Articles on Information Technology Trends

Written by Joe McKendrick since the dawn of the 21st Century | E-mail: | Home page: McKendrick & Associates |


Service Oriented Architecture Weblog
Published at ZDNet site, since November 2004

Regular Weblog covering issues and news in the SOA and Web services space.

SOA in Action Weblog
Published at ebizQ site, since September 2006

Regular Weblog covering issues and success stories in the SOA and Web services space.

Enterprise 2.0 Weblog
Published at FastForward site, since December 2006. A multi-contributor hosted discussion.

Regular Weblog covering issues and trends in the Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 space.

BI in Action Weblog
Published at ebizQ site, since May 2007

Regular Weblog covering issues and news in the business intelligence/analytics space.

Eye on the Enterprise Weblog
Published at Unisphere/Database Trends & Applications site, since February 2007

Regular Weblog covering issues and news affecting enterprise computing.



Insurers Become More Comfortable With SaaS
Insurance Networking, December 2008

Over the past year, the concepts of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing have been hot properties. They have been the "it" topic at industry conferences, and vendors have been scrambling to release their own takes on both. However, is SaaS appropriate for the insurance industry, which has more intense rigorous uptime and security requirements? Are data security and availability showstoppers? Industry IT executives and experts see potential for SaaS within limited roles and, so far, there have been few complaints about security. However, it's still unclear whether carriers would feel comfortable having mission-critical and data-intensive applications, such as policy or claims management, delivered from an offsite SaaS provider.

Specialty Insurer Reaches Out to Agents—Digitally
Insurance Networking, November 2008

Information technology now touches every aspect of the insurance business, and, as a result, files and data can be made available anywhere, anytime, and, at the touch of a button. At least, that's the way it's supposed to be. But while end-users may expect to have what they need almost instantaneously, it often doesn't work out that way. Picture the immensity of the growing volumes of images and graphics files associated with claims transactions and marketing efforts. Some are stored within individual workstations or systems, some are maintained within departmental servers, and some are maintained within centralized enterprise repositories. When it comes to securing a particular file, many end users simply don't know where to begin to look-if they are even aware that there is something to look for.

Governing IT Decisions: Who’s in Charge?
Insurance Networking, June 2008

No longer can IT departments operate in a vacuum, attempting to second-guess what applications the business needs. The business needs to guide IT decisions, say industry experts, especially in an era when the insurance industry relies on IT to manage everything from new applications to claims processing. Effective IT governance, driven by decision-makers outside of IT and from across the business, provides guidance to IT as to what projects are most critical and what ones are not. IT governance helps IT avoid making decisions inside of a black box, says Jeff Goldberg, senior analyst at Celent, Boston. In many cases IT has unilaterally made major systems decisions without thinking about the business implications, such as the purchase of a content management system, he says. As a result, “multiple IT projects end up competing with each other for scarce IT resources.”

New Tools Connect SOA to Business Success
Insurance Networking, January 2008

No longer can IT departments operate in a vacuum, attempting to second-guess what applications the business needs. The business needs to guide IT decisions, say industry experts, especially in an era when the insurance industry relies on IT to manage everything from new applications to claims processing. Effective IT governance, driven by decision-makers outside of IT and from across the business, provides guidance to IT as to what projects are most critical and what ones are not. IT governance helps IT avoid making decisions inside of a black box, says Jeff Goldberg, senior analyst at Celent, Boston. In many cases IT has unilaterally made major systems decisions without thinking about the business implications, such as the purchase of a content management system, he says. As a result, “multiple IT projects end up competing with each other for scarce IT resources.”

Fearless Predictions for Enterprise Computing in 2008
Database Trends & Applications, Enterprise Column, January 2008

What will the year 2008 have in store for enterprise IT? There will certainly be pressures and edicts to cut costs and run as mean and lean as possible - as there is every year. But what will be the “hot” trends that may not necessarily reach critical mass, yet will pique everybody’s curiosity this year? Software as a service will become a “normal” means of software purchasing. There will be plenty of talk about computing in the “cloud.” SaaS will not be limited to applications themselves. Enterprises will be able to grab functionality ranging from databases to messaging systems to storage right from the Internet, while only paying incremental charges for what they actually use. There will be increased interest in event-driven architecture (EDA). The explosion in collaborative and user-driven computing will reach deeper into enterprises. The cluster of Web 2.0 sites - from mashups to social computing - will add a new dimension to enterprise environments. IT shops will keep moving to simpler and lighter-weight architectures and standards. Open source will continue to make inroads into the enterprise - and open source enterprise applications may be the next part of this wave.

New Tools Connect SOA to Business Success
Insurance Networking News, Cover Story, January 2008

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is seen as a beacon of hope for insurance companies long beleaguered by tangles of incompatible legacy systems and networks. However, while the technology is now widely available, selling SOA to the business can be an uphill climb. Best practices such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) may help line-of-business executives outside the orbit of IT better see or grasp the benefits of SOA.


Ten Data Management Trends to Watch in 2008
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, December 2007

The coming year promises to be yet another period of great change for the data management world, as vendors and end-users alike seek to better integrate solutions that have greater impact on the business. To highlight these trends, DBTA has assembled the fore­casts and insights of a number of leading industry watchers, who helped identify the top 10 trends that will shape enterpris­es in the months to come: 1 - More industry consolida­tion, acquisitions. 2 - Finally, BI with enterprise reach will become more of a reality. 3 - Business intelligence moves toward performance management and complex analytics. 4 - Business intelligence and analytics will move to real time. 5 - SOA and integration will grow as enterprise IT activities. 6 - Mashups and Web 2.0 will rise within enterprise walls. 7 - More companies will embrace soft­ware- as-a-service (SaaS). 8 - Managing more with less, and align­ing more with the business. 9 - More server and storage virtualization. 10 - Data and IT governance will become urgent requirements.

