Becoming informed global citizens

Technology is a global event and has been for more than two decades. But the nature of that event is beginning to change dramatically thanks to the rise of the internet as a commercial business platform.

Technology is a global event and has been for more than two decades. But the nature of that event is beginning to change dramatically thanks to the rise of the internet as a commercial business platform.

How this is changing the role IT plays in business is manifold. For example, as few as a half-dozen years ago working on a global IT level meant outsourcing relatively routine application development and data entry tasks to people working in places such as India, Ireland and Israel -- otherwise known as the three I's.

Today much of that work is being sought not only by the three I's but also by a host of other Asian and European countries that have upgraded the IT skills of their native populations. Plus, the type of work being done on an international level is far more complex. For example, many Global 2000 companies have a network of call centres that allow them to operate on a 24-hour basis by having workers in India answer calls from customers in the US. Even more ambitious are the product development efforts that now take place routinely, with development teams in three or more countries all collaborating on a project. And beyond that, we've only begun to explore the challenges associated with international e-business operations.

Soon it will be possible to link business processes by connecting web services using rapid application development tools. So the time it takes to create a global e-business application will be reduced from months and years to mere months and days.

All of this has fundamentally changed the perspective of IT managers who now must manage IT assets around the globe. That means a lot more than just contracting for internet service in another country. It means remotely managing systems and networks and overcoming the divides that separate any two cultures. After all, in a global economy the once-remote subsidiary unit is now often a primary profit engine for the company.

International content from IT news providers is important to any IT executive who works for a company that does business in these countries. It's great to know what's going on here in the US, but events overseas can be just as important when dealing with far-flung enterprises. We all live in a global economy made up of diverse cultures and, to one degree or another, everyone is now a citizen of the same global economy.

Vizard is editor in chief of Infoworld (US). Send email to Michael Vizard. Send letters for publication in Computerworld NZ to Computerworld Letters.

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