The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Opera to Provide Browser for Samsung Handsets

By Jennifer LeClaire, TechNewsWorld, 12/22/06 7:56 AM PT

Opera Software has struck a deal that will make its mobile Web browser available on Samsung handsets. Though Opera's browser lags far behind Internet Explorer and Firefox in terms of PC use, the company is gaining a reputation for innovation in the mobile Internet market, which is picking up steam.

Opera Software on Thursday announced a deal with Samsung Electronics to deliver Opera Mobile on Samsung mobile handsets -- two days after it launched a browser for Nintendo's Wii gaming console.

Opera Mobile is Opera Software's standards-compliant Web browser for advanced mobile phones. The browser uses Opera's small screen rendering technology to reformat Web pages and allows users to navigate with intuitive vertical scrolling.

In addition to the obvious plus of aligning Opera with a major brand name electronics maker, the Samsung deal is strategic for the company on another front, noted Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with JupiterResearch.

"Part of Opera's strategy is to get its technology directly onto the handset so consumers don't have to jump through hoops to get it," Gartenberg told TechNewsWorld. "Now mobile phone users don't have to go to a Web page, download the application, install it, etcetera. This is a very good deal for Opera."

On a Mobile Roll

Opera is on a mobile roll, so to speak. In mid-December the open source browser maker announced its Opera Mini Web browser would be shipping in most markets with selected Nokia (NYSE: NOK) 6300s.

Opera Mini is a Java-based Web browser that offers users full Internet access on the majority of mobile phones in the market. By using a server to preprocess and compress Web sites before sending them to the handset, Opera Mini reduces the size of data transferred to speed up the browser's response.

Opera has gained a reputation for browser innovation, particularly with Opera Mini 3.0. The new version launched in November with enhanced mobile social networking abilities for photo sharing, RSS (really simple syndication) feed readers, and secure connections for online banking and shopping.

Not About PCs

Opera's browser technologies also target PDAs (personal digital assistants), home media such as TV and set-top boxes, automotive and transportation entertainment and infotainment technologies, and, of course, video game consoles. Opera is the browser of choice on Nintendo's DS and Wii.

"The Opera folks are showing that there are ways to compete in the browsing business that have nothing to do with the PC desktop," Gartenberg noted.

The Mobile Opportunity

Opera's largest opportunity may be with mobile devices. The mobile Web is getting more traffic. Fifteen percent of mobile services subscribers accessed the Internet from their mobile devices in 2005, according to Forrester Research. That compared to only 6 percent in 2004. Analysts expect 2006 numbers to be strong.

While Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox outpace Opera on personal computers, Opera is burning up the mobile handset market. Opera may have to wait for its ultimate payoff, but getting a head start in this growing market is likely to position the developer well for the future.

"Mobile browsing is still not a super-mainstream consumer activity, but it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg syndrome," Gartenberg remarked. "You need to have a good browsing experience on the phone for people to begin to start using it. Fortunately, that's what we are starting to see happen now. We are definitely beginning to get closer to the time when mobile browsing moves to a mainstream activity."

Google site overtakes Yahoo

Jonathan Thaw, Shanghai Daily, 2006-12-25

GOOGLE displaced Yahoo! as the world's second-most visited Website in November and closed in on leader Microsoft Corp, a market researcher said at the weekend.

Visitors to Google's sites rose 9.1 percent to 475.7 million in November from a year earlier, while those to Yahoo sites rose 5.2 percent to 475.3 million, ComScore Networks Inc said, according to Bloomberg News. Both sites trail Microsoft, which had 501.7 million visitors, ComScore said.

It is the first time that Google attracted more visitors than Yahoo, reflecting the site's growing popularity outside the United States.

Yahoo is still the most-visited site within the US, ComScore said. Microsoft's visitors increased 3.3 percent from a year earlier.

Shares of Yahoo rose seven cents to US$25.55 at Friday's close of trade in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. They have fallen 35 percent this year. Google fell 62 cents to US$455.58 and have gained 9.8 percent this year.

Visitors to News Corp's Fox Interactive Media sites rose almost fivefold to 130.4 million in November from a year ago, reflecting a surge in users from the purchase of

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Anderson Forecast: 2007 Predictions From One of the Best

By Jim Louderback, PC Magazine

Analyst and futurist Mark Anderson, author of the influential Strategic News Service newsletter and blog has made a career out of making correct predictions. He claims a 93.5 percent success ratio over the years he's been doing annual predictions.

By and large, I think they've held up pretty well. So when Anderson invited me to his annual prediction dinner, I accepted immediately – even though it meant missing our company holiday party, held concurrently in New York City.

Do those numbers stand up? Decide for yourself. Read Anderson's 2006 predictions.

Anderson started by laying out some chilling world trends that keep him up at night. "I think about oil, cheap labor and money", he said, continuing to explain that "these are things which we have no control over."


Friday, December 22, 2006

Are You Sure About Upgrading to Vista?

Advice for those who are determined to make the upgrade, cautionary tales for folks who are still on the fence, and some tips on playing Scrabble.

Steve Bass, PC World

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 12:00 AM PST

I hate upgrades. Sure, I used to look forward to the latest and greatest, but there are so many downsides: new equipment requirements, hassles getting all the old apps to work correctly, and getting up to speed on all the new features. (Don't laugh, but I still have a copy of Wordstar and FoxPro on my PC for, well, I don't know what for. Maybe it's just in case someone needs a copy.)

Nonetheless, Vista has launched and Microsoft made a big splash with it in New York. Read "Vista Lands in the U.S."--and don't miss the reader comments at the bottom of the article.

If you're bound and determined to make the upgrade, I have a couple things for you to consider.

Read More ....

Google's Blogger Adds Privacy Options

Associated Press 12.21.06, 1:27 PM ET

Google Inc. has released a new version of its Blogger service, adding privacy settings that restrict readership to a predetermined audience.

Users can choose to have blogs accessible to anyone or just to themselves.

Or they can list the e-mail addresses of the people they want to let in. Those readers would need to register for a free Google account - the same used for its Gmail and other services - and would sign in with their regular Google passwords.

Several blogging competitors already offer privacy options, and in fact, Blogger used to offer a password option through a premium service that's no longer available.

Google began offering the new privacy features this week, although it is gradually converting existing Blogger users to the upgrade.

The offering comes as potential employers, mates and others increasingly try to screen people by checking out their blogs, social-networking profiles and other Internet postings.

The new version of Blogger also comes with other enhancements, including the ability to tag posts with multiple keywords, the way Gmail users can label their e-mails.

Blogger, which is free, is among the more widely used software for keeping Web journals. Its blogs are generally published under the "" address.

