Monday, August 28, 2006

Time Travel

From a CHEN account manager...

I took a spin back in time, though I didn’t see what I expected.

Dinner with Shakespeare was not on the menu; dinner with Virginia Woolf wasn't happening either (though it would have been more appropriate). Instead I met sexism head on.

I’m 32. Battles surrounding women’s rights issues in the workplace were for previous generations, or so I thought.

I have 10 years marketing and public relations experience under my belt. During this time I’ve launched countless high-tech upstarts and supported many a public darling.

I’m also nearly seven months pregnant (here’s where you’ll want to get packed for travel). We recently won and then soon lost a new piece of business after we told them I’d be their account manager and about my pregnancy… something about me being too fatigued and worn out. My stellar references and applicable market sector experience didn’t matter. My belly did.

They asked that I be replaced as account manager and, to the agency’s credit, we declined.

So I’ll continue to give my clients 120% just as I’ve always done. And in November I’ll celebrate the birth of my daughter, confident the workplace will be through with all this nonsense by the time she’s 32.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Beloit College's Mindset List

What a brilliant piece of PR. I heard about this on national neww. I think it was CNN.

Every year, tiny Beloit College (1200 students in Beloit, Wisconsin) publishes the Beloit College Mindset List. It has been published every August since 1998, and "it looks at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of today’s first-year students." Most of the kids who are entering college this Fall were born in 1988, which is just one year before my previously profiled offspring, who was born in 1989. These hit home. And they hit hard, underscoring just how much the fundamentals have shifted in my lifetime.

Distilled from the full list of 75 items, I give you my Favorite Fifteen, because my attention span is, like, sooooo short:
  1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
  2. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
  3. There has always been only one Germany.
  4. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
  5. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
  6. "Google" has always been a verb.
  7. Text messaging is their email.
  8. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards to retail items.
  9. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
  10. "So" as in "Sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
  11. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
  12. There have always been live organ donors.
  13. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
  14. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
  15. They have always "dissed" what they don't like.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Gartner Hypes its 2006 Hype Cycle

Earlier this week, Gartner released its 2006 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. The good folks at Tekrati recap it here. The report highlights these themes:
  • Web 2.0 technologies
  • Location-aware technologies
  • Applications architectures
The 2006 Hype Cycle also acknowledges the growing consumerisation of IT. The ease of use inherent in technologies such as iPods and blogging is bound to set an expectation by users of corporate IT that the systems/dashboards/tutorials they use should be just as intuitive.

The recap is worth a full read, but here are a few highlights:

Under Web 2.0 technologies, the report rate
s Social Network Analysis (SNA) as "high impact" (meaning it will generate significant revenue/cost savings.) "SNA is the use of information and knowledge from many people and their personal networks. It involves collecting massive amounts of data from multiple sources, analyzing the data to identify relationships and mining it for new information."

Ajax is also rated as high impact (no surprises there) for its ability to make tough-to-manage Web apps easier to use.

Collective intelligence is rated as "transformational," meaning it will enable new ways of doing business across industries that will result in major shifts in industry dynamics. "Collective intelligence is an approach to producing intellectual content (such as code, documents, indexing and decisions) that results from individuals working together with no centralized authority."

It seems that we've been hearing forever that location-aware applications are just around the corner. Gartner predicts mainstream adoption in the next two to
five years. Look for applications in field force management, fleet management, logistics and goods transportation. Europe is slightly ahead of the United States with this technology, Gartner reports.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Holy Grail: Measuring the Value of IT

This week, Mike Vizard's e-alert flags an article from CIO Insight on how companies measure the value of IT. (The article is written by well-regarded journo Allan Alter, who spent a long stint with Computerworld. Allan is now Executive Editor of CIO Insight.)

The site is rolling out the results piece by piece, but here's a sampling of findings to date:

Only six out of ten companies measure the business value of IT. Even among big companies (those with revenues over $1 billion), one out of five do no kind of valuation at all.

Do CIOs measure ROI often enough? On average, only 41% of companies' IT budgets undergo an ROI assessment. Only half do an ROI assessment both before and after an IT project is completed.

How best to measure IT's value? According to the study, the most common metrics are time-to-payback and savings-minus-costs. Companies with revenues over $500 million are most likely to use metrics such as internal rate of return (47% of respondents) and return on assets (35%).