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Executive Briefs

By CIOinsight

Due Diligence: Innovation Still Matters
By Eric Nee
If you listened to Larry Ellison, you might assume that innovation in Silicon Valley has dried up and consolidation is the order of the day. But CIOs are facing new technology challenges that vendor consolidation doesn't address. Luckily, there are still hordes of hungry start-ups. Columnist Eric Nee analyzes three such young companies working on Web services offerings, managing contracts, and getting a grip on wireless device proliferation.

Law of the Jungle: The Last Refuge
By Larry Downes
In his first column for CIO Insight, legal strategist and author Larry Downes observes that, in software, competitive despair often takes the form of lawsuits. When software vendors' market share starts slipping, and they've lost the ability to innovate their way back, Plan B is often to sue their competitors. So far, notes Downes, the strategy has never worked. His advice: If your most important vendors start to sue rather than compete, they've probably lost their business edge. That's your cue to start diversifying your vendor portfolio.

Case Study: Commerce Bancorp Inc.
By Michael Fitzgerald
If you crossed a McDonald's with a Wal-Mart, then turned it into a bank, the result might be something like Commerce Bank. Ten years ago, branch banking was seen as a risky strategy, but Commerce is making it work. Critical to the bank's success is its IT systems, notes business journalist Michael Fitzgerald: both the customer-facing systems that let tellers work more efficiently and the back-office technology that process transactions faster. Despite Commerce's rapid growth in branches and in transactions per branch, branch staffing remains flat, and earnings have risen steadily.

Expert Voices: Debby Hopkins
With Dan Briody,
Following stints at GM Europe, The Boeing Co., Lucent Technologies Inc. and Unisys Corp., Debby Hopkins has long been known as one of the country's top CFOs. But when she was asked to join Citigroup Inc. two years ago to head up IT and operations, she jumped at the chance. Now Hopkins is digging into her dual role and overseeing an aggressive global strategy for the bank. She spoke with Executive Editor Dan Briody about the nature of her role at Citigroup and the skills a serial CFO can bring to the tech side.

Case Study: JDS Uniphase Corp.
By Edward Cone
At the height of the tech boom, high- flying optical components maker JDS Uniphase Corp. arranged for Oracle Corp. to supply its ERP software on an ASP model—still the biggest such deal ever. Then the bubble burst, taking JDSU and the dream of ASPs with it. Yet through bubble and bust, says Senior Writer Edward Cone, the hosted ERP and database software has performed well for JDS Uniphase, helping the company integrate the many companies it acquired before the fall, and rein in IT costs when money got tight. Now JDSU is hoping the hosting strategy can help it regain its lost momentum.

Alignment Award Winner: Guardian Life
With Dan Briody
In December 2004, the Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America received CIO Insight's third annual Partners in Alignment Award for outstanding achievement in aligning IT and business strategy. An important factor in the company's success is the communications strategy of Dennis Callahan, executive vice president and CIO. Callahan has revolutionized his IT department and gained the respect of the company's business units. The financial results are nothing to sneeze at, either: a 30 percent reduction in IT costs and vastly improved time-to-market.

Research: Future of IT
By the editors of CIO Insight Next year, CIOs will continue to focus on reducing costs while improving customer service and contributing to corporate growth and regulatory compliance. The new twist, according to the 463 IT executives surveyed, is that CIOs are making business process management a key technology strategy for improving efficiency while standardizing and centralizing IT. Looking further out, CIOs expect these trends to continue as the technology for collecting and analyzing information grows even more efficient.

Strategic Technology: Human Capital Management
By Debra D'Agostino
By analyzing employee information from skills to working habits, Human Capital Management software promises to help companies form stronger teams, identify leaders and streamline operations. But while a few companies are saving money by making human resource departments more efficient, the goal of strategic employee management is much more elusive, says Reporter Debra D'Agostino.

This article was originally published on 01-05-2005