Top 10 CIO Issues For 2009
Taking for granted that all CIOs want to stay employed in 2009 while helping their companies grow and increase profits and delight customers, our list of 10 top-priority items for CIOs in the coming year offers a blend of the old and the new. Here's our list of the 10 items we think will keep you excited and delighted in 2009.
Forrester's Year-Old CIO Outlook: Where's 80/20 Plan?
Thirteen months ago, Forrester's Bobby Cameron offered a summary of his $379 CIO agenda for 2008: become a business change-agent, etc. The summary failed to mention attacking the 80/20 demon, which should be the top priority for CIOs in 2009. Because if they don't undertake that battle, all the other transformation happy-talk will remain just that -- a lot of talk.
#1 Job Threat Is Technology, Not Globalization
In these high-anxiety times, are you worried your company will send your job overseas? The authors of a new book say you're right to be afraid -- but not of outsourcing. They contend the real job-grinder has been the productivity engine of IT and that fears of outsourcing and other globalization issues are "wildly overblown."
Apple iSlate Speculation Misses Point
All the rumor mongering surrounding Apple's expected upcoming release of a humongous-screened iPod misses the point. A search of the USPTO patent database reveals that Apple isn't even the leader in Webpad patents. Hey, doesn't anyone remember the (failed) Windows-based Tablet frenzy, circa 2002? Thus, the big deal this time is that Apple will legitimize the platform, particularly for business users. Indeed, I believe mobile Webpads could edge out netbooks--and even debuzz smartphones somewhat--
Gartner: IT Has 'No Moral Basis' To Monitor Facebook Usage
Does your IT team spend any time monitoring Facebook usage by employees? If so, you're just wasting your time and reinforcing the reputation that you and your team are busybodies, says Gartner analyst Brian Prentice. But his argument gets downright weird when he asserts such actions are an attempt "to deny people the right to reclaim a semblance of a personal life."
Palm Gets $100 Million Boost
Elevation Partners' equity investment comes as the smartphone and PDA maker is set to unveil its Nova operating system and new handsets.
Larry Ellison: Oracle DB Machine 'Most Successful Intro Ever'
Oracle last week gave some dazzling performance details from two customers evaluating its new hardware/software Database Machine, and CEO Larry Ellison called it the most successful Oracle product intro ever in terms of "pipeline growth and pipeline size." Will Oracle be able to convince budget-strapped CIOs to convert that pipeline interest into actual purchases?
What We Can Learn From Werner Vogels
To be recognized as InformationWeek's chief of the year, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels has obviously done a few things right. Following are five takeaways for other IT pros.
Bill Gates: Telling Him A Joke But Butchering The Punch Line
The Comdex keynote crowd of 20,000 roared as Bill Gates, besieged by the Justice Department, called out brazenly, "Anybody out there know a good lawyer joke?" So the next morning at a private meeting with Gates, I said hello and then -- against my better judgment -- asked, "Still looking for a good lawyer joke?" Bill hesitated a second and then said sure, go ahead -- and moments later I went down in flames as I told the joke but butchered the punch line.
Dell CIO: In Search Of Infrastructure Management Innovation
I spoke with Dell CIO Steve Schuckenbrock today, who said this about the $1.2 trillion a year companies spend on IT infrastructure. One-third is on hardware, where Moore's Law relentlessly drives improvement. The other two-thirds is spent managing infrastructure, and there's "no innovation to speak of" in that arena. Too harsh?
Oracle's Larry Ellison On 'Series Of Wins Vs. Salesforce'
Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison yesterday told financial analysts that Oracle's latest quarter was "conspicuous" for a "series of competitive wins versus Salesforce.com," including "our largest deal ever of salesforce-on-demand, or cloud computing, or whatever you want to call it." Will that head-to-head competition lead to a buyers' market for CIOs?
