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 April 2009
Flexing its considerable financial muscle in strategic categories, IBM says it "will leverage our cash position to be opportunistic to accelerate our progress" in cloud computing and business analytics, while also reporting a whopping 50% jump in signings for long-term strategic-outsourcing deals in the financial-services sector.
Sparked by strong revenue growth in services and 500 new customers, Riverbed Technology reported revenue grew 21% in the first quarter to $88.5 million, and that it expects second-quarter revenue to be up by 13%-15% year over year. Emboldened by that success, Riverbed execs also told analysts they're beating Cisco "nine out of 10 times" even as Cisco and others offer discounts of 80% or more.
For the second time in three weeks, the understandably low-key CIO of the CIA, Al Tarasiuk, has been in the public eye, this time in recognition for being named as a top IT leader and change agent at an industry event.
The old model where hardware was hardware and software was software is gone, finished, and not to be seen again.
In a memo to employees announcing the Oracle deal, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz makes every effort to emphasize the high value Oracle is placing on Sun's people. And, perhaps releasing his inner publicist, Schwartz also says Sun has "fueled entire industries with our people," driven the discovery of new drugs, and "transformed social media."
Most of Satyam's 40,000 employees, who had nothing to do with the financial fraud that nearly destroyed the company earlier this year, have spent the past three months dutifully serving their customers and fulfilling their professional obligations. So it was nice to see a big client lavish praise on Satyam's employees upon completion of a complex SAP project vital to India's security and national defense.
Infosys, Wipro, and Tata are all looking to hire more non-Indian workers to allay protectionist concerns and to recast their image as creators of jobs rather than relocators of jobs, and Wipro's plans include a second U.S.-based development center. But an ill-advised comment from the head of HR at Infosys could make this effort much more contentious than it needed to be.
Amazon says CIO interest is rising rapidly in its enterprise-caliber Amazon Web Services, and that commitment for the new business starts at "the very highest levels of the company."
Despite overall slumping revenue from first-quarter enterprise license deals, VMware said it booked two of the largest such deals in its history with a major outsourcing vendor and another in the defense sector. The company also released some stats on the number of virtual machines some of its biggest clients are now managing.
Earlier this week, IBM reported declines in many parts of its hardware business. But in spite of the broad hardware downturn, CFO Mark Loughridge said IBM convinced 62 CIOs to rip and replace Unix systems in the quarter, and that Linux MIPS were up more than 50%.
Oracle's grab for Sun is "an astounding move" that will enhance Oracle's ability to compete against Microsoft, VMware, IBM, and others, a new analyst report says. The three gems are infrastructure, channel-partner ecosystem, and the missing ingredients to offer robust cloud and virtualization solutions.
Asked during a quarterly presentation to financial analysts for his reaction to Sun's decision to be acquired by Oracle after discussions with IBM broke down, IBM CFO Mark Loughridge offered a mild variation of "fuhgeddaboudit" by saying that in the ongoing competition for CIOs' decisions and dollars, the Oracle-Sun combination changes "nothing."
Retailer JC Penney's CEO and CIO are telling analysts and shareholders at today's annual meeting that IT has moved front and center in the company's strategy. The company is pushing traditional IT infrastructure management to third parties and is focusing its 1,100-member IT team on exciting, delighting, and extracting revenue from customers.
The CIO at Case Western Reserve University, which uses Sun's MySQL open-source database as well as Oracle databases, says the Oracle takeover of Sun is "a monster step backward for those of us who are committed to sustaining open source," according to The Wall Street Journal.
CIOs face relentless pressure from CEOs to prove, in financial terms, the business value of the IT team and the IT budget.
Facing the prospect of all-Oracle stacks featuring Sun servers running Solaris OS on top of an Oracle database with all reporting through Hyperion, IBM might be considering a bid for SAP, a securities analyst speculates. He even cites a 2006 comment from SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner that only three companies would make ideal matches for SAP: Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
Most hospital CIOs are facing a second round of 2009 IT budget cuts but must somehow begin funding electronic health records projects or face penalties in the form of reduced government subsidies. Two-thirds of CIOs say that balancing act is impossible.
The CIO of a major Indian bank already doing significant business with both companies says Oracle's acquisition of Sun "will bring a lot of value" to his company, and the CIO of an Indian retail chain expects the acquisition to lower his costs for bundled solutions by up to 15%.
Noting that its search engines have become a reflection of the state of the economy, a Google exec said year-over-year searches on foreclosures are up 42%, bankruptcy 53%, and unemployment more than 100%. But the aggregate search data also reveal areas of growth and opportunity, he said.
While the global recession has forced a 119-year-old metals company to cut $65 million out of this year's operating budget, the company is committed to funding the completion by year's end of an Oracle ERP implementation essential in its evolution to a global supply-chain provider or products and services. The payoffs will include operational enhancements as well as costs savings well into the future.
