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Think Tank: Get Back in Touch With Your Inner Geek

Brain Food for IT Executives

By Mitch Betts
March 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Get Back in Touch With Your Inner Geek


Are you getting a little out of touch with new technologies? "It's too easy [for CIOs] to lose direct contact with technology, and the judgment of internal and external experts is not always sufficient," says a team of Gartner Inc. analysts. "To understand some technologies demands personal experience," they say in a bulletin about must-do resolutions for the CIO. Gartner urges CIOs to get hands-on experience or see a live demonstration of the following technologies by mid-2005:


• Networked gaming (think Xbox), to "learn how your next generation of employees is being 'wired.' "


• A business process diagramming tool and a Business Process Execution Language orchestration server.


• A wiki, which is a server program that lets users collaborate when writing Web content, to "see the power of simplicity and transparency in collaboration, open-source style."


• A sleek Nokia 7280 cell phone, a product that combines aesthetic design with high-tech engineering.


• The voice-over-IP service from Skype Technologies SA, to "see an example of why business colleagues might start to demand VoIP."


• An electronic marketplace like www.innovationfutures.com or www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem.












Sony's Qrio
Sony's Qrio
Image Credit: Newscom

• A high-speed 3G data card for your laptop.


• An advanced robot like Sony Corp.'s Qrio, which can walk, dance and run.


Best Bits


The most useful parts of recent business and IT management books.


The book: Innovating IT: Transforming IT From Cost Crunchers to Growth Drivers, by Lior Arussy (Wiley Publishing Inc., 2005).


First, a plea to book authors: Can we dispense with the phrase "IT is at a crossroads," which shows up in almost every IT management book these days? IT management is always at a crossroads, at the corner of Success and Failure.


Fortunately, this book has some fresh ideas about how IT leaders can reinvent the IT function as something more than just managing PCs, servers and storage, which is the path to becoming a replaceable utility. Arussy, focusing on the middle word in the title "chief information officer," says CIOs "must become responsible for a product, and that product is information." He says IT will have to act like a business, customize the information product for different segments of customers (end users) and work to increase "information utilization" among users who have the biggest impact on building the business.








Innovating IT: Transforming IT From Cost Crunchers to Growth Drivers

Arussy also has some thought-provoking comments on how IT can support innovation. If you're ready to emerge from the doldrums and drudgery of cost-cutting, this could be an inspiring read. —Mitch Betts


Things to Ponder


Will instant messaging surpass e-mail as the preferred form of business communication? Sage Research Inc. in Natick, Mass., asked 96 IT decision-makers in U.S. businesses, and 41% of the respondents said it'll never happen. But 12% said it will happen within the next year, and 23% predicted within the next three years.



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