Executive Briefs

By CIOinsight
Opinion: Edgewise
Picture This
By Dan Gillmor
Controlling information is harder than ever these days. And in the age of camera-phones and USB drives, keeping a lid on images and other data is only going to get more difficult. Many companies, and governments, may be tempted to ban devices that can capture and disseminate sensitive information. But that would be a mistake (not to mention impossible). Rather than fighting this trend, and perhaps alienating employees and customers in the process, says columnist Dan Gillmor, companies should reconsider their policies on privacy and copyright. The key may be to make public as much information as possible, and focus on locking down only the stuff that really needs to stay private.

Expert Voices: Ralph Szygenda
The Fifteen-Billion-Dollar Man
With Dan Briody
With an IT budget of more than $3 billion a year, General Motors CIO Ralph Szygenda is the envy of many a CIO. But Szygenda's life has been no picnic during his ten-year tenure at the world's largest automaker. In 1996, when Szygenda took over as the first CIO in company history, GM was so decentralized that the business press dubbed it "the impossible job." Today, Szygenda is not only still at the helm, he's driving innovation in the IT-vendor community that might just benefit CIOs everywhere. In this revealing interview, Szygenda talks with Executive Editor Dan Briody about turning GM's IT around, learning to outsource all over again, and his role in creating standards among the world's largest IT vendors.

Case Study: Morgan Stanley
Trading Sideways
By Edward Cone
Morgan Stanley says it is serious about fixing its retail brokerage business, but the Wall Street powerhouse has a long way to go before the technology used to support the unit catches up to the competition. After years of underinvestment in brokerage systems and support, the firm ousted former Dean Witter head Philip Purcell; now CEO John Mack has hired new managers and pledged to invest whatever it takes to get his retail operations in shape. Senior Writer Edward Cone details the costs of falling behind in a technology-driven business, and the monumental effort that lies ahead.

Analysis: Web Advertising
First Impressions
By Jeffrey Rothfeder
It would be nice to say that Web advertising has come a long way since the days of the banner ad. But it hasn't. The truth is that the early promise of Web advertising—the ability to target consumers based on specific interests—has returned click-thru rates that are disappointingly low. And the latest innovation, the keyword ad, hasn't exactly set the ad world on fire. So what's next for this marketing medium that is doing so much damage to traditional media advertising? Contributing Editor Jeffrey Rothfeder explores the future of Web advertising, which includes the marrying of ads to powerful demographic information.

Research: The Role of the CIO
Achievement—Not Survival—Is the Issue
By Allan Alter
CIOs must be doing something right: Their average time on the job has increased to 5.7 years and annual compensation is increasing, according to the results from this year's "Role of the CIO" survey, which profiles the background, priorities, responsibilities, skills and job satisfaction of nearly 350 top IT executives. The study also found that more CIOs are reporting to CFOs, and that 66 percent of CIOs come from IT backgrounds. Besides alignment, this year's top priorities are improving business processes, making better use of information, and improving IT architecture and infrastructure.

Strategic Technology: Presence Awareness
Within Reach
By Debra D'Agostino
As the line between work and play continues to blur, companies are adopting presence-awareness software that tracks and broadcasts a person's online activities and availability. Gartner predicts that by 2009, 80 percent of applications that support business processing, customer relationship management, collaboration, business intelligence and corporate performance management will have presence capabilities. But if not properly managed, presence awareness can create security and competitive risks by exposing sensitive data to third parties. And of course, no one likes to be constantly monitored. To make presence systems work, says Senior Reporter Debra D'Agostino, allow employees to adopt it at their own pace, and control who can monitor their whereabouts.

This article was originally published on 04-06-2006