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Transforming IT from Servant to Strategic Partner

When companies start to think about streamlining operations, the IT department is often among the first to be flagged. To survive, IT leaders must demonstrate that their department serves a strategic role in the organization’s future. For many IT groups, that’s a big change. Redesigning IT’s role starts with reorganizing

Managing Mobile Devices

They are the best of tools and the worst of tools. Mobile computing devices can support the workforce out in the field or make your most sensitive company secrets public knowledge. The only way to simultaneously unleash your workforce and rein in company threats is to control the risks. Many

Secrets to Successful Software Integration

As a hosted electronic data exchange company, SPS Commerce in Minneapolis, Minn., is in the business of connecting the software it creates to applications its customers use every day. When the company recently outgrew some of its own systems, it was in a unique position of living its own customers’

Service-Oriented Architecture Promises Increased Flexibility

Wouldn’t it be a great idea if an enterprise’s IT resources could be linked and reused, enabling businesses to respond more quickly and cost-effectively to changing market conditions? That’s the theory behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) and, in theory, systems developed according to SOA principles promise new levels of flexibility. In

The Ins and Outs of SCM

Advocates of software configuration management tools and techniques tend to resort to metaphor when describing why, once adopted, IT organizations can’t live without them. By far the most frequent comparison is to the assembly line popularized by Henry Ford (but not invented by him, as it is widely believed). Before

Service-Oriented Architecture Steps into the Future

When USinternetworking, an application service provider (ASP) to more than 150 companies, was still very small, software architects and programmers were able to keep track of the available application codes and figure out how to make them work together. But as the Annapolis, Md. based company grew, the task rapidly

IT Budget Priorities in Perspective

At one time, the IT staff’s mission was to stay out on the bleeding edge — first adopter, first adapter, first developer, first to market. But now the frontlines have changed, withdrawing to more cautious ground where bottom-line hemorrhaging can be stemmed and new strategies drawn. “Without IT and business

Decision Support Systems for Executives

Keeping a business on course and profitable requires a corporate leader to make judicious decisions at every step. It’s no surprise, then, that decision support systems (DSS), long used at the operational levels of enterprises, have matured enough to become part of executives’ everyday tools. “Although some people think the

Revive That Derailed Development Project

When IT consultant Mike Benz’s phone rings, it’s often a client struggling with a software development project gone bad. Recently, for example, a retailer called the certified project management professional (PMP) in Minneapolis, Minn., in a panic: They needed to change their computer software, hardware and their business practices in

Is Real ILM Possible?

Managing data effectively has always been a major challenge for businesses. How do you capture it? Store it? Process it? Access it? What do you do with it once its immediate usefulness to your organization is gone? And, naturally, how do you accomplish all this at the lowest possible cost?