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Tech Modernization: How to Start Building a Foundation



Tech Modernization: How to Start Building a Foundation

It looks like 2022 will be the year that technology modernization becomes the norm, rather than a pivot driven by pandemic-related changes. Cloud-native adoption rose from 2020 to 2021, and in 2022, half of enterprise organizations take this path, including re-platforming or refactoring “to be based on cloud-native, rather than layering cloud-native onto their existing plans.” For CIOs in organizations not already on this path, it’s time to weigh the costs of modernization against the rising drawbacks of not modernizing — and begin setting the stage for your digital transformation.

There are multiple facets to modernizing technology, starting with decision makers’ needs to balance the need to provide quality services — established on the existing systems — with the demands of innovation to meet customer expectations and maintain their competitive footing in the marketplace. For example, many organizations use legacy systems to deliver services that work for their customers, and they may hesitate to modernize because of the potential disruption to business operations.

However, these organizations have stacked up tech debt by sticking with those systems. Legacy systems can be difficult and expensive to upgrade. They often lack software maintenance support from the publisher. Unsupported systems present security risks, because there are no publisher-produced updates or patches to repair known vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to steal customer data and proprietary information and to disrupt operations via ransomware and other attacks. That can create compliance, legal, and reputational risks for organizations.

As newer technology raises users’ expectations for performance and experience, it’s becoming more difficult to sustain good-enough applications with the right features to support business goals on legacy software. Unifying data that’s siloed in legacy systems can be difficult. Tech-debt problems can prevent business growth by making it hard to compete with companies that are using newer systems with better features and data-unification capabilities. For example, an organization with siloed data and apps running on unsupported software can’t match the quick development capabilities of a company that can build, test, and launch a new feature in two or three two-week development sprints using modern applications and data they can access in the cloud.

Technology Modernization and Employee Experience

New technology that improves the customer experience can also help employees work more creatively and efficiently. Forrester predicts that in the year ahead, “human-centered technology initiatives that form a tight link between customer experience and employee experience” will enhance competitiveness and yield 3% to 5% net productivity gains. Helping employees work more efficiently and have more positive interactions with customers, colleagues and vendors can also improve employee retention.

However, there is always a learning curve with modernization. Any organization planning a technology modernization program needs to factor in the need for training and enablement, so employees can get the most value from the new tech as quickly as possible. CIOs need to factor in time to prepare their workforce to support the incoming systems. That may require finding resources to upgrade current employees’ skills, hiring new talent with experience in the new systems, or a combination of upskilling and new hires.

The role technology plays in employee experience affects the organization’s ability to recruit top talent. Especially when companies recruit on college campuses, they often find that many candidates want to work on the latest systems and with the newest technology. When you can demonstrate to candidates that your organization’s technology aligns with their career goals and preferred development practices, you’re more likely to win in the intensely competitive battle for tech talent to support your modernization and CX goals.

Planning Your Organization’s Modernization Project

Successful modernization projects need an executive champion — a chief digital officer, chief growth officer, or chief innovation officer who sets goals, ensures that the modernization initiative is a priority, and supports it across the organization. Depending on the company’s industry, business model, and customer relationships, this leader may also want to work with their best customers to understand what modernization approaches will deliver the most customer benefit.

With goals in mind, assessment of existing systems is the next step. Where are the organization’s current vulnerabilities, dependencies, and technical debts — the software gaps, update needs and repair requirements that are hindering performance? This evaluation shows where and how the existing technology needs to change. It can also strengthen the business case for the growth journey by showing how and when it can pay for itself.

That leads to the next step, which is comparing costs to determine which approaches will be most cost effective and deliver the fastest time to break even. For example, is the business case stronger for having the organization run its own data centers or working with a cloud provider?

With an understanding of the company’s modernization needs and best options, it’s time to map the digital transformation journey. This requires planning to migrate, re-platform, retrain, and manage change in the most logical, least disruptive way. For example, the company might time certain elements of their transformation to align with retirement of aging hardware or the end of software licensing periods. These milestones can serve as trigger points for implementing new technology.

