FRAMINGHAM (08/01/2000) - NONPROFITS ON THE WEB AND A PRAYER E-commerce isn't just for old-line industries looking to offload excess inventory or three-person startups hoping to make it big. Some nonprofits are entering the fray, looking to raise funds more efficiently via the Internet.
For the sisters at Mount St. Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, Mass., a website offers the opportunity to maintain a steady income year-round. "We are self-sustaining, so we want to have an evenly based income spread over 12 months," says Sister Pamela Clinton.
For 44 years, the abbey has been making and selling candy, primarily by mail order but also in a store at the abbey. Like many IT departments, however, the abbey is experiencing a labor shortage of sorts. "Fewer people have entered the vocation, so we have a smaller labor force," says Sister Pamela. With fewer and fewer hands to help, Mount St. Mary's couldn't afford to keep up the candy-selling operation year-round. So, it focused on the holiday-laden stretch from September through December.
But last September, candy operations went digital with the help of Silver Sword Solutions of Cambridge, Mass. The result? Enough staff time was freed up from selling in the abbey's store to make it possible to keep the candy coming all year. Currently, five sisters process orders while 10 others make and box fudge, milk chocolate and other assorted goodies.
Sales for the first three months of operation totaled 250 orders, a nice surprise for Sister Pamela, who anticipated only 100 orders, since the abbey has yet to advertise. Although it's too early to tell whether Internet sales will generate serious revenues for the abbey, Sister Pamela is hopeful, especially since many candy orders are followed up by e-mails seeking prayers or spiritual guidance.
BIOMETRICS KEEPING KIDS SAFE
When former Microsoft Corp. employees Martin and Bronwyn Calsyn decided to open up their own child-care center in Bellevue, Wash., they made it their mission to install state-of-the-art technology to ensure that the right children go home with the right people.
The nonprofit Northwest Child Development Center (NWCDC) uses a fingerprint recognition system from Digital Persona. When a family registers with the day-care center, members touch their fingers to the "U.are.U" scanning device, which creates a mathematical template of their fingerprints. To enter the building, they simply place any one of their fingers on Digital Persona's fingerprint sensor, and voil, they're admitted. If the Windows-based system doesn't recognize a set of mitts, the individual can't get in.
For more on Digital Persona, visit www.digitalpersona.com.
PHILANTHROPY PAYBACK TIME
Picture the quintessential philanthropist. Do you see a portly, gray-haired, mortality-contemplating soul? Erase that--today's givers are breaking the mold.
Case in point: Georgia Tech alumnus Christopher Klaus recently donated $15 million to his alma mater to help the Atlanta school build a new information technology complex. In addition to ranking among the largest gifts ever made to the university, the donation signals the advent of a new generation of philanthropists: Klaus is just 26.
Of course, Klaus didn't earn that kind of dough working dining hall shifts between all-nighters. He is the founder and chief technology officer of Internet Security Systems (ISS), which counts 5,500 customers worldwide. Klaus left Georgia Tech to start ISS just shy of receiving his degree. Just think how much money he could have made if he had finished.
BY THE NUMBERS E-BUSINESS AND BEST PRACTICES E-business is much more than buying and selling on the Internet; it also involves supply chain management, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning. The Cambridge, Mass.-based Benchmarking Partners Inc., in a study sponsored by IBM Corp., interviewed executives at 16 leading high-tech companies to identify best practices in their industry, which is considered at the forefront of the e-business revolution.
BEST PRACTICES FOR IT
1. Integrate at home. Smooth ties with your business partners require internal systems that work well together. "Having something like an ERP system is important," says Debra Hofman, a partner at Benchmarking Partners who oversaw the study. If you have disparate systems, it will be more difficult to integrate them with suppliers and distributors, Hofman adds. A company with disconnected internal systems will become a supply chain bottleneck.
2. Shoot for real-time interaction. Customers and suppliers should be able to access current inventory information on the Web so that they can work together seamlessly. One company interviewed for the study has fully integrated its systems with a business partner's factory in Asia, so the two companies can operate as if they are one, Hofman says. External partners' systems should be integrated as though they were internal units.
3. Focus on core competencies. High-tech companies are increasingly outsourcing activities that aren't part of their central mission to trading partners. For example, Hofman notes that the Ciscos and Dell Computer Corp.'s s of the world no longer do all their manufacturing in-house. "Having Internet-based interaction enables companies to do this," she says.
Sample Benefits from E-business Best Practices Cross-Enterprise Order-to-Cash (a system manufacturer) More than 75 percent of orders received electronically 95 percent of orders flow without human intervention Order error rate reduced from 20 percent to 2 percent Reduced order cycle time from 6-8 weeks to 1-3 weeks Virtual Factory (a device manufacturer) Reduced manufacturing cycle time from 105 days to 55 days Saved $2 million from reduced inventory Reduced carrying costs by $400,000 Reduced confirmation of availability from six days to a few hours FRAMEWORK FOR GAUGING E-BUSINESS MATURITY Understanding the e-business maturity level of your industry provides a basis for developing an e-business strategy and architecture. The high-tech industry sets the high bar for e-business maturity because high-tech companies have complex products with short shelf lives. Meanwhile, many utilities haven't yet embraced e-business because they are wrestling with industry "disruptors" such as deregulation, according to Benchmarking Partners. Source: benchmarking partners and ibm corp.
Aerospace& Defense Banking, Finance,& Securities Chemicals& Petroleum Health Care Retail Utility & Energy Service Product Complexity Product Life Customer Pressure Virtualization Transformation Receptivity X-Enterprise Processes Standards Disruptors Overall COLLABORATIVE COMPUTING THE SEARCH FOR E.T.
