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12/8/2010
11:49 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Top 10 Tech Stories Of The Year: The Complete List

The cloud, mobile, IBM, Oracle-Sun, SAP, the death of the tactical CIO, HP's CEO shuffle, Apple's rise in the enterprise, and optimized systems were all among 2010's top tech stories. Here's the full list with links to more than 150 analytical and opinionated columns.

#7: IBM Rules In Analytics. In his prime, Muhammad Ali purred that he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, able to mesmerize opponents with grace and elegance or stun them with unprecedented speed and power.

And here in 2010, IBM has shown a similarly lethal blend as its Smarter Planet megatheme has paved the way for its flashy services and analytics prowess even as it has been simultaneously developing what might well be the industry's most-sophisticated hardware lineup, stretching from custom chips to servers and on up to some of the world's most powerful mainframes.

#6: SAP's Striking Turnaround. In one of the most striking turnarounds ever undertaken by a big, global IT company, SAP this year has totally recast how it creates products, why it creates products, how it engages with customers, how it co-defines and co-develops value with its customers, and what type of strategy it needs to extend its lead as the world's most successful provider of business applications.

Pushing the company far beyond its roots in rigid ERP applications created in massive, Newtonian development processes, SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe have blown out the company's stuffy and inflexible culture and myopic management perspective that earlier this year led to founder and chairman Hasso Plattner firing former CEO Leo Apotheker and installing the new leaders.

#5: The Fall Of The Tactical CIO. As business analytics and predictive analytics become indispensable to business strategy and execution, profound changes are rippling through entire organizations from supply chains to merchandising to demand-planning to pricing and marketing and product development and sales and more.

That's because companies and other large organizations are now gaining the ability to anticipate with great clarity what customers will want and when they'll want it and how they'll want it. In turn, that's giving companies the ability to shift from blunt-force "prepare for everything" approaches to the more productive and profitable model of focusing their efforts on the precise opportunities and outcomes that analytics can provide.

But while those changes are broad and deep across organizations, perhaps the departments that will be jarred most severely by the rise of analytics are IT groups, particularly those that have remained caught up in the tactical world of focusing on technology instead of business outcomes, and on metrics that have more to do with server uptime than with customer loyalty.

#4: Oracle Becomes Systems Company. While Larry Ellison's dogged persistence in closing the acquisition of Sun will be remembered for many peripheral things—including the shameful 8-month kabuki exercise staged by the European Commission that cost many hundreds of Sun employees their jobs, the mockery by Ellison of former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz for blogging instead of selling, and the silly predictions that the two companies' wildly different cultures would make the deal into a disaster—the Oracle takeover of Sun will ultimately be remembered for one big thing: it gave Ellison the platform from which to mount simultaneous assaults on both IBM and SAP, two of the most successful business-technology companies in the world. But win or lose, we are seeing that the effort alone is accelerating huge transformational forces in the IT industry: the promise that an all-Oracle, single-vendor stack can be more effective than the traditional heterogeneous approach; the surging demand for deeply integrated and optimized systems precipitated by Ellison and reinforced with Sun; and the notion that for most IT suppliers, the formerly impenetrable silos segregating hardware vendors from software vendors had come crashing down.

Next, who could forget the Mark Hurd-HP saga? Beyond the melodrama itself, Hurd's ouster has had enormous repercussions in the IT industry, particularly for HP and Oracle:

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