The Data Center: Cost Center or Engine of Growth?
Database Trends & Applications, Column, "Eye on the Enterprise," December 2007

Data centers are squeezed between tight budgets and rising end-user expectations.Looking forward over the coming year, consolidation and virtualization are the watchwords for data centers of all stripes, as managers seek innovative strategies to get more bangs for their bucks. These are all good strategies, but there is a one-dimensional aspect to it -- the old-line thinking that data centers are cost centers, and are necessary evils, like taxes and door locks. What is needed is more perspective on the growing contribution data centers are making to the business, in terms of greater agility, on-demand capacity, and improving business time to market.

Sniffing Out Claims Fraud Before the Check is Cut
Insurance Networking News, December 2007

Thanks to new technologies, carriers are unearthing fraud such as "rent-a-patient" schemes and physician upcoding. Unearthing such scams requires both vigilance on the part of healthcare payers and an ability to rapidly look through claims data to connect the dots on suspicious activities. Carriers not only face the challenge of detecting and forestalling outrageous schemes such as the rent-a-patient fraud, but also are tasked with detecting the even-more pervasive instances of "soft fraud," in which otherwise legitimate claims information may be fudged or exaggerated. Spotting potential fraud patterns-whether "hard" or "soft"-requires sophisticated analysis beyond the capabilities of even the most seasoned adjusters. As a result, many carriers are turning to predictive modeling solutions that can rapidly sift through claims data and flag suspicious activities and patterns, before money goes out the door.

Amazon SimpleDB: A New Database in the Cloud
Fast Forward Enterprise 2.0, Weblog, December 2007

Run an entire enterprise — including sophisticated IT — from the cloud? Amazon Web Services announced a “limited beta” of a new service called SimpleDB. SimpleDB, Amazon says, is a Web service for running queries on structured data in real time. This service works in close conjunction with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provide the ability to store, process and query data sets in the cloud.

Nine Places Where SOA is Making a Difference, Right Now
ZDNet Service-Oriented Architecture Weblog, December 2007

What kind of a year was 2007 for SOA? Yes, there was plenty of disgust and eye-rolling at all the hype around this still-emerging concept. But at the same time, we started seeing more and more examples of companies putting the methodologies and associated tools and platforms to innovative uses: (1) To transform from a product-centric to a customer-oriented culture. (BT) (2) To run the world’s largest particle accelerator. (CERN -- European Organization for Nuclear Research) (3) To tie together customer service data for faster problem resolution. (Comcast Corp.) (4) To facilitate master data management. (Pfizer Corp.) (5) To better integrate disparate vendor products. (Intel Corp.) (6) To bring together heavy-duty manufacturing systems. (Bombardier) (7) As a centralized online learning environment. (The State University of New York) (8) As a compliance management environment. (USinternetworking) (9) To improve enterprise search. (Merrill Lynch)

From Cable Systems to Sour Cream: More Examples of SOA in Action, circa 2007
ebizQ SOA in Action Weblog, December 2007

This past year saw a multitude of positive stories emerging around SOA deployments. Highlights of companies that "got it" when it came to applying SOA principles in proactive places include: 1) To speed up product roll-outs. (Comcast Corp.) 2) To unchain stovepiped systems. (Albert Heijn) Netherlands retail chain 3) To unchain supply chains. (Emerson Corp.) 4) To increase retail operating efficiency. (Kohls dept. stores) 5) To keep from getting creamed. (Daisy Brand)

Staying Ahead of the New Network Explosion
Insurance Networking News, September 2007

From collaboration to customer service, companies are turning to networks of applications and individuals to accomplish tasks, increase competitiveness and improve productivity. As a result, pressure is on enterprise networks to constantly keep increasing capacity, intelligence, speed and performance-both inside and outside the firewall. The typical insurance carrier is increasingly becoming a networked organization, albeit at a slower rate than other industries. The average insurance company is about five years behind in networking technology -- insurers are scrambling to keep up. The pressure is on to support a range of new initiatives, such as customer and agent e-business channels, Web services, service-oriented architecture, collaborative computing and mobile computing, which require robust networks with higher bandwidth thresholds. Add to this a plethora of multimedia files, which individually run into the multi-megabytes in size-that are choking current systems. For carriers, growing volumes of digital photos, workflow documents and customer data are taxing current systems.

Database Career Market Heats Up
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, November 2007

Are we coming up against a shortage of data management talent? Initiatives such as data center automation and outsourcing have long threatened to reduce demand for data professional jobs. However, signs abound that exactly the opposite has been happening. Companies are hungrier than ever for data management talent, particularly for hybrid positions that can connect database functionality to urgent business requirements. Today, data management and IT professionals are in a demanding field where there are not enough people to fill the job openings. This makes it very difficult to fill positions. This is a change from a few years ago, when many companies thought they could get by either by outsourcing or automating selected tasks - or simply piled on the work to their lean staffs.

