Profile of Bob Evans
News & Commentary Posts: 1070
Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.
Articles by Bob Evans
posted in January 2009
Consider: "So the Internet does not only facilitate the functioning of markets; it may also facilitate their malfunction." If that is in fact the case, does your company's application of the Internet's information free-flow have downsides as well as benefits? And if so, are you fully aware of what those unintended and unhelpful consequences are?
I love California -- I swear I do -- but to call the state's current IT situation a monumental disaster would be to insult the words "monumental disaster." Despite a $40B state deficit, California is nevertheless planning nine "strategic" projects scheduled to consume 58 years and $3.6B. Come take a look into the abyss.
My recent post on "What CEOs Want From CIOs" triggered some insightful responses from readers, including how one CIO forged a career-changing relationship with the CEO; the business value CEOs perceive when CIOs leverage existing systems with new, expansive technologies; four tips from a headhunter on how CIO candidates can best-position themselves to CEOs; and why a new CIO peer-level grou
In hard times like these, businesses are looking to slash costs -- so should CIOs beat on their vendors relentlessly for price cuts? It's a tempting short-term alternative, but it's probably not the right strategy. The next wave of leaders among IT vendors will be those that offer innovative programs to share some of the current risk in return for a bigger slice of future rewards.
The issue that needs your fresh thinking: the one-size-fits-all, non-negotiable maintenance fees most software companies charge.
The always-interesting Nicholas Carr turns the recent kerfuffle about Google searches and tea kettles on its head by focusing on the real issue: "But this isn't really about Google, which is only supplying us with services that we want. It's about us." Whether or not you believe we humans are boiling the Earth (I don't), you'll enjoy Nick's analysis of Google's "moral quandary."
Since most of you are slogging through your third or fourth plan to reduce expenses in the past five months, sit back, take a deep breath, and have a laugh or two at some of the approaches the truly great state of California is taking to reduce its $40B deficit. And no, I am not making these up -- they're right from "The Governor's Road Map For More Efficient Government."
Hey -- you think you've got a tough job? How would you like to oversee 8,000 to 10,000 IT workers, 130 CIOs, and a budget of about $3 billion? That's the state of California's IT sprawl, where CIO Teri Takai is charged with cutting $1.5B in costs over five years without reducing headcount. I respect the challenge, but the no-layoffs plan is sheer lunacy.
Although this is "Global" CIO, I'm going strictly local for the Super Bowl and picking my hometown Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 24-16. Arizona fans, feel free to write back and explain how the Cards will win -- and to get you started, here are five areas where the Steelers could be vulnerable.
The current economic crisis has blurred memories of the fuel-price crisis, but now there's supposedly a low-energy-prices crisis that's heating up the alleged boiling-the-Earth crisis. To escape the vises of these crises we need an infusion of IT into the distribution and usage of energy, so GE's jumping into the smart-grid business with a Super Bowl ad featuring a dancing scarecrow singing, "If I Only Had A Brain."
Talk about timing: Touted yesterday by Global CIO as the type of boss every CIO would love to have because of his strong advocacy for customer-driven business technology, First National Bank of Omaha president Rajive Johri has just left the company. He says his departure was voluntary. And I say no one should believe there's any such thing as a Global CIO jinx.
In a further sign that the Indian IT services industry remains a powerful force in global business, Infosys is competing against IBM to acquire the India-based IT unit of the largest mutual fund company in the world, Fidelity Investments. It's also interesting to note that Fidelity will reportedly retain control over high-value services such as business analytics and BPO while unloading primarily back-office functions.
The 150-year-old First National Bank of Omaha is leaning heavily on IT and its CIO to expand into futuristic high-tech branches, attract 1,000,000 new online customers, and open profitable branches in new territories. Ripping out legacy systems to free up needed funds, FNBO offers a classic example of how customer-focused IT can create huge new business value. UPDATE: This boss must have been just too ideal for this imperfect world -- Post a Comment
Inspired leadership, customer-focused innovation, and a relentless business focus just about cover what CIOs need to bring to the table.
Jolted by Satyam's financial scandal, CIOs are scrutinizing their outsourcing policies and fortifying their due-diligence efforts. As a reality check, here's a 10-step plan for creating successful outsourcing engagements, brought to you by Jeff Meier, senior VP and CIO of Fujitsu Network Communications.
A search on "hydrogen fuel cells" turns up a blend of results, including some puzzlers (e.g., from September 2007, a hydrogen fuel cell bicycle). But add the words "data center" to the search and you'll find that $16 billion First National Bank of Omaha and its data center are in their 10th year of being completely powered by hydrogen fuel cells and are -- literally -- off the grid.
