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 June 2009
With bankrupt Chrysler about to resume production and as both it and General Motors struggle with huge losses and drastic new ownership structures, at least 30% and perhaps even 40% of the suppliers that feed the U.S. automobile industry will not be able to survive, says a restructuring expert.
Indian IT services firms have been cutting their rates by 35% or even 40% as global clients continue to look for ways to reduce costs in the global economic downturn. The depth of this latest round of rate cuts is "unprecedented," according to an industry expert based in India.
A leaked SAP strategy document says the company expects to reach an operating margin of 35% by 2014 and also expects current revenue to double during that five-year period. Right now, archrival Oracle has an operating margin of 51%, so it will be interesting to see how each side spins its profit story to its customers.
IBM was awarded 4,186 patents last year to lead the Top 10 list, marking the 16th straight year IBM has earned more US patents than any other company in the world. IBM's achievement - that's more than 11 patent granted every single day for the entire year - also marks the first time any organization has been awarded more than 4,000 US patents in a single year.
During the global economic downturn, an IT industry that delivers too much complexity and not enough flexibility has lost a lot of credibility, says Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, and a major repercussion has been the rise of the reference-account CIO as sales driver. Is your commission plan all set up?
The enterprise-software powerhouse is rightfully proud of its financial prowess. But in this brutal economy, are its customers getting a fair return?
In Tuesday's eagerly anticipated earnings call, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison might have been expected to talk about the company's $23.5 billion software business or its Q4 operating margins of more than 50%. But in a sign of the changing times, he talked not about software but instead about a hardware-based Oracle product that "is shaping up to be our most exciting and successful new-product introduction in Oracle's 30-year history."
Among smartphone users who don't currently have Blackberries, only 14% say they plan to buy a Blackberry as their next smartphone. But among smartphone users who don't currently have an iPhone, 38% say the iconic Apple smartphone is the one they're going to buy. Eh, cut-and-paste, schmut-and-paste!
Oracle's acquisition binge has allowed it to take customers and market share from SAP, analysts say, but their bigger focus is on whether Oracle can stem its recent declines in new-license revenue. We'll find out for sure later today when Oracle releases its quarterly numbers, but here's what some analysts are projecting.
In yet another stark example of the type of fresh thinking CIOs need to embrace to overcome tomorrow's business-technology challenges, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton says IT organizations need to create self-service models to lower the cost of infrastructure and give employees more flexibility and power. He even says employees should be given the freedom to provision their own apps and services.
During this difficult economic time, augmented reality has the potential to help you enhance your role as a visionary business technology leader, inspire your team, and steal the march on your competitors.
Not too long ago, a mythical CIO finally authorized the Blackberry for corporate use, and overnight was transformed from know-nothing whipping-boy to rock-star hero. But now comes the iPhone 3G S and the troops are threatening an all-out uprising unless they all get one. A real-life IT exec from the U.K. tells this tale of woe in "The CIO and the iPhone."
Hewlett-Packard has acquired full interest in an HR business-process outsourcing firm formed as a joint venture between EDS and Towers Perrin in 2005 and called Excellerate HRO. Now that HP's wholly owned services unit, EDS, has full control over the venture, HP is likely to become more aggressive in courting outsourcing deals in the HR sector.
Reports are circulating that Oracle will trump this week's acquisition of Conformia with the purchase of GoldenGate Software, whose data-migration and real-time integration tools are already widely used to link Oracle with Siebel and other environments.
It seems inevitable that the Obama administration will seek to cap executive compensation across the board, including CIOs, and not just for companies bailed out by taxpayers.
"Having faced the humiliation of having their IT budgets unilaterally cut, [some CIOs] are now in a tail spin that will ultimately have serious business consequences." Sound familiar? IT consultant Ade McCormack says that unless such CIOs are willing to accept the job of IT manager, they need to heed his "call to arms for a 21st-century CIO."
At the end of a recent article detailing the 2008 compensation packages of the five highest-paid CIOs - with #1 on the list having earned $24.65 million - BusinessWeek asked the rather bizarre question, "Do you think limits should be set for CIO pay?" After reading the article a second time, I think BusinessWeek wants the answer to be yes.
Oracle has landed two significant new deals: with HBO to help it shift more IT spending away from internal operations and more toward content creation and customer engagement, and with Abercrombie & Fitch to create a global single instance for store merchandising and operations as the retailer undertakes a global expansion.
HP CIO Randy Mott, who last year completed a sweeping transformation of HP's IT operations that flipped the ratio of IT spending on maintenance/innovation from 80/20 to 30/70, tops a list of the five best-paid CIOs at public companies in the U.S. Other public companies whose CIOs made the list: Best Buy, State Street Corp., American Express, and JC Penney.
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano recently told institutional investors, in a very pointed fashion, that IBM is "not like the other companies in the IT industry" because it's transformed itself. And so when IBM sued one of its VPs to prevent him from joining Dell, the VP defended his legal right to make the move by using Palmisano's own words as proof that Dell should not be regarded as a competitive threat to IBM.
CIOs from all industries need to sit down with their C-level peers and imagine fresh new approaches and processes that give customers more choices while driving more actionable, customer-based knowledge back to headquarters.
A professional investor who's used PCs for 20 years relates the superb retail experience he had at the Apple Store in Tokyo, and emphasizes the power of atmosphere and interpersonal interactions in driving brand equity, revenue and customer engagement. After buying, he wondered, "What excuse could I find to visit my new friends in Ginza, and buy something else from them?"
