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Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-05-21

  • Gov’t IT projects: Billions at risk
    New Congressional testimony by the General Accountability Office (GAO) reports that “352 [US federal government] projects totaling about $23.4 billion—were poorly planned.” … The testimony recommends that federal agencies take a number of steps to improve oversight on high-risk projects. These steps include: 1. Publicly disclosing the deficiencies of projects on the Management Watch List; 2. Using the list as the basis for selecting projects for follow-up and for tracking follow-up activities (including developing specific criteria for prioritizing the IT projects included on the list, taking into consideration such factors as their relative potential financial and program benefits, as well as potential risks); 3. Analyzing the prioritized list to develop government-wide and agency assessments of the progress and risks of IT investments, identifying opportunities for continued improvement; and 4. Reporting to Congress on progress made in addressing risks
  • A CIO’s Strategy for Recession-Era Staffing
    Amid the gloomy reports we all read daily about the state of the economy, it’s easy to forget that a big part of a CIO’s job is making sure the IT organization is ready to pounce on any opportunities to make a difference in the business. And more than anything, that means having the assortment of people needed to analyze requirements, make quick decisions, and implement those decisions. So today, I’m taking it upon myself to share the steps one CIO — Bill Rogers of global printing press maker Goss International — has been taking to ensure that he’s able to count on his IT staff when that call-to-action comes. Here’s what Rogers has been up to:
  • Success Breeds Success in Startups
    For entrepreneurs, past performance seems to be the best predictor of future success. After examining the success or failure of several thousand venture-backed companies from 1986 to 2003 — where success was defined as the company going public or filing to go public — the authors of this study uncovered an interesting trend. Entrepreneurs who had experienced success at previous startups were far more likely to succeed in future ventures; their success rate was 30 percent, compared with just 18 percent for first-time entrepreneurs.
  • For Indian Companies, It’s Globalization as Usual
    Traditionally, Indian companies are run by dominant families. With this model, can they match the management skills of Western multinationals? KUMAR: They have to professionalize and improve their governance, and they are doing that. But just because you have a family business doesn’t mean it can’t be professional. You have some family-run businesses that have very strong governance standards, whereas in other family businesses the board of directors meets around the dinner table. The good family businesses — such as Aditya Birla Group and Mahindra & Mahindra — retain professional managers and employ better financial standards. But you don’t even hear about some of the family companies that were strong 20 years ago. They’ve become shadows of their former selves. They couldn’t professionalize and compete in the new environment. The winners among these family businesses have also communicated better with stakeholders outside the company, especially with shareholder financial institution
  • After 8 Years Atop Xerox, Mulcahy Steps Aside as CEO
    Anne M. Mulcahy, who led a turnaround that revived Xerox Corp. when it was near bankruptcy, said she will take early retirement as chief executive, handing the job to her lieutenant, Ursula M. Burns. Ms. Burns, who like Ms. Mulcahy has spent decades climbing the ranks at Xerox, will become one of the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company, according to research group Catalyst Inc. Ms. Mulcahy will remain Xerox’s chairman. The change, set for July 1, was announced before Xerox’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday.
  • How to Use Database-Driven Analytics to Flourish Despite Economic Crisis
    Retail businesses rarely see the kind of economic stress that is facing them in their markets today. The economic crisis has forced consumers to be very selective about buying. The most successful retailers will be those who are adept at data optimization using advanced, database-driven analytics. Knowledge Center contributor Bill Franks explains how retailers can exploit every byte of information from their enormous data assets, which continuously flow through the databases they depend on for illumination.
  • Salesforce stacks the cloud to ease operations
    ZDNet Senior Editor Sam Diaz shares his views on Saleforce.com’s cloud strategy. He says its new upgrade, Summer ’09, is helping customers be more flexible by adding real-time features.
  • The Evolution of Data
    In this eWEEK podcast hosted by Mike Vizard, the vice president and general manager for HP’s Information Management Group, Jonathan Martin, talks about how the process of e-discovery will eventually lead to a revamping of the way IT organizations think about managing data.
  • Business ByDesign or business as usual for SAP?
    SAP has been derided by rivals over its software as a service efforts but is it time to re-evaluate the firm as it pushes itself as a serious SaaS contender, with Cloud-based offerings in CRM and with its fledgling Business ByDesign ERP offering?
  • Ballmer, Gates address world’s most powerful CEOs at summit
    Microsoft is hosting its 13th annual CEO Summit at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond from May 19 to May 21. The private event was closed to the press, but has drawn more than 105 CEOs and leaders from 25 countries, including Tom Brokaw, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Rupert Murdoch and Clayton Christensen. Microsoft has released four short Silverlight video clips of the event. Here is a clip from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer‘s keynote. He discusses innovation, the cloud and the importance of the Internet. Next, Ballmer talks about investment in ideas and innovation, and that venture capitalists are pulling back. In this video, Time managing editor Rick Stengel and Bill Gates talk about the economy and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Here, Gates says that drug companies will come around, and that the software IT is just beginning:
  • Steve Ballmer on venture capital and cloud computing
    More than 100 of the world’s top CEOs are in town this week for Microsoft’s 13th annual CEO Summit, though you’d hardly know it given the tight controls over the flow of information. The event has always been a private affair, starting with a reception at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle on Tuesday night. (We checked it out, but couldn’t get access to the core activities.) In past years, Microsoft allowed reporters to watch a simulcast of the keynote speech on the Redmond campus. But this year, that was dropped in order to “respect the privacy” of attendees, said a company spokeswoman. Instead, Microsoft has released four short video vignettes (all of which are a minute or less) from the keynotes of Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.

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