IT is fed up with executives who say they need the latest technology, so he comes up with a new system. "Every six months, we have execs turn in their laptops for a technology refresh," he says. "Their laptop cases and keyboards are cleaned and fitted with new, upgraded OEM stickers. They love their refreshed laptops, and never catch on that all they get are new stickers. And of course this frees up considerable budget for users who actually do need the power, but who are too far down the food chain to actually get it."

Now that business executives have a handle on IT the pressure is on for vendors, HP CEO Carly Fiorina told HP's World User delegates last week. "You can no longer tolerate IT as a science experiment or a mystery. It can no longer be something that only geeks in the back room understand."


IT shop at this manufacturer generates barcodes for different departments and though no two formats are alike, they all get done - until one manager's sample barcode stumps IT. "Even our best scanner beeped back an error on the sample," she says. So she calls the manager - who admits he created it with a drawing program. "We don't really use barcodes," he tells IT. "We just thought it would look really professional."


So you're a code warrior but don't have the social skills to schmooze clients? Maybe you need to attend a new academy in India's technology hub of Bangalore which trains code writers and engineers how to dress, communicate and mingle in professional settings. Software professional Sudhir Udayakanth, who set up the company, reckons he has had to train some real monkeys. He lost a foreign client when one of his Indian engineers repeatedly burped at the negotiating table. "Most of the time when I am with a foreign client I am on the edge of my seat as I fear my colleagues will commit a social blunder. He may bum a cigarette or pick his tooth and burp aloud. I have lost quite a few clients because of this," Udayakanth explains.

"These guys are travelling more and need to be groomed on proper dining skills; they have to be taught what to wear, how to hold their drinks at a social gathering, how to hold a conversation and toilet manners," he added without elaborating on the toilet problems.

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