Full Strength

IT budgets might be lighter and staffs leaner, but what never diminishes is the collective brainpower of an IT team put to the task. Couple that strength with the vision of a true IT leader, and the resulting organization can move mountains. Many of this year’s 10 Best in Class award winners used that mental force to bring about innovations in information sharing.

On the streets of New York, for example, detectives now have more than 120 million criminal and arrest records at their disposal as part of the Real-Time Crime Center, thanks to the efforts of the IT team under CIO James Onalfo. The mayor cited the combined data warehouse and crime analysis tools as a factor in the New York City Police Department’s ability to solve 74% of all murders and shootings that took place in the city during 2005.

At The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, under the leadership of CIO Dr. Lynn Vogel, the IT team developed a Web services-based electronic medical records system that coordinates patient care by bringing clinical and research data, along with medical images, to bedside PCs. The system has also enabled research collaboration that might someday lead to advances in cancer treatment.

Sharing information is great, but first you have to get at it. At the Michigan Department of Information Technology, creating an integrated data warehouse that helped detect $8.7 million in public assistance fraud last year meant breaking down cross-organizational information silos. And at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, building a Web portal to coordinate disaster-relief efforts meant gathering information from 13 mission teams and multiple government agencies.

Now in its sixth year, Computerworld’s Best in Class awards program honors IT leaders who bring projects like these to fruition. These honorees are a subset of the 2007 Premier 100 IT honorees who are being recognized for helping their organizations achieve goals through technology innovation. To select this year’s 10 winners, a panel of judges and Computerworld editors evaluated dozens of candidates. We looked for projects with measurable payback, strategic importance to the business, customer impact and new revenue or cost savings.

We hope you’ll pick up a few ideas here and that these stories will serve as a reminder that IT innovation is all about finding new ways to bring people and information together.

Ellen Fanning is special projects editor at Computerworld. You can contact her at ellen_fanning@computerworld.com.

See more of the Best in Class special report.

See the list of 2007 Premier 100 winners.

Special Report

Best In Class

Stories in this report:

  • Georgia Aquarium
    Underwater Web: Despite the crowds, Georgia Aquarium's visitors rarely wait in line to see exhibits, thanks to its Web-based reservation and ticketing systems.

  • U.S. Maritime Administration
    Paper Erasers: The U.S. Maritime Administration uses its automated procurement system to make 25,000 purchases online every year, with no harm to trees.

  • Tata Consultancy
    Global Assembly: Information sharing took a giant leap forward at Tata Consultancy, which used a set of collaboration tools plus VoIP to cut travel costs by 40% and telephony costs by 60%.

  • VF Corp.
    Synchronized Stock: Many acquisitions later, apparel giant VF Corp. runs a best-of-breed supply chain that has reduced planning cycle times by 75% and increased customer service by 15%.

  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
    Cure Collaboration: The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center improved patient care with an electronic medical records system that brings a patient's clinical and research data to bedside PCs.

  • Bonhams 1793
    Auction Block: Auction house Bonhams 1793 developed a comprehensive auction management system that combines the functions of ERP, CRM, auction catalog production and more.

  • Wells Fargo
    Desktop Drop: Via a Web portal, Wells Fargo business customers can now make deposits from their desktops, saving the bank and its customers time and money.

  • New York City Police Department
    Case Crackers: The New York City Police Department's online database, which houses more than 120 million criminal and arrest records, has been used by detectives to work on more than 3,500 cases thus far.

  • State of Michigan
    Fraudbusters: Michigan's IT department integrated data from multiple repositories into a single data warehouse, helping investigators identify $8.7 million in fraud last year.

  • U.S. Government Accountability Office
    Instant IT: The GAO's Hurricane Central portal coordinates the efforts of 13 mission teams specializing in areas as diverse as banking, public health and flood control.

  • The Judges
    Volunteers who evaluated projects for Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders Best in Class program.

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