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10/24/2003
09:53 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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IT Confidential: A Guidebook To Business Technology

As a kid, when I was told to act more mature, I took it to mean something like "obey the unwritten grown-up rules." Adults could do their thing, but they did it within certain guidelines. In yet another sign that business technology is a maturing industry, some very smart people are creating something akin to those grown-up rules. A group of executives, academics, and tech vendors are forming the nonprofit BTM Institute with a goal of bringing more science and standards to the art of business-technology management. The effort is led and funded by Enamics, a vendor of software and services built for business-technology management. Self-interests aside, Enamics CEO Faisal Hoque has put together an impressive lineup of academics and execs, including Unicef CIO Andre Spatz, Capital One business information officer Philip Fasano, Avaya CIO Tom Lesica, J.P. Morgan Chase chief application architect Chadwick Nestman, and Marriott CIO Carl Wilson. The goal is for the academics to publish research by the middle of next year laying out standardized management processes or best practices that managers can apply to help businesses get more value out of technology. Spatz says the chance for academics to gather information with the help of seasoned CIOs is what interested him: "There are a lot of areas in IT that aren't standardized, where there aren't best practices developed," he says. "There's very little documented on that."

Sam Bodman might want an advance copy of that research. Bodman, the No. 2 official at the Commerce Department, chairs the E-government committee of the President's Management Council. That means he'll work with E-government administrator Karen Evans, who took over last month from Mark Forman, to make federal agencies better users of IT. The panel plans to continue efforts to push agencies to collaborate on IT, trying to avoid the stovepipe systems that increase costs, make information-sharing harder, and frustrate efforts to make government easier to do business with.

Could more regulation actually help IT managers? Most reaction to Sarbanes-Oxley and similar reporting regulations has been gripes about the cost and time it takes to comply. But Griff Macy, VP of enterprise systems development at Waste Management Inc., suggested last week at an Informatica user conference that there's an upside: forcing business leaders to review how they run their businesses and get their data-management processes in order.

Anyone got tickets? Need one. We're not talking World Series seats here. Someone last week tried to hawk a registration to this week's Microsoft Professional Developers Conference on eBay. Asking bid: $1,895. It wasn't clear whether there were any takers. But there was still a zippy black and green button-down from Microsoft PDC 2000 available. Asking $9.99.

Just in time for Halloween. You could get a real Microsoft convention-goer outfit. John Soat will return Nov. 10. Until then, please send your industry tips to me at cjmurphy@cmp.com.


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