Data as Demanded
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, September 2007

A couple of decades back, when a company was preparing for a merger or acquisition, lawyers typically submitted a large file folder’s worth of background documents for government agency review. Today, if most documents had not moved from paper to imag­ing and electronic documents, it would take truckloads to transport. Such is the fast-evolving nature of data on demand. Today’s enterprise user is not only seeking relational transac­tion data reports, but also documents in a wide variety of formats and contexts. Queries are more diverse and more complicated. There are many challenges associated with the quest for on- demand data. They begin early on, when tough questions arise while assessing business requirements: What data is needed? When is it needed? What level of accuracy, or data quality, is expected? How will the data be used or presented?

Competing On Analytics
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, July 2007

In theory, companies are now capable of capturing and ana­lyzing the details of every minute transaction and event that occurs within their walls. Although businesses are being inundated with data, much of it is the wrong data. It's not timely, and it's not get­ting to the right end- users. This is perhaps one of the most vexing challenges to “ competing on analytics,” now seen as a key strategy for attaining competitive differ­entiation, and well- document- ed in popular books by indus­try experts such as Tom Davenport of Babson College. In the old days, you could more or less rely on your competitors being at about the same level of efficiency, but analytics changes the playing field dramatically. Business process automation is important too, but it essentially only enables you to execute strategy; ana­lytics is what enables you to set the strategy in the first place, for example, by detect­ing trends and ‘ seismic shifts’ in your industry early. How can such shifts be accu­rately and quickly detected? Some leaders in competing on analytics have employed multi-faceted approaches that leverage a wide range of data sources, and they extend this capability to as many end­users as possible.

Burst! New Definitions of ‘Productivity’ Emerge with the New Network
SuperNova 2007 (University of Pennsylvania Wharton School) Conversation Hub, Weblog, June 2007

Can the “New Network” break the “9-to-5” mentality, once and for all? There’s a productivity paradox emerging with the rise of Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0, and social networking approaches and technologies. That is, the end users that engage in these new ways of working see their productivity occur in “bursts” of activity and innovation, versus a more incremental, plodding progress measured by the time clock.How does bursty productivity that comes with New Networking approaches differ from traditional “busy” styles of management? What does it mean to be engaged in the “burst” economy versus merely keeping “busy,” old-economy style? Of course, unenlightened managers out there will simply not see the bursty-ness of this new style of working.

SOA Rejuvenates Aging Mainframes
Insurance Networking News, Cover Story, May 2007

For many carriers, policy administration systems are the ultimate "legacy applications." Many were custom-built years ago by in-house development teams and still run on mainframe systems with "green-screen" terminal interfaces. However, as carriers begin to explore ways to open up these systems-and make applications and data available to end-users across the enterprise-they are finding themselves at a crossroads, faced with the dilemma of whether to modernize or to replace core policy administration systems.

The Meaning of SOA Success (PDF download)
InfoWorld's SOA Executive Forum: Building a Foundation for Continuous Change, Cover Story, May 2007

It was only a few years ago that service-oriented architecture burst upon the corporate scene, but it is already dramatically changing the way companies design and deploy software. Now, as SOA deployments mature at early-adopter sites, and begin to spread across the enterprise IT landscape, companies are reporting visible results, from greater efficiency to more agility in business processes. Since its inception, SOA has promised relief to organizations hamstrung for decades by stovepiped legacy systems and slow turnaround of new functionality. It proponents claim that the methodology can bring faster development and deployment of applications that map closer to ever-changing business processes. Experts and end users agree that while much work still needs to be done — particularly in the areas of governance and measuring return on investment — SOA has lived up to many of its promises so far.

Enterprises Weigh the Business Value of Real Time
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, February 2007

Is the “real-time’ enterprise real? The concept of real-time enterprise has been hyped and predicted for years, seen as the Holy Grail of business intelligence and decision support. Peter Fingar and Joseph Bellini were among the early pundits that encapsulated the concept of the “real-time enterprise” in their 2004 book by the same name. “Time is the critical variable in squeezing out costs, for squeezing out time can reduce costs such as inventory, overproduction and transaction handling costs,” Fingar and Bellini observed. “Reducing or eliminating information lag time across the value chain has a positive impact on the bottom lines of all value-chain participants, including customers.” Are organizations heeding such advice, and getting a grip on “time” as a critical differentiator? Recent research confirms that organizations are aware of the ideals of the real-time enterprise. In a survey of 248 data management professionals and executives, 70 percent of the respondents said that real-time access to data was important to have. The survey, conducted by Unisphere Research, the research group affiliated with DBTA, finds that 29 percent consider this capability to be “extremely” important, while another 41 percent regarded real-time capabilities as important.

Wanted Desparately: More SOA Movers and Shakers
ZDNet, Weblog/Commentary, January 2007

An enterprise architect "drought" looms, and this may slow down many SOA efforts over the coming year. In a new prediction issued within the past couple of weeks, ZapThink's Ron Schmelzer has sounded the alarm that there simply won't be enough SOA proponents to fill the burgeoning demand for new SOA projects. "First, there is a significant demand in the marketplace for experienced SOA talent. Second, we are seeing a burgeoning of SOA consulting companies that offer kick-start approaches to SOA in which they supply the experienced architects and their customers supply the heavy-lift labor to implement the Services. Already we’re starting to see a bifurcation in the IT community between architect and developer, with development seen as an increasing commodity whereas architecture is an increasing scarcity." Yes, we've been hearing all the predictions that that SOA is now moving from pilot stages to enterprise-scale implementations in many organizations, but who's going to drive these efforts in organizations? Such individuals need not only technical know-how, but also an ability to sell SOA to business leaders.


