Stories by Kim S. Nash

When CIOs demand sustainability from vendors

Pamela Rucker doesn't want to spend money with IT vendors that waste water or energy, or that have large carbon footprints. After all, she says, as vice president of IT for environmental services firm PSC, it would be hypocritical to not hold vendors to high standards.
When considering a deal with a software, hardware or services provider, Rucker demands to see its written policies governing sustainability. On top of that, IT staff might walk through vendor facilities to verify a company's green claims: How high heat density is in the data centre; how water consumption is minimized; whether renewable energy sources are used; how old computers are recycled. Rucker and team don't just take such claims at face value, they look for proof.

Written by Kim S. Nash24 Feb. 10 22:00

CIOs face a dry pipeline of entry-level staff

If we keep going the way we are now, this year we will outsource one in four IT jobs to India, Russia and other countries that supply low-cost labour, according to the Hackett Group, a trend that sends a message to young people contemplating technology careers: IT work is unstable. You can't count on climbing any career ladder.
College freshman get it. In 2000, 5.2 percent of incoming students intended to major in computer science. By 2008, according to the latest data from the National Science Foundation in the US, that number had plummeted to 1.5 percent.

Written by Kim S. Nash24 Feb. 10 22:00

Confessions of a shopaholic

At least 22 retailers in the US have been driven into bankruptcy protection during this recession, including RedEnvelope and Eddie Bauer, or gone out of business altogether, like Circuit City. Blockbuster, Virgin Megastores and many more have closed stores. Survivors, suffering deflated profits and slow sales, warn of bleak holidays: The National Retail Federation predicts a 1 percent sales decline for the season compared to last year. Even Wal-Mart feels the slump, with same-store sales down 1 percent in its second quarter—its first such drop in years.
But smart retailers are going where it's warm: the hot little hands of cellphone—and laptop—toting consumers who want to shop right now, wherever they happen to be sipping their lattes or watching their kids' soccer games. Technology-backed projects to increase revenue include mobile e-commerce, coupons by text message, even storefronts on social networks. As enablers of these projects, CIOs are moving ever closer to the customer.

Written by Kim S. Nash23 Nov. 09 22:00

An IT Governance Process That's Weighted for Growth

Count Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) among those companies that believe IT governance done right frees up time and money. When education publishers Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt merged in 2007, IT leaders on each side knew the stakes.

Written by Kim S. Nash12 Nov. 09 04:30

UC promises much, but does it deliver?

It's hard to find anyone who likes audio conferences. Sure, worker bees can put themselves on mute to chat with fellow cube dwellers. Or play Facebook Scrabble and check email until it's their turn to talk. Yes, for true lows in productivity, the fuzzy, disembodied, dial-in audio conference is hard to beat.
And what about all those mail and messaging systems anyway? Office voice mail, cell phone voice mail, office email, personal email, texting, instant messaging, social media communiques. Make it stop, you cry!

Written by Kim S. Nash13 Sept. 09 22:00

How to help employees deal with anxiety over the economy

Morrie Shechtman, management consultant and psychotherapist specializing in change; author of Fifth Wave Leadership: The Internal Frontier, presents some tips to help employees deal with ongoing anxiety about the economy.
Always address everyone in groups. One-to-one meetings are real time-killers. The group is a much more effective change agent. Concentrate on one thing to offer that doesn't cost anything: personal growth. Who employees are as people is one of the most important facets of what they bring to the company. Many people fear receiving or giving feedback; they don't want to show weakness or make someone uncomfortable. But put them in the right setting and they may provide clear and compelling feedback.

Written by Kim S. Nash29 July 09 22:00

Are you cut out for consulting?

Perhaps you’ve seen the writing on the wall that your layoff is imminent. Maybe you’re tired of corporate life and want to ditch The Man and become your own boss. But if you are considering becoming a consultant, listen up: Some CIOs aren’t cut out for the job.
If you have power-hungry tendencies, for example, you may want to keep your day job. Consulting differs from being a career CIO in that a consultant doesn’t rule an IT department. He or she can offer advice, but not issue directives, says James Sutter, senior partner at IT management firm The Peer Consulting Group, and former CIO of Xerox and Rockwell. In the absence of hierarchical authority, influence and persuasion are now important parts of the job, says Sutter. You need to get things done, much like a CIO does, but you may have to emphasise different skills than you’ve used in the past.

Written by Kim S. Nash07 July 09 22:00

How to improve your defences against attacks

Gaining attention for advocating a practical shift in how IT leaders think about security, the Consensus Audit Guidelines offer 20 controls to measure and monitor IT-system and network security. Though worries about increased cost often accompany any notion of improving security, John Gilligan, a consultant who developed the guidelines, says he implemented a subset of the controls when he was the US Air Force CIO (from 2001 to 2005) and saved money on IT and risk management. Gilligan's recommendations include:

Written by Kim S. Nash29 June 09 22:00

How to make IT more cost effective

Many employees don't understand all the business events that drive internal IT consumption and determine the cost of providing technology. But if you don't know what moves the needle on IT, you can't make defensible decisions about how to improve those numbers.

Written by Kim S. Nash12 June 09 05:27

Failure and What You Can Learn from It

Failure makes better leaders. But no one goes looking for it, especially now. Seasoned CIOs offer lessons for avoiding failure or coping if it's beyond your control.

Written by Kim S. Nash13 May 09 02:22

The Case for Enterprise Architects

When technology infrastructure lines up with business projects like musicians in a marching band, you know you have a good <a href="">enterprise architect</a> on staff. But will you keep him when it's time to start handing out pink slips? More on <a href="">The Rising Importance of the Enterprise Architect</a> <a href="">The Four Stages of Enterprise Architecture</a> <a href="">Enterprise Architect</a> <a href="">Enterprise Architect = Scenario Planner</a> <a href="">How Enterprise Architecture is Changing Everything Including the CIO Role</a>

Written by Kim S. Nash08 Jan. 09 04:29

Ways to save money - fast

Cost cutting in information technology looms over many corporate IT groups now, in these tough economic times. Here are tactical projects that you can execute in a few weeks to a few months, reaping rewards almost immediately.
Smart contract talks help an IT department save big

Written by Kim S. Nash31 Aug. 08 22:00

How oil companies use ICT to maximise profits

Gas tops US$4 per gallon. Crude is trading at all-time highs-above $125 a barrel. And oil and gas companies are booking fat profits. In May, Exxon Mobil reported $10.9 billion in profits for its latest quarter, just short of its record-breaking $11.7 billion the quarter before.

Written by Kim S. Nash10 June 08 22:00

Execs: The best CIOs are great leaders, not good managers

The best CIO is an executive whom you don't immediately peg as a CIO. He has shifted from technology manager to business leader, according to top technology executives speaking at our annual CIO Leadership conference this week in Boston.

Written by Kim S. Nash22 May 08 18:45

What my mentor taught me

No one ever forgets a good <a href="">mentor</a>, or the lessons they teach. Five CIOs share the best advice they ever got from their mentors.

Written by Kim S. Nash02 May 08 18:48