CIO Symmetry


April 10, 2008  6:22 PM

If you only knew the power of the dark (green) side…

Roger Crawford Roger Crawford Profile: Roger Crawford
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Disaster? Destruction? Trailer park slums in Alabama? The flooding of a major U.S. city? While the rebuilding effort of New Orleans continues, the city’s Chief Technology Officer, Anthony Jones, is making it easier for the residents of the city to apply for and receive grants.

According to a recent press release: “Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the City of New Orleans was able to streamline business processes for grant applications and contract management from 45 days to 10 days and 90 days to 10 days, respectively.”

Using business process management (BPM) — and with a small staff, some of which fled the city — Jones changed the way IT services are delivered in New Orleans after the disaster.

Want to catch a presentation of BPM and hear Jones’ account of post-Katrina New Orleans? Happen to live in the Colorado Springs area? Or maybe, like us intrepid reporters at CIO Symmetry, you own a Lear jet and feel like a jaunt to the mountains? Check out the  CIMA Spring Conference April 16-18.

Reflecting on Katrina has me thinking about other trends and issues that have been bubbling around the minds of midmarket CIOs and in the IT world for the past couple of years. Apparently, Datamonitor just got hip to green IT.

A report from Datamonitor — which, incidentally, will only set you back nearly $1,900 — is predicting that CIOs will have an upswing in interest in green IT in 2008. Well, duh. And duh. And duh again.  Not to be presumptuous, but the staff of SearchCIO-Midmarket.com has been big pimpin’ when it comes to green IT for a while now. If you really want to see the most comprehensive coverage of the issues that fellow midmarket CIOs are encountering with green IT, please, for everyone’s sake, check out our (free) resources.

There’s one final interesting bit of news that I thought would be worth relating here. EWeek Mid-Market is reporting that vendors are cottoning on to the power of the midmarket by listening to companies’ demands:

“As of late, these [midmarket] companies have become a major focus of the IT vendor community because collectively these types of companies now spend more on IT than companies that have over 1,000 employees.”

Oh … ok. That sounds like good news for the midmarket CIO. I’m not saying that you’ll be able to hold Big Blue over a barrel and beat lower prices out of it like dust from an old rug, but it does sound like vendors are starting to listen.

Before you know it, vendors will understand the power of the midmarket side!

April 9, 2008  6:34 PM

Obama’s passport stolen = Data breach notification law

Glen Weaver Profile: The Weave
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So much for the technology candidate. Apparently, if I want to talk with Barack Obama’s people I need to use the old mojo wire. And then I’ll have to wait a week to hear if I will be granted an audience (though, to her credit, the receptionist at Obama’s senate office did seem to suggest the senator himself might have a minute).

A minute, that is, to discuss his recent support for S. 495, which is Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy’s federal data breach law.

Obama signed on to the law, which mirrors to some extent 39 existing state laws dictating what private companies and government agencies must do in the event that they manage to lose personal data like credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.

Or passport records. I have to assume that was the impetus for Obama latching on as a cosigner to Leahy’s bill April 1. Though there is also value in saying “A law I cosponsor…”

Obama, along with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, learned that his own privacy was violated when employees at the U.S. State Department took a gander at his passport file earlier this year. Apparently political espionage has gone electronic, though it’s not clear yet if that’s a more effective route than brandishing flashlights in a
Washington hotel.

The bill was actually introduced over a year ago, at the start of the legislative session. Leahy, a Democrat, is pushing for it along with cosponsor Arlen Spector, a Pennsylvania Republican. It is one of a variety of bills that have shown up in Congress in recent years that would create a federal data breach notification law.

Should the federal government pass a data breach notification law, it would likely trump many, if not all, of the current state laws. That could be a good thing for CIOs because right now a business that has lost personal information must comply with the law for each state where each customer resides. That’s a lot of laws to deal with, given most businesses will have customers from at least a few states. We’ll have some stories soon detailing the federal legislation, as well as some of the differences in state laws.

In the meantime, figure that we might see a federal one soon. Leahy’s bill has gone through committee and is awaiting floor debate as scheduled by the majority leader. Even if it doesn’t happen this year, he could file it again next term. If it makes its way through Congress and Obama is sitting in the Oval Office, the bill has a good shot at becoming law.

Oh, that “technology candidate” mention above? Turns out Obama is the only candidate for president who has an issues tab on his website about, well, technology. Doesn’t mean he’s taking the right stand. But it does imply he’s paying attention.

That, or he thinks there are at least a handful of votes in there.


April 8, 2008  3:14 PM

VirtualNet IronApp expand partnership

Roger Crawford Roger Crawford Profile: Roger Crawford
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Virtual Iron and NetApp Storevault storage are expanding their partnership. In this latest development, StoreVault has been certified for Virtual Iron’s server virtualization software.

This is actually mildly exciting news for CIOs. The partnership should free up storage space, help implement storage virtualization and improve data protection. The consolidation and virtualization will cut down on power and cooling costs, while beefed-up data protection is never anything to sneeze at. If IT flexibility is your thing, StoreVault says this partnership has it in spades.

In your mandatory take-it-for-what-it’s-worth PR quote, Sajai Krishnan, general manager of the StoreVault division, says: “Midmarket customers are looking to server and storage virtualization for the same reason as large enterprises – to reduce data center complexity and increase IT flexibility.”

And David Roden, director of technology for the law firm Goodell DeVries Leech and Dann LPP – and pleased NetApp and Virtual Iron customer – says, “The fit between Virtual Iron and StoreVault is about as close to pure plug and play as it gets.”

A quick call to Tim Walsh, director of corporate marketing with Virtual Iron, revealed that plug and play doesn’t mean channel-less. ”Both products are sold through our channel partners, and we feel there is a lot of value in buying both products together,” Walsh said. ”The packaged solution reduces complexity for midmarket businesses.”

But if the products’ plug and play-i-ness is being stressed to CIOs, will there be a lot of return business to the channel pro who sold them the solution? Or will the purchase – and possibly installation services – be the last time those chicanerous salesmen are called to the site?

-Brian


April 7, 2008  7:06 PM

Symmetry, defined again, again.

Roger Crawford Roger Crawford Profile: Roger Crawford
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Hi there. Welcome to the SearchCIO-Midmarket.com blog. Over the coming weeks and months Zach Church, CIO-Midmarket’s news writer, and I are aiming to bring you the most relevant CIO news that you’ll be able to find on these vast, expansive interwebs we call home. It can be difficult to find the news that’s hard hitting, impactful and, uh, another synonym for things that attack with force! But we’re looking to bring all that news to your email inbox, RSS feed or PDA.

But what can you expect to find on CIO Symmetry? See why other midmarket CIOs are making news and you aren’t. We’ll gather relevant news for you to peruse —  here — at your leisure. Considering attending a trade show aimed at CIOs, but you’re just not sure that effusive PR person is being totally honest with you? We’ll give you the skinny.

But most importantly, we want to hear from you, our dearly beloved midmarket CIO. What makes your job easier or harder? Is the guy who runs a data center a royal pain? Was that golf sales outing last week just not what you were expecting? Tell us. And we, in turn, will tell you about everything you might not have time to chase down on your own. After all, we both realize you’re busy, but that’s no excuse not to be up to speed on the midmarket happenings.

And while news gathering is ultimately the goal here, the two of us will also provide expert analysis and commentary with a little bit of wit, a healthy dose of sarcasm and just a touch of cynicism.

Plus videos and funny pictures. Did I mention the funny pictures yet?

-Brian


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