Stories by Pimm Fox

Get me supply chain, stat!

FRAMINGHAM (12/12/2003) - Combining the words middleman and health care in one sentence is a sure way to produce grimaces among the most kind and optimistic people. But here goes: With the right kind of middleman, even managed health care can be improved.

Straight talk with vendor hits pay dirt

FRAMINGHAM (11/07/2003) - The oil industry's blunt language seems out of place when applied to IT, where sales and marketing lingo are often mixed with analyst prognostications in order to obscure reality. Perhaps it's the straightforward nature of oil and gas exploration that invites direct talk: You either hit pay dirt or you don't.

Parlez vous American business?

FRAMINGHAM (10/23/2003) - There's something wonderful (and powerful) about going to Paris and meeting an American entrepreneur who has decided to build simple, inexpensive content management software (CMS) that helps make visiting French museums a rich and energetic experience.

Enliven your help desk operations

FRAMINGHAM (10/16/2003) - Admit it. When you think about the help desk, you think, Boring! The prevailing image is of a Kafkaesque warren of gray cubicles, populated by a crisis-driven, frantically overworked staff who experience endless Dilbert-like encounters. From the end user's angle, dealing with the help desk means being sucked into a death spiral of incomplete trouble tickets.

Cleaning up the kingdom of content

FRAMINGHAM (10/02/2003) - Content may be king, but if so, the kingdom is a royal mess. Companies are bogged down trying to meld information from disparate departments, then pushing it through a cumbersome approval process only to be stymied by a publishing routine that's time-consuming and error-prone. And with greater emphasis being placed on the integration of business units and collaboration with internal and external partners, the demand for simple, straightforward content management systems (CMS) is acute.

How supply meets demand

The real power of e-commerce begins with an accessible and usable catalogue of products. Businesses with fragmented, inconsistent online product listings are like doughnuts: They have a substantial exterior with a big hole in the middle.

Microsoft, lead the spam war!

Mix independent, trusted authorities with best practices, authorise them to mediate disputes, add in a negligible dose of government interference, and what do you have?

Leaders need vision

When Hewlett-Packard Co. announces its quarterly earnings later this month, analysts and customers will be looking for further evidence that the Compaq merger is bringing the benefits that Carly Fiorina promised when she aggressively stumped for the deal in the fall of 2001. So far the results look promising.

Layoffs can also harm the corporate network

The employment picture makes everyone feel horrible. Those being laid off must re-create their lives, while those who remain must grapple with losing friends and colleagues. And unfortunately, IT personnel must reckon with potential security threats from disgruntled former employees.

A two-pronged approach to Web analytics

Web analytics is an essential part of IT strategy. Knowing who came to your site and what they did while they were there allows you to forecast traffic, making it easier to plan for growth.

Too much Sun? Vendor off mark on web services

Blame it on the Los Angeles smog. Sun Microsystems' presentation at this month's Spring Internet World of its "Next Wave of the Net" was wrapped in the kind of technology haze that belies the reality of everyday IT and business.

Is Cisco transmitting ominous signs?

When Cisco Systems, a bellwether for all that’s technology and internet, announced this month that it missed its Wall Street estimates, CEO John Chambers cited a slowing economy and — in particular — deteriorating sales to telecommunications carriers.