Google bought its developer, San Francisco-based Pyra Labs, in February 2003.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Nasa and Google form cosmic union

BBC, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Detailed 3D images of the Moon and Mars will soon be just a click away for web users, following a deal between search giant Google and US space agency Nasa.

The Space Agreement Act, signed on Monday, will put "the most useful of Nasa's information on the internet".

Real-time weather data and the positions of the International Space Station and shuttle could be included.

The deal will also see scientists from both institutions working together to solve complex computational problems.

"This agreement between Nasa and Google will soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars," said Nasa administrator Michael Griffin.

The deal will make "Nasa's space exploration work accessible to everyone," he added.

Public resource

The deal formalises a partnership started last year when Google agreed to build a research centre at the Nasa Ames Research Center.

The two organisations said they will now collaborate in a variety of areas including adding data collected by Nasa to the online mapping tool Google Earth.

Other projects could include finding new ways for humans to interact with computers as well as utilising Google's expertise to accelerate the process of searching the massive amounts of data collected by the space agency every year.

"NASA has collected and processed more information about our planet and universe than any other entity in the history of humanity," said Chris Kemp, director of strategic business development at Ames.

"Even though this information was collected for the benefit of everyone, and much is in the public domain, the vast majority of this information is scattered and difficult for non-experts to access and to understand."

The internet's leading search engine already provides some Nasa data through programs such as Google Mars, an interactive map that allows users to explore maps of the red planet's surface.

Another service, Google Moon, lets users view the sites of moon landings.

The two organisations said they are now finalising a series of new collaborations including "products, facilities, education and missions".

"We're pleased to move forward to collaborate on a variety of technical challenges through the signing of the Space Act Agreement," said Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time Magazine's Person of the Year: You

Time Selects Millions as Person of the Year, Names Citizens of the New Digital Democracy.


NEW YORK Dec 17, 2006 (AP)— Congratulations! You are the Time magazine "Person of the Year."

The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.

Read More ....

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mozilla to release Firefox 3.0 next year

Despite the fact that Firefox 2.0 was only released last month, Mozilla is to release the new version of its browser as early as next year.

The rival to Microsoft's Internet Explorer has increased its share of the browser market since the release of Firefox 2.0 to nearly 11% in the US, 22% in the UK, and an average of 23.2% across Europe.

While Firefox 2.0 has been successful, with an average of 500,000 downloads every day since its release, it wasn't the radical overhaul of its predecessor which some were expecting, with its anti-phishing software the main improvement.

The next version of its browser has been in development for a year now, and is planned to be a more comprehensive update.

Firefox boss Tristan Nitot said that Firefox 3.0 will take advantage of the latest built-in computing power to allow it to 'render' web pages more quickly. Firefox 3.0 is now available for beta testing (Called: "Gran Paradiso").

Microsoft's IE7, despite early predictions of incompatibility with some websites, has performed well and was generally welcomed as a much-needed improvement to IE6.

However, if a new and improved version of Firefox is released next year, Microsoft may be forced to speed up development of the next version of Internet Explorer, to avoid losing more of its browser market share.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Google Gets Into Web Site Registration

Friday December 15, 12:33 am ET
By The Associated Press

Google to Offer Web Site Registration for Addresses Ending in .com, .net, .biz and .info

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) -- Google Inc. on Friday will join the crowded field of services registering Web site addresses in a move aimed at encouraging more usage of the online search leader's free software products.

The Mountain View-based company is offering its latest service in a partnership with and eNom, two of the many administrators that help Web sites officially register their names under domains like ".com" and "net."

Google's service will charge a $10 annual fee and only handle addresses ending in four suffixes -- ".com," ".net," ".biz" and ".info." There are more than 250 other suffixes in the Internet's master directories.

Web sites that register their domains through Google will be automatically set up to work with several other company products, including e-mail, calendaring and instant messaging. The configuration won't prevent the Web sites from using services offered by Google rivals like Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL.

Survey: IT and business out of sync

By Vivian Yeo, ZDNet Asia
Wednesday, December 13 2006 05:27 PM

More needs to be done to better alignment business and IT objectives, if the results of a recent study are anything to go by.

About 56 percent of businesses in the Asia-Pacific region feel that their business and IT objectives are not aligned, according to a new study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in October.

Some 570 senior executives in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the United States took part in the BMC Software-commissioned survey. About 200 of the respondents were from the region.

In Europe and the United States, fewer than half of the respondents in felt that IT was not aligned with their business objectives. Fifty-six percent and 64 percent of U.S. and European respondents, respectively, indicated that their organization's IT objectives matched their business objectives.

"In today's environment, IT and business are inseparable and yet many organizations are still struggling to align the two," said Tom Schodorf, BMC Software's vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, in a statement. "This ultimately jeopardizes an organization's ability to expand and compete in a rapidly changing global market."

Lack of or insufficient IT investment, failure of top management to understand how IT can aid the business, and the IT department's inability to understand its role in enhancing the business were cited as the top three obstacles that prevent organizations in Asia from effectively aligning IT with business.

The survey also found that IT performance is mostly measured quantitatively by businesses in the region. The most popular ways of gauging whether IT is effective is through the ability to cut costs, contribution to revenue growth and return on investment.

Schodorf said as more organizations in the region acknowledge that the "failure to align IT with the business will cost them dearly", the adoption of business service management (BSM) will "rapidly accelerate". BSM is a suite of IT service management tools provided by BMC.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 heads into beta

CNS Magazine, December 12, 2006

Microsoft Corp. today opened a private beta of its new enterprise voice communications server, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, to 2,500 companies.

The software giant says Office Communications Server will allow companies to integrate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology into existing telephony infrastructure, eliminating the need for expensive network overhauls and also extending the useful life of existing investments.

The new voice server will also allow workers to launch a phone call from 2007 Microsoft Office applications, such as Office Word 2007, Outlook 2007, or Office Communicator 2007, by clicking on a colleague's name to determine their availability and initiate a person-to-person or multi-party call.

With native support for session initiation protocol (SIP), Microsoft Office Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator, part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system, interoperate with products from partners including Nortel Networks, Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco Systems, LG-Nortel, LTD, Mitel, NEC Phillips, Polycom and Siemens Communications.

With these partnerships, customers will be able to support VoIP using their existing desktop phones, data networks, and time division multiplexing (TDM) or Internet Protocol (IP) private branch exchanges (PBXs), the company said

"The convergence of telecom and data networks is happening rapidly," said Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Unified Communications Group. "Software will integrate these two worlds, enabling IT managers to deliver new communications possibilities that include VoIP."