A Google News search on "SAP" turned up this headline attributed to BusinessWeek: "SAP hits on-demand SaaS button to avoid extinction." But that silly headline and equally silly article weren't written by BusinessWeek - they appeared on a new BusinessWeek site where readers post stories from other sites. With outcomes like this, is SAP the one that should be worried about extinction?
An anonymous IRS official has leaked some comments about a proposed tax-code change that could make it less expensive for businesses to comply with tax laws governing deductions for cell phones. Forgive me if I'm a tad suspicious, but when was the last time that the IRS did anything to save any money for anyone? And why did the comments have to be made anonymously?
Cisco's recent entry into the server business has caused two of its former partners, HP and IBM, to retaliate by buying more high-end SAN switches from Brocade rather than from traditional supplier Cisco. The result: "a landslide shift in market share in just one quarter."
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says his company will spend $9.5 billion on R&D this year. That's almost 50% more than IBM's $6.5 billion, and it's more than the combined R&D spending of IBM and either Oracle ($2.7 billion) or Google ($2.8 billion). And almost nine times as much as Apple's $1.1 billion. Is Microsoft deriving equivalent multiples in business value?
UBS CTO and head of IT Peter Sany is leaving the company after about 10 weeks on the job and all you CIOs out there please take note: UBS's CEO said ongoing cost cuts include "pooling services such as information technology." Is that how your company views you and your IT operation: just another commodity service, like HR and facilities, waiting to be pooled?
Seeking to gum up America's expansion into the 21st century by advocating Industrial Age processes, a labor union is demanding that Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent deconstruct their global supply chains to prove by hand that only U.S.-made components are going into a $7.2 billion government-funded project to expand broadband access. Cisco is finding these nativist policies to be anything but stimulating.
When American companies expand their operations outside the U.S., those global investments lead directly to the hiring of more workers in the U.S. at higher wages because the companies become more successful and competitive, according to a new study from Harvard and Berkeley. To you nativists who'll howl like roasted cats at such objective research, there's an old saying: you can look it up.
While SAP today had to enjoy announcing a rip-and-replace deal over Oracle and IBM for a utility client, it also had to sit by and watch as longtime SAP global strategic partner Siemens not only overlooked SAP for a whopping 420,000-seat workforce-management license but also selected a SaaS vendor to boot. This is surely not a business for the faint of heart.
Maybe Microsoft and Salesforce could each be very good for what ails the other.
Last week we shared an outsourcing expert's list of "The 10 Riskiest Places In The World For Outsourcing," but for those IT organizations looking for a slightly less exuberant outsourcing adventure, today we're happy to offer you that same expert's list of the world's 10 safest locations for outsourcing. Hint: none of the 10 safest is in India.
A rapidly growing number of Western companies are selling to outsourcers their India-based "captive" software and IT operations because the model is no longer profitable or the sellers need cash or both. One U.S. outsourcer said it's done six such deals this year and has 15 more in its pipeline.
Emboldened by President Obama's desire to punish global corporations for employing workers outside the U.S., the nativists are screeching once again about the ongoing threat to "our jobs." But that begs the question of just what exactly "our jobs" are: with 70% of IBM's employees based outside the U.S., and 40% of Microsoft's outside the U.S., just whose jobs are they anyway?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Symantec Chairman John Thompson say the Obama administration's plans to revise tax policy on foreign profits will force U.S. companies to move more employees overseas due to the higher cost of business and lower profits such policy would trigger.
On Monday I wrote about a list compiled by outsourcing experts showing that Bogota, Colombia, is #1 on their new list of the riskiest cities in the world for outsourcing. Some followup research about Bogota has me wondering just how these outsourcing experts formed their opinion of the Colombian capital, which several other sources describe as a safe, business-oriented, and forward-looking city.
A Senate bill aimed at limiting some H-1B visas will hurt the competitiveness of American companies, jeopardize ongoing projects, trigger a trade dispute with India, and prove to be "misguided and dangerous," say Indian IT execs. Anyone else foresee a Pyrrhic victory from all this protectionist grandstanding?
The New York Stock Exchange's IT organization is "accepting alternatives that [it] never ever would have considered a year ago" because budget pressures are forcing its CIO to go with unorthodox approaches that last year would have been met with "That is too crazy. That is risky. That makes no sense." Is this a revolution - or spurt evolution?
If you're a CIO thinking about which mobile phones to deploy across your enterprise, you need to check out a Deutsche Bank analysis showing that RIM and Apple will grab huge percentages of the industry's total operating profits this year. Apple's share of those profits will jump from 20% in 2008 to a projected eye-popping 31% in 2009, but guess what - RIM will do even better.
Citigroup former head of technology and operations Kevin Kessinger is one of five former Citi top-level executives who were promised severance packages totaling $100 million but will receive only about $50 million because of the company's concern over "a public backlash," the Wall Street Journal reports. Question: does Citi have a contractual right to make such a move?
Several universities in Australia are reporting sharply higher demand for IT degrees just several years after the dot-com crash threatened to put the kibosh on info tech as a viable career. And it's particularly good to see these schools offering interdisciplinary programs that blend intense IT education with parallel immersion in commerce, science, medical, and legal curricula.
The list, built around concerns over terrorism, pollution, and geopolitical tensions, includes cities from a range of countries that could otherwise constitute a round-the-world tourism dream: Thailand, Jamaica, South Africa, Brazil, India, Israel, the Philippines, and Colombia. Read on to see if your company's global outsourcing map matches up with this list of the world's10 riskiest locations for outsourcing.
With the U.S. auto industry in shambles and the government transferring ownership of it to the autoworkers' unions, one analyst says the only salvation lies in retooling the entire car industry around the model of the IT industry: electric cars built with off-the-shelf hardware and differentiated by software.