 12 at the Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh. 

Huawei was honoured for its excellent sustainability practices and responsible competitiveness leadership, as well as its exceptional management capabilities and innovative social and environmental initiatives. 

Launched in 2008, the King Khalid Responsible Competitiveness Award is the first and only award focused on responsible competitiveness and corporate responsibility in Saudi Arabia, and Huawei is the first ICT company to win first place in the award’s history. 

As digital transformation sweeps across the globe, ICT technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, Cloud and more will unlock new values of growth and innovation and uplift societies and organizations to great heights of prosperity. In this context, the King Khalid Responsible Competitiveness Award recognised Huawei for its transformative impact in driving forward the kingdom’s ICT sector as a whole in line with the government’s digitization goals, National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, Huawei said.

In particular, Huawei was honoured for deploying its most advanced technologies, high quality product and secured networks in the kingdom, empowering local partners, taking the ICT talent pool to the next stage of creativity and innovation, and building the ICT ecosystem to achieve the digital kingdom economy targets.

Accepting the award, Charles Yang, president of Huawei Middle East, stated: “We are deeply humbled to receive such recognition from Saudi Arabia’s leadership. In the kingdom, Huawei is determined to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. The improvement is endless on the road to providing customers with high-quality products and services. Today's award is a milestone for us to continue to surpass ourselves. We will continue to play an active role in driving Saudi Arabia’s ICT sector development and grow together with our local partners, openly collaborating to build an even deeper pool of ICT talent empowered to enable the industry digital transformation.”

Huawei established its subsidiary in the kingdom in 2002. In the past 17 years, under the core values of customer-centricity, Huawei has maintained the quality goal of "becoming a high-quality synonym for ICT industry" and continues to bring innovative information and communication technology (ICT) solutions and products to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, actively promote the development of the Saudi ICT industry and the national digital transformation, develop Saudi ICT talents, and support the goals  of Saudi National Transformation Plan 2020 and 2030 vision. – TradeArabia News Service 



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Millennials + ICT = an entrepreneurial match

Born between the early 1980s and 2000s, millennials are becoming a larger and more important part of South Africa’s population. However, the prevailing tough economic climate has taken its toll on the country’s millennials, with youth unemployment reaching 52.40% in the first quarter of 2018.

With more than half of the country’s youth unemployed, drastic steps need to be taken to remedy this serious issue facing local millennials and the country as a whole.

This is according to Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust, who believes that entrepreneurship, especially in the ICT industry, is vital. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has earmarked entrepreneurship as a possible solution to help create much needed jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“South Africa needs successful entrepreneurs! We need to stimulate both economic growth and job creation in the country. The only way we can do this is by creating successful entrepreneurs and start-ups that can grow into thriving businesses,” she explains.

According to Michigan Scouting, millennials have the following unique characteristics: digital savviness; they are a social generation; they collaborate and cooperate; and they are looking for adventure. Jooste believes that these characteristics make millennials perfectly suited for a career as an ICT entrepreneur.

“Millennial entrepreneurs have an opportunity to flourish by identifying with innovative ideas,” she says. “They have the technological edge on other generations, making them more than capable of utilising these unique characteristics to their advantage and become successful entrepreneurs.”

However, is there a sustainable future for entrepreneurs in the South African ICT industry? “There will always be an untapped market for ICT entrepreneurs to flourish and create new and innovative ways to connect these individuals,” Jooste says.

“Also, because of constant technological development, it is time for young entrepreneurs to spread their wings and become pioneers on the forefront of the local and international ICT industry. The future is always bright.”



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Senior Teaching Fellow in Information Systems/Information and Communication Technology

Aston Business School

Location:     Aston University Main Campus
Salary:     £50,132 to £58,089 per annum
Grade:     Grade 10
Contract Type:     Continuing
Basis:     Full Time
Closing Date:     23.59 hours GMT on Thursday 13 December 2018
Interview Date:     To be confirmed
Reference:     R180531

Aston Business School is a Triple Accredited University (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA) and one of the leading Universities in the UK for academic research (in the recent REF we received 100% for Research Impact), excellent teaching (awarded Gold rating in the 2016/17 TEF) and business engagement. We are only one of three UK institutions with the Small Business Charter Gold Award. The University actively supports and finances academic spin-offs. The Operations and Information Management Department is organized in five groups – Systems Modelling and Simulation, Business Analytics, Operations Management, Global ICT Management and the Advanced Services Group - conducting research in various aspects of Operations, Analytics and IS/ICT. There is a thriving research culture in the Department, which has a strong reputation for being rigorous and relevant. We support participation in international conferences and supervision of PhDs via the Dean’s scholarships, and actively support business engagement/Executive Education opportunities.

As part of our growth strategy, we are seeking an inspirational and highly motivated individual to contribute to the development of the Department’s, teaching, research, PhD/DBA supervision, and enterprise activities. We welcome discussions with prospective candidates with interests in the areas of applications development, digital platforms & innovation, IT outsourcing, robotic process automation & cognitive automation, Internet-of-things, cyber security, e-business, artificial intelligence and machine learning, IT management and strategy, databases and bid data, software development, and virtual reality. We are keen to discuss new ideas in order to strengthen our teaching, research profile and business support provision.  

You will have a good first degree or equivalent job experience in a relevant subject discipline. Ideally you will also have a higher relevant degree.

You should have experience of teaching at different levels – ideally at under-graduate and at post-graduate levels and have potential to deliver executive education courses. You should be able to demonstrate effective and innovative teaching practices and a willingness to participate in new the design of new modules and courses. Further, you should demonstrate a passion for their subject and be able to communicate that passion effectively to the academic, business and policy-making communities. You should be at least a fellow of HEA (or equivalent). Membership of learned organization and possession of entrepreneurial skills are highly desirable.



