Executive Briefs: July 2004

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 07-01-2004
Due Diligence: Band of Gold
By Eric Nee

The U.S. consumer broadband market has reached a tipping point: Its growth is finally accelerating. That means greater competition between telecom and cable broadband providers—and that, in turn, means better customer service, more features, faster connections, greater availability, and lower prices. But the real key to the growth in business opportunities, says columnist Eric Nee, lies in the fact that broadband is always on, thanks to killer apps such as Voice over IP. That means emerging opportunities in home healthcare, security, and even more interactive media.

Mindshare: Networked for Life
By Darwin John

With business schools, consultants and others offering so many conferences and networking opportunities, do nonprofit IT professional associations still have anything special to offer? Indeed they do, says Darwin John, because CIOs can't learn what they most need to learn at one-shot events. Only in repeated get-togethers with peers they've come to know and trust can CIOs talk openly about what they are going through and learn from people with the same experiences. All in all, says John, a former president of the Society for Information Management, professional associations are one of the most important investments of time or money companies and members can make.

Case Study: Greater Toronto Airports Authority
By Dan Briody

In this exclusive report, technology journalist Dan Briody explores the use of common-use IT networks at Toronto's Pearson International, a pioneer among North American airports. In a break from the past, Pearson's IT division—not the airlines—now manages the telecommunications, video feeds, check-in counters, gates, security and baggage systems, much as shared-services organizations do at many large corporations. Done right, the new approach ought to save millions for both the airlines and the airport, open up new revenue streams for the airport, and help move more planes in and out faster, thus making passengers happier. It's hard to argue with the logic behind the approach, but as Briody reports, it was still a hard sell.

Whiteboard: Project Pitfalls— From Symptom to Solution
By Daryl Conner and Linda Hoopes

Major organizational initiatives, including projects involving IT, frequently fail to meet their intended goals. The problem, more often than not, isn't the technology—it's that the people who are supposed to lead, implement and take advantage of the initiative often aren't fully on board, even if they claim to be. In this whiteboard, consultants Daryl Conner and Linda Hoopes offer a guide to identifying and solving eight major people issues that prevent projects from realizing their intended benefits.

Trends: Who Knows About This?
By Debra D'Agostino

Thanks to greater bandwidth, plummeting storage costs and new tools such as enterprise instant messaging, companies large and small are turning to expertise location systems (ELS) to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. Unlike knowledge management systems of old, which depend heavily on employees to volunteer info and to keep databases up to date, ELS identifies expert colleagues by scanning their communications and documents. Is ELS the latest over-hyped flavor of KM, or does it actually redeem its promise? Staff writer Debra D'Agostino investigates.

Research: Project Management
By the editors of CIO Insight

The 507 IT executive respondents to this month's CIO Insight survey are knee-deep in IT projects, but the processes companies have for managing them leave much to be desired. There is a lack of discipline in setting and sticking to IT project priorities; not enough of the business and IT stakeholders are jointly involved in setting these priorities; and not enough projects are reviewed at the close to see if they achieved intended goals. Worse, more than half of respondents say the IT project prioritization process is politically driven. A project management office could help, as well as a portfolio management approach to investment decisions, but only 40% of respondent companies take these routes.

Strategic Technology: Collaboration
By Karen S. Henrie

Collaborative technologies, which include everything from Web conferencing to electronic workspaces to instant messaging, promise to improve employee productivity, speed the spread of knowledge and ultimately make for better decision-making and business processes. But getting staffers to use the tools can be tough, in part because the products don't currently integrate with one another. Adoption of such technologies as Voice over IP will eventually lead to greater convergence, reports freelance writer Karen S. Henrie. Until then, CIOs must carefully benchmark the value of collaborative tools, and make sure not to overload users.