The Great Resurgence: Why Middleware Matters Again
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, July 2006

There was a time, about a decade ago, when “middleware” was considered passé, but in recent times, companies have been finding it to be more profitable and manageable to abstract enterprise information from underlying systems. However, there is little agreement as to what types of technologies, approaches, or architecture should constitute what has been called an “information layer,” “integration tier,” “enterprise data management,” or as some call it, “enterprise data fabric.” Many industry watchers say service-oriented architecture fills the bill, while others look to data extract, transfer, and load approaches as the purveyor of the information layer. eBay is a data giant. The online auction provider currently stores more than two petabytes of data; or over 200 times the size of the Library of Congress. In addition, the company rolls out more than 100,000 lines of new code each week. To manage multiple data sources and applications, eBay has built what it calls a software-based “integration tier,” James Barrese, vice president of systems development at eBay, told DBTA. “This contains both a data access layer and a services framework,” he explained. “The integration tier acts as an abstraction layer for software engineers to work with many disparate back-end data sources through a consistent set of abstractions.” eBay is not alone with the challenge of more effectively managing large reservoirs of data streaming into its organization through multiple channels.

Web 2.0 or SOA? Web 2.0 and SOA? Let the Debate Begin! (Part 1)
Webservices.Org, Weblog/Commentary, May 2006

Let the debate begin! John Hagel sums it up this way: SOA evangelists “tend to dismiss Web 2.0 technologies as light-weight 'toys' not suitable for the 'real' work of enterprises.” Web 2.0 champions, on the other hand, “make fun of the 'bloated' standards and architectural drawings generated by enterprise architects, skeptically asking whether SOAs will ever do real work." Lately, a debate has been raging across the industry and blogosphere around whether enterprise interoperability can be better achieved through Web 2.0 or Service-Oriented Architecture approaches. The two camps have been calling each other a lot of names, and accuse each other of being overhyped. Some say the debate is downright silly: as Dave Orchard put it : “It's not ‘SOA vs Web 2.0,’ the question really ought to be ‘why aren't more corporate environments using Web 2.0 technologies.’ To which the obvious answer is, ‘It's the apps silly.’” Most enterprises have all the functionality they need right on their own servers, Orchard points out. And, ultimately, it’s a matter of where will Web 2.0 approaches best fit the needs of end users in the enterprises, and where will an SOA approach fit best. The solutions need to be complementary, with roles for both – not a question of either/or. This being said, it’s not clear yet how ready Web 2.0 is for the enterprise, and how ready enterprises are for Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 or SOA? Web 2.0 and SOA? Let the Debate Begin! (Part 2)
Webservices.Org, Weblog/Commentary, May 2006

Web 2.0 has almost many critics as SOA. Is all this Web 2.0 talk the blather of ‘architecture astronautics,’ or something of more importance to enterprises’ futures? Some say Web 2.0 is actually all about SOA. The bottom line is that while Web 2.0 and SOA have their differences, it’s not an either/or choice to use one or the other. The entrepreneurial energy and passion the Web 2.0ers are exuding is wonderful stuff. However, SOA is not as moribund as it’s now being portrayed. SOA itself is a process of creative destruction, which breaks complex or legacy processes and applications down to an atomic level so they can be reconstituted, on demand, into new shapes and sizes. Most organizations, in fact, are not ready for the scope of such changes.

Do We Need This Animal Called BPEL4People?
Webservices.Org, Weblog/Commentary, April 2006

Does Business Process Execution Language lack the "human touch"? Some industry leaders say that BPEL is too automation-centric, and lacks support for human interaction with the workflow. However, not everyone agrees on the best way to resolve the matter.Process workflows are like the rivers that dot the planet; each one has its own unique sources and tributary streams, terrains to be travailed, and eventually emptying out somewhere, be it an ocean, bay, larger river, or lake. But there are also plenty of waterfalls, dams and locks on the way. Workflows are as unique as the companies that create them, and all have their own points where humans intercede. We are only in the early stages of automating business process management, and have only begun linking business processes to SOA. Processes get touched many times, and sometimes are required to be by law or regulation. BPEL promises to speed up much of our workflows, but the points requiring human interaction may negate efficiency and speed gains. The question is whether BPEL4People - or other approaches - can compensate for the human equation.

Riding the Wave: What to Do When Your Software Vendor is Acquired or Merges
Insurance Networking News, Feature article, January 2006

Over the past two years, many carriers, either to their dismay or bewilderment, saw key software vendors fall under new ownership. And it hasn't been simply a case of small fish being eaten by larger fish. Some of the largest names in the software business have been caught in the net. PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems, giants in their markets, for instance, were scooped up in acquisitions. Mergers and acquisitions are always sprung on the market by surprise, and it's difficult to predict or sense when a change in ownership may be pending. What's certain is that such market moves can disrupt even the most meticulously laid plans of IT executives. The recent rash of acquisitions and mergers reads like a Who's Who of the software industry. Oracle Corp. has been grabbing the most headlines lately, scooping up Siebel Systems to build its customer relationship management (CRM) portfolio. Prior to that, PeopleSoft, an enterprise software vendor, which had bought out JD Edwards, was also acquired by Oracle. Symantec, the computer security provider, merged with Veritas, a storage management vendor. IBM took the reigns of DWL. Enterprise software provider SSA Global Technologies acquired Epiphany, a CRM system vendor. And Attachmate, a provider of legacy system access tools, merged with WRQ, its fiercest competitor. Past consolidations are still being digested as well. HP, which swallowed Compaq whole in 2003, continued to feel the ramifications for some time, which included the resignation of HP's CEO. Compaq itself was still wrestling with technology acquired through its acquisitions of Digital Equipment and Tandem Computers. While grabbing fewer headlines, vendors specializing in the insurance space have been doing their own share of changing ownership hands.