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C-V2X Module Monitors The Road With Cellular Technology

Senior Teaching Fellow in Information Systems/Information and Communication Technology

Aston Business School

Location:     Aston University Main Campus
Salary:     £50,132 to £58,089 per annum
Grade:     Grade 10
Contract Type:     Continuing
Basis:     Full Time
Closing Date:     23.59 hours GMT on Thursday 13 December 2018
Interview Date:     To be confirmed
Reference:     R180531

Aston Business School is a Triple Accredited University (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA) and one of the leading Universities in the UK for academic research (in the recent REF we received 100% for Research Impact), excellent teaching (awarded Gold rating in the 2016/17 TEF) and business engagement. We are only one of three UK institutions with the Small Business Charter Gold Award. The University actively supports and finances academic spin-offs. The Operations and Information Management Department is organized in five groups – Systems Modelling and Simulation, Business Analytics, Operations Management, Global ICT Management and the Advanced Services Group - conducting research in various aspects of Operations, Analytics and IS/ICT. There is a thriving research culture in the Department, which has a strong reputation for being rigorous and relevant. We support participation in international conferences and supervision of PhDs via the Dean’s scholarships, and actively support business engagement/Executive Education opportunities.

As part of our growth strategy, we are seeking an inspirational and highly motivated individual to contribute to the development of the Department’s, teaching, research, PhD/DBA supervision, and enterprise activities. We welcome discussions with prospective candidates with interests in the areas of applications development, digital platforms & innovation, IT outsourcing, robotic process automation & cognitive automation, Internet-of-things, cyber security, e-business, artificial intelligence and machine learning, IT management and strategy, databases and bid data, software development, and virtual reality. We are keen to discuss new ideas in order to strengthen our teaching, research profile and business support provision.  

You will have a good first degree or equivalent job experience in a relevant subject discipline. Ideally you will also have a higher relevant degree.

You should have experience of teaching at different levels – ideally at under-graduate and at post-graduate levels and have potential to deliver executive education courses. You should be able to demonstrate effective and innovative teaching practices and a willingness to participate in new the design of new modules and courses. Further, you should demonstrate a passion for their subject and be able to communicate that passion effectively to the academic, business and policy-making communities. You should be at least a fellow of HEA (or equivalent). Membership of learned organization and possession of entrepreneurial skills are highly desirable.



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IT boffins

BANKSETA in partnership with Masithuthuke Holdings invites applicants and unemployed IT graduates in the Western Cape to participate and apply for the 2019 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) work readiness programme.

The programme is designed to address ICT skills shortages and prepare unemployed graduates for a career in the banking and micro finance sector.

In September 2018, a young and aspiring businessman from Gugulethu, Liyanda Handula, who is now based in Gauteng and is the chairperson of Masithuthuke, pledged R50, 000 to kick-start a bursary fund for the Class of 2018 Matriculants as part of the Gugulethu 60th anniversary celebrations.

The fund will ensure that previously disadvantaged communities and youth, benefits from this financial support, to chart a path in the journey of their career at any tertiary institution in 2019.

Handula is now extending the BANKSETA ICT Work Readiness opportunity to the Western Cape to allow the youth to participate and be empowered to go into the job market with some work experience.

“We encourage youth to come and earn while they learn by participating in a 10-month work readiness programme that starts in February 2019,” said Handula.

“The duration is 4 months in training for Systems Support and 6 months’ workplace experience linked to the technical skills programme with a monthly stipend of R5, 500.00.”

Who should apply?

•Applicants that are South African Citizens, who are IT graduates, computer literate and unemployed

•Applicants that have successfully completed one of the following qualifications obtained within South Africa

Matric

BSc Computer Science

BComm Informatics

National Diploma Information Systems NQF Level 6 or NQF Level 7

National Diploma Information Technology NQF Level 6 or NQF Level 7

Masithuthuke Holdings is an accredited training provider and project Management Company with a footprint in the Western Cape, Kwa Zulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Visit: https://ift.tt/2PUDBpZ

Email: ictprogram2019@masithuthukeholdings.co.za or call Trust Kakaza at 087 701 3422/20.



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Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Electronic Engineering

Research Career Framework

As part of this role the researcher will be required to participate in the DCU Research Career Framework http://www.dcu.ie/hr/ResearchersFramework/index.shtml. This framework is designed to provide significant professional development opportunities to Researchers and offer the best opportunities in terms of a wider career path.

Background

Dublin City University (DCU) is one of the largest universities in Ireland. Its student population is approximately 13,000, including 500 research postgraduates and over 1,800 taught postgraduate students, plus around 3,000 distance education students. DCU is a research-led university which has developed its own research specialists, established internationally recognized centres of excellence that have substantive collaborative links with leading universities and industrial partners.

The Performance Engineering Laboratory (PEL) at DCU is a research group which aims at developing performance-based solutions for next generation information and communication technology (ICT) systems. The research carried out in this lab combines engineering research in the areas of Mobile and Wireless Communications, Quality-aware Multimedia Delivery, Adaptive E-learning and Energy-aware Networking. These all reflect the synergy between electronics, informatics and software engineering in the development of ICT in the 21st century. Researchers from different cultural backgrounds, including: Ireland, Romania, China, Brazil and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are working together and sharing their valuable expertise with each other and industry partners. PEL at DCU has various collaborations with major multinational companies such as Ericsson, IBM, Microsoft, Samsung, and Disney Research and with Irish SMEs such as Citadel 100, Everseen, Openmind Networks and Wowfli. The alumnus of this lab have top research, development or management positions worldwide including Ireland, UK, Korea, China, India and Vietnam.

