Stories by Sari Kalin

Communicating IT’s value: tools and tactics

Most CIOs know that educating the business about IT is a key part of their job, but many struggle to find the right tools and tactics. Should they publish a monthly email newsletter or will that just clutter already-bulging inboxes? Should they build support for IT projects one VP at a time or should they draw business peers into a formal cross-company dialogue?
When we asked members of the CIO Executive Council for their advice, it quickly became clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. Sometimes, CIOs say, it’s best to simply walk into the VP’s office for a quick chat. Other times, a professionally produced report or presentation can bring the IT message to life and make it easier to deliver across the company.

Written by Sari Kalin04 Oct. 06 21:00

CIO-100: Return on investment

Application integration has a split personality. By some accounts, it's the good Dr. Jekyll, ready to cure whatever ails the enterprise: Share data with employees, efficiency soars; share data with customers, loyalty climbs; share data with partners, the supply chain hums. But by other accounts, it's the murderous Mr. Hyde, an evil IT-led folly that sucks millions from the enterprise while throwing a monkey wrench into operations.
Just look at one of the more recent horror stories in the integrated enterprise archives. Nike reportedly spent US$400 million to overhaul its supply chain infrastructure, installing ERP, CRM and SCM -- the full complement of analyst-blessed integrated enterprise software. So what happened? In the third quarter of last year, the Beaverton, Ore.-based sneaker maker saw profits drop by $48 million, year over year, thanks in part to a major inventory glitch (it overproduced some shoe models and underproduced others). Nike blamed one piece of its integration puzzle -- its demand and supply chain management software -- for the mixup. ("This is what I get for our $400 million?" CEO Phil Knight famously asked, referring to the total cost of the integration project.) And what CIO reading the Nike tale didn't feel an uncomfortable mix of emotions: relief that he wasn't responsible for such a public and pricey screwup, and worry that his own integration project could fail in just as spectacular a fashion.

Written by Sari Kalin03 Oct. 02 22:00

Security superheroes

Think of this as ROTC for security geeks. The U.S. government has started to award millions of dollars in scholarships to computer science students specializing in information assurance ensuring data and systems are secure, private and reliable. In return for the scholarship, recipients agree to work at a federal agency for two years.
Congress allocated more than US$11 million for the Federal Cyber Service program last year and the same amount this year (at press time, the White House is requesting additional funding). Critics of the program say it's far too little to protect the country's vulnerable IT assets. Only 54 students received scholarships last year (this year's scholarship awards have yet to be announced), but some of the funding has also gone toward helping universities develop information assurance courses and train faculty to teach them. "Of course it's too little, and of course it's too late, but that doesn't mean you don't do it," says Andrew Bernat, the program director at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va., and head of the cyberservice program. "Maybe half your cows have escaped the barn, but does that mean you don't close the barn door? Of course not."

Written by Sari Kalin03 Oct. 02 22:00

Putting Content in Context

A growing number of organisations are deploying digital asset management systems - software that stores and organises images, audio, video and other digital objects, making them easier to find, transform and reuse.

Written by Sari Kalin06 Sept. 02 11:00