Executive Briefs: February 2002

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 02-01-2002

Expert Voices: Beyond Reengineering
By James Champy

James Champy, the coauthor of the influential Reengineering the Corporation and author of the forthcoming X-Engineering the Corporation, argues for the need to restructure your business processes inside and outside the corporation. The CIO, says Champy, plays a critical role in successfully redesigning the ways a company deals with its customers, suppliers and even competitors, by explaining the critical value of technology—especially the Internet—to line managers and by seeding the corporation with ideas on how to use it effectively. But X-engineering also requires a champion—a change agent with senior operating responsibility—if the effort is to succeed.

Analysis: Trouble On the Line
By Jeffrey Rothfeder

The victims of the broadband debacle aren't just the ISPs and content providers forced into bankruptcy because it's so difficult to hook up to the technology. The losers also include companies counting on broadband to beef up their telecommuting and sales and marketing programs. According to freelance journalist Jeffrey Rothfeder, the impetus to build out high-speed Internet access will come from the big players, such as Microsoft Corp. and AOL Time Warner Inc., who will benefit most from its increased acceptance. But even that will have to wait for a stronger economy and a big decline in the mountains of debt taken on by the telecom industry in the past five years.

Case Study: Tsutaya
By Alexandra Harney

Except in Japan, the wireless Internet has flopped spectacularly. WAP, the wireless protocol that was supposed to put mobile phone users on the Internet in the U.S. and Europe, has had a slew of problems. Yet i-Mode, introduced with minimal fanfare in February 1999, has attracted more than 30 million Japanese subscribers—more than one-fourth of Japan's population—and is adding thousands of new subscribers every month. Even more impressive, some Japanese companies, such as video store chain Tsutaya, are using i-Mode to do something most companies elsewhere are still only talking about—make money with wireless. Alexandra Harney, a Tokyo correspondent for the Financial Times, takes a look at Tsutaya and describes how they did it. I-Mode creator Takeshi Natsuno talks about the future of the mobile Internet in a Q&A.

Strategic Architecture: Language Lessons
By Charles Babcock

XML is the subject of the first article of our new department, "Strategic Architecture," which considers how companies can best put a variety of emerging technologies to profitable strategic use. By allowing both structured and unstructured data to be more flexibly shared between workgroups and organizations, XML can help workers and businesses define new ways to use information as part of their business processes. The result: XML can provide a significant boost to strategies based on reengineering internal business processes, rationalizing supply chains and connecting better with customers. But with the slow development of industrywide standards, and virtually nonexistent interindustry standards, technology writer Charles Babcock says it's best to look before you leap.

Research: Security
By Gary A. Bolles and Terry A. Kirkpatrick

In light of the Sept. 11 attacks, CIO Insight repeated its August survey on security to see how attitudes and practices have changed. We found security has become an even higher priority than it was before, and is now taken more seriously: 62 percent of respondents are more stringently enforcing their existing procedures, and half are improving employee training. We also found evidence of a burst of security spending by larger companies. Some 18 percent of respondents spent more than $1 million on security in 2001, up from 7 percent projected in August. However, the threat of cyberterrorism is not generating as high a level of concern: CIOs rate it a 6 on a 1-to-10 scale, where 10 is the highest priority. And IT executives still feel their business counterparts don't understand security issues—rating them on average just 4.9 on a scale of 1 to 10, only a slight improvement over our earlier survey.

Legal: Securing Trust
By Thomas J. Smedinghoff

As companies conduct business electronically, the biggest threat they face may not be an attack on their systems, but failing to carry out legally required security measures so that partners can trust transactions to work smoothly, and be confident that identities are verified, electronic records are authentic, and sensitive data is protected. Thomas J. Smedinghoff, chairman of the American Bar Association's E-Commerce Law Division and a partner with Baker & McKenzie, reviews recently enacted laws and regulations that require or strongly encourage companies to create a security plan, manage the creation of electronic signatures and take other security steps.