The Project

NEWTON is a large scale European-funded international project which involves 14 partners from countries. NEWTON will develop, integrate and disseminate innovative technology-enhanced learning (TEL) methods and tools, to create new or inter-connect existing state-of-the art teaching labs and to build a pan-European learning network platform that supports fast dissemination of learning content to a wide audience in a ubiquitous manner. NEWTON focuses on employing novel technologies in order to increase learner quality of experience, improve learning process and increase learning outcome. The NEWTON project goals are to:

  • Develop and deploy a set of new TEL mechanisms involving multi-modal and multi-sensorial media distribution
  • Develop, integrate, deploy and disseminate state of the art technology-enhanced teaching methodologies including augmented reality, gamification and self-directed learning addressed to users from secondary and vocational schools, third level and further education, including students with physical disabilities 
  • Build a large platform that links all stakeholders in education, enables content reuse, supports generation of new content, increases content exchange in diverse forms, develops and disseminates new teaching scenarios, and encourages new innovative businesses
  • Perform personalisation and adaptation for content, delivery and presentation in order to increase learner quality of experience and to improve learning process
  • Validate the platform impact and the effectiveness of the teaching scenarios in terms of user satisfaction, improvement of the learning and teaching experience, etc. and the underlying technology through an European-wide real-life pilot

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

The primary focus of the Postdoctoral Researcher (PDR) will be performing research on the EU-funded project NEWTON; however PDR’s activity will be broader and the PDR is expected to:

  • Conduct a specified programme of research under the supervision and direction of the Principal Investigator
  • Engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities as required by the Principal Investigator, School or University in order to develop research skills and competencies
  • Gain experience and contribute to grant writing with the support of and under the supervision of the Principal Investigator
  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research in which they are engaged, as directed by, with the support of and under the supervision of the Principal Investigator.
  • Acquire generic and transferable skills (including project management, business skills and postgraduate mentoring/supervision)
  • Engage in the wider research and scholarly activities of the research group, School or University
  • Interact closely with postgraduate research students associated with the same research group and possibly have an agreed role in supporting these students in their day to day research in conjunction with an academic supervisor
  • Take leadership and contribute to generation of papers, reports and funding proposals.
  • Actively publish research findings in high impact journals and at key conferences as part of the research group effort to disseminate research outputs
  • Carry out administrative work to support the programme of research where required, including regular funding agency reports and internal reports etc…
  • Carry out additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post
  • Contribute to costing research grant proposals and assist in the financial m anagement of a research project
  • Support collaboration with industry in areas relevant to the research group
  • Liaise with different DCU units such as STEP, RIS, Finance, Registry in aspects related to the research activities performed
  • Contribute to broader outreach and engagement activities such as organising technical meetings, outreach to schools and other interested parties etc…

Criteria

  • PhD qualification normally required, preferably in a computer networks-related discipline
  • Appropriate technical competence and research experience in areas related to computer networks, such as:
    • Quality-oriented network delivery of content o Protocols at different network layers
    • Network selection and handover o Adaptive multimedia delivery
    • Multi-sensorial media delivery o Energy-aware networking
    • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Performance of wireless networking
  • User profile-based personalisation of services o Network modelling and simulation
    • Network system prototyping
    • Subjective testing
  • Evidence of accomplishment in research and development in the area of computer networks
  • A capability of working within a project team to achieve group-oriented results in parallel to individual productivity and top quality publications
  • Good communication, organisation and interpersonal skills are required
  • Experience in presentations to international conferences are preferable
  • A commitment to gaining practical experience working on a research project

Salary Scales:

*Postdoctoral Researcher:

€37,223 - €48,205 per annum

Appointments will be commensurate with qualifications and experience, and will be made on the appropriate point of the salary scales, in line with current Government pay policy

Closing Date:         27th November 2018

Candidates will be assessed on the following competencies:

Discipline knowledge and Research skills – Demonstrates knowledge of a research discipline and the ability to conduct a specific programme of research within that discipline.

Understanding the Research Environment – Demonstrates an awareness of the research environment (for example funding bodies) and the ability to contribute to grant applications.

Communicating Research Demonstrates the ability to communicate their research with their peers and the wider research community (for example presenting at conferences and publishing research in relevant journals) and the potential to teach and tutor students.

Managing & Leadership skills - Demonstrates the potential to manage a research project including the supervision of undergraduate/postgraduate students.

Informal Enquiries to:

Dr. Gabriel-Miro Muntean, School of Electronic Engineering, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland

E-mail: gabriel.muntean@dcu.ie Tel: +353 (0)1 700 7648

Please do not send applications to this email address, instead apply as described below.

Application Procedure:

Application forms are available from the DCU Current Vacancies (Open Competitions) website at http://www4.dcu.ie/hr/vacancies/current.shtml and also from the Human Resources Department, Dublin City University, Dublin 9. Tel: +353 (0)1 700 5149.

Please clearly state the role that you are applying for in your application and email subject line: Job Ref #1047 : Postdoctoral Researcher

Applications should be submitted by email to hr.applications@dcu.ie or by Fax: +353 (0) 1 7005500 or by post to the Human Resources Department, Dublin City University, Dublin 9.

Dublin City University is an equal opportunities employer



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Bangladesh court bails jailed photographer who was critical of government

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

UWF partners with IHMC to develop first intelligent systems and robotics Ph.D. in Florida

The University of West Florida has partnered with the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition located in downtown Pensacola to develop a doctoral program in intelligent systems and robotics. The program will be the first of its kind in Florida and one of only a few in the nation.

“We are very excited about this new doctoral degree program,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The program brings together the strengths of UWF engineering and computer science programs with the expertise of a world-class research center, IHMC. It’s a game changer.”

The new doctoral program will begin Fall 2019 and aligns with the University’s strategic vision for research that impacts Northwest Florida’s economic development and technology enterprise. It will serve the manufacturing, health care, defense and other high-tech industries, providing critical support to high-demand career fields.

“I’ve envisioned a program like this for a long time,” said Ken Ford, director and co-founder of IHMC. “It will attract top young talent from the world. This is such a great move not only for UWF and IHMC, but also for Pensacola and the state.”

According to a 2012 study by the National Robotics Initiative, robotics technology holds the potential to transform the future of the U.S. and is expected to become as ubiquitous over the next decades as computer technology is today. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 19 percent growth rate for computer and information technology research scientists over the next 10 years.

“The national demand for experts in intelligent systems and robotics is large, yet universities and technology firms such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon struggle to find people with the expertise and skills their organizations need,” said Dr. Mohamed Khabou, interim program director. “In a Spring 2018 survey of UWF engineering and computer science students, 66 percent of the 149 respondents indicated their interest in this new program.”

