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2/17/2010
03:41 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Open Letters To Ellison, Hurd, Chambers, & Plattner

In the past year we've made candid suggestions to each of those executives via open letters -- were our ideas on target?

Throughout the past 12 crazy months, we've periodically shared via an open-letter format our suggestions for the CEOs of some of the top enterprise-IT vendors. After the turbulent events of 2009 and the lively start we've had here in 2010, we wanted to look back at those recommendations we made to Oracle's Larry Ellison (two letters), HP's Mark Hurd, Cisco's John Chambers, SAP former CEO Leo Apotheker, and SAP chairman Hasso Plattner.

While each letter was unique and specifically focused on the strategic issues facing the various executives, we also found common themes throughout: the need to more clearly articulate strategic capabilities and business value; the need to aggressively update business models; the mismatch between what CIOs are saying they need and what some of these vendors are offering; and strong recommendations that IT partners recognize that the business-technology game has changed profoundly and permanently.

Here are some excerpts from each of our letters, and please send us your suggestions for what we should recommend to these industry-shaping executives in followup communications.

Global CIO: An Open Letter To Oracle CEO Larry Ellison (first of two)
We kicked off the series just over a year ago with the first of two open letters to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. In this first one, we suggested that while the one-size-fits-all 22% annual maintenance remains a good deal for Oracle, it has outlived its usefulness and value for many customers and should be changed. As we wrote during the very worst of the global recession:

(Excerpt:) "As you well know, those customers are desperately trying to cut costs and conserve cash, and are exploring every possible option for doing so. You can help those customers very directly while also advancing Oracle's cause in a variety of ways by being willing to modify your stance on that single-tier, unmodifiable policy. Here's what you might consider:... "

Global CIO: An Open Letter To SAP CEO Leo Apotheker
While Apotheker was forced out of SAP earlier this month, it's worth taking a look at the issues challenging him at the time. As we wrote in our letter to Leo, beginning with a comment from him followed by our reaction:

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(Excerpt:) "I would love to see SAP's culture to evolve to be even more agile, more responsive, and more customer-centric," Apotheker said early last year. Leo, turn your desire into action -- underscore your new role as the company's single CEO by creating a 10-point strategy that's framed in not in the context of a big software company but from the perspective of your customers who themselves are also striving to become more focused on and responsive to their customers; you could call it "SAP's 10-Point Commitment To The Customer-Centric Enterprise."

Global CIO: An Open Letter To Cisco CEO John Chambers
With this one, it was less about urging Chambers to take a different tack and more about asking him to clarify what value proposition he wanted his huge and fast-growing company to embody for CIOs:

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