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 Bob Evans
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News & Commentary Posts: 1070
Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.
Articles by Bob Evans
posted in December 2008

Top 10 CIO Issues For 2009

12/30/2008
Taking for granted that all CIOs want to stay employed in 2009 while helping their companies grow and increase profits and delight customers, our list of 10 top-priority items for CIOs in the coming year offers a blend of the old and the new. Here's our list of the 10 items we think will keep you excited and delighted in 2009.

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Forrester's Year-Old CIO Outlook: Where's 80/20 Plan?

12/29/2008
Thirteen months ago, Forrester's Bobby Cameron offered a summary of his $379 CIO agenda for 2008: become a business change-agent, etc. The summary failed to mention attacking the 80/20 demon, which should be the top priority for CIOs in 2009. Because if they don't undertake that battle, all the other transformation happy-talk will remain just that -- a lot of talk.

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#1 Job Threat Is Technology, Not Globalization

12/29/2008
In these high-anxiety times, are you worried your company will send your job overseas? The authors of a new book say you're right to be afraid -- but not of outsourcing. They contend the real job-grinder has been the productivity engine of IT and that fears of outsourcing and other globalization issues are "wildly overblown."

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Gartner: IT Has 'No Moral Basis' To Monitor Facebook Usage

12/24/2008
Does your IT team spend any time monitoring Facebook usage by employees? If so, you're just wasting your time and reinforcing the reputation that you and your team are busybodies, says Gartner analyst Brian Prentice. But his argument gets downright weird when he asserts such actions are an attempt "to deny people the right to reclaim a semblance of a personal life."

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Larry Ellison: Oracle DB Machine 'Most Successful Intro Ever'

12/22/2008
Oracle last week gave some dazzling performance details from two customers evaluating its new hardware/software Database Machine, and CEO Larry Ellison called it the most successful Oracle product intro ever in terms of "pipeline growth and pipeline size." Will Oracle be able to convince budget-strapped CIOs to convert that pipeline interest into actual purchases?

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Bill Gates: Telling Him A Joke But Butchering The Punch Line

12/21/2008
The Comdex keynote crowd of 20,000 roared as Bill Gates, besieged by the Justice Department, called out brazenly, "Anybody out there know a good lawyer joke?" So the next morning at a private meeting with Gates, I said hello and then -- against my better judgment -- asked, "Still looking for a good lawyer joke?" Bill hesitated a second and then said sure, go ahead -- and moments later I went down in flames as I told the joke but butchered the punch line.

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Oracle's Larry Ellison On 'Series Of Wins Vs. Salesforce'

12/19/2008
Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison yesterday told financial analysts that Oracle's latest quarter was "conspicuous" for a "series of competitive wins versus Salesforce.com," including "our largest deal ever of salesforce-on-demand, or cloud computing, or whatever you want to call it." Will that head-to-head competition lead to a buyers' market for CIOs?

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SEC's Former CIO Sought Preemptive Safeguards

12/18/2008
Exactly four years ago tomorrow, the former CIO of the now-embattled agency told InformationWeek that one of his top priorities was to enable the SEC "to look over the hills and around the corners to spot problems before they become problems." That objective looks eerily prescient this week as we realize the scope of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

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SEC CIO's First Week: Madoff Scandal Breaks

12/18/2008
Talk about a tough first week on the job: just as investors and many others began intensely scrutinizing the SEC for its role (or lack thereof) in allowing the Madoff investment scandal to happen, Charles Boucher started his new career as CIO of the SEC. As they say, be careful what you wish for -- you might get it.

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Bernie Madoff On Video: 'It's Virtually Impossible To Violate Rules'

12/16/2008
Yes, here's the guy who swindled $50 billion proclaiming on camera just a year ago that it's impossible to violate scores of SEC rules -- even though he was doing exactly that -- and that "this is something the general public doesn't understand." Read on to check out the certified brass-pair video excerpt from Madoff in an excellent post by my colleague Kerry Massaro of Advanced Trading.