The program will attract talented students from around the world, as it will be one of only a few in the nation, joining institutions like Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Institute of Technology.

“This program sets a precedent as the first of its kind in the state,” said Dr. Jaromy Kuhl, interim dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “The groundbreaking program will focus solely on research and build upon our excellent computer science and engineering programs. Students will flourish by learning from award-winning IHMC scientists, and graduates will be highly competitive in a job market with a growing demand for experts in intelligent systems and robotics. UWF and IHMC will educate the next generation of researchers to develop innovative technology that combines human and machine elements.

The Doctorate in Intelligent Systems and Robotics will train the next generation of professionals who will develop technologies combining human and machine elements through hands-on, leading-edge research – leveraging the proximity and world-class talent at UWF and IHMC.

A not-for-profit research institute of the State University System, IHMC is a pioneer of technologies aimed at extending human capabilities through a unique approach combining computer science, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, engineering, medical sciences and related disciplines.

“UWF is blessed to have such a high-caliber institute nearby, and establishing an official partnership with them to help launch this new Ph.D. program is a win-win for both institutions,” Khabou said.

To learn more about the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at UWF, please visit uwf.edu/hmcse. For additional information about IHMC, please visit www.ihmc.us.



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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dominion Payroll and Dixon Hughes Goodman honored by ChamberRVA with Impact Awards

Dominion Payroll and Dixon Hughes Goodman were recognized for making an impact on the local economy, the community and their employees.

The two companies received Impact Awards, sponsored by ChamberRVA, at the chamber’s annual awards ceremony held Tuesday evening at the Richmond Marriott hotel. About 600 people attended.

The chamber has recognized businesses with Impact Awards since 1988.

The winner in the small-business category was Dominion Payroll, the Richmond-based payroll and workforce management firm.

In the large-business category, the winner was Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, a Charlotte, N.C.-based accounting and professional services firm with offices in 13 states including two offices in the Richmond area.

A panel of volunteer judges chose the winners of the awards.

“It really comes down to how well they demonstrate how they care about the community and how they care about their employees and their business growth,” said Kim Scheeler, president and CEO of ChamberRVA.

“This year’s Impact honorees all go above and beyond when it comes to supporting their employees, giving back to the community and strengthening our regional economy. Because of them, we’re making greater Richmond a better place for everyone,” said Pat Gottschalk, partner at Williams Mullen and chair of the ChamberRVA board.

Dominion Payroll has been a finalist for a couple of years in the past.

The company, which moved its headquarters to Scott’s Addition in 2017, has grown rapidly in the past couple of years. It now has branch offices in Dallas; Charlotte; Tampa, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Jackson, Miss.

Dominion Payroll, founded in 2002, has more than 2,500 clients nationwide and processes payroll for more than 100,000 people nationwide every month, many of those in the Richmond region.

The finalists in the small business category were Compare.com, the Henrico-based insurance price-comparison website; and Dodson Property Management, a residential and commercial property management firm in Richmond.

Dixon Hughes Goodman, branded as DHG, also has been a finalist in the past.

One of the nation’s top 20 accounting firms, it offers traditional audit, accounting and tax services as well as transaction advisory, international tax advisory, business valuation, IT risk assessments, loan staffing and tax incentive reviews.

In late 2015, the firm moved from the Innsbrook Corporate Center in western Henrico County to the James Center in downtown Richmond.

The finalists in the large company category were CapTech, the Henrico-based information technology management consulting company; and Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia, a nonprofit that sells donated goods through stores and reinvests the revenue in programs that prepare and support job seekers with disabilities, language barriers or socio-economic disadvantages.



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Harness technology to drive innovation, forum hears

Implementing effective technology, communication and design strategies will drive the future of aged care, a panel of industry experts told a forum in Sydney earlier week.

With the rapidly changing landscape, technology must be aligned to suit the needs of aged care residents and health system users, while also driving innovation and improving affordability, the forum heard.

Cloud-based communication organisation 8×8 vice president of Asia Pacific Brendan Maree said improved communication technologies can improve customer service outcomes in the aged care and health sectors.

“Modern unified communications incorporating telephony, conferencing, collaboration, instant messaging, and contact centre functionality can empower staff with the right tools to enable them to provide the best patient experience possible any time and any place,” Mr Maree said.

Unified communication technology can also create streamlined workflow processes for health professionals and specialists to deliver care in any location, he said.

Aged care providers are moving towards the implementation of cloud-based data systems to cope with rapid changes in the sector, the forum heard.

International software vendor Board general manager Mark Sands said cloud-based systems could improve efficiency for providers with regard to regulatory compliance and financing.

“Cloud offers a cost-effective way to establish a more automated way to do things,” Mr Sands said.

Potential and limitations of technology

Collard Maxwell Architects managing director Charles Fortin said technology will continue to drive the design of aged care facilities.

“We are still experiencing the early days of the technology revolution, and there will be great opportunities here in Australia to design new types of hospitals and aged care facilities that can reap the advantage of applying new technology for resident and patient care,” Mr Fortin said.

The forum also considered the limitations of technology.

Katrin Klinger

Collard Maxwell Architects senior associate Katrin Klinger said there was still a fear of technology in the sector, including concerns about the loss of the “human touch” if robotic activity replaced personal interaction.

“Sometimes it is about the human touch, which is expressed by a series of extra niceties, such as a coffee or a newspaper,” Ms Klinger said.

Providing sincerity and being able to get to know and understand residents are among the areas humans can better care for people compared to artificial intelligence, the forum heard.

CQR Consulting chief technology officer Phil Kernick said despite the benefits of technology, security remained an issue.

“We spend a lot of money on patient care, but no backend systems,” Mr Kernick said.

“We need to avoid a tipping point where we can’t manage the complex technology in a modern hospital or aged care facility.”

Comment below to have your say on this story

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Order a coffee and pay, with a tap on the dash

The car of the future will have powerful communication technology on board.