Finally, understand that technology modernization is a process that can take three to five years to complete, especially for a large enterprise with a lot of technical debt and many legacy systems. With the right champion, clear goals for customer experience and employee experience, and timing based on company needs and resource contract renewals, organizations can manage modernization in a way that enhances their customer relationships and employee engagement along with efficiency, innovative capacity, and security.

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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one



5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one
Moto G22 face down on top of a wall

The Moto G22 on a wall.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a new phone, a key consideration is always budget – you want to buy the best phone you can afford. But maybe, even if you’ve got the money for a premium device, you should still opt for a cheap phone.

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “are you asking me to spend less than I’m able on my new phone?”  Yes, I am – you’re absolutely right.

You see, despite budget phones being weaker than premium ones in quite a few ways (obviously), there are a few departments in which they actually beat top-end models.

So we’re going to run through some different areas in which cheap phones actually trump their pricier rivals. 

1. It costs less money

Okay, we’ve got to start with the really, really obvious point. A cheap phone is – you guessed it – cheaper than an expensive one.

If you spend less on your phone, you’ve got more to spend on the best power banks, phone cases, charging cables, and so on. Plus, you’ve got extra for non-smartphone things. Y’know: bills, food, transport, and so on.

Smartphones operate on the rule of diminishing returns: a $400 smartphone is not twice as good as a $200 one, and a $1,200 phone isn’t twice as good as a $600 version or four times better in any way than a $300 one.

So if you want the best bang for your buck, a budget mobile will get you there.

Moto G9 Power

The Moto G9 Power has a massive battery. (Image credit: Future)

2. Much better battery life

Phones don’t have great battery life sometimes: when you factor in features like 5G, high refresh rates, top-end processors, and so on, a giant battery can get worn down incredibly quickly.

But you know what cheap phones don’t have? That’s right – any of those features. If a phone is 4G-only, has a low-res screen, and only runs with a middling chipset, it uses the battery at a much slower rate. All of the longest-lasting smartphones are budget ones.

That’s doubly the case when you consider that cheap phone makers like to use huge batteries in their phones – plenty have 5,000mAh power packs. Motorola has even used 6,000mAh ones in some phones, and certain Chinese rugged phone brands have gone even higher.

If you want a long-lasting phone, you’ve got to opt for a cheap handset with fewer features. It also makes such devices reliable for more extended periods.

3. Hardier designs

Glass has become one of the most commonly-used materials for smartphones – it adds to a premium-feeling build and looks good from all angles. 

But you know what glass isn’t? Durable. It can easily smash from an impact like a drop. It’s also slippery, making glass phones harder to hold. Because of this, mid-range and premium phones are more susceptible to damage, even if brands slap silly marketing terms on them like ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ or ‘Ceramic Shield’.

Cheap phone makers generally stay away from glass. This is mainly because of cost, but it’s beneficial for affordable phone fans because plastic is hardier.

A plastic phone is much more likely to survive a drop or hard knock, letting you avoid the experience of having to get your device repaired as often (or ever, hopefully).

Realme 9 Pro Plus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus has a cool-looking, yet plastic, rear. (Image credit: Future)

4. Cooler chipsets

Cheap phones often have cooler chipsets. No, we don’t mean ‘sunglasses and Tommy Bahama shirt cool’ – we mean temperature-wise.

Premium phones get top-end chipsets, which provide loads of processing power for tasks like games. An annoying side-effect of loads of power, though, is that these chips can get incredibly hot if you use them for long periods.

Counter-intuitively, this means that mid-range chips can be better for gaming if you like playing for extended amounts of time, and don’t need the most top-end graphics available to you.

As you can imagine, budget phones often have weaker internals, so they generally don’t have overheating issues, and are fine for gaming. Plus, in this day and age, you rarely find phones that are slow, even in the lower-cost market.

5. A bigger range of fingerprint scanners

There’s a trend in the premium phone market towards in-screen fingerprint scanners, where the sensor for unlocking your phone is embedded under the display.

This is a fine way of unlocking your device for some, but if you prefer a back- or side-mounted scanner, you’re mostly out of luck at the top end of the market.

