During his keynote speech at the Society for Information Management's SIMposium 08 conference in Florida recently, author Nicholas Carr drew an analogy between cloud computing and the transition that manufacturers made from generating their own power to relying on utilities in the early 20th century.
Stories by Thomas Hoffman
What steps do IT executives need to take to get on the "A" list for a high-profile job opening?
IT professionals with strong technical backgrounds can drum up some great ideas for start-up companies, but they often lack the business acumen to keep those companies afloat. To help these would-be captains of industry, Computerworld recently spoke with Ken Blanchard, the best-selling co-author of The One Minute Entrepreneur and The One Minute Manager to gain insight on the steps that technology entrepreneurs should take -- and avoid. Step one: Remember the basics.
You joined Google as senior director of information systems in late 2003. How did you land such a cool job?
In November, a fire broke out in one of the buildings on ISTA Pharmaceuticals' main campus, forcing about 50 employees to move to another location on the property. After the building's sprinklers kicked in, the entire network had to be shut down because the water threatened the equipment carrying the company's inbound data traffic.
In 2005, BT Group began replacing an aging Unix-based phone-traffic monitoring system with a Web-centric architecture. The intent: allow traffic managers to make quicker changes to switches and other physical devices to handle shifts in network loads -- on any point in the company's vast telecommunications network -- without risking system overloads.
In his 1997 book, Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation, author Don Tapscott predicted that the children of baby boomers would become enormously influential as the first generation to grow up surrounded by high-tech tools and toys.
In 2003, General Motors CIO Ralph Szygenda saw the company's future through a global lens. At the time, GM's business leaders were getting serious about globalisation, and they recognised the need to seamlessly manufacture and distribute products across geographies. The notion of creating a complementary set of common IT business processes worldwide was already a gleam in Szygenda's eye, says Dan McNicholl, chief strategy officer for GM's IT organisation.
Like other types of workers, IT professionals can be vulnerable to committing career sabotage — sometimes without even recognising it.
Since Colorcon consolidated all of its global offices and seven manufacturing sites onto one ERP system in 2001, the benefits have been indisputable. The chemicals manufacturer has increased its annual inventory turns by 40%, closes its books each quarter more than 50% faster than it once did and has improved its production lead times. "It was a significant improvement," says CIO Perry Cozzone.
Move over, business alignment. CIOs’ biggest worries are now centered on IT labour.
In mid-May, Hewlett-Packard participated in a virtual job fair using Second Life tools from Linden Lab. HP had been invited by one of its external recruiters, TMP. During the virtual event, recruiters and job applicants alike created avatars, or personas to represent themselves in the virtual world.
For nearly 30 years, John Hagel has advised corporate executives on how to use IT to push business strategies or create new business models. So when the renowned author and management consultant was approached by officials at Deloitte & Touche USA to help launch a research centre for technology and business strategy in Silicon Valley, he leaped at the chance.
Over the past few years, many corporate IT organizations have worked hard to better align themselves with the businesses they support by acting more like them.
Although many corporate board members believe IT strategy is important, most directors admit they don’t pay adequate attention to information technology issues, according to a study by Deloitte Consulting.