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12/13/2002
02:19 PM
John Soat
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IT Confidential: The Politics Of Offshore Outsourcing

But Forman doesn't see much need to outsource overseas.

Now that companies are taking a harder look at offshore outsourcing, does it make sense for the federal government to weigh the cost benefits with the security concerns (and potential political blow-back)? Outsourcing IT work overseas doesn't bother Bush administration IT czar Mark Forman. "We don't care if it's built overseas or in the U.S., as long as it's built to the same high standards," says Forman, chief enforcer of the fed's IT policy as associate director for IT and E-government at the Office of Management and Budget. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who chairs the House Subcommittee on IT and Procurement Policy, says using overseas programmers to write nonsensitive, nonstrategic government software could be a way to save taxpayers' money. "I don't have a problem if work for the government--if it's done cheaper, same quality, talking about best values--is going offshore." Davis says most overseas work would likely be part of outsourcing contracts awarded to American firms. "I see my job as trying to be an honest broker here to get the best value for the country."

Say hello to Dumbledore for me! Scholastic, publisher of the wildly popular Harry Potter series, has hired Reg Maton as its new senior VP and CIO. Maton replaces Maurice Greenfield, who retired, and will report to Beth Ford, Scholastic's senior VP of global operations and IT. This will be Maton's fifth CIO job. His most recent was as CIO of Symbol Technologies, and he's held top IT posts at Olympus America, Standard Microsystems, and Tiffany. Earlier in his career, Maton spent 12 years at CBS, where he put in "eight years on the business side and four years in IT," he says.

Luanne Johnson has been named president of the Charles Babbage Foundation, a Palo Alto, Calif., nonprofit corporation dedicated to preserving the history of IT. You may remember her as Luanne James, one-time president of Adapso, which was renamed the Information Technology Association of America. Johnson comes to her new job from the Software History Center, which she co-founded in 2000. The foundation provides financial and advisory support to the Charles Babbage Institute, the historical archives and research center of the University of Minnesota.

Apple bit back last week at the constant leaks that plague its product rollouts by suing a former contract worker who allegedly posted details of upcoming products. Said an Apple spokesperson in a statement to MacCentral, an Apple-oriented Web site, "Apple has filed a civil complaint against Jose Lopez, previously employed by Apple as a contractor, who we believe stole Apple's trade secrets by posting schematic drawings, images, and engineering details of an unannounced Apple product on the Internet."

Fortunately, nobody noticed. Oh, snap! Oh, no, you didn't just say that! Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I deserve a good talking to, or an industry tip, to jsoat@cmp.com, or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about overseas outsourcing, Harry Potter, or the CIO shuffle, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


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

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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