The CIO of Altria, a consumer packaged goods company, says innovation requires a new mind-set in the IT department.
Stories by Mary Brandel
Innovation has become a top concern for companies seeking a competitive edge in today's business world, especially as more organizations face new competitors that are using technology as a business disruptor.
Most of us have apparently decided we can't live without our favorite mobile device. Whether on public transportation, shopping or just walking down the street, you're more likely than not to be surrounded by people swiping screens, adjusting their earbuds or typing on a virtual screen.
These days, free advice can be found everywhere, from your various social networks to your favorite advice column. But truly valuable advice typically comes from your peers or people who've made it to a career or life position that you'd like to get to someday.
Few technology trends have inspired as many misgivings -- and as much misinformation - as BYOD, or "bring your own device." Is the idea of allowing employees to purchase and use their own laptops and mobile devices a security nightmare? A productivity boon? A drain on the service desk? And perhaps the biggest question of all, a cost-savings nirvana?
It wasn't long ago that BYO was something you'd find on a party invitation. But with the wave of employees bringing their own smartphones and tablets into the workplace and expecting to use them for email, network access and mobile apps, BYOD -- or "bring your own device" -- now represents a promising but formidable business trend that doesn't leave IT in the mood for celebration.
It's a good idea to think twice before pursuing certain professions -- they could change your daily habits, if not your entire outlook on life. A chief financial officer might choose a house project based on its impact on home value. An emergency room worker might forbid his kids from jumping on a trampoline.
1. Get the right certification
A funny thing happened on East Carolina University's journey to creating a data-retention strategy. As part of a compliance project launched one and a half years ago, Brent Zimmer, systems specialist at the university, was working with lawyers and archivists to determine which data was most important to keep and for how long. But it soon became clear that it was just as important to identify which data should be thrown away.
Jeff Saper, CIO at strategic communications firm Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, drives a hybrid car, favours service providers that use alternative energy and has launched many green IT initiatives at his firm. But he's also concerned about a type of pollution that even Al Gore has yet to tackle: digital pollution.
In industries from retail to high tech, banking and manufacturing, companies are increasingly building networks behind the firewall where employees can create profiles and connect with one another in ways first demonstrated by LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace.
It's a management axiom that the smarter the employees are, the harder they are to manage. Employees with a high degree of left-brain intelligence, which is common among IT professionals, can be demanding, blind to the opinions of others, easily bored and bent on being "right", according to the people who manage them.
Gartner analyst Anthony Bradley foresees "a significant shift in power" within organisations. With free internet applications, web platforms and social software, "the consumer side of the world is driving most technology advancement, not enterprise IT", he says.
After a decade watching US IT jobs get siphoned off to India, there’s been an interesting turnabout lately: Indian companies are increasingly recruiting throughout the world. Some claim that the trend is a reaction to a shrinking talent pool in India. But companies such as Infosys Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Patni Computer Systems say they’re merely responding to the same strategic and competitive pressures that are pushing other global services firms to find and place employees internationally.
Have you spoken with a high-tech recruiter or professor of computer science lately? According to observers across the country, the technology skills shortage that pundits were talking about a year ago is real.
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