According to the Gartner Group, "the ultimate driver of VoIP is not merely cost savings, but is in business process integration. Enterprises should evaluate their long-term strategy toward developing IP telephony applications beyond basic telephony, including business
application integration."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

IBM has Flash-killer on the cards

By Adam Turner , iTwire
Monday, 11 December 2006

A prototype memory card technology 500 times faster than Flash cards has been unveiled by IBM to meet the exploding demand for portable music, video and photo storage.

Developed in conjunction with partners Macronix and Qimonda, the technology is a form of phase-change memory (PCM), which promises faster read and write times than Flash, greater endurance and the ability to write to individual memory addresses. It only requires half the power of a Flash memory card.

The technology utilises a new semiconductor alloy - a combination of germanium, antimony and tellurium - that can be scaled smaller than Flash technology. The device's cross-section is a mere three by 20 nanometres, far smaller than Flash can be built today and equivalent to the industry's chip-making capabilities targeted for 2015.

As Flash technology approaches its limits, the demand for greater storage space on cell phones and portable media players is driving the search for a its successor. IBM's new technology also has the potential to form the basis of solid state storage drives, offering lower power consumption and weight than traditional hard disk drives whilst being shock resistant.

Like Flash, IBM's prototype phase-change memory technology is non-volatile - meaning it doesn't require power in order to retain information. It relies on the fact that heat can easily switch the alloy between two stable states - one amorphous with a high electrical resistance, the other crystalline with a low resistance.

The technical details of the research will be presented this week at the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineer's 2006 International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Papers Battle Online News Sites

By David Reid, Reporter, BBC Click
Friday, 8 December 2006, 15:42 GMT

"All the news that's fit to print" was once the newspaper man's slogan. Now, with news-junkies turning increasingly to the net for their daily fix of world events, papers are beginning to feel the pinch.

Not since the internet began has there been so much free quality newspaper content on the web.

You will have to make the most of it because the current bonanza might not last forever.

Newspapers are still not sure what to do about the internet, no matter how determined they are to prove wrong the doomsayers who claim they are dead.

Read More ....

Saturday, December 9, 2006

A CIO List For The New Year

Are CIOs obsessed with technology minutiae?

By David Needle,, December 8, 2006

The research firm Gartner thinks many are, and that those who want to see their companies thrive, need to change.

In a preview of its annual list of New Year's resolutions for CIOs, Gartner issued a preliminary list of do's and don'ts for those executives prepping for next year.

For example, on a short list of what CIOs should do more of in 2007, Gartner recommends making human resource departments more strategic.

"If marketing was the department to partner with in the first wave of Internet transformation, HR is the function to get on-side, as the second Internet 'revolution' washes across your bows," said John Mahoney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"The global talent wars of the next few years will depend on the ability to absorb and exploit revolutionary technical change. CIOs should expect to face a lack of comprehension from the HR department in 2006; however, his or her challenge is to overcome that."

And on the topic of human resources, Gartner said CIOs need to also start work on an IT leadership succession plan. As the baby boomers begin to retire, en masse, IT departments are threatened by a wisdom and leadership gap. At the same time, Gartner says the turnover is an opportunity to "clear out some of the dead wood," such as people who were over-promoted in the early days of IT.

Gartner vice president and fellow Mark Raskino, said CIOs would be well-advised to identify individuals with the creativity, ability and a determination to overcome corporate inertia and help IT deliver business innovation.

While evaluation and keeping up on the latest trends is important, Raskino said CIOs need to take a leadership role in stopping the organization from repeatedly discussing technology minutiae.

"All the noise around Microsoft Vista is a good example," said Raskino. "Make your decision about a technology and then stop debating it. Too many IT organizations waste energy in endless discussion loops, distracting attention from far more important issues."

The environment is also an issue that should be a top IT concern. "CIOs need to make sure they get their own house in order by setting targets for IT's contribution to electrical efficiency, recycling, travel reduction and equipment lifecycle management," said Mahoney. "They should also add environmental sustainability to their list of equipment, services and vendor selection criteria."

Yesterday, Andy Karsner, an assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy out of the U.S. Department of Energy met with tech executives in Silicon Valley.

He said the government has a legal obligation to help enhance technology efficiency and make the United States a more competitive nation. "High tech is an absolute juggernaut," when it comes to power consumption, said Karsner.

Gartner also said CIOs need to take the time to use the latest technologies if they hope to understand the business benefit. Mahoney mentioned four key technologies he said IT leaders should get their hands on in 2007: 3-D printing; social information analysis tools; newer high-level programming languages and virtual communities.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Toshiba Introduces 100GB 1.8 Inch HDD With Perpendicular Magnetic Recording

Geekzone, 5 dec 2006

Toshiba Corporation has announced a 1.8-inch drive that offers a storage capacity of 100 gigabytes, the largest capacity yet achieved in this class of HDD. The new drive, MK1011GAH, employs perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology and an improved error correction code.

The areal density for this 1.8-inch HDD is 240.8 megabits per square millimeter (155.3 gigabits per square inch). Toshiba will start mass production of this new drive from January 2007. The drive measures 54.0 × 71.0 × 8.0 mm and weighs 59g.

The company says packing larger data capacities into small form factor HDD is a must to support continued advances in the notebook PC market and to meet growing demand for personal digital media supporting high capacity audio and video applications.

Toshiba has also improved power consumption to 0.003W/GB. The new drive also complies with the EU's RoHS directive, which came into force in July 2006.

With 2 platters and 4 heads, MK1011GAH offers an average seek time of 15m sec and data transfer rate of up to 100MB/sec at 4,200rpm. The device uses the ATA-7 (LIF connector) interface.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Y2K + 7 : Or Why the Shuttle Isn't Supposed to Fly on 31th Dec

Quirky, Dated Computers Could Ground Space Shuttle for Months if It Had to Fly Over New Year's


HOUSTON, Dec. 5, 2006 — Forget the foam. The problem that has many at NASA scratching their heads is YERO — or year-end rollover. NASA doesn't want Discovery and its seven astronauts in space on New Year's Eve, when 2006 rolls over into 2007.

The Space Shuttle may be the most complex machine ever built (2.5 million parts). But it was designed in the 1970s, with '70s technology and '70s computers.

Read More ....

Monday, December 4, 2006

Marketers' Websites Outdraw Those of Major Media Players

P&G and Unilever Attract 9 million Unique Visitors Monthly
CINCINNATI ( -- Believe it or not, those boring corporate websites are pulling in more eyeballs -- and more influencers -- than the flashy prime time TV shows, print magazines

The combined monthly traffic of unique visitors to the P&G and Unilever websites is more than 9 million, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

and general interest sites on which marketers advertise. And part of what's driving the traffic is old-fashioned web display advertising and e-mail pushes.