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One Year Of Golf And Novels Is Plenty, CIO Says

12/14/2008
Richard Rzasa spent 24 years in IT on Wall Street, culminating in a high-profile CIO role at TD Waterhouse before it was acquired by Ameritrade. Rzasa left the job market for a while to golf, read, and refresh, but then realized he missed the rush of the CIO world. So he's back in the game and savoring a very different CIO challenge, according to Greg MacSweeney of Post a Comment

Letter From CEO: Cut Maintenance To 60% Or You're Fired

12/12/2008
So Pat the CIO gets the annual year-in-review letter from the CEO that precedes their formal performance-review meeting and the opening paragraph is a doozy: "Pat -- You did some great things in 2008 with mobile apps, data-center consolidation, and SLAs but you failed to cut maintenance from 80% of IT spending to 60% so I'm not sure you're the right person for this job. Prove me wrong by May, or I'll have to let you go."

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Half Of CIOs Fail To Show Business Value, Study Says

12/11/2008
A recently released study on CIO leadership revealed that 51% of CIOs "have developed business-value indicators that link IT performance metrics and business goals." That means 49% are failing to make and communicate this absolutely critical connection. How can those 49% expect to keep their jobs if they're not proving they deserve to keep them?

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Won't Steal Corporate Data? You're In The Minority

12/10/2008
The bad news on insider threats keeps getting worse: most respondents to a new database-security study think such attacks will accelerate in 2009 and that insiders will most likely be behind them. Yesterday I noted the huge risks from employees wanting some "insurance" in case they get laid off; today's culprits appear to be a mix of shortsighted budgeting, ignorance, and incompetence.

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Fearing Layoffs, Most Workers Willing To Steal Data

12/9/2008
Most workers frightened by the prospect of layoffs are considering stealing corporate data to use in negotiating for a new job, our excellent sister site Dark Reading reports. They're angry, scared, desperate, and unsophisticated -- but you, the CIO, are cool, calm, and confident because you're prepared for such an onslaught. Right? Well -- you are prepared, aren't you?

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Wal-Mart IT Links Online, Retail Channels -- 80 Million Times

12/8/2008
Wal-Mart's Web-based "Find-In-Store" capability has been used about 80 million times since last year as part of its drive to give customers more choice in how to buy and take delivery. Wal-Mart says customers want more information and more convenience, and are relying more on mobile devices. With Wal-Mart's sales rising in a lousy economy, there's a lesson here for all CIOs.

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Hewlett-Packard's Randy Mott: Greatest CIO Strategy Ever?

12/5/2008
Yes, I'm making a loaded statement when I say Randy Mott has executed what might be the greatest CIO strategy ever. But consider what he's done for Hewlett-Packard in just three years: cut 85 data centers to six; 700 data marts to 55; 6,000 apps to 1,500; 19,000 IT pros to 10,000; tripled bandwidth at half the cost; cut IT spending from 4% of revenue to under 2%; and flipped the maintenance/innovation spending ratio from 80/20 to 30/70. My colleague Chris Murphy tells the remarkable story in
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'The CIO Needs To Reapply For His Job'

12/4/2008
Your CEO tells you your reapplication process begins immediately with the question, "To capitalize on the current market, what changes should we make to our business model?" Can you give a riveting answer, or will the interview be rather brief? A punchy article from across the pond raises these and more great questions.

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Guy Kawasaki On 'The Art Of Laying People Off'

12/2/2008
In which the outspoken venture capitalist and author, as always, speaks bluntly: "Take responsibility. ... Cut deep and cut once. ... Don't ask for pity." Here's Kawasaki on sharing the pain: "Take a smaller office. Turn in the company car. ... Give your 30-inch flat-panel display to a programmer who could use it to debug faster." His 12 tips don't make for much happy talk but for business leaders in these troubled

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CIO Memo To Staff: Should Customers Really Rank Last?

12/1/2008
In ugly times like these, what message does a CIO send to the business technology team about 2009? The National Bureau of Economic Research just declared that the United States entered a recession a year ago, consumer spending has tanked, the auto industry is floundering, and the financial industry is still trying to find its bottom (so to speak). If you're looking

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IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
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