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IT Excellence: The Human Component

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: IT Excellence: The Human Component
2. Today's Top Story
    - Authors' Group Sues Google, Alleging 'Massive Copyright Infringement'
    Related Stories:
    - Google Said To Be Building A Massive Core Network
    - Google Earth Spots Remains Buried In Rome
3. Breaking News
    - Hacker Spams Huge Quantities Of Trojans, Again
    - Microsoft Will Refresh IE 7 Beta 1
    - India, Canada, And China Are Top Outsourcing Destinations: Study
    - Oracle Lowers Upgrade Hurdle For Some PeopleSoft And JD Edwards App Users
    - Mozilla Patches For Firefox Address Multiple Problems
    - IT Needs An Adjustment To Take The Throne, Says Business Guru Hammer
    - IBM Launches Wireless Shipping Security
    - Net Accelerators Revive Sagging Dial-Up Usage
    - As Fuel Costs Rise, Group Urges Federal Workforce To Telecommute
    - MCI Launches Storage On-Demand Service
4. In Depth: VoIP
    - Verso Appliance Lets Enterprises Block Skype
    - AOL To Roll Out TotalTalk VoIP Service
    - Microsoft Partners With Qwest On VoIP
    - Gartner: VoIP Security Uncertain In EBay-Skype Deal
5. Voice Of Authority
    - Speaking The Language Of Business
6. White Papers
    - Large-Scale Data Warehousing With Oracle
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." -- Helen Keller


1. Editor's Note: IT Excellence: The Human Component

Our editors and writers have been spending a lot of time thinking about IT excellence these days. Many of us do this on a regular basis as part of our jobs, of course. But it's even more timely now, given this week's launch of the 2005 InformationWeek 500--a look at the companies that best use technology to business advantage. We also hosted the InformationWeek Fall Conference in California this week, where many of the industry's leading lights shared their knowledge and experience on the topic.

The two events converged when Gregor Bailar, CIO of Capital One--the financial-services powerhouse that took the top spot in the InformationWeek 500 ranking--spoke at the conference. He told attendees to think out of the box, to try new ideas like using the iPod in a business setting as a way of getting users excited about technology.

Other speakers echoed the theme. Michael Hammer, organizational guru, talked about improving business processes, although not at the expense of common sense. He also exhorted ITers everywhere to become more collegial, aggressive, and able to handle ambiguity. That means banishing old thinking, including the favorite: "If they don't know what they want, I can't write the spec," Hammer said.

And so, after reading all these wonderful reports, here I am noodling over *how* to put this stellar advice into practice within any given group of IT people. Specifically, how to foster and reward innovation within IT, help IT staffers think like the customer, infuse excitement, and help IT people "talk business." Because none of this is likely to happen on its own.

Given today's realities, most IT folks--most of the ones I know, anyway--are technologists first and everything else second, third, or fifth. And in, fact, they have very specialized areas of knowledge. Someone who knows Windows XP well enough to troubleshoot it probably doesn't also know Oracle's database and Cisco's router hardware at that same level. Nobody can know that much--and if you do, I hope you're being paid exceedingly well.

In the spirit of learning from each other, I invite you to share your stories of what has worked for you. Have you worked in a line of business as well as in a central IT group and, if so, how did that go? How else have you learned "the business," and how has your employer helped you do so?

To read more about this topic, or to share your thoughts, please check out my blog entry.

Johanna Ambrosio
jambrosio@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Authors' Group Sues Google, Alleging 'Massive Copyright Infringement'
The lawsuit asks the court to block Google from copying books, saying some are not licensed for commercial use.

Related Stories:
Google Said To Be Building A Massive Core Network

The search-engine giant is reportedly building one of the world's largest core transport networks, to help distribute huge quantities of digital content from massive server farms.

Google Earth Spots Remains Buried In Rome
An Italian man using Google Earth spotted the signs of a buried Roman villa near his home, the science journal Nature reported Wednesday.


3. Breaking News

Hacker Spams Huge Quantities Of Trojans, Again
For the second day in a row, an unknown attacker spammed major quantities of a new Bagle-esque Trojan horse that turns off virtually every known security program and blocks access to security sites on the Internet.

Microsoft Will Refresh IE 7 Beta 1
Microsoft plans to roll out a refresh of its first beta of Internet Explorer 7 before releasing a second beta, company executives told testers in an online chat earlier this month.

India, Canada, And China Are Top Outsourcing Destinations: Study
India's skilled labor pool and mature level of services helped the country provide $12 billion in outsourced IT services last year.

Oracle Lowers Upgrade Hurdle For Some PeopleSoft And JD Edwards App Users
Intermediate upgrades won't be needed to move up to Fusion applications.

Mozilla Patches For Firefox Address Multiple Problems
Mozilla patches its popular browser to fix a buffer-overflow vulnerability, and it plugs a critical hole in the Linux edition of Firefox.

IT Needs An Adjustment To Take The Throne, Says Business Guru Hammer
IT managers need to learn all new skills if they want to take charge of company operations, says Michael Hammer, author of the classic Reengineering The Corporation.

IBM Launches Wireless Shipping Security
At the core of the technology is an IBM-developed tamper-resistant embedded controller that runs the Linux operating system and acts as an intelligent, real-time tracking device.

Net Accelerators Revive Sagging Dial-Up Usage
Accelerators have boosted the number of hours the United States' 36 million dial-up customers spend online, according to a J.D. Power survey.

As Fuel Costs Rise, Group Urges Federal Workforce To Telecommute
An Internet-based pro-telecommuting group urges the federal government to take its own advice on energy conservation.

MCI Launches Storage On-Demand Service
MCI's new Utility Storage Service is intended for customers whose capacity needs fluctuate or who want to consolidate storage across multiple platforms.

All our latest news

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4. In Depth: VoIP

Verso Appliance Lets Enterprises Block Skype
NetSpective can also monitor and block a wide range of HTTP, chat, peer-to-peer, and streaming-media protocols, Verso says.

AOL To Roll Out TotalTalk VoIP Service
Set to debut on Oct. 4, the service does not require AOL membership.

Microsoft Partners With Qwest On VoIP
The resulting service package will combine Internet phoning and hosted versions of server products, including Microsoft Exchange server 2003--all geared to small and medium-sized businesses.

Gartner: VoIP Security Uncertain In EBay-Skype Deal
Skype technology presents possible network security risks, the analysts warn.


5. Voice Of Authority

Speaking The Language Of Business
What the business manager wants to hear about is making money, Mitch Wagner explains in his blog entry. CEOs and CFOs who justify expenditures are compensated in terms of profits and financial metrics. IT managers need to learn to speak in terms of profitability, cost reduction, and profit margins. "Everyone who is comped based on those things will hear you loud and clear," said Marc West, senior VP and CIO of H&R Block.


6. White Papers

Large-Scale Data Warehousing With Oracle
Many enterprises are now planning or implementing data warehouses occupying 10 terabytes of disk or more. Warehousing guru Richard Winter interviewed the users described here and wrote this paper.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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