That’s not the case for cheap phones, though: you’ll find those digit sensors all over the place in the lower end of the market. Some phones have them in-screen, others have them on one or both sides of the phone, while plenty have the scanner on the back.

So if you like tapping the rear of your phone to unlock it, or caressing the side of the device, instead of just tapping the screen, budget devices are, in fact, the best phones for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design



We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design
An Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 in white

(Image credit: Nicholas Lugo)

The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller looks like it’s getting a brand new color variant with a White Edition.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 has so far only been available in its default black color scheme. But a short clip shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by leaker Rebs Gaming shows off a new white edition in the flesh.

The clip starts by showing the premium Xbox Series X|S controller’s box. Next, we’re given a look at the controller itself, which wears a clean white-on-black coat.

All the usual Elite Controller bells and whistles are accounted for. That includes the carry case, swappable analog sticks and customizable back paddle buttons. It looks like the genuine article, though we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft to confirm if or when the pad will actually be released.

A sign of pads to come?

Leak: I think this is our first footage of the Xbox Elite Series 2 White Edition controller. A leaked image of the controller was shown by @IdleSloth84 back in March. Source: https://t.co/WfMCEk3FQv#Xbox #XboxOne #XboxSeriesX pic.twitter.com/t97qbaNPCuAugust 8, 2022

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Okay, sure, the White Edition isn’t exactly the most daring design Microsoft could’ve chosen for its Elite pad. But it’s nonetheless eye-catching. I think that keeping certain parts of the controller black – like the sticks and grips – is a smart aesthetic choice. They contrast really nicely with the white center.

The Elite Series 2 is an excellent controller. But it’s lacking the one thing that the regular Xbox Wireless Controller has in abundance: color options. We’ve seen countless bold designs for the standard Xbox controller, including an eye-popping special edition for Forza Horizon 5 and a stunning hot pink design. But the Elite hasn’t really had the same treatment yet.

I hope that this new White Edition not only comes to market, but that it’s also a gateway for more ambitious designs for Xbox’s top pad. Seriously, a purple Elite pad would be an instant buy for me, and probably for many others, too.

Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he’s been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn’t on the clock, you’ll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back



Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

Here come some new challengers. At the end of EVO 2022’s Street Fighter V tournament, Capcom revealed two more characters coming to the roster of Street Fighter 6: Juri, the “I can fix her” returning fighter, and newcomer Kimberly, an ‘80s-obsessed teen.

Kimberly, the spunky new ninja, and Juri, the sadistic thrill-seeker, join #StreetFighter6 when it arrives in 2023! Spray cans, a portable cassette player, and motorcyles have never looked more fresh. ️ pic.twitter.com/Lnw87p27aP

— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) August 8, 2022

Student of Guy and successor to the bushinryu tradition, Kimberly is spunky and colorful with an affinity for spray painting her enemies midmatch. Though Kimberly is a teenager and Street Fighter 6 seems to be set in the current day, she’s enamored with all things ‘80s, carrying around a cassette player that some younger players probably won’t even recognize.

It’s like Capcom is aware that, in addition to its younger audience, there’s a certain subset of older Street Fighter players rising from their creaking knees and aching back looking at the ‘80s with fondness. In that way, Kimberly is a send-up, a reminder of simpler times. In other ways, she’s a very rude reminder that those happy days are so far behind us now that current teenagers are adopting the aesthetic because it’s quaintly “retro.” Thanks, Capcom, for reminding me I’m old.

Accompanying Kimberly in the character reveal is Juri, a character first introduced in Street Fighter IV. Juri arrives in flashy style with an homage to the Akira slide that’s been having a moment lately, as it was also used to awesome effect in Jordan Peele’s Nope. Juri seems a bit edgier than Kimberly, stomping all over her enemies in bare feet emphasized in ways that would make Bob Odenkirk click “like.” It’s always neat when companies seemingly embrace the thirst players have for its characters.

We’ll get the chance to see more of Juri and Kimberly’s stories when Street Fighter 6 launches on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation in 2023.

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