Benefits Portal Builds Direct Relationships
Insurance Networking News, Feature article, August 2005

Not only is self-service technology helping employer-clients control benefit administration costs, it might also be insurance carriers' missing link to employee consumers once they leave the workplace. This potential is not lost on MetLife, a large New York-based provider of non-medical group benefits with accounts at more than 3,500 organizations. To better service the needs of close to 17 million employees working at its client companies, MetLife embarked on an effort five years ago to build an online employee benefits portal called MyBenefits. By all measures, the online self-service portal has been a hit. Recently, MetLife announced that the one-millionth employee had registered to access accounts online through MyBenefits. The portal enables employees to log in-either from work or from home-and get answers to frequently asked questions, learn about plans and coverage specifics, obtain price quotes for certain products, and enroll in dental benefits, critical illness insurance, long-term care, life insurance, auto and home insurance, disability insurance, and banking services. Users can also check their claim status for certain products, locate a dentist who participates in a MetLife preferred dentist program, or learn about retirement savings options. A popular feature is service e-mail, such as e-alerts that notify employees of claim updates.

Failure is Not an Option
Insurance Networking News, Feature article, May 2005

For insurance carriers, brokers and agencies, the ability to recover quickly from a systems outage or disaster is critical to their business-and, increasingly, may be mandated by law or industry oversight groups. As a result, business continuity has become a core management issue, whereas in the past it was an issue that was addressed by IT executives. "The insurance industry is moving from recoverability toward resilience," says Ted DeZabala, national leader of Deloitte & Touche LLP's security services team. "This is a huge change of mentality, of management, and of technology for the insurance industry." Pressure for more effective business continuity and disaster recovery planning comes from many directions. For instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulates that health care providers and payers meet basic requirements for protecting and recovering critical data. And, last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved rules proposed by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and the New York Stock Exchange which require NASD and NYSE members to develop business continuity plans that establish procedures relating to an emergency or significant business disruption. This move will affect insurers that also offer financial services products.


Portals Get More Intelligent
Database Trends & Applications, Feature article, December 2004

Welcome to the age of the intelligent portal. Portals now being integrated into mission-critical infrastructures, and are, in many cases, becoming the defacto front-end interfaces to many applications. The ability of portals to support enterprise infrastructures doesn’t come a moment too soon. “Today, our enterprises and our architectures are a large confluence of many applications,” according to Thomas Koulopoulos, president and founder of Delphi Group. Such applications include “Web services, and traditional applications like collaboration, search, knowledge management, process, and portals. Today, all of this is held together with the proverbial rubber bands and scotch tape, and bubble gum. We can’t have enterprises that truly express agility with those kinds of risky architectures.” Are portals ready to fill such a daunting role – the glue of the enterprise? The answer from many industry experts is a resounding ‘yes.’ “When portals first hit the market a few years ago, they primarily served “as a front end to information sources,” said Tim Thatcher, director of Websphere portal products for IBM. "We've evolved portals to include access to applications, as well as access to people through integrated collaborative tools.”

Is Your Enterprise Data Warehouse Ready for the Future? Seven ways to ensure the survival and success of your EDW through proper guidance
Special supplement/white paper prepared for Teradata Corporation, published Fall 2004 (volume 4, no. 3). (Above link is downloadable PDF file.)

Once an EDW is put into production, end-users from throughout the organization can look at the data and ask questions in ways previously unimaginable. Getting the EDW up and running is only the first step on a long journey of exploration and discovery. To make the most of this journey, the EDW needs to be a business tool with business managers just as intimately involved in the growth of the data warehouse as the information technology team that manages the nuts and bolts of the process. Businesses don’t stand still, and neither should the EDW. The greatest risk to an EDW is the collapse of governance. A true enterprise effort requires a strategic enterprise-wide governance strategy backed by the senior leadership team. EDW governance is a process that should continue for as long as the EDW itself exists. But what does governance require of a business? What’s involved, and how do you ensure that proper checks and balances are in place?

Is the Database Just More Middleware?
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, August 2004

Companies Can Conquer BI One Step at a Time
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, July 2004

Database Skills Are Back in Demand
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, June 2004

Get More Bang for Your EDW Buck: Seven practical tips for an enterprise data warehouse
Special supplement/white paper prepared for Teradata Corporation, published Summer 2004 (volume 4, no. 2). (Above link is downloadable PDF file.)

ACORD XML Approaches Critical Mass
Feature article, Insurance Networking News, May 2004.

Unlike previous industry attempts to standardize data exchanges between carriers, agents and third-party partners, it appears that XML is the real deal. Still, the industry has a long way to go before support for ACORD XML turns into widespread adoption. ACORD's XML specifications-covering property/casualty, life, and reinsurance- were designed for transferring data across firewalls, but some carriers are exploring use of the standards as a cost-effective internal integration tool for extracting data from legacy systems. In addition to controlling costs and opening access, such internal data integration capabilities may also help companies meet growing demands from regulators for increased accountability in internal operations. After a slow start, support for the ACORD XML standards is now widespread across the industry. Nearly 87% of life carriers and 94% of P&C carriers are investigating and eventually plan to adopt ACORD XML standards in some fashion, according to a survey conducted last year by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Research Inc. And, a study of 20 major U.S. carriers issued last year by Boston-based Celent Communications found that 63% of respondents had live production systems using ACORD XML standards, while a majority of the remaining firms had pilot programs in place. Experts note that the insurance industry is surpassing other industry groups in agreeing on and adopting data standards. "We're past the 'why,' now we're just working on the 'how,'" says Lloyd Chumbley, assistant vice president of standards for ACORD, Pearl River, N.Y. "Two or three years ago, people were struggling with understanding the XML structures. Now, they've moved on to working on communicating messages over the Web and the protocols for getting data out to partners and customers."