Brand websites

Corporate and brand websites -- once derided as "brochureware" in a digital marketing world that quickly moved to sexier applications -- are getting a rehabilitation of sorts as their traffic numbers vie with those of many consumer sites in the web's long tail.

Read More ....

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Vista at Work

What your business needs to know to make the switch.

By Larry Seltzer, PC Magazine,
Thursday, November 30, 2006

Windows Vista

The first things you notice about Windows Vista are the glitzy bells and whistles, but these aren't the essentials that will woo businesses. Organizations, especially large ones, have always been Microsoft's most important customers, and Vista is full of offerings aimed at them.

There are five editions of Vista. Businesses, except perhaps the very smallest ones, should be looking only at the Business and Enterprise versions. Analogous to Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Business contains all the core business-networking features, including domain support, Remote Desktop, and Tablet PC support.

Read more ....

Retailers still flip for catalogs.

They may be smaller, but publications are useful for companies

Dec 3, 2006, From Wire Reports

The Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog is legendary.

But this year, for the first time, customers are doing more shopping on Neiman's Web sites than through its catalogs. Likewise, J.C. Penney Co. expects its online sales to exceed its catalog volume this year or next.

Both chains have mature catalog operations that were in place long before online shopping took hold. They're finding younger shoppers and new ones online. Still, neither company is ready to stop publishing paper catalogs.

"The way we view print and Internet is that they work together. If someone has a catalog at home, she may flip through it and then go shopping online," said John W. Irvin, president of J.C. Penney Direct, the Plano, Texas-based retailer's catalog and Internet division.

"Having a catalog in her mailbox and in her home is important to us, but we don't have to publish them as big anymore," he said.

More catalog retailers such as Penney's and L.L. Bean are moving toward the day when the bulk of their sales are made online. Yet the number of catalogs mailed to U.S. households has been climbing during the past couple of years.

Some catalogs will get tossed, but retailers are counting on consumers thumbing through enough of them to drive sales. L.L. Bean expects to ship 50 million more catalogs this year than it did two years ago when it shipped 200 million catalogs.

"It is the best way for us to get lasting impressions in front our customers," spokesman Rich Donaldson said.

The days of people questioning the future of catalogs are long gone, and more and more companies are using them. Even brick-and-mortar stores such as Toys "R" Us and Circuit City Stores Inc. have begun shipping out catalogs in recent years.

Those who predicted the demise of catalogs as online sales took off overlooked a key fact: You can't make sales if you can't reach your customers. Thus, catalog retailers can't afford to cut back on catalogs.

"You're not supposed to rely on the customer to contact you. You need to contact your customers," said George Hague, senior marketing strategist at J. Schmid & Assoc. Inc., a catalog consulting company in Mission, Kan.

Neiman Marcus sees its catalogs and Web sites as selling and marketing tools that generate store traffic. Those customers shopping its stores, Internet site and catalog spend more on average than those customers who use just one source for shopping -- 3.6 times more in its last fiscal year.

About 22 percent of offline sales are influenced by the Web, according to, an online retailers association.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus "has found that mailing catalogs leads to those people placing orders online," said Susan Jansen, a Lehman Brothers analyst who follows Neiman Marcus. "The best way to look at it is as a combined business, and what is encouraging is that, overall, the direct business is growing rapidly."

The luxury retailer also is finding a new customer base online that it's calling "the emerging elite," said Burt Tansky, chief executive of Neiman Marcus. And they are younger, about 39 or 40, versus the retailer's average store customer age of 48, said Brendan Hoffman, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Direct.

Neiman Marcus catalog and Internet sales, which include those from Horchow and Bergdorf Goodman sales, generated revenue of $655.3 million in the last fiscal year, up from $592.1 million in the prior year. Online sales rose 32 percent.

Penney's Christmas catalog is shrinking.

It's 336 pages this year compared with 440 last year, and every page has a reference to more merchandise available at Penney's fall and spring Big Books also have been losing pages, with the current edition at 970 pages, down from 1,090 a year ago and 1,390 in 2000.

Penney's online sales increased 28 percent last year to $1.038 billion, and catalog sales were $1.8 billion.

Irvin, president of its catalog and Internet operations, is confident sales will increase because Penney's installed 35,000 new cash registers in its stores with direct links to its Web site. That means that at the register, shoppers can order items not in stock.

Tesco surprises its rivals with Christmas internet trial

By Abigail Townsend, The Independent News

Published: 03 December 2006

Supermarket giant Tesco is to start selling clothes online this weekend, a first for a supermarket. The news that the UK's biggest retail group is entering the market in time for Christmas will be a blow for many online and high-street retailers.

Tesco announced last month that it planned to sell ranges such as Florence & Fred online. A trial was expected to get under way next year, but instead the retailer is starting immediately.

During the four-week trial, 100 lines will be available at the same price as in Tesco stores, plus postage and packaging. Around 400,000 selected online customers will be eligible to take part.

"Around 10,000 people a week already visit our clothing website to check availability in stores and to view products, so we know the interest is there," said a spokesman. "We'll see how it goes before making decisions on taking it further."

Clothing is the latest move by Tesco to expand its online offering. In August it launched Tesco Direct, which offers goods including televisions, sofas, kitchenware and cameras.

New E-Discovery Rules Benefit Some Firms

The Associated Press
Friday, December 1, 2006; 6:31 PM

WASHINGTON -- Companies that help businesses track and search their e-mails and other electronic data are experiencing a surge of interest in the wake of federal rule changes that clarify requirements to produce such evidence in lawsuits.

Roger Matus, chief executive of Concord, Mass.-based InBoxer Inc., said Friday his company is getting at least five times as many inquiries as it did six months ago for software that can accelerate the search and retrieval of electronic information.

"Companies used to be focused on how they store information," Matus said. "Now they're focusing on how to retrieve it."

The new rules, which took effect Friday, require U.S. companies to keep better track of their employees' e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents in the event the companies are sued, legal experts say. They are part of amendments to federal rules governing civil litigation and were approved by the Supreme Court's administrative arm in April after a five-year review.

Companies and other parties involved in federal litigation must now produce "electronically stored information" as part of discovery, the process by which both sides share evidence before a trial. Federal and state courts have increasingly been requiring the production of such evidence in individual cases, and the new rules clarify that the data will be required in federal lawsuits.

Under the new rules, an information technology employee who routinely copies over a backup computer tape could be committing "virtual shredding" once a lawsuit has been filed, said Alvin F. Lindsay, a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP and expert on technology and litigation.

Companies still could routinely purge their archives if the data aren't relevant to cases companies have pending or expect to face, though specific sectors such as financial services remain governed by other data-retention rules.

