Stories by Kim S Nash

Killing complexity

Like many companies, FedEx used to build lots of systems specialised for single functions, such as customer service, with their own applications, hardware and databases. FedEx had been running decades-old software and hardware, including a networking architecture built in 1974 and a descendant of 1979-vintage airline transaction-processing software. "We had one or two of everything," Humphries says. The company also had to keep IT staff who knew how to care for the relics. He declines to say whether the company will reduce staff as it shuts down old technology. But he notes that private clouds of virtual servers and software let the average IT staff member support several business areas.
GE understands the ill effects of too many applications or other forms of complexity, which increase costs and slow the business down, Begley says. It has acquired at least five companies since 2010, all of which came with IT systems that had to be turned off or migrated. The energy division alone accounts for five recent acquisitions, including one company that brought in 39 ERP systems, Begley says. GE signed two more deals recently, which it's expected to close later this year.

Written by Kim S Nash02 July 12 22:00

How data enables change

Actions reveal more than words, we know, and companies are watching carefully, using business intelligence and analytics tools to figure out what's happening in their markets. But it isn't just what makes a consumer buy a product or respond to an email promotion that companies want to understand. They're also putting business operations-where efficiency can make the difference between profit and loss-under the microscope.
By using insights from analytics to improve business processes, CIOs can help managers feed updated intelligence into their decision-making routines almost continuously. A marketing campaign can be adjusted in hours in reaction to uptake on a website. A logistics process, such as trucking equipment to construction sites, can be adjusted to changes in the price of fuel.

Written by Kim S Nash20 June 10 22:00

What it takes to succeed as a CIO

At first glance, the view from the CIO seat looks just fine. More of you report to the CEO and sit on executive management committees this year, the 2009 State of the CIO study found.
Tenure is up and so is pay. Nearly two-thirds of CIOs also lead a non-IT function, such as operations or customer service.

Written by Kim S Nash09 Feb. 09 22:00