As self-driving cars pull onto the nation's roads, these advanced abilities will help manage the traffic mix of tomorrow, but they may also change the way we communicate while on the go. Automakers are betting that if our cars have the technological muscle to keep us connected, we will park our phones when we get in and communicate from the dashboard.

A side benefit of all this technology is that it will also usher in a range of conveniences. These may include offering drivers options for fuel, food and lodging, perhaps with a bit of a hard sell thrown in. For owners of some General Motors vehicles, a taste of this future is already here.

Since late last year, GM has equipped about 3 million cars with an in-dash system it calls Marketplace. The free-to-use system communicates directly with merchants, enabling a driver or passengers to order and pay for a variety of products and services without a cellphone.

Vendors include McDonald's, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Dunkin' Donuts, Applebee's, Delivery.com, IHOP, Parkopedia, Priceline, Wingstop, TGI Fridays, Office Depot and Yelp (for restaurant reservations).

Many owners of cars equipped with Marketplace probably don't even know it's available. Only about 75,000 people have signed on, and it's not mentioned in any car manuals. GM wanted to allow time for refinement and for lining up more merchants, but is now starting to promote the system to consumers.

Marketplace interacts with GM's infotainment system and establishes a dialogue with the car owner. For example, if the car is running low on fuel, Marketplace can provide directions to the nearest gas station. The system allows drivers to sign up for the vendor's reward program and can point the way to discounted gas. There is no need to swipe a credit card at the pump, because Marketplace handles the transaction and turns on the pump.

Marketplace communicates by means of a 4GLT modem that can connect to a cellular network or Wi-Fi. GM was well situated to adopt this technology, because its vehicles have been equipped with modems since OnStar's debut in 1996.

Other carmakers have introduced modem-based communication systems, but GM has made the most comprehensive push into mobile communication and marketing.

Rick Ruskin, a General Motors executive leading the connected customer experience, also points out a focus on limiting distracted driving.

"Marketplace allows drivers to do in their car what they might previously have done on their phone," he said. "It's much safer than a phone in one hand and the steering wheel in the other."

Automakers have long employed the driver's cellphone and a Bluetooth connection as the underlying technology for convenience features, but more companies and analysts view this as an inelegant and limited solution.

A built-in modem with its own SIM card will eventually become the only way new cars communicate with one another, the infrastructure, the owner's devices and mobile vendors, said David Liniado, vice president for new growth and technology at the Cox Automotive research firm.

SIM cards, which carry an identification number unique to the owner, are now in 130 million vehicles globally, Liniado said. "Bluetooth and the phone are gone," he added.

The driver or front-seat passenger can interact with Marketplace by touching the dashboard screen. Voice command technology is in development, said Stefan Cross, a GM spokesman.

Actions that require considerable involvement and could distract a driver, such as booking a hotel room on Priceline, can be executed only when the vehicle is stopped.

Marketplace also limits options. For example, a Starbucks customer can order from the car while it is being driven, but only a few choices, based on previous orders, will be displayed. And the format is standardized so drivers know where to look and what to do no matter which vendor's page they open, helping them remain focused on the road.

Marketplace vendors either pay an upfront fee to be included or give GM a share of sales. It's not a huge revenue stream, but it's better than no revenue.

Other automakers are taking advantage of in-car communication on a smaller scale. BMW Connected now allows vehicle owners to speak to Alexa from the car, using the car's onboard modem, no smartphone required. The automaker has not added vendors to its system, but car owners can ask Alexa to place orders.

Land Rover's Touch Pro Duo system communicates via an in-car modem and can find filling stations and provide traffic information. Audi has added a feature called Traffic Light Information, which "talks" to stoplights and can tell drivers how long they will have to wait before the light changes to green. It works only in the few cities, including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Washington, that have installed the necessary hardware.

All told, it seems certain that new car buyers will soon be in touch with almost everything while on the fly, and that this ability will expand. By default, the car will be part of the internet of things.



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ICT exports rise for 24th straight month in Oct.

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean exports of information and communication technology (ICT) posted growth for the 24th month in a row in October on the back of brisk overseas sales of semiconductors, government data showed Wednesday.

A total of US$20.21 billion worth of ICT products were shipped overseas last month, up 12.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the data by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The total exceeded the $20 billion mark for the third month in a row and marked the second-highest monthly tally to date.

Exports of semiconductors made by Asia's fourth-largest economy soared 21.5 percent on-year to an unprecedented $11.71 billion fueled by steady demand. It marks the first time the monthly chip exports surpassed $10 billion.

Overseas shipments of computers and related equipment were up 5.2 percent on-year last month on the back of solid state drive (SSD) sales, the latest findings showed.

The ministry said exports of displays, meanwhile, decreased 10.5 percent on-year in the one-month period due to increased global competition for LCD panels as Chinese manufacturers produced more large-sized ones and decreased OLED panel exports.

The combined overseas sales of mobile handsets and related parts also were down 14.1 percent last month due to heated competition in the global market.

By region, shipments to China, including Hong Kong, increased 3.3 percent on-year to $10.48 billion, the latest findings showed.

(END)



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ICT ministry plans to introduce parental control apps

TEHRAN -- The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry plans to introduce parental control applications in the near future, the ICT minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced, Mehr reported.

According to a survey conducted by the ICT ministry, only eight percent of Iranian parents monitor their children’s online activity, the minister wrote on his Twitter account on Monday.

Most of parents are unaware of control software and apps, he added.

The survey revealed that Iran is not very successful in content creation for children and to control children’s online activity, he lamented.

According to the survey, most people believe that the non-Iranian companies were most successful in content creation for children in comparison to family, school, TV and radio, he announced.

“Although the ministry is not responsible for content creation, we are responsible for infrastructures of cyberspace and to make an attractive dynamic online environment for children,” he said.

In such an environment, children can search, educate and interact with others under the control of their parents, he added.

Parental controls fall into roughly four categories: content filters, which limit access to age inappropriate content; usage controls, which constrain the usage of these devices such as placing time-limits on usage or forbidding certain types of usage; computer usage management tools, which enforces the use of certain software; and monitoring, which can track location and activity when using the devices.