Open Source Databases Gain Ground
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, May 2004

A Fresh New Look at EDW: 10 reasons why you need an enterprise data warehouse
Special supplement/white paper prepared for Teradata Corporation, published Spring 2004 (volume 4, no. 1). (Above link is downloadable PDF file.)

The Seduction of Web Services Begins
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, April 2004

Multivalue Enters a New Dimension
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, March 2004

Real-Time Data Comes With Costs
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, February 2004

Databases Move Closer to the Edge
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, January 2004

The Business Case Against Instant Messaging
ENT Online, January 2004

Managing the Instant Messaging Paradox
ENT Online, January 2004

Vendors Press Groupware Below Exchange Rate
ENT Online, January 2004


BI Less Expensive, More Expansive
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, November 2003

SQL Server: Ready for the Big Time?
ENT Online, Special Report, September 2003

Microsoft Hopes New Features Will Warm Up End-Users to Yukon
ENT Online, Special Report, September 2003

Small Databases are Beautiful
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, August 2003

Finally, CRM Begins to Pay Off
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, July 2003

[Data Warehouse ROI] Pedal to the Metal: If ROI is the destination, get there, and fast
Teradata Magazine, Spring 2003

Open the Mainframe Mine
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, May 2003

Data Warehouses Emerge Real-time
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, March 2003

Pick Your Database: Multivalue Systems Emerge
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, February 2003

A New Role for Portals
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, December 2003

Reversing the Supply Chain: Teradata Demand Chain Management takes the guesswork out of inventory planning and control
Teradata Magazine, Applied Solutions, Summer 2003

E-Business Rocks On
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, June 2003


The New CRM: Lowered Expectations, Targeted Deployments
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, August 2002

CRM: Microsoft Tries to See Around Corners
ENT Online, Column, August 2002

Make Room for the Monster Databases
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, December 2002

Embedded Databases Drive New Computing Model
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, July 2002

The Case for Database Availability
Database Trends & Applications, January 2002

Portals Plus Bring New Data to Light
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, October 2002

E-Business, 2002, Has Less Sizzle, More Steak
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, September 2002

Exchange Takes the Lead - This Year
ENT Online, Special Report, December 2002

The Greatest Misconceptions About E-Commerce
Electronic Commerce World, Column, June 2002


Low Awareness Hampers Government Assistance for Agricultural Export Finance
Journal of Agricultural Lending, June 2002


Portal Mania
Enterprise Systems, Column, April 2002

Web portals mania continues to run rampant.


Insuring Access to Legacy Data: An insurance company opens data on mainframes and midrange systems even beyond the client-to the client's employees
Enterprise Systems, Column, December 2001

Shipshape E-business: Shipping company shows how to deploy solutions for Web-based and green-screen-through a single environment
Enterprise Systems, Column, October 2001

Tactical Screen Scrapes: When two unlikely business partners joined hands, one had to quickly develop a friendly GUI interface
Enterprise Systems, Column, November 2001

Your Best Customers May Be Different Tomorrow
American Banker/Bank Technology News, July 2001

With both economic and competitive pressures coming to bear on financial institutions, bankers are under the gun to wring more profits from all lines of business. That's no easy job in any industry, but it's especially tough for commercial banks,where up to half of the customer base may be unprofitable today. The venerable 80/20 rule-in which 80% of profits come from 20% of customers-doesn't even apply to the banking world anymore. Instead, 20% of customers generate about 150% of revenues in many banks. At the bottom end, about 30% of the customers actually drain 50% of the profitability.


The Bottom Line of CRM: Know Thy Customer
ENT Online, Column, December 2000

When Eight Is Not Enough: As call centers converge on the web, the headset crowd learns to juggle a tech-head`s variety of skills
Internet Retailer, June 2000


Taking Notes: Exchange 2000 Plus One
ENT Online, November 2001

Portals: Window on the Future of Web to Host?
Enterprise Systems, Column, June 2001

The Seduction of Web Services Begins
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, April 2004

Integration: From Big Bang to Controlled Explosions
Webservices.Org, Market Analysis, December 2003

The Rise of XML is Still Incomplete
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, September 2003

Get Set for Web Services Now
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, April 2003

Double Indemnity: Insurers Buying Into Both J2EE and .NET
Insurance Networking, Cover Story, April 2003

Blue Titan Provides BEA's Web Services Backplane
WebServices.Org, Special Report, March 2003

Moving forward with Websphere and Web services
WebServices.Org, Special Report, March 2003

Web Services at the Front End
WebServices.Org, Special Report, January 2003

Web Services Methods and Motivations: Survey Exposes Some Rifts
WebServices.Org, Special Report, December 2002

How Far Can Microsoft Spread Its .NET?
Enterprise Systems, Cover Story, November 2002

Will Microsoft's .NET eventually bring mainframe and midrange data into the wonderful world of Windows?

IBM's Integration Machine
Enterprise Systems, Column, October 2002

What does IBM's "enterprise modernization" push mean to the vendor's huge base of mainframe, midrange and large Unix sites?

