It's an irony of life that to gain control you sometimes have to cede it. With hosted solutions, software as a service, outsourcing, offshoring and the "consumerization" of IT, it is becoming difficult-and increasingly pointless-to maintain absolute control over everything. And why would you want to?
Stories by Abbie Lundberg
Not all CIO jobs are the same. The needs and IT maturity of companies vary widely. You wouldn't expect a mining operation and a financial services company to want or need the same kind of CIO. That said, each year there are fewer and fewer businesses that couldn't be improved with IT and by CIOs who know the score.
If there's anyone who understands the impact of consumer technology on the enterprise, it's Google CIO Douglas Merrill. He believes we're not only entering a new business epoch; it's one in which IT leaders with real technical skills will be more in demand than ever.
Merrill doesn't look like the standard model information executive. If you were to walk into a CIO gathering and find Merrill there, you might take him for a hip entrepreneur or a musician come to perform. He has earrings. More than a few. And long, unruly hair. He wears bright tee shirts and jeans.
The effects of the networked economy continue to ripple across our broad business seas, rocking the boats of industry after industry. There's been a dramatic increase in the number of companies Standard & Poor's calls "high risk," from 35 percent in 1985 to 73 percent today (based on a study by S&P and Mercer Management Consultants, as reported in a recent article in Fortune magazine).
Truth is a funny thing, particularly when it comes to ethical issues. What's true for me may not, in fact, be true for you. My past experiences influence my values, which influence my perception of the world.
The realm of things that cannot be declared absolutely sweet or sour, black or white, is vast.
Wal-Mart is big. To understand just how big, consider that on November 23, 2001, the 40-year-old retailer sold more than $US1.25 billion worth of goods in a single day. The company has 4457 stores, 30,000 suppliers, annual sales of more than $US217 billion - and one information system. According to CIO Kevin Turner, running centralised IS with home-grown, common-source code gives Wal-Mart a competitive advantage and helps the company maintain one of the lowest expense structures in retail.
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