Company lawyers and information-technology staff will have to work more closely together to ensure that routine erasing of backup data doesn't pose legal problems, Lindsay said, while also ensuring that lawyers know where their company's data are stored.

The new rules make it more important for companies to know what electronic information they have and where, especially because of a provision that requires lawyers to provide information much earlier in a lawsuit than before.

Many large companies "don't know what they have" and are therefore unprepared if they are sued, said Marie-Charlotte Patterson, vice president of market strategy for AXS-One Inc., a Rutherford, N.J.-based records compliance management firm.

Without a better sense of what data they have and where, some companies settle lawsuits in order to avoid the costs of electronic discovery, she said. Better organization of the data can lower that cost and enable companies to avoid settling.

"The need from the get-go to better manage that electronic data has become paramount," she said.

Some companies have paid a steep price for failure to preserve electronic information. In one high-profile case last year, former UBS AG equities trader Laura Zubulake won a $29 million award in a federal gender discrimination suit. The presiding judge penalized UBS for failing to recognize that missing e-mails would end up being relevant to future litigation.

Large companies are likely to face higher costs from organizing their data, said James Wright, director of electronic discovery at Halliburton Co. Besides e-mail, he said, companies also will need to know about things more difficult to track, like digital photos of work sites on employee cell phones and information on removable memory cards.

There are hundreds of "e-discovery vendors" and these businesses raked in approximately $1.6 billion in 2006, Wright said. That figure could double in 2007, he added.

Lawyers may have to spend time reviewing electronic documents before turning them over, Lindsay said. Although electronic searches can help narrow the amount of data, some high-paid lawyers will still have to sift through casual e-mails about subjects like "office birthday parties in the pantry" to find the relevant information, he added.

But Martha Dawson, a Preston Gates & Ellis LLP partner who specializes in electronic discovery, said companies will not have to alter how they retain their electronic documents. Rather, she said, they will have to do an "inventory of their IT system" in order to know better where the documents are.

The new rules also provide better guidance on how electronic evidence is to be handled in federal litigation, including guidelines on how companies can seek exemptions from providing data that isn't "reasonably accessible," she said. This could actually reduce the burden of electronic discovery, she said.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Asian Technopreneur of the Year

By Isabelle Chan , ZDNet Asia
Wednesday, November 29 2006 01:37 PM

Satyan Mishra is hoping to bridge the digital divide in one of the world's most populous nations--India--while making money at the same time.

A saint he may not be, but this 33-year-old has honourable and altruistic intentions which the world could certainly do more of. It is people like Mishra who, with their business and technology smarts, are capable of helping the underdeveloped parts of the world enrich their lives by gaining access to modern technology and services.

Read More ...

Small European businesses don't invest enough in tech

Small European businesses don't invest enough in tech
By Tom Espiner, ZDNet UK
Wednesday, November 29 2006 10:55 AM

Small businesses are failing to invest sufficiently in technology, causing them to lose productivity, according to a European Commission taskforce report.

The ICT Taskforce, whose membership includes technology giants such as Microsoft and IBM, have claimed that small businesses are not investing in business technology that could improve business processes.

"A wider integration of ICT by businesses throughout Europe would significantly contribute to improve effectiveness and productivity and could potentially revolutionize and maximize processes and organizations in a number of key sectors," said the report.

Some members of the taskforce are IT vendors who stand to benefit if small and midsize businesses (SMBs) spend more on technology. However, it appears they may realize that they need to change their own approach in some areas. Jean Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, told ZDNet UK that the software to improve business processes has been too expensive for SMBs to run.

"We have to make it easier to invest. The software is just too expensive," said Courtois. "There's a general lack of investment [in technology among SMBs]. In France, 30 percent of small businesses don't have a Web site. Most SMBs use Web mail and browsing, but they're not at the level they should be to compete with other companies," Courtois added.

Customer relationship management applications and software that monitors key business transactions are not being used enough by SMBs due to the expense and lack of trained staff, according to Courtois.

"Many companies with fewer than 10 people don't have an IT staff," said Courtois. However, as third-party support services--which are themselves a technology opportunity for smaller companies--and software become less expensive, the situation could improve. "As solutions come down in price many SMBs will take these up," said Courtois.

Small businesses involved in technology also need to look beyond Europe, the taskforce argued. Although currently Europe has a third of the global technology market place, the European Union market is becoming more static.

"You have to sell outside Europe," said Courtois. "SMBs can connect the dots between start-ups and global products."

European governments can help small firms by encouraging public and private partnerships to fund innovative research and development, and by making public sector procurement processes simpler, said Courtois.

"It's hard for SMBs to access the public market in different parts of Europe, as there's no unifying policy," said Courtois. "There still needs to be a simplification of procurement. There's no easy way for small companies to respond and be considered because of bureaucracy and the level of details required. The process is too complex--payment and selection procedures don't help SMBs. Payment can take nine months--that could kill a small business."

Courtois also called for policy makers to consider an EU-wide education policy to raise the profile and skills set for ICT.

"Europe hasn't done enough to provide an end-to-end curriculum, from primary and secondary education through to retirement age. Something we need to do much better is use e-learning to assess proficiency levels," said Courtois.

Microsoft called for greater interoperability between technology products to encourage SMB take-up. The company itself, though, has been engaged in a long-running battle with the European Commission over access to its server interoperability protocols. The EC ordered Microsoft to hand over these server technical specifications in 2004 as part of an anti-competition ruling Microsoft provided the technical specifications this month.

"Interoperability is key for us as a company," said Courtois. "[Providing server technical specifications to the EC] is a super-complex process--we had 300 engineers working on it. It's not a case of just publishing the specifications--it's very hard to do.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The 30 Most Important IT Trends for 2007

Megatrends CIOI 2007 1
November 17, 2006
Top Trends 2007

The 30 Most Important IT Trends for 2007
Thousands of IT executives contributed to a year's worth of data that reveals the direction of the industry.


When it comes to IT, change may very well be the only thing CIOs can depend on in 2007. That's what the editors at CIO Insight found when we took each of the 13 surveys we conducted in 2006 and put them under the microscope to project next year's 30 major trends. We break out 2007's trends into four different categories: Strategy, Management, Security, and Technology. But they are all closely related. And each trend contains a wealth of information and statistics gleaned directly from the source: CIOs, CTOs, and other high-level technology executives. So look closely.

Will service-oriented architecture take a big step forward next year? Will outsourcing take a step backward? Will businesses finally learn how to measure the value of IT? These are just some of the predictions we make based on a full year's worth of data. Read on to see what kind of year you can expect in 2007.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jonathan Bean, What If: IT leaders should be proactive and act on employees’ ideas

Technology leaders must support innovation
Adam Jolly, Computing Business 23 Nov 2006

Jonathan Bean is a senior inventor at What If, an innovation company with offices in London, Sydney, Shanghai and New York. He spends his time working with technologists and brand managers to create new products at firms such as Pepsico and Unilever.