Vendors Lurch Toward Web Services
Enterprise Systems, Column, August 2002

The future of host integration middleware lies in the support and deployment of Web services standards.

Avoid these 5 Host Integration Mistakes
Enterprise Systems, Column, July 2002

Mainframe Shops Eye Web Services
Enterprise Systems, Column, June 2002

Web services has an obvious place in legacy integrations, but you'll need to use caution—it's still early in the game.

The Applications Server Market Has Been Battered
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, June 2002

Business Process Integration or Simple Integration? The Debate Rages On
ENT Online, June 2002

Web Services: Everyone's EAI?
ENT Online, June 2002

Native or Relational? XML Databases Reach a Crossroads
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, May 2002

Web Services Enters a Critical Phase
ENT Online, May 2002

The Integration Wave
Enterprise Systems, Column, May 2002

Web Services, Web Schmervices
Electronic Commerce World, Column, April 2002

Web Services: SOAP Bubbles or the Real Deal?
Database Trends & Applications, April 2002

How Best to Extend Legacy Technologies?
Enterprise Systems, Column, April 2002

As you extend mainframe systems to the Internet, should you start from scratch, wrap old code in Java, or just build a pretty front-end? The debate continues.

Central Administration, Local Data
Enterprise Systems, Column, March 2002

AGFS saves money and bandwidth by intelligent data management.

Newest Integration Strategy: Wireless
ENT Online, Column, September 2002

Can Microsoft Synch Up to the Mobile Marketplace?
ENT Online, Column, August 2002

Business Process Integration Takes Holistic View of IT
Database Trends & Applications, February 2002

Beyond Green-to-GUI
Enterprise Systems, Column, January 2002


Commentary: A Warped View of Monopoly
ENT Online, Column, March 2003

Imagine if IBM's OS/2 trumped Microsoft's Windows back in the 1990s. Imagine the monopoly we would be contending with -- far more serious than slipping in a free browser. With OS/2 Warp as the standard desktop operating and commodity server system, not only would one company would be controlling the OS layer, but also the processor, the box that houses the processor, the hard disk, the middleware, the applications, and even the integration services. IBM would have even controlled competing OSs, such as AIX and OS/400. Now that’s a monopoly. The U.S. government, state governments and overseas governments would have been licking their chops over this kind of antitrust action -- one that would have launched a thousand legal careers.

Dell's Soft Spot
ENT Online, Column, September 2002

Carriers' IT Plans: It's Back to Basics
Insurance Networking, Special Report, September 2002

BEA Contends For Lead in B2B
Electronic Commerce World, Cover Story, June 2002

Back to the Branch, or Back to Basics?
Bank Technology News, May 2002

From Buggy Whips to Buggy Software: When Good Technologies Go Bad
ENT Online, Column, May 2002

HP-Compaq Merger: Sometimes, One Plus One Doesn't Equal Two
ENT Online, Column, February 2002

Surviving the New, New Economy: Back to Basics?
Electronic Commerce World, Column, January 2002

Coming of Age For E-Payments
Bank Technology News, January 2002

Branch Automation Tools Open New Channels
American Banker/Bank Technology News, January 2002

As the Internet grew into an online banking channel in the mid- 1990s, banking industry experts were predicting the decline and eventual demise of the physical branch. However, as they say, the future isn't what it used to be. Instead of withering away, there are more retail bank branches than ever. Some regional banks, such as Commerce Bank, based in Cherry Hill, NJ, are even pursuing aggressive branch expansion strategies, offering previously unheard-of amenities such as Sunday hours. The typical bank branch, however, isn't what it used to be either. These facilities are now sophisticated centers that support multi- channel access-including ATMs, Internet banking and call centers, along with the traditional face-to-face access. Branch automation software has grown in sophistication along with the branches. Today's generation of branch automation solutions are built around CRM and multi-channel access.

Real Progress, or the Same Old Same Old?
ENT Online, Column, December 2001

CA's Summer Thriller
ENT Online, Column, August 2001

E-Wallets: Chasing The Holy Grail of E-Payments
American Banker/Bank Technology News, October 2001

During the go-go dot-com years, the electronic wallet concept came to fruition, promising a quick means for consumers to apply stored payment information toward online purchases with one or two clicks. E-wallets came in two flavors: those facilitated by individual online merchants, and those offered by third- party vendors and credit card issuers that can be used across multiple merchants. Both merchants and banks recognize that e-payments are a steadily growing area of opportunity.

Compliance Gets Complex
American Banker/Bank Technology News, September 2001

GLBA, CRA, HMDA, ECOA... The alphabet soup of compliance acronyms grows ever spicier. Banks have been complying with fair lending laws and regulations-such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act-for years. This year, regulations regarding consumer privacy-the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)-were enacted, opening up a new frontier in compliance. Needless to say, the job security of bank compliance officers is assured for many years to come. However, as institutions have come to rely on information technology to manage accounts and deliver products, the impact of laws and regulations goes beyond the administrative function and reshapes banks' approaches to customer relationship management. As a result, institutions may have to re-examine the way they build and deploy CRM and other systems.

One Small Step for an IT Manager, One Giant Leap for the Economy
ENT Online, November 2000

Prepare for Smaller, More Diverse Data Centers
Data Center Trends & Applications, August 2004

2004 Enterprise Systems Salary Survey
Survey of 1,130 enterprise IT sites covering large data center salary rates and attitudes for Enterprise Systems, published July 2004. (Above link is downloadable PDF file.)