SB/MG



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Katherine Getao named Information authority chief executive

Information Technology

In North Carolina, our business-friendly atmosphere, low taxes, pro-tech environment and exceptional quality of life make the state a destination in and of itself for IT companies big and small. 

Meet some of the information technology companies doing business in North Carolina:

CiscoCitrixEMC2Google

HCLIBMLenovoMicrosoft

NetAppOracleRedhatRedhat

When it comes to success, North Carolina and IT businesses speak the same language.

Our low tax burden and highly educated workforce attract everything from major IT companies to promising startups. In addition to these benefits, there are a number of reasons the information technology industry feels right at home in North Carolina, such as:



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Departments Need to Improve Chief Information Officers' Review and Approval of IT Budgets

What GAO Found

The departments GAO reviewed—the Departments of Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), and the Treasury (Treasury)—took steps to establish policies and procedures that align with eight selected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements intended to implement information technology (IT) acquisition reform legislation (commonly referred to as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA) and to provide the chief information officer (CIO) visibility into and oversight over the IT budget. For example, of the eight OMB requirements, all four departments had established policies and procedures related to the level of detail with which IT resources are to be described in order to inform the CIO during the planning and budgeting processes. Agencies varied, however, as to how fully they had established policies and procedures related to some other OMB requirements, and none of the four departments had yet established procedures for ensuring that the CIO had reviewed whether the IT portfolio includes appropriate estimates of all IT resources included in the budget request. (See table.)

Evaluation of Selected Departments' Policies and Procedures for Key Information Technology (IT) Budgeting Requirements

Selected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirement

DOE

HHS

DOJ

Treasury

1. Establish the level of detail with which IT resources are to be described in order to inform the Chief Information Officer (CIO) during the planning and budgeting processes.

2. Establish agency-wide policy for the level of detail with which planned expenditures for all transactions that include IT resources are to be reported to the CIO.

3. Include the CIO in the planning and budgeting stages for programs that are supported with IT resources.

4. Include the CIO as a member of governance boards that inform decisions regarding all IT resources, including component-level governance boards.

5. Document the processes by which program leadership works with the CIO to plan an overall portfolio of IT resources.

6. Ensure the CIO has reviewed and approved the major IT investments portion of the budget request.

7. Ensure the CIO has reviewed IT resources that are to support major program objectives and significant increases and decreases in IT resources.

8. Ensure the CIO has reviewed whether the IT portfolio includes appropriate estimates of all IT resources included in the budget request.

●= The department provided documentation that satisfied all of the OMB requirement. ◑= The department provided documentation that satisfied most, but not all of the OMB requirement. ○= The department could not provide documentation that satisfied any of the OMB requirement.

Departments: DOE = Department of Energy, HHS = Department of Health and Human Services, DOJ = Department of Justice, Treasury = Department of the Treasury

Source: GAO analysis of department data. | GAO-19-49

Where the departments had not fully established policies and procedures, it was due, in part, to having not addressed in their FITARA implementation and delegation plans how they intended to implement the OMB requirements. Until departments develop comprehensive policies and procedures that address IT budgeting requirements established by OMB, they risk inconsistently applying requirements that are intended to facilitate the CIO's oversight and approval of the IT budget.

Departments varied in the extent to which they could demonstrate implementation of key IT budgeting requirements when developing fiscal year 2017 funding requests for sampled investments. Specifically, while DOJ demonstrated that it had fully implemented the selected requirements for the majority of the investments GAO sampled, HHS and Treasury partially demonstrated implementation for a majority of the sampled investments, and DOE could not demonstrate implementation for the majority of the sampled investments. For example, DOE, HHS, and Treasury were not able to fully show that their CIOs had reviewed whether estimates of IT resources included in the budget request were appropriate for two of their respective departments' largest fiscal year 2017 IT investments. Departments often could not demonstrate that they had implemented selected IT budgeting requirements at the investment level because they had not established comprehensive policies and procedures that required them to do so. As a result, departments could not show that CIOs were sufficiently involved in planning fiscal year 2017 IT expenditures at the individual investment level.

All four selected departments lacked quality assurance processes for ensuring their IT budgets were informed by reliable cost information. Specifically, the selected departments did not have IT capital planning processes for (1) ensuring government labor costs have been accurately reported, (2) aligning contract costs with IT investments, and (3) utilizing budget object class data to capture all IT programs. This resulted in billions of dollars in requested IT expenditures without departments having comprehensive information to support those requests, and nearly $4.6 billion in IT contract spending that was not explicitly aligned with investments in selected departments' IT portfolios. This was due to a lack of processes for periodically reviewing data quality and estimation methods for government labor estimates, as well as a lack of mechanisms to cross-walk IT spending data in their procurement and accounting systems with investment data in their IT portfolio management systems. In August 2017, OMB developed a new approach of using a standard set of categories to group IT spending that, if properly implemented, has the potential to provide departments and CIOs enhanced visibility into IT costs across the portfolio. Nevertheless, until departments establish processes for assessing or otherwise ensuring the quality of relevant IT cost data used to inform their IT budgets, department CIOs will have less assurance that their budget includes appropriate and comprehensive estimates of IT resources.

Why GAO Did This Study

In December 2014, Congress enacted FITARA, which was intended to improve covered agencies' acquisitions of IT. FITARA also provided an opportunity to strengthen the authority of CIOs to provide needed direction and oversight of agencies' IT budgets.

GAO was asked to review whether CIOs' IT budgeting practices are consistent with FITARA and OMB's implementing guidance. This report addresses the extent to which selected federal agencies (1) established policies and procedures that address IT budgeting requirements, (2) could demonstrate that they had developed fiscal year 2017 IT budgets for sampled investments consistent with FITARA and OMB guidance, and (3) implemented processes to ensure that annual IT budgets are informed by reliable cost information.