Unlike a product designer, he and his colleagues aim to span the whole innovation process from insight to pilot. Most ideas die in the corporation pipeline, he believes, because they are just passed from one team to another.

‘We try to maintain momentum. You want to keep the good ideas alive and quickly kill the bad ones,’ says Bean. ‘It is easy to generate a lot of rubbish. The temptation is to put it in a greenhouse to see if it might flourish. Most companies have thousands of initiatives running. So they just get bogged down and end up doing nothing.’

In his experience, IT managers can end up being seen as the bad guys. ‘Brand managers might take them an idea, only be to told that it is not a priority and will take two years to implement,’ says Bean. ‘As likely as not, brand managers then bring in freelancers to get a web site up and running in the three months.’

It is a pity, says Bean, because there is a clear need for technology support for innovation in terms of idea generation, insights and implementation.

‘A key task for the IT director is to make sure that they create an infrastructure that supports the innovation process,’ he says'

For instance, millions of pounds are spent on researching consumer insights, but is often not made available. ‘At a basic level, you have to make information user friendly for anyone who might want to dip in and use it,’ says Bean.

‘At the moment, IT directors are often on the back foot because they tend to see things late. If they are involved earlier and have better visibility of what is coming through the pipeline, they can be one step ahead.’

Ideally, says Bean, you want your IT director to be more proactive in bringing forward ideas, and say: ‘Here is a great tool for interacting with customers or for generating ideas,’ he says. ‘In particular, they should become the front door to the virtual world, making team leaders aware of how to immerse themselves in consumer groups.

‘Rather than plunging straight into the techie side of things, you want to hear what is interesting about people of a certain age or what is hot in interest groups. IT managers should be up-to-speed on sites such as My Space and You Tube, showing how web crawlers can be used to look at the language that people are using to help you create a trend guide.’

As an innovator, Bean says technology teams want help in creating interaction zones for consumers. ‘For the past 10 years, web sites have been created around a particular demographic to encourage interaction through newsletter and blogs,’ he says.

‘The interest now is piling into Second Life, where you use virtual worlds to interact with consumers. The interesting question is whether your consumers’ alter egos reveal more about them than through a focus group.

‘For IT directors, it will mean a willingness to experiment with new web formats and virtual environments to try to help a company become leading-edge in interaction.’

Monday, November 20, 2006

Innovation Moves up the CIO Priority Stack

The larger players have raised the bar by 4.5 percent, the survey said.

Gartner's head of executive program research, Mark McDonald, said the results show IT departments today are seen as critical business drivers with innovation increasingly player a bigger role. As a results IT budgets and responsibilities are rising.

McDonald said the top three CIO priorities are ensuring IT has adequate funding, is business savvy and can assist in solving problems more quickly.

"The notion of IT driving business growth has risen in priority over the last few years from number 18 to number one," he said.

"It would be easy to view these forces as creating the pretext for cutting IT budgets, however leading CIOs are taking the opportunity to change the conversation away from managing IT costs to increasing the yield on IT investments."

McDonald said the report found while the value of IT departments is sometimes questioned, CIOs are using IT to drive business growth through competitive advantage.

Gartner worldwide director of executive program research Andrew Roswell-Jones, said inadequate funding and skilled staff shortages were identified by CIOs as inhibitors to company growth.

He said innovation has a big role to play with business shifting from trial and error projects to structured pilot programs.

"We are seeing IT departments creating innovation projects by forming a hypothesis and trialling it in small market segments," Roswell-Jones said.

"They should look to their own customer data available on hand and formulate campaigns based on real information."

According to the report, business is investing in non-packaged solutions like business intelligence and mobile applications rather than off-the-shelf products, which Roswell-Jones attributes to a redefining of "agility" from quick response, to managed risk.

The former COO and director of operations and IT at information security firm Asguard, Jan Kolbusz, said such innovation is more widely seen in small competitive markets such as Australia.

"Smaller companies such as those in the Australian market are the greatest innovators because they are up against big global players," Kolbusz said.

"The methods that companies use to innovate need to change from reactive to calculated," he said.

Gartner identified analytics as the next big thing for enterprises between now and 2009.

Source : Computerworld Today (Australia), Darren Paul

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft adopt same Web index tool

By Elinor Mills, CNET
Friday , November 17 2006 09:26 AM

Search engine rivals Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are teaming up to make it easier for Web site owners to make sure their sites get included in the Web indexes, the companies are expected to announce late this week.

The companies are adopting Google's Sitemaps protocol, available since June 2005, which enables Web site owners to manually feed their pages to Google and to check whether their sites have been crawled. Web site owners have had to follow similar processes at each of the other major search engines separately.

Now Web site owners will be able to go to one place for alerting all three major search engines to their Web pages, something they have been requesting for some time, said Tim Mayer, director of product management at Yahoo Search.

"In the first joint and open initiative to improve the Web crawl process for search engines, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft today announced support for Sitemaps 0.90, a free and easy way for Webmasters to notify search engines about their Web sites and be indexed more comprehensively and efficiently, resulting in better representation in search indices," a joint news release said. "For users, Sitemaps enables higher-quality, fresher search results."

The effort was initially started by Google and Yahoo. "We thought it would be great for publishers and Webmasters to be able to submit their content in one format for all the different search engines," Yahoo's Mayer said. "We are proposing the format together and inviting other search engines to adopt it."

The manual Web page submission process supplements traditional Web crawling and does not automatically guarantee that the pages will be included in a search engine's index.

"Windows Live Search is happy to be working with Google and Yahoo on Sitemaps to not only help Webmasters, but also help consumers by delivering more relevant search results so they can find what they're looking for faster," said Ken Moss, general manager of Windows Live Search at Microsoft. "I am sure this will be the first of many industry initiatives you will see us working and collaborating on."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Microsoft Releases Command Shell for Windows, PowerShell 1.0

Microsoft has unveiled the final 1.0 version of Windows PowerShell, the company's command shell for Windows that enables administrators to automate and control tasks on Windows desktops and servers.

PowerShell was initially slated to replace the command line in Windows with an object-oriented shell that rivals shells found on Unix systems. However, Microsoft scaled back its plans, saying it would take a few years to fully flesh out the technology.

PowerShell is a fairly complex endeavour for Microsoft, which has previously focused its attention on the graphical interface while competing server software remains primarily command line based. The idea was to build an Unix-like shell for administrators that offer advanced scripting capabilities while remaining easy to programme, the company said.

