Losing Our Edge
More and more, I'm meeting people who are being outsourced ("Sign Of The Times: Job Posting Draws 3,000 Applicants," Sept. 29, p. 14). We've lost the edge in manufacturing, and we're going to lose the edge in technology. In the '80s when the military-industrial complex was shedding workers, enrollment in colleges dropped for electrical engineering and related programs. I see this happening for the computer field, and it's going to be compounded.
Is this just an American phenomenon? Are other industrialized nations as quick to outsource their technology? We know U.S. politicians and the administration will be a day late and a dollar short. Is unionization the answer? It has worked in the past. Mark Murray
Senior Presales System Engineer, Information Builders, New York
Vendors Are Responsible
If you bought a VCR and it didn't work right or didn't live up to its professed quality, you wouldn't buy that brand again ("Enough Already: Microsoft Must Change," Sept. 29, p. 66). Why, then, do we put up with the lack of quality in operating-system products?
As long as the products in question are being produced with obvious flaws and sold to consumers, those consumers will end up being exploited. It's the vendor's responsibility to produce a good product, not the consumer's to fix that product. Lou Vasquez
LAN Administrator, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, N.J.
Thanks for your balanced reporting on the sensitive and important issue of offshore outsourcing ("Identity Crisis," Sept. 22, p. 20). My bias is in favor of offshore outsourcing. Here's why.
I've used outsourcing for more than 10 years at startups and exclusively used offshore outsourcing for the last five years, with excellent results.
Now I work with entrepreneurs who are frantically trying to release their software products before their budgets run out. I help them take advantage of low-cost offshore software development to cut their software-development budget in half while guaranteeing their software is released on time.
American programmers who dream of working at the same job for years without threat of layoffs are setting themselves up for disappointment. On the other hand, entrepreneurs find offshore outsourcing enables their dreams of starting new companies. Steve Mezak
CEO, Accelerance, Los Altos, Calif.
Driving Customers Away
Microsoft just doesn't get it ("Fix-It Fatigue," Sept. 15, p. 20). Not only has the company failed consistently to produce a secure product, but it makes it difficult to keep its products up to date.
The bottom line is that already overworked IT staff cannot keep this up, and Microsoft is driving them away. The only reason migration isn't faster is because IT is so busy patching Microsoft products that it doesn't have time to investigate and implement more stable and secure alternatives like Linux. Ernie DeVries
Systems Administrator, Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff
Mark Popolano should have been listed as the CIO for AIG Inc. in the InformationWeek 500 Leading IT Innovators list (Sept. 22, p. 52; informationweek.com/956/rank.htm).
The IT employee count for Eastman Chemical Co. should have been listed as 500 in the Chemicals Industry Leaders chart (Sept. 22, p. 89; informationweek/956/chem.htm).
"Room Service Behind The Scenes" (Sept. 22, p. 117; informationweek.com/956/travel.htm) should have said that Marriott International Inc. has 17 brands and more than 2,600 operating units. Also, Marriott's One Yield application isn't based on PeopleSoft software and doesn't track project costs and labor.
In the Manufacturing Industry Leaders chart (Sept. 22, p. 133; informationweek/956/manu.htm), the number of IT employees for Southwire Co. should have been listed as 67.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
What The Business Really Thinks Of IT: 3 Hard TruthsThey say perception is reality. If so, many in-house IT departments have reason to worry. InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. The news isn't great.