Are your enterprise software vendors trying to make their problem - revenue targets - your problem by force-feeding you add-ons and modules and services you don't want or need? CIOs say this "value-destruction" approach manifests itself in three specific ways, according to Forrester VP Ray Wang's latest installment in his five-part series, "It's The Relationship, Stupid!"
SAP Australia, bestowing anthropomorphic status on the old term "rip and replace," says it is performing a "heart and lung transplant" for Commonwealth Bank as it and Accenture replace brittle systems more than 40 years old. The new systems, SAP says, will let Commonwealth crank out new financial products "in days" instead of "in months and months and months."
An extraordinary group of CIOs from the CIA, NSA, FBI, DoD, and other intelligence and defense agencies convened for lunch Monday and these seldom-seen CIOs shared some plans for 2009: cloud computing, upgraded desktops and network apps, and lots of integration and collaboration. Check out our photo gallery for a look at these generally publicity-shy CIOs whose work defines "mission-critical."
It's not an easy choice, but you don't get paid to avoid conflict.
Waste Management's year-old lawsuit claiming its $100M SAP implementation was a "complete failure" shows the ugly side of E-discovery: SAP says that in a two-week period its former client sent 8.6 million pages of documents and 575,000 pages of emails and attachments. Even worse - oh yes, it gets worse - SAP has had 25-30 attorneys reviewing documents "continually" for six months.
Some CIOs grouse about reporting to the CFO, and while that approach seems to ensure insular and risk-averse thinking, at least most people know what the CFO does. But how about when IT reports to the Chief Concept Officer?
Google Health users are finding stunning inaccuracies in medical records imported from primary-care physicians and hospitals because Google takes some information from insurance billing records that use broad and imprecise codes to describe patient treatment. One electronic health-records expert says "this kind of information should never be used clinically." Feeling better?
The IRS itself says that in 2009 American taxpayers - individuals and corporate - will spend about 880,000 man-years complying with a tax code that has exploded to 3.7 million words. The agency calculates 2006 compliance cost American citizens and companies $193 billion, meaning that this year our challenged economy will burn through at least $200 billion to march to the mad music of the IRS.
Two months ago, California CIO Teri Takai explained how she was bringing that state's madcap IT strategy and staggering IT budget under control. No doubt they're making progress but it's still frightening to look at its list of 111 approved and under-construction IT projects, particularly the top 14 that will cost $6.24 billion and take 91 years to complete.
Five states plus the federal government are looking to regulate the use of RFID due to misplaced fears of obliterated privacy. In a world jammed with surveillance cameras, cellphone-cameras, and imminent smart-grid brains that will scold you for using more electricity than some bureaucrat thinks you should, this paranoia over RFID goes beyond silly to absurd.
"One day they want to be the cloud leader, the next they don't want to have it at all. One day cloud computing is ridiculous, the next day they're saying that they're the dominant player." So said Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff as he kicked off CloudForce London by kicking Oracle's cloud cred to the curb.
We need to avoid getting caught up in the emotional flashpoints of offshoring and outsourcing without putting the extent of those practices into perspective.
Noting that the Indian economy continues to grow while the U.S. is in its 17th straight month of recession, a business article from India focuses on the irony behind the enormous disparities in CEO pay in the two countries that often results in U.S. top execs earning more than 10 times as much as their peers in India.
The explosive growth of Indian telecom client Bharti Airtel is driving a similar explosion in the value of the $750M, 10-year outsourcing contract Bharti signed with IBM in 2004. With Bharti adding 3 million customers a month, the size and scope of its IBM partnership has expanded dramatically and could push the 10-year value of the deal to $2.5B.
A 10-year study of 100,000 galaxies close to our own offers compelling proof that long-hypothesized "dark matter" does exist and is in fact a guiding force behind the structure of the universe, a team of Australian, British, and American astronomers revealed this week.
Australia's federal government started building a site that would let Aussies compare prices at various grocery stores, but the project was a disaster - "a basket case" and "a complete, useless farce," said one MP. And now an Australian integrator plans to completely rebuild the site using Amazon's EC2 cloud with ties to Google Maps. Sounds like on this deal, the technology will be the easy part.
In this week's Global CIO column, I've proposed 10 steps CIOs should take in transforming their organizations in anticipation of inevitable post-recession requirements from CEOs for IT to take an even greater role in driving revenue, increasing customer loyalty, and boosting profits. Maybe these 10 steps will help you frame out your own "New IT Manifesto."
A $240 billion energy company and the world's largest casino company, each deeply dependent on IT in every facet of its business, say they don't plan to fill their recently vacated CIO positions. Is this (a) a quirky coincidence, (b) a short-term savings plan, (c) a sign of things to come, or (d) mistake they'll soon regret, or (e) a chance to create new titles that better reflect current responsibilities?
The old ways are gone forever -- CIOs must adapt to a new environment fully engaged with operations, customers, and revenue generation.
An IT project for military patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals has wasted 8 years and $167 million without producing a single usable application. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra could make a huge impact by jumping into this ugly mess and reversing this shabby and inexcusable treatment of our wounded veterans. Step one: fire every IT manager even remotely involved.