GAO selected four departments to review. These departments had the two highest and the two lowest average initial selfassessments scores of compliance with OMB's FITARA guidance, as well as a fiscal year 2017 IT budget of at least $1 billion. Within each of the departments, GAO also selected the component agencies with the largest fiscal year 2017 IT budget. For each selected department and component agency, GAO reviewed relevant IT budget policies and procedures, analyzed a sample of major and non-major investment proposals against key OMB requirements, and determined whether selected departments captured government labor costs, among other things.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making 43 recommendations to the eight selected departments and component agencies to address gaps in their IT budgeting policies and procedures, demonstrate implementation of OMB requirements, and establish procedures to ensure IT budgets are informed by reliable cost information. HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service agreed with our recommendations. DOE partially agreed with one recommendation and agreed with the other recommendations made to it, as well as with the recommendations made to its component agency—the National Nuclear Security Administration. Treasury neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendations.

For more information, contact Carol C. Harris at (202) 512-4456 or harriscc@gao.gov.



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Technology should help you get back to treating patients

Amazon arrival spurs Virginia Tech to build technology campus in Northern Virginia


A rendering of the planned Innovation Campus. (Courtesy Virginia Tech) (Courtesy of Virginia Tech)

Virginia Tech plans to build a $1 billion graduate campus within walking distance of Amazon’s new headquarters in Northern Virginia, the keystone in an expansion of technology education in the state designed to lure the company to the region and then to address the long-term impact of Amazon’s decision.

Virginia Tech’s president, Tim Sands, called it a watershed moment for the school, one that will drive economic development in Virginia. It’s also a moment of change for other universities in the commonwealth.

The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus will be the most visible sign of that shift, with a 1 million-square-foot campus in Alexandria expected to educate hundreds of graduate students. But an infusion of money and an anticipated increase in demand for technology education is expected to be felt at schools across Virginia.

The pitch for Amazon’s headquarters included a statewide investment to double the annual number of graduates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields, according to a Tuesday announcement by Gov. Ralph Northam (D). That commitment is expected to yield an additional 25,000 to 35,000 graduates over the next two decades.

At George Mason University, an institute will be created to focus on digital innovation, and a new school of computing will be established. More than 5,000 students are enrolled in its computing programs, but with the Amazon decision the school expects the number of students seeking such degrees to triple.

The commonwealth has committed up to $125 million over the next 20 years to expand George Mason’s Arlington campus with an emphasis on research and graduate education in technology, according to university officials. The school will match that figure.

“This is a watershed moment that is going to really rebrand Greater Washington and Virginia as a hub of information technology,” George Mason President Ángel Cabrera said. “This puts us on the map in a really major way.”

James E. Ryan, president of the University of Virginia, said in a statement Tuesday that U-Va. is looking forward to working with Amazon and other universities in Virginia. U-Va. has been expanding its programs in Northern Virginia over the past decade and plans to do even more.


A rendering of the planned Innovation Campus. (Courtesy of Virginia Tech)

Sands said Virginia Tech had been working on the idea of an innovation campus for about four years, but a little over a year ago, state officials asked the university to lead a higher-education package that would be part of the region’s bid to Amazon. That accelerated the process — especially with a $250 million funding commitment from the commonwealth.

Virginia Tech will match that, with the remaining cost of the campus covered by private donations, industry partnerships and other revenue streams.


Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. (Jim Stroup)

The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus will be focused on computer science and software engineering, with specializations in areas including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and data analytics.

Next year, the first 100 students are expected to begin studying in a temporary space, but within five years, the university envisions 500 students on the campus. Ultimately, Virginia Tech expects to have 750 master’s degree candidates and hundreds of doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows enrolled.

Sands said he expects a significant amount of money to be committed toward expanding enrollment in tech fields at many campuses in Virginia.

“We’ll be scaling up significantly to meet the new challenge," he said.

David J. Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and former president of Cornell University, compared the innovation campus to the Cornell Tech project he helped launch in New York. Cornell Tech "reinvented graduate tech education for the digital age and is further energizing the start-up culture in New York City,” he said. “I’m thrilled Virginia Tech’s leaders have stepped up to create a similar innovation hub.”

Sheila Martin, vice president of economic development and community engagement for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said she wasn’t surprised Amazon picked Northern Virginia and New York as the locations for new headquarters, because a company like Amazon is dependent on a high-skills workforce and the research that comes out of universities.

“It’s a validation of the fact that universities are drivers of the growth and innovation in our economy,” she said. If the company were looking for the lowest-cost place to do business, it would have chosen other sites, she said, but it knows the workforce drives competitiveness and productivity and is willing to pay for that.

Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington in Seattle, knows what it’s like to have a clutch of technology companies in the area, including Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon. They provide internships and job opportunities for students and graduates, help attract top faculty, and contribute to student scholarships, faculty chairs, research labs and new buildings. “We would not be the highly innovative university that we are without robust partnerships with the tech businesses in our area,” she wrote in an email Tuesday, "and they wouldn’t be as successful without their partnerships with us.”

A tech boom can also bring challenges. “It’s also important to acknowledge that the rapid growth of these companies puts a strain on the housing market," Cauce wrote, “driving up rents and housing costs, and in Seattle, this has created real challenges to making affordable housing available, including for the people who teach and work at our public university.”

Robert McCartney contributed to this report.



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Pei Wei names first chief information officer

Pei Wei Asian Kitchen has promoted Chris Andrews to the new position of chief information officer, the company said Monday.

The Irving, Texas-based Asian fast-casual brand said Andrews, who most recently served as vice president of information technology, would focus on digital innovation and guest-facing technology.

Chris Andrews
Photo: Pei Wei

“There’s no question that technology is playing an extremely valuable role in our brand now and that will continue in the future,” said J. Hedrick, Pei Wei CEO, in a statement. “We have seen technology’s role continue to grow through online ordering, our app and again recently with our launch of delivery.”

Andrews joined Pei Wei in July 2017 and helped in the company’s headquarters move last year from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Texas. He will report to Brandon Solano, Pei Wei’s chief marketing and digital officer

“Chris has been an outstanding leader on our team from the moment he joined the Pei Wei family,” Solano said. “I’m extremely pleased to recognize his work with this well-deserved promotion, and I can’t wait to see where he leads us next in the digital space.”

