By Richard Shippee, Publisher, UniNews online
Some 30 leading CIOs and senior IT executives met in San Jose, California, June 9th, to discuss the advent of network computing in the enterprise, under the auspices of UniForum and the Fisher Center for Management and Information Technology at the University of California, Berkeley. The goal of the meeting was to present state-of-the-art thinking on the rapid implementation of network computing in the enterprise and the development of best practices for key management issues.
Of special note at the conference was a presentation by Asa Lanum on the new work being accomplished by the Client Network Computing Coalition (CNCC). Lanum, the Executive Director of CNCC, described the mission of CNCC as the development and propagation of user driven standards for network computing. The CNCC is a group of the leading financial institutions worldwide, along with associate-member vendor companies. A three volume procedural White Paper is in the process of being compiled and for more information about the CNCC please contact Lanum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading off CIO Horizon '97 was Jim Ware, Executive Director of the Fisher Center, who posited that network computing was a logical extension of the "third wave" - the information age revolution - leading inevitably to the condition where "everything connects to everything anytime, anyplace in the world." He sees network computing as a classic example of technology enabling social change but not forcing it as it will be up to corporate users and consumers to determine how and when they want to connect to everything, anytime, anywhere.
The day continued with a case study presentation from Donovan Resh, Senior VP and CIO, AARP Inc./AARP Pharmacy Services, Alexandria, Virginia. Resh described his IT infrastructure (enormous), the issues he had to address in business process re-engineering; his decision-tree analysis that led to a thin client approach; the bumps and bruises along the way and his total cost of ownership and project financial analysis with ROI. Resh's conclusion was concise: Research It; Size It; Test It; Do It!
Resh was followed by Peter Slovik, CIO at Cisco Systems, San Jose, California (http://www.cisco.com) and Tom Willmott, Group Vice president of the Aberdeen Group, Boston, Massachusetts (http://www.aberdeen.com). Slovik gave his description of the dramatic effect the Internet is having and the trends he sees in his business of high speed connectivity as the technologies of networking and computing converge. Willmott was able to stand back for a moment and present the analyst's point of view that encompassed his take on planning priorities, hardware and software trends, and the competitive landscape.
The afternoon session was given over to a vibrant group discussion that many felt was the high point of the entire conference. Panelist included Chris Kocher, Principal of the Product Management Group; Steve Ariana, Vice president, Charles Schwab & Co.; Jim Sha, President and CEO, Actra Business Systems; and George Hoyem, GM and Vice president, Verifone. Their overall theme was "Planning Your Company's Future" and it wasn't long before the entire room was participating with opinions, thoughts and suggestions ranging from training and implementation concerns to the growth of more consumer oriented uses of network computing such as network appliances.
The day concluded with a Keynote Address from Raymond J. Lane, President and COO, Oracle Corporation. Lane's perspective was that operating system wars were now irrelevant and time wasting concerns, that instead customers of IT need to concentrate on developing cost effective plans for the use of the Internet as the modality for corporate computing. He saw the network computer as an enabling technology, one of several that have swept across the IT horizon in recent years, and one that must be part of the strategy of CIOs as they plan and budget for IT in the near term and into the future.
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