There are some stark differences between Eastern and Western cultures, including how people from each region greet one another and address their elders. So when FedEx began developing a fedex.com service for the Asia-Pacific market last year, it wasn't altogether surprising when developers discovered that customers there have a different approach to shipping packages than Westerners, such as a preference for filling out the recipient's address before the sender's address.
Stories by Thomas Hoffman
No one is mistaking the current IT jobs market for the one that sizzled during the dot-com days and inflated salaries to astronomical rates. But as the U.S. economy wrestles with a weak housing market and record oil prices, demand for IT workers is on the rise.
Short of being handed your walking papers, there are often telltale signs that it's time to look for a new job. You haven't been promoted since the Clinton administration. The most exciting assignments are routinely handed to your peers or underlings. Your desk keeps moving farther and farther from where the action is.
Outsourcing deals have historically been marred by poor communications between the buyer and the supplier and failures by the customer to adequately manage the relationship and measure performance metrics. While those issues remain, outsourcing customers now face a new set of challenges, including regulatory compliance requirements and shortages of experienced outsourcing relationship and contract managers, according to users and other industry experts in New York at this week's OutsourceWorld.
Corporate IT executives often complain that software contracts are too complex and don't offer enough flexibility to meet their needs. But when software vendors have tried to introduce new licensing models, they have rarely been adopted by customers.
To help make sense of where the industry is heading, Computerworld's Thomas Hoffman spoke with David L. Marston, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers who leads the firm's U.S. licensing management practice in San Francisco. Last month, PwC published a technology licensing marketplace study based on interviews with 112 CIOs and chief financial officers at U.S. technology companies. Among the findings: Half of all U.S. technology companies expect to lose revenues this year because enterprise customers improperly report the amount of licensed software they use.
Any small-business owner will tell you that starting and running a business takes a massive amount of work. Some IT executives who are trying to run their operations like a business are discovering the same thing.
"We started a chargeback system on Day One of our services (organization), and it was miserable. We didn't really know what we were doing," said David Pelosi, an IT business partner at Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., a diversified energy holding company. In 2001, Newark, New Jersey-based PSEG formed a shared-services organization that includes its IT, legal and human resources activities.
IT departments at many large US companies are racing to document, remediate and test IT-related controls to meet a year-end reporting deadline for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
The rush is on because many companies failed to grasp the amount of work that would be required and because of miscommunication between IT managers and the finance departments that typically run Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance projects, according to users and analysts who were interviewed this week.
The recent introduction of multicore servers -- where two or more processors are embedded on a single chip -- has raised concerns among some enterprise customers that they will have to pay more for the software they license. With that in mind, Computerworld's Thomas Hoffman spoke with Jacqueline Woods, vice president of Oracle Corp.'s global licensing and pricing strategy, about the introduction of multicore servers and how that might affect Oracle customers.
What is Oracle's position on software licensing with respect to dual-core processor systems? We don't have a position with respect to dual-core processors. A core is equal to a CPU, and all cores are required to be licensed. Therefore, if you have a dual-core processor, you are required to have two processor licenses.
Power companies have been able to leverage IT to help them respond to widespread power outages caused by the four hurricanes that have hammered the Sunshine State during the past six weeks. But limitations in some of the systems have made it hard for the utilities to streamline their repair work even further.
As the IT budget season heats up, CIOs interviewed last week said they're guardedly optimistic about their 2005 spending plans. But many IT managers are expected to increase spending on hardware and outsourcing primarily in response to pressure from corporate executives to cut IT infrastructure and labor costs.
For instance, a survey of 195 North American CIOs released by Forrester Research Inc. indicated that companies plan to increase their overall IT spending by an average of 7 percent next year. Spending on hardware is expected to jump by 14 percent over this year's levels, it said.
PALM DESERT, CALIFORNIA (03/09/2004) - Just about every IT organization has had a disastrous project. The key to preventing them is to apply gut instincts and a host of hard and soft measurement techniques to catch the bad ones before millions of dollars are poured down the drain.
NEW YORK (02/10/2004) - The commoditization of hardware and software will make it increasingly difficult for companies to leverage IT to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
Stock markets are strengthening, and consumer confidence has increased in recent months. But thus far, those developments aren't having much of a positive impact on corporate IT spending plans.
In fact, a respective 23 percent and 30 percent of North American companies surveyed separately by Forrester Research and Meta Group said they plan to shrink their tech spending below the levels they had originally budgeted for this year.
After two consecutive years of declines in IT spending, most enterprises will see a modest recovery in technology outlays by 2004, according to research released by Gartner Inc. at an IT Asset Management and Total Cost of Ownership Summit.
"No industry will experience double-digit growth in IT spending through 2006 -- if ever again," said Barbara Gomolski, an analyst at the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm.
Stock markets are rising, and consumer confidence has jumped in recent months. But those developments have so far had little effect on corporate IT spending plans.
In fact, while a majority of North American companies surveyed separately by Forrester Research Inc. and Meta Group Inc. said they're holding steady with their IT budgets for the year, a respective 23 percent and 30 percent of the respondents said they plan to shrink their tech spending.