"Think of it as an integrated version of the Windows Command Prompt (cmd.exe) and VBScript that is easy to use and will allow you to automate and control system administration tasks," said PowerShell developer Alex Heaton.

Windows PowerShell 1.0 runs on Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista. For more information on what PowerShell can do on Microsoft's new operating system, visit Heaton's post on the Windows Vista Blog.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How quickly will business adopt Vista?

By Ina Fried, CNET
Tuesday , November 14 2006 11:56 AM

Microsoft has said that it will have Windows Vista ready for large businesses by the end of this month, but are businesses ready for Vista?

That is a key question for Microsoft, now that it has wrapped up its development work on the new operating system and is shifting into sales mode. It will start selling Vista this month to large companies that have volume license contracts, while smaller businesses will have to wait until the mainstream consumer launch in January.

According to a new poll, 86 percent of IT decision makers surveyed said their companies plan to implement Vista, though only 20 percent plan to do so in the next year. The poll of 761 buyers, commissioned by online retailer CDW, found 51 percent of respondents saying that they would have to replace or upgrade half of their PCs in order to run Vista.

Rob Helm, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, said that most large businesses won't start looking at Vista until January or February and will then spend a year or more planning their rollouts.

"We're talking the end of 2007 and into 2008, before you start seeing mass production deployments," Helm said.

The CDW survey appears to back up Helm's estimate. While many businesses expressed their intent to move to Vista, only 24 percent of respondents said they had even a rough plan for how they would make the move.

It's not that the improved security isn't a good selling point, Helm said. It's just that it will take time for businesses to adapt to Vista, as they deal with new requirements that companies individually activate each copy of Vista--a step that wasn't needed with Windows XP.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is predicting a speedy adoption for Vista. Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows Client product management, predicted in September that Vista would be put in use by twice as many businesses in the first year as Windows XP was in the 12 months following its October 2001 release.

Research firm IDC said that Windows XP usage was at 10 percent after a year in release. But IDC analyst Al Gillen said in September, talking about Vista, that "for them to do 20 percent in the first 12 months of availability is almost impossible."

Microsoft is counting on several factors to boost Vista adoption. One is, of course, the new features in the update --particularly the security enhancements and improved means for deploying the operating system throughout a large company. The software maker also said it is ready far earlier with tools that help businesses figure out which of their applications are Vista-ready.

Gillen was still skeptical that even those efforts would enable Microsoft to meet that goal.

"They have done all the right things, but adoption is going to be driven by corporate adoption and deployment cycles--more so than by whether Microsoft has greased the skids to make the product glide in faster," Gillen said in the September interview.

Jeff Rosado, who runs a computer consulting business in Pensacola, Fla., said that he is recommending large businesses wait before moving to Vista.

"For large institutions, I am recommending probably waiting until Service Pack 1," Rosado said. That will give Microsoft more time to work out any bugs and allow other companies to update their drivers and applications. "I think that Vista is a great operating system, but the third-party support is going to take a while," he added.

For small businesses, though, Rosado said the security features and improved ability to do remote management are good reasons to move sooner.

"Generally, (for) small businesses, I'm recommending almost an immediate implementation," said Rosado, who has been an early tester of Vista.

Aiming to get some of those mall businesses as early customers, Microsoft announced on Monday a partnership with CompUSA. Under the deal, businesses that want five or more licenses for Vista or Office Small Business 2007 will be able to buy them as of Nov. 30 under Microsoft's Open Value or Open Business licensing options. The software won't actually be in the box, though, meaning customers will have to download the programs.

Rosado said that companies that have compatibility issues can take advantage of virtualization to run Windows XP from within Vista, using Microsoft's Virtual Server and Virtual PC products. The upside of running Vista, he said, is that it is much easier for remote management, meaning an eye can be kept on a company's PCs without having to make a service call.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How to Succeed in Business

How to Succeed in Business
OCTOBER 15, 2006 CIO MAGAZINE, Abbie Lundberg

In the past six years, Kevin Turner has occupied three of the most senior offices in the corporate C-suite: CIO, CEO and COO. He talks about what's different and what's the same, and shares the secrets of his success.

Turner Talks

Hear Kevin Turner and other IT leaders talk about the future of U.S. competitiveness.

CIOs today have more opportunities than ever to move out of IT and into other C-suite positions, including that of CEO. Yet many IT executives worry that they lack the knowledge and leadership skills to achieve success in a new setting.

Not so for Kevin Turner. His career could serve as a how-to for CIOs who are aiming for the corporate ladder's highest rungs. Turner became CIO at Wal-Mart, one of the world's largest companies and most successful users of IT, at 34. At 37, he was promoted to run Sam's Clubs as its president and CEO, with more than 46 million members and $37.1 billion in annual sales. Last year, at the age of 40, he left the company where he'd spent his career to become COO at Microsoft. There he leads a global organization of more than 32,000 employees, including field sales and marketing professionals who delivered more than $40 billion in revenue during fiscal 2005. As COO, he is responsible for product and customer support services, branding, advertising, public relations, market research and relationship marketing. He also oversees corporate operations and internal information technology that supports the work of 71,000 employees worldwide. Turner serves on the senior leadership team that sets Microsoft's strategy and direction.

He spoke with CIO Editor in Chief Abbie Lundberg during a recent visit to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

CIO: When you were Wal-Mart's CIO, what were the three most important things you did to prepare yourself for a broader role in the business?
Kevin Turner: When you're in a company that believes in the value of IT and where there are high expectations on the delivery of that value to the business, the ability to work with people and teams [is critical. You need to be able to] pull together a focused agenda with clear definitions of success. So building self-managed, high-performing teams in IT was a necessity that proved very useful on the business side.

Next would be building relationships with peers in the business group. When you work closely with people to deliver results, audit the payback, review what's been implemented and come up with a mechanism to drive improvement, it gives you a good understanding at a high level of how the company or the operation works. That became something I relied heavily upon in my next role [as CEO of Sam's Clubs]. Finally, an understanding of what's possible with technology and the ability to map it to business problems and solutions to drive results [is critical]. Applying that knowledge in the business role was instrumental for me.

What it takes to be a successful CIO sounds similar to what it takes to be successful moving into that broader business role.
You have to tailor your terminology and your approach, but the principles are solid and they very much transport.

Has technology hit a tipping point in terms of its relevance and importance to the business?
I think so. In the early '90s, I would have characterized the CIO grade card [this way]: being under budget, enabling the company to grow and keeping the systems running. Those were the main drivers that could get you a decent grade as a CIO.

You still have to do those things. But now the world-class companies are saying, "How can IT really help us change the world? How can IT help me change my business model and change our game against the competition?" That's the biggest fundamental shift.