Writing about an IBM senior sales rep who survived the US Airways crash last week, my colleague Paul McDougall noted that some companies limit the number of employees who can travel together to minimize corporate risk in case of an accident. That reminded me of a funny exchange on that topic many years ago when I was young and foolish.
Yesterday's US Airways crash in the Hudson River has had me thinking about risk management of a very personal kind. In the past decade I've flown US Airways out of LaGuardia hundreds of times, and the views of skyscrapers and bridges and rivers have dazzled me each time. But next time -- a few days from now -- will probably stir some different reactions.
CIOs who can't unshackle themselves from the bonds of internally focused thinking and execution won't survive.
Using the cloud, Eli Lilly can now deploy a new server in three minutes (instead of 50+ days) and can get a 64-node Linux cluster online in five minutes (instead of 100 days). Those types of technological breakthroughs can help IT teams cut maintenance costs and fund innovation. And at Eli Lilly, the managerial breakthrough came when it focused on the cloud's possibilities instead of its uncertainties.
You've heard "align IT with the business" millions of times and wondered, 'Wait a minute -- aren't we already a *part* of the business?' That old alignment path leads to being reactive and tactical and branded as a cost center, whereas the customer connection points to business value, strategic value, and growth. I make my case for the new road in this week's Global CIO column.
It's time for IT to show its dynamic value by focusing on customer needs rather than internal issues.
These days, mention Satyam and few of us are likely to think of how it won a prestigious 2008 award from SAP for excellence in customer experience and accelerating innovation, plus two independent awards for shared-service excellence. In a Global CIO column, Professor M.S. Krishnan says customers evaluating their relationships with Satyam cannot afford to dismiss those achievements or the long-term quality of the Indian IT services industry.
With banks like this, the old cash-under-the-mattress investment philosophy is starting to look pretty good: The World Bank has announced the ban of outsourcer Wipro for four years, shortly after having done the same to Satyam. So it's bouncing core IT partners, is still reeling from massive data breaches, and has a new acting CIO. If the World Bank were a stock, would you buy?
The World Bank (annual IT budget about $250 million) has been hit by a range of data breaches, at least one of which involved info belonging to staffers. So a corporate guy overseeing IT has sent a flaccid memo to the whole organization. Take a look at the memo and ask yourself if it will make World Bank employees feel better -- or want to quit.
Barely three weeks ago, a defiant Satyam Computer Services was demanding apologies from and threatening legal action against the World Bank for its 8-year ban on the IT services provider due to alleged inappropriate behavior. While that high drama was, of course, totally upstaged by this week's news of financial misstatements, the World Bank situation deserves a closer look.
They work afterhours but aren't allowed to use all their skills; they're on the front edge of mobile technology but aren't permitted to fully exploit that for competitive advantage; and they feel their 21st century skills are being lost in a workplace constipated by 20th century thinking. Are CIOs stifling the leading-edge skills and potential of the Gen Y workforce?
Four weeks ago, CEO Jim wrote a performance-review letter to CIO Pat questioning whether Pat is in fact the right person for the job. As requested, Pat has written a response in which he lays out a 10-point plan for how he and the CEO can work together to use IT to enhance business value. Pat also tells his boss to stop threatening him and start supporting him.
Pat the CIO offers his pointed plan to achieve better ways of operating, calling it a comprehensive plan that needs support to succeed.
The good news: Borders CIO Susan Harwood still has her job. The bad news: Her CEO, CFO, and CMO colleagues were all replaced Sunday, and Harwood no longer reports to the CEO; now it's to the newly named CAO, who until three days ago ran HR. What the heck's going on here?
A Boston councilman wants more details about city business posted on its Web site, but a 1947 law says such details can appear only in the paper-based City Record. Stuck in the middle is Boston's CIO, who's installing 21st-century tools but lacks authority to decide what information gets published. And you thought your office politics were ugly.
Gartner VP Jeffrey Mann has compiled an intriguing list of his Top 10 "anti-resolutions" for 2009 that he either (a) wants someone else to do or (b) wants others to stop doing. It's a thought-provoking list, particularly about how some IT vendors tend to treat their customers.
Underscoring the huge potential for customer-centric CIOs, Dell has expanded the responsibilities of CIO Steve Schuckenbrock by naming him as head of its newly formed Large Enterprise business unit. So let's replace CIO = Career Is Over with the new 2009 model: CIO = Capability Is Optimized.