Issue Summary: What You'll Find in May

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 05-05-2005
Due Diligence: The Meaning of the Web
By Eric Nee Technology, like life, doesn't always turn out the way we expect it to. Consider the case of the Semantic Web, the vision of how to create order from the chaos of the Internet, espoused by the Father of the Internet himself, Tim Berners-Lee. Dependent on complicated coding and taxonomies, the Semantic Web is losing momentum, columnist Eric Nee maintains, and is already being replaced by a more organic combination of quality search engines and data feeds that rely more on the way humans, rather than computers, think.

Synchronicity: The Eye of the Beholder
By Marianne Broadbent Over the years, ambitious CIOs have learned the value of contributing to the development of their companies' business strategies through a carefully aligned IT plan. Yet as many CIOs well know, doing so can be tough, especially if they are still in the process of building or rebuilding their credibility, or when the current business strategy has inherent contradictions. To remedy that situation, columnist Marianne Broadbent offers two tactics: Reverse-engineer a workable corporate strategy from the information available, then build the IT strategy on that; or gain credibility first, by winning small battles so that business colleagues will want to cooperate with you, then build your IT strategy.

Case Study: ADP Inc.
By Michael Fitzgerald Open your paycheck at the end of this month and you're likely to see three letters neatly printed in the upper left-hand corner: ADP. As the company that's become synonymous with payroll over the past four decades struggles to diversify into other revenue streams, including the fast-growing human resources outsourcing market, technology is playing a key role. Business writer Michael Fitzgerald reports that ADP is using Web services to tie together its disparate lines of business to leverage the success of its payroll business. But the road to Web services integration is rife with technical complexity, political maneuvering and prohibitive costs.

Analysis: Fast Growth
By Duff McDonald As the economy recovers, companies of all descriptions are turning their attention away from cost-cutting and toward top-line growth. If there is an unsung hero in stories of double-digit growth, it is the IT department itself, which must make sure growth can continue apace, and which tends to get noticed more when there are problems than when things are running smoothly. What's the best IT strategy for fast-growing companies? And how best to execute that strategy? Journalist Duff McDonald analyzes three companies—chipmaker Silicon Laboratories, online discounter Overstock.com, and mortgage company NovaStar Financial—to discover their unique and successful responses to rapid growth.

Catalyst: Jane Treadwell
By Lauraine Sayers Government work in IT is usually a thankless job with limited career prospects. But for Jane Treadwell, CIO and deputy CEO of business transformation at Australia's massive social welfare agency, Centrelink, life in the government ranks has been highly rewarding. As the architect behind an e-business transformation of Centrelink, which processes $55 billion a year in payments to 6.5 million Australian citizens, Treadwell has achieved a level of celebrity that is usually reserved for flashy CEOs. Business writer Lauraine Sayers explains how Treadwell took down a complex, paper-based bureaucracy and achieved record levels of customer satisfaction, all within five years.

Research: Compliance
By the editors of CIO Insight With the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, the USA Patriot Act and other legislation, CIOs are facing a regulatory environment that is proving to be costly, confusing and demanding. The good news is that 82 percent of 270 IT executives participating in this month's CIO Insight survey say their company is devoting enough resources to meet their regulatory obligations, though spending on compliance will continue to rise, by 5 percent over the next two years. Yet full compliance still eludes many organizations, and many are struggling with their compliance processes. What are the top companies doing to confront the problem successfully?

Strategic Technology: Software as a Service
By Debra D'Agostino In a new age of outsourcing, the old ASP model, now called "software as a service," is enjoying a revival. For some companies, hosted software is a boon: There's no large up-front investment, and a third party maintains and upgrades systems, allowing small IT shops to focus on more important projects. But renting software can ultimately cost more than a license if you don't pay careful attention to hidden costs. And while hosted apps can be customized, they still don't integrate well with one another. For now, says Reporter Debra D'Agostino, conduct a thorough cost analysis before committing to software as a service.