Autonomic Computing Comes to the Data Center
Data Center Trends & Applications, JUne 2004

Database Skills Are Back in Demand
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, June 2004

Managing the Instant Messaging Paradox
ENT Online, January 2004

Analysts: We're Not Quite Ready for Real Time
ENT Online, October 2003

Software Spending Rising . . . But On Fewer Projects
Insurance Networking News, Feature/Survey Report, September 2003

Data Center Job Market Fizzles: Large data centers may be caught between competing currents as IT sector recovers
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, August 2003

Enterprise Architectures Take Hold: First and foremost, companies need to treat an enterprise architecture initiative as more than just another IT project
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, June 2003

Best Laid Plans: Nationwide Learns To Adapt
Insurance Networking, Feature, March 2003

Reassessing Vendor Relationships: How long should an outsourcing agreement last? Experts differ.
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, February 2003

Content Management Rises to the ROI Challenge
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, January 2003

Salary Survey: Pain on Top; Gain in the Middle
Application Development Trends, Special Report, December 2002

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome: Data Centers That Weathered it All
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, October 2002

Carriers' IT Plans: It's Back to Basics
Insurance Networking, Special Report, September 2002

The Staffing Slide: Can We Stem the Mainframe Talent Drain?
Data Center Trends & Applications, August 2002

Making IT Work!
Bank Technology News, Cover Story, June 2002

Can Content Management Control the Crisis in Content?
Database Trends & Applications, March 2002

The Enterprise Embraces Data Center Outsourcing
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, March 2002

2002 Electronic Commerce World Salary Survey: E-Commerce Still Pays
Electronic Commerce World, March 2002

Leave the Computing to Us: Outsourcing Hits its Stride in Banking
Bank Technology News, feature, February 2002

The 2001 recession may have slammed the IT budgets of many banks and financial institutions, but apparently not when it comes to outsourcing. A new wave of outsourcing is reaching far beyond its original scope of handling a particular IT function, such as transaction processing. Nowadays, banks are turning to outsourcers to host Internet applications, launch new divisions, and even to transform the business altogether.

Is ROI Relevant to IT? Measuring Success One Project at a Time
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, January 2002

Salary Survey: Big Iron Pays Big Bucks
Enterprise Systems, Cover Story, January 2002

Annual Salary Survey: IT managers with mainframe and large Unix-based systems skills earn as much as 20 percent more than those in Wintel-based positions.


Open Source Databases Gain Ground
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, May 2004

[Linux] The New Mainframe Dinosaur Learns to Dance
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, December 2003

Ballmer: Open Source is Not Trustworthy
ENT Online, October 2003

The Long Run: Does Windows or Linux Cost More?
ENT Online, July 2003

Born Free: Linux challenges Microsoft in the commerce-server arena, but although the software is free, hidden costs and the lack of knowledgeable programmers may limit Linux's growth
Internet Retailer, February 2001

The Linux Open-Source Phenomenon: Despite its unorthodox beginnings, Linux is gaining broad support from developers and users
Electronic Commerce World, Cover Feature, August 2000

Windows Server 2003 Gains Traction
Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine, May 2004

The Windows Server 2003 rollout is rapid, according to a new survey. Key drivers are security, Active Directory and Exchange 2003,

Analysis: Can You Spare a Cycle or Two? Grid Computing Moves Closer to Web Services,
Webservices.Org, Analyst Opinion, 3/15/2004

[Linux] The New Mainframe Dinosaur Learns to Dance
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, December 2003

IT Asset Management on the Rise
Data Center Trends & Applications, Feature, December 2003

Storage Area Networks Tools Ease Management Burdens,
Insurance Networking News, Feature, January 2004

The Next Generation of SANs,
Insurance Networking News, Feature, January 2004

Solution Showcase: M&T Bank Backs Up Its Latest Acquisition Using Innovation's FDR/UPSTREAM
(Article available as a PDF download.)
zJournal, July 2003

Opinion: Is Open Source the New Normal?"
ENT Online, Column, February 2003

Old OSes Don't Die; They Just Fade Away
ENT Online, Survey Report, January 2003

Fifty Ways to Extend Your Data: Choose non-invasive approaches for tactical efforts and invasive approaches for strategic efforts
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, December 2002

What's Our Fitness for 64-Bitness?
ENT Online, Column, November 2002

Hardware Vendors Cautiously Bringing Out Itanium 2 Systems
ENT Online, July 2002

Data Centers Manage the Storage Tsunami
Data Center Trends & Applications, May 2002

Survey: Honey, I Shrunk the IT Budget: Companies Scaled Back W2K Rollouts in 2001
ENT Online, March 2002

Look What They've Done to Big Iron, Ma
Bank Technology News, March 2002

Windows XP: The Hype Felt Good for a Change
ENT Online, Column, October 2001

Windows XP Formally Launched
ENT Online, October 2001

Surviving the Operating Systems Wars
Electronic Commerce World, Column, August 2000

How Vulnerable Are We?
Database Trends & Applications, Cover Story, October 2003

More Users with More Access Make Data Centers Vulnerable: The increasing role of mainframes in Web-based applications calls for new security strategies
Data Center Trends & Applications, Main Feature, April 2003

Can Holistic Security Plug Data Security Holes?
Cover Story for November 2002 Database Trends & Applications

Diverse Groups Share Information Assurance Quandaries
SIGNAL (published by AFCEA), August 2002

Achieving Security in Treacherous Times
Electronic Commerce World, Column, May 2002