SEC's Former CIO Sought Preemptive Safeguards
Exactly four years ago tomorrow, the former CIO of the now-embattled agency told InformationWeek that one of his top priorities was to enable the SEC "to look over the hills and around the corners to spot problems before they become problems." That objective looks eerily prescient this week as we realize the scope of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
My Top Tech Accomplishments Of 2008: Year Of Twitter, Facebook, Quad Core
I can't recall a year where the technological center of gravity was more personal-facing -- and less business-oriented -- than 2008. Sure, virtualization, server consolidation, SaaS, and enhanced mobility emerged as offering true enterprise value. Yet many of us spent our days messing around with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, all the while convincing ourselves that we were doing
SEC CIO's First Week: Madoff Scandal Breaks
Talk about a tough first week on the job: just as investors and many others began intensely scrutinizing the SEC for its role (or lack thereof) in allowing the Madoff investment scandal to happen, Charles Boucher started his new career as CIO of the SEC. As they say, be careful what you wish for -- you might get it.
IT Jobs Will Be Hot With Obama In The White House
There's a little more than a month before President-elect Barack Obama gets sworn in. Based on the hints he's provided so far about his economic stimulus plans and other programs, some pundits are predicting that demand for IT jobs will take off, especially in key sectors.
Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman Says Don't Call It 'Open Source'
GNU guru Richard Stallman sent me an e-mail the other day complaining that we erred by saying that the Free Software Foundation, of which he's president, promotes open source software. "We have never supported the idea of 'open source' because that idea denies the importance of users' freedom," he writes. Read on for the dizzying semantics behind Richard's argument, and why I think his obsessive attempts at language control are shooting his own software objectives in the foot.
CEO 'You're Fired' Threat, Part 2: McKinsey Pushes Maintenance Cuts
Just three days after we posted our "Letter From CEO: Cut Maintenance To 60% Or You're Fired," McKinsey has released a big study saying that CEOs, CIOs, and other executives want to spend 40% of IT budgets on customer-focused investments but can't find the cash to do so. Enough already: it's time for CIOs to declare all-out war on the 80/20 monster.
Bernie Madoff On Video: 'It's Virtually Impossible To Violate Rules'
Yes, here's the guy who swindled $50 billion proclaiming on camera just a year ago that it's impossible to violate scores of SEC rules -- even though he was doing exactly that -- and that "this is something the general public doesn't understand." Read on to check out the certified brass-pair video excerpt from Madoff in an excellent post by my colleague Kerry Massaro of Advanced Trading.
Battery Life Still Bane Of Apple iPhone User Experience
I love/hate my iPhone. Enjoy the call quality, Safari browsing, iPod listening, iTunes Store applicationing, and e-mail accessing (especially the Microsoft Outlook sync). But all of that is marred by the constant suspicion -- verified by my obsessive checks of the battery indicator -- that the thing will be fully drained of juice well before my day runs out of work.
Gartner: Will Cloud Displace Internal IT Services For Data Centers?
Gartner Group's Tom Bittman writes, "While that does not mean that the majority of all IT services will be handled in the cloud, it does show that the number of large organizations using some cloud services could be growing rapidly." How do you think you and your company stack up? Read on for highlights of Gartner's top-line findings.
Bailout Watch: HP Ex-CEO Carly Fiorina Says Something Smart
I've never been a huge fan of ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, but I sure admired her performance Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press. Discussing the sinking economy, Carly cut through the clutter -- and put Mitt Romney's won't-let-you-get-a-word-in-edgewise performance to shame -- by succinctly identifying the root of our ongoing problem: It's the unavailability of credit, stupid!