Prior to joining Pei Wei, Andrews served as vice president of infrastructure and corporate development for The Freeman Company, the event and exhibit specialist. Previously he worked with On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and CEC Entertainment Inc., parent to Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza. 

Pei Wei ranked No. 123 in the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200, booking an estimated $339.9 million in U.S. systemwide sales for the fiscal year ended December 2017. 

Pei Wei and parent P.F. Chang’s China Bistro were taken private in July 2012 in an acquisition by Centerbridge Partners L.P., a New York-based private-equity firm. Centerbridge has been exploring a sale of P.F. Chang’s, which is still based in Scottsdale, since the summer.

Pei Wei has about 200 locations in 20 states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless



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These big tech stocks may rise at least 30%, analysts predict

Large-cap technology stocks have been hit hard. But analysts expect many to come roaring back. Let’s get to those names. First, let’s put the recent action into perspective.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.40% has fallen 3.8% since the end of September (with dividends reinvested), but is up 4.7% this year through Nov. 12. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.15%  is down 6.3% since the end of September, but up 3.7% this year.

Here’s how the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 Index have performed through Nov. 12, with dividends reinvested, sorted by worst to best from Sept. 28:

  From Sept. 28 2018 3 years 5 years 10 years
Energy -11.4% -4.8% 11% -9% 79%
Information Technology -10.5% 8.0% 69% 131% 513%
Industrials -9.4% -5.0% 36% 55% 284%
Consumer Discretionary -9.2% 9.5% 40% 83% 577%
Communications Services -7.9% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Materials -6.7% -9.2% 31% 36% 215%
Health Care -3.6% 12.4% 39% 87% 342%
Financials -3.6% -3.5% 44% 74% 218%
Real Estate 1.7% 3.4% 24% 62% 318%
Utilities 4.1% 6.9% 43% 70% 197%
Consumer Staples 4.8% 1.3% 28% 52% 225%
S&P 500 Index -6.3% 3.7% 42% 71% 296%
Source: FactSet

The new S&P 500 communications-services sector was created by S&P Dow Jones Indices in September.

The energy sector has fared worst since the end of September, as the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil (WTI) CL1, -6.08%  has declined 18% since then. The technology sector has been the second-worst performer, with a 10.5% decline. However, the sector is still up 8% for 2018, ranking third behind the health-care and consumer-discretionary sectors.

Rising interest rates, political uncertainty (Italy’s status within the European Union and the expected near-term announcement of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings from his investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and President Trump’s 2016 campaign) and economic uncertainty (inflation and the trade war with China) may all be weighing on the market. But if you look at the long-term returns on the chart above and are not especially worried about the economy, you might still believe the tech sector is a good place for your money and that the recent drop presents a buying opportunity.

Using data as of the close on Oct. 29, we listed all stocks in the S&P 500 information-technology sector and showed how much their forward price-to-earnings ratios had changed from the end of September (the sector was up slightly from Oct. 29 through Nov. 12).

There are 66 stocks in the S&P 500 information technology sector, but we can bring that number to 75 if we include Amazon.com AMZN, -0.35% both share classes of Google holding company Alphabet GOOG, -0.25% GOOGL, -0.13% Facebook FB, +0.43% Netflix NFLX, +0.11% Twitter TWTR, +1.50%  and the three video-game developers.

Among these 75 tech stocks, analysts have majority “buy” ratings on 47.

Here’s a list of the 20 S&P 500 tech stocks with majority “buy” ratings from sell-side analysts and 12-month upside potential of at least 30%, based on consensus price targets:

Company Ticker Share 'buy' ratings Share neutral ratings Share 'sell' ratings Closing price - Nov. 12 Consensus price target Consensus price target Total return - Sep. 28 through Nov. 12
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -0.35% 98% 2% 0% $1,636.85 $2,175.15 33% -18%
Alphabet Inc. Class A GOOGL, -0.13% 93% 7% 0% $1,049.36 $1,360.82 30% -13%
Alphabet Inc. Class C GOOG, -0.25% 93% 7% 0% $1,038.63 $1,361.09 31% -13%
salesforce.com Inc. CRM, +1.27% 91% 9% 0% $130.50 $174.00 33% -18%
Facebook Inc. Class A FB, +0.43% 85% 13% 2% $141.55 $192.33 36% -14%
Microchip Technology Inc. MCHP, +1.72% 82% 18% 0% $69.66 $98.61 42% -12%
TE Connectivity Ltd. TEL, +0.21% 82% 18% 0% $76.66 $99.53 30% -13%
Electronic Arts Inc. EA, -0.31% 80% 20% 0% $87.66 $125.08 43% -27%
Broadcom Inc. AVGO, +0.54% 80% 20% 0% $223.63 $291.00 30% -9%
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO, -1.86% 76% 24% 0% $109.03 $144.70 33% -21%
KLA-Tencor Corp. KLAC, +1.22% 75% 25% 0% $92.29 $121.14 31% -9%
Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI, -2.49% 69% 31% 0% $53.89 $74.35 38% -35%
Nvidia Corp. NVDA, +5.15% 68% 29% 3% $189.54 $285.94 51% -33%
DXC Technology Co. DXC, +0.05% 67% 33% 0% $62.01 $88.80 43% -34%
Netflix Inc. NFLX, +0.11% 66% 32% 2% $294.07 $406.70 38% -21%
Micron Technology Inc. MU, +1.10% 65% 35% 0% $37.44 $66.23 77% -17%
Applied Materials Inc. AMAT, +2.67% 65% 35% 0% $32.62 $56.42 73% -16%
Lam Research Corp. LRCX, +0.73% 64% 36% 0% $142.91 $195.65 37% -6%
Skyworks Solutions Inc. SWKS, -1.04% 61% 36% 3% $72.84 $99.04 36% -20%
IPG Photonics Corp. IPGP, +2.90% 60% 40% 0% $129.11 $180.88 40% -17%
Source: FactSet

Don’t miss: These S&P 500 companies increased quarterly sales the most while expanding margins

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