Business & Finance
Commentary
4/16/2004
06:15 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Business Technology: A Tchotchke For Your Brainy Thoughts

While wondering what life would be like if he only had a brain, the Scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz sings a little ditty in which he claims that "With the thoughts that I'd be thinkin'/I could be another Lincoln." In that spirit, here are some thoughts from someone who often feels a close kinship with that baffled and brainless barnyard bailiff.

From recent discussions centered on giving our intelligence agencies the ability to share information seamlessly, we've heard that such projects could take several years to complete. Now, I know we're talking about the federal government here so I'm not expecting blazing speed, and I realize that within this system such elements as security, privacy, and authentication will have to be stupendously sophisticated, but "several years"? Might I suggest that the people who are coming up with these glacial time frames see if they can chop a century or two off those estimates by looking for some best practices employed by other large, complex, multidimensional, multidivisional, and economy-critical organizations? For starters, they might pay a few visits to financial-services companies that integrate vast global acquisitions in a matter of months while also coping with Sarbanes-Oxley and warding off thousands of hackers and delivering real-time services to customers. Several years? In today's world, that's absurd. Given the nature of the project and the stakes of the effort, can't the business-technology community--from the vendor and customer sides--somehow help the federal government figure out a better and faster way?

Who gets your vote for your least-favorite person: (a) SCO chief ambulance-chaser Darl McBride; (b) the hacker who created the MyDoom virus; (c) Donald Trump; or (d) the juror who tanked the Tyco trial?

OTHER VOICES
A patrolman from Wisconsin left his opponents in a cloud of powdered-sugar dust by downing 9-1/2 doughnuts in three minutes to win a doughnut-eating contest for police officers. ... Money raised through the entry fee and T-shirt sales was donated to the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association scholarship fund.

--The Associated Press, April 16


What do you think of Infosys' recent announcement of its plans to hire 500 U.S. consultants over the next three years? Is it (a) a move aimed at placating an American public that feels victimized by the rise of India as a business-technology power; (b) a sudden and unexpected indication that India's rapidly growing economy has pushed incomes in that country so high that Infosys can now find qualified talent in the United States at lower wages; or (c) another example of a highly efficient global economy aligning resources and capabilities with business opportunities?

From which line of business does IBM generate the most revenue: (a) hardware, including all servers, PCs, mainframes, storage, etc.; (b) services; (c) software? Is that leading revenue-generator in decline and likely to be supplanted soon, or in ascendancy and likely to become the company's dominant offering? Will this affect how the company goes to market? Will this affect how other companies--whether in category a, b, c, or all of the above--position themselves and relate to you? Do you care? Should you care?

If you had the power to change one thing about your job--just one thing, no matter how large or small, grand or pedestrian--what would it be?

At cocktail parties these days (that's a bit of a fib--I can't remember the last time I was at a cocktail party, and I hope it's at least as long until I have to go to the next one), everyone's talking about RFID. Is it a world-changer, or a worthless and overhyped solution in search of a problem? Is your company thinking about it, exploring it, deploying it, or ignoring it? Do you care? Should you care?

As the economy picks up, would you recommend to your children that they pursue a career in your field? Why or why not?

Please send your answers to some or all of these questions, and I'll select a bunch and run them in an upcoming column. And all of those selected will receive an official InformationWeek tchotchke. Thanks for your time--I've gotta go catch a hot-air balloon.

Bob Evans
Editor in Chief
bevans@cmp.com


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Bob Evans's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page on the Listening Post

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