One Year Of Golf And Novels Is Plenty, CIO Says
Richard Rzasa spent 24 years in IT on Wall Street, culminating in a high-profile CIO role at TD Waterhouse before it was acquired by Ameritrade. Rzasa left the job market for a while to golf, read, and refresh, but then realized he missed the rush of the CIO world. So he's back in the game and savoring a very different CIO challenge, according to Greg MacSweeney of
Letter From CEO: Cut Maintenance To 60% Or You're Fired
So Pat the CIO gets the annual year-in-review letter from the CEO that precedes their formal performance-review meeting and the opening paragraph is a doozy: "Pat -- You did some great things in 2008 with mobile apps, data-center consolidation, and SLAs but you failed to cut maintenance from 80% of IT spending to 60% so I'm not sure you're the right person for this job. Prove me wrong by May, or I'll have to let you go."
Why So Little Buzz Surrounding Windows 7?
When Microsoft does something funky -- like CEO Steve Ballmer's infamous Monkey Dance -- the press can't get enough of it. Yet when the folks in Redmond act inspired, the publicity is apparently somewhat sparser. That sure seems to be the case surrounding Windows 7. My early tests of the operating system, which will succeed Vista in about a year, indicate that it's a solid, high-performing, great-looking
Half Of CIOs Fail To Show Business Value, Study Says
A recently released study on CIO leadership revealed that 51% of CIOs "have developed business-value indicators that link IT performance metrics and business goals." That means 49% are failing to make and communicate this absolutely critical connection. How can those 49% expect to keep their jobs if they're not proving they deserve to keep them?
My Pizza Man Builds An Intel Core i7 PC
I went down to my local pizzeria to get a couple of slices and a Diet Coke, and I ended up in a discussion with the owner about Intel's latest quad-core chips. Turns out the pizza guy is building a PC with Intel's new Core i7 processor and Asus's P6T motherboard. Hey, seems you don't have to be an overly-computer-focused engineering guy like yours truly (please don't call me a geek) to put together a hot system on your own. Who knew?
More On Ethics And Morals
In response to my recent column on ethics and morals, I received a note from Michael Josephson, principal of the Josephson Institute of Ethics, whose survey of high schoolers I referenced in the column. That survey's main findings: A majority of students said they had cheated on a test within the past year; 30% admitted to having stolen from a store; 23%
Won't Steal Corporate Data? You're In The Minority
The bad news on insider threats keeps getting worse: most respondents to a new database-security study think such attacks will accelerate in 2009 and that insiders will most likely be behind them. Yesterday I noted the huge risks from employees wanting some "insurance" in case they get laid off; today's culprits appear to be a mix of shortsighted budgeting, ignorance, and incompetence.
Finding New IT Work Is Getting A Lot Tougher
Is your IT organization hiring? If so, you'll likely be getting a flood of resumés soon. A new report says that there's been a pretty recent sharp decline in hiring plans by IT organizations for the next six months.
Fearing Layoffs, Most Workers Willing To Steal Data
Most workers frightened by the prospect of layoffs are considering stealing corporate data to use in negotiating for a new job, our excellent sister site Dark Reading reports. They're angry, scared, desperate, and unsophisticated -- but you, the CIO, are cool, calm, and confident because you're prepared for such an onslaught. Right? Well -- you are prepared, aren't you?
Barry Diller Says Lay Off The Layoffs
Barry Diller's my new hero. The media mogul is hammering those companies which are downsizing, even though they don't really need to, simply because now's an easy time to board the layoff bandwagon. Hey, big companies, here's a news flash for you: You're not just laying off your workers, you're canning your potential customers, too.
Motorola Credit Downgraded To Junk Status
Motorola's handset division continues to struggle as it loses market share to the likes of Apple, Nokia, and Research In Motion, but new CEO Sanjay Jha may help lead a turnaround.
Wal-Mart IT Links Online, Retail Channels -- 80 Million Times
Wal-Mart's Web-based "Find-In-Store" capability has been used about 80 million times since last year as part of its drive to give customers more choice in how to buy and take delivery. Wal-Mart says customers want more information and more convenience, and are relying more on mobile devices. With Wal-Mart's sales rising in a lousy economy, there's a lesson here for all CIOs.