Executive Briefs: April 2003

Trend: The Simplicity Paradox
By Edward H. Baker

The IT industry's efforts to move to a utility computing model are gathering speed, with announcements about software, storage, management technologies and complete offerings coming regularly. But reaping the benefits of utility computing Ñsystems simplification, variable utilization, pay-as-you-go cost models and the like--isn't just about solving technology problems. In this analysis of the state of the art of utility computing, Executive Editor Edward H. Baker looks at three issues that will bedevil the effort for some time to come: How must business processes be re-engineered to accommodate utility computing? How will this new IT-services model be financed? What role will the CIO play in the shift?

Case Study: The Pepsi Challenge
By Marcia Stepanek with Debra D'Agostino and Anne Field

With sales volumes sputtering, market share falling and a near-dizzying glut of new soft drink products crowding the market, PepsiCo's two top bottlers are turning to wireless information technologies to keep the fizz in profits. PepsiAmericas Inc. and the Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. are more than a year into projects that use a combination of the Web and wireless strategies to add sophistication to the sales, pricing, delivery and promotion of soft drinks from one market, and one store, to the next--and all at less cost. This month's case study analyzes how mobile technology is altering the nature of work and customer relationships, and having positive effects on the bottom line. Included are interviews with PepsiAmericas CIO Ken Johnsen, PBG supply chain vice president Paul Hamilton, and a variety of top wireless and management experts.

Catalyst: David Eddy
By Karen Southwick

David Eddy has already earned a place in medical history for developing guidelines that help HMOs and hospitals increase the quality of care while lowering costs. But the 61-year-old pioneer of "evidence-based medicine" could help managed care finally meet its promise via Archimedes, a giant computer model he developed that turns the human body, diseases and the entire healthcare system into a vast series of interlocking algorithms and equations. Already adopted by researchers at the American Diabetes Association, Archimedes has the potential to revolutionize the way heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other illnesses are treated and managed--and turn the nation's healthcare system on its ear.

Research: Mobility
By the editors of CIO Insight

More than 80 percent of participants in our second annual survey on mobility say they will increase their use of mobile technologies in the next 12 months. But while usage is up, these technologies have yet to meet their full potential: e-mail remains not only the most frequently used mobile application, but overwhelmingly the one that's viewed as providing the most business value. To be sure, CIOs remain skeptical: 26 percent say it's not worth providing these technologies because of complexity and support problems.

Strategic Technology: Web Services
By Gary A. Bolles

To hear vendors tell it, Web services are an easy way to bring new life to your poor, balkanized legacy systems. But buyer beware. Though many companies, from General Motors Corp. to Aetna Inc., are testing this new software designed to let different computer systems seamlessly communicate with each other, the truth is that Web services are not quite ready for prime time. Among the exceptions: cosmetics maker Mary Kay Inc., which is seeing some benefits already.

Organizational Behavior: Damage Control
By Robert I. Sutton

So far, the 21st-century workplace is beginning to look more grim than what the Digital Age pundits told us it would look like just a few years ago. Stanford University management scholar Robert I. Sutton takes a look at what it's like to work amid layoff uncertainty, and suggests an approach to management that CIOs can use to help ease the pain if job cuts lie ahead.

Strong Signals: Star Search
By John Parkinson

With the need to boost the productivity of software developers high on a lot of CIO agendas these days, columnist John Parkinson says CIOs should think about re-applying the principles and practices of Power Programmers--those whose skill at writing code is an order of magnitude better than the average--to corporate IT. As difficult as they can be to manage--and to keep from leaving to seek new challenges--these super-talented programmers can contribute enormously to any software development effort.

This article was originally published on 04-01-2003
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