Wal-Mart was perhaps on the front side of that change. It is in a very low-margin business [where you have to make] sure that every dollar spent is accounted for and that we got the payback out of it. I had a lot of help from senior management to say whether we got what we said we'd get, and if not, why? Was it a bad decision, or was it something that we simply didn't execute as well as we should have? Having that follow-up was important.

Of the positions you've had since being a CIO—COO and CEO—which is the more natural next step for an IT executive?
The CIO could graduate into either of those roles, or head of a division or head of procurement or marketing, depending upon the operation. The sophistication of what's required [to run a business] is escalating like crazy. Staying on top of that is something CIOs are used to doing. They're used to a lot of change coming their way. That dynamic environment really puts them at an advantage as they go into the business.

Which is the harder job: CIO or CEO?
Well, it depends upon the amount of change you're trying to introduce and the results that you're up against. They both have their moments. With everything the CEO faces today from the standpoints of governance, competition and shareholder expectation—let's just say there's less under your direct control than with the CIO role. The CEO role has a lot of external complexities. But the CIO has some moments that would be very comparable to the most difficult day of the CEO.

Why did you leave Wal-Mart after almost 20 years?
It's an interesting story. My relationship with Microsoft went back 14 years with Steve Ballmer. I worked directly and indirectly with him during my time in Wal-Mart's IT department, then when I was CIO, and after I moved into the business.

Being at one highly successful company and making the transition to another was, with the exception of marrying my wife, the greatest single decision I ever made. It was a great chance for me to get back to technology, which is what I loved, but it was also a great opportunity to learn from another successful company. If I hadn't moved [to Microsoft], I probably would have finished my career [at Wal-Mart].

What advice would you give CIOs who are ready to move to a different role?
Take inventory of what you've been exposed to and learned. Make sure you have an understanding of how the business operates, the external marketplace and how the customer responds. And remember: Creating and driving business value is really meaningful to taking that next step.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Goodbye quarterly reports?

By Gemma Simpson, Special to ZDNet Asia
Friday , November 10 2006 09:36 AM

Six financial heavyweights have called for companies to overhaul financial reporting to make it more suited to the Internet age.

This could potentially mean the scrapping of traditional quarterly and annual reports.

The top accounting firms, including Deloitte Touche Tohumatsu, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KMPG, joined forces to release a report on Wednesday that proposes a real-time reporting system to allow people to access and choose business information as easily as buying a book on

Details on what this new reporting model would look like are still hazy. But digitization and the Internet could enable people to customize the company information they receive and choose how it is presented, said the report.

A representative for Information Builders, a business intelligence company, said that real-time reporting is a "nice concept but difficult to implement in practice due to cost and complexity."

The representative said he does expect to see such systems emerging within the next few years, although there will not be a sudden shift away from traditional reporting until a handful of the big players make a move into the digital arena.

War looms over global tech talent

By Andy McCue, Special to ZDNet Asia
Tuesday , November 07 2006 12:22 PM

A global war for technology talent is looming that will lead to severe skills shortages and rising salaries, according to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

But businesses will not simply be able to rely on tapping more affordable and plentiful tech labor overseas and in emerging economies, which will be hit by skills shortages, the report warned.

The survey of 153 senior executives in technology companies around the globe found that European executives, in particular, anticipate a "severe shortage" of overseas pools of talent within the next three years.

It is a similar picture in emerging markets, with 41 percent of all survey respondents finding it difficult to locate technical skills and almost half (48 percent) having trouble retaining the talent they do find.

A result of this increased competition for skills has led to salaries in the technology sectors of emerging markets rising, and the report claims compensation levels are increasing to the point where China and India will no longer be viewed as more cost-effective locations to source talent.
Graham Wyllie, director at PwC, said in the report, "Competition for talent has never been fiercer and there is likely to be another industry talent war if demand increases."

Despite this, the survey found widespread weaknesses in recruiting capabilities, developing in-house talent and training for senior executives.

But some organizations are taking action to address the skills shortage by working with schools to encourage students to study mathematics and sciences, and using "talent maps" to assess their present and future skills needs.

The Technology Executive Connections--Successful Strategies for Talent Management report was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for PwC.

Outsourced IT to return home

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia
Monday , November 06 2006 05:39 PM

SINGAPORE--The next wave of outsourcing is expected to see companies in Asia taking back selected IT functions, according to a senior executive at Big Four accounting firm KPMG.

Speaking at the Outsourcing Conference 2006 last week, Lim Yen Suan, KPMG Business Advisory's head of business performance services, said organizations are taking back some IT functions such as IT strategy and architecturing, from service providers.

"Usually, [companies in the Asia-Pacific region] outsource the maintenance, application development, network management and infrastructure," Lim told ZDNet Asia in an interview. "The rest they still very much keep within their own organization."

KPMG's latest survey showed that some call center functions have also been brought back in-house by enterprise customers in the region, primarily because of language and cultural issues, she said. Lim added that companies in the Asia-Pacific region are comparatively more conservative, and only outsource basic IT functions such as software development and application maintenance.

The survey also showed that there is a greater emphasis toward a partnership arrangement between enterprises and their service providers, rather than the client-service provider approach previously adopted in the first wave of outsourcing.

As such, the selection process for service providers is also changing, she said. Lim explained that companies that experienced the first wave of outsourcing--which was quantitative and technology focused--are now considering qualitative factors, such as cultural compatibility and business values of service providers.

"[Businesses] focus a lot on chemistry between themselves and the service providers because [the outsourcing contract] is a fairly long-term arrangement," she said.

According to Lim, enterprises take the selection process seriously because they are looking for a "business partner rather than a pure service provider", since the outsourcing arrangement will have a huge impact--whether it will be successful or not--on their business operations.

She added that this approach will allow both the organization and the service provider to obtain more transparency out of each other's processes and infrastructure, helping both parties achieve a win-win arrangement.

However, the trend toward a two-way partner relationship will be played out in terms of the way both parties work with each other, rather than as a contractual arrangement, she said. And it is not likely to take place immediately, Lim said.

She noted that the fledgling trend is likely to take off in the Asia-Pacific region in three to five years, and early adopters are expected to include MNCs (multinational corporations) from the United States and Europe that have presence in this region.

Early last month, Asia-Pacific's first certification program for IT outsourcing management--the Certification in Outsourcing Management for IT (COMIT)-- was launched in Singapore by the Singapore Computer Society, in partnership with Singapore's Institute of System Science and supported by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. Endorsed by industry practitioners, the new three-day certification course is targeted at infocomm professionals seeking to pursue a career as IT project manager or outsourcing manager, as well as experienced professionals who want to attain accredited professional qualification.