Exactly two years ago, CIO reported on the SETI@home project, through which a team led by a group of current and former academics at the University of California at Berkeley is pursuing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The project uses volunteers' Internet-connected computers (either by running in background mode or as a screen saver) to analyze 350K-byte chunks of radio-signal data from the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope, at Arecibo in Puerto Rico, to search for signs of intelligent life.
CIO recently checked in with the project leaders to see how things are going.
That wasn't easy, because those involved have been busy--really busy. On May 15, almost a year to the day after its official launch, the project welcomed its 2-millionth user, and more than 122 million completed analyses had been received. Although around half of the project's volunteers are in the United States, this represents the efforts of computers in some 226 countries around the world, equating to some 279,145 years of CPU time, or 2.435249 e+20 floating-point operations.
Needless to say, Berkeley-based Project Director David Anderson is delighted.
"SETI@home is just the beginning," he adds. "In the future, there could be 20 or 30 projects competing for your computer cycles--almost every area of science has research that involves simulation on a large scale." -Malcolm Wheatley E-COMMERCE BADGE OF E-HONOR If the Internet is the Wild West of contemporary commerce, then those who monitor the policies, practices and quality assurance of e-business sites are the modern-day sheriffs.
Here's where some of them are getting their badges. Clicksure, the Oxford, England-based publisher of the Clicksure standard for e-commerce and provider of certification services to e-business sites, has launched a series of training courses for e-commerce website quality assessors. The courses, which are currently offered free of charge, are designed for IT and Web professionals who want to become recognized as Clicksure assessors as well as for those who simply have responsibility for e-commerce within their organizations.
First published in June 1999, the Clicksure standard is an independent global e-commerce verification program that addresses issues such as privacy, security, reliability and website content. To obtain certification, an e-business must undergo rigorous testing by Clicksure-trained assessors.
The course curriculum, codeveloped by Oxford University and Clicksure, covers the eight principles of the Clicksure standard, technology issues, security, privacy, transaction processing and website navigation. Since the first course was held at Oxford last February there have been sessions in Washington, D.C., and Berlin Germany. Additional courses will run on both the East and West Coasts of the United States.
For more information, visit www. clicksure.com.
HOT TOPIC ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING MAYBE NOT SO DUMB AFTER ALL Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is now comfortably on the backlash side of the hype cycle. Various studies and articles decry the number of failed implementation efforts and the lack of quantifiable ROI, even for companies that pulled off these gargantuan projects without crashing their business. On top of that, formerly high-flying ERP vendors like Baan Co. NV, System Software Associates (SSA) and J.D. Edwards & Co. have suffered severe slumps in their financial performance, with Baan and SSA being acquired by other companies.
Today's media darlings are trading exchanges--electronic marketplaces that aggregate suppliers and buyers in an attempt to wring inefficiencies out of the purchasing process.
But hold on a minute. How much efficiency can exchange participation bring to a business that doesn't know what it needs to buy? "There is going to be an advantage for companies that have a good, clean source of management data," says David M. Schneider, a Los Angeles-based partner who leads all electronic market activities and the strategic change practice for consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. And that's exactly what ERP systems are designed to provide--good, clean, consolidated management data, including a look at inventory levels, purchasing plans and that sort of thing. "If the Internet is a bridge, but it connects to a dirt road when it reaches your company," then electronic exchanges won't provide the cost benefits they could, Schneider says.
So those who have toiled and sweated through ERP implementations shouldn't think the final word on ROI has been written yet. Further benefits in the increasingly interconnected business world lie ahead.
THE INTERNET VIVA LAS WEBSITE!
So you want to be a millionaire, but your fingers just aren't fast enough to land you a spot on the wildly popular television show. How about trying your finger on the slots at Jackpot.com (www.jackpot.com) instead? All you need to do is register, and with a click of the mouse you too could be a millionaire.
The site, owned and operated by Idealab, a Pasedena, Calif.-based startup incubator, has taken branding to a new level. Its RocketSlot slot machine doesn't sport the common cherries, berries and bars of typical slots. Rather, what you'll be rooting for at each click are recurring advertisements. For example, three Buyjewel.com ads will net the player $50 and three Paymybills.com ads garner $5. The site makes all its money from these advertisers, and players don't have to spend a cent.
Each month, Jackpot.com awards one player $1 million and gives away other prizes, including cash, two BMWs, six tropical vacations, 60 DVD players and diamonds. Not only that, Jackpot.com also offers a $2 million Progressive Super Jackpot, that grows by more than $22,000 a day and guarantees a full payout at least once every three months.
All that, and you don't even need to leave home.
ON THE MOVE Compiled by Tom Field
GONE FISHIN' Sometimes you just know when it's time to go.
That was James Donehey's experience at Capital One Financial Corp. One unseasonably warm morning in January, Donehey, the 51-year-old CIO and senior vice president for IT, was leaving for work when his 86-year-old dad asked if Donehey could play golf with him that day. Donehey declined, saying he just couldn't spare the time from work. He felt a twinge of regret as he drove to his Falls Church, Va., office--then he turned on the car radio and heard the late Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle," a 1970s song about businesspeople who fail to make time for their families. Donehey recalls, "I heard that and I asked myself, 'What the hell am I doing?'" He walked into his boss's office that day and negotiated the terms of his resignation.
After more than five years at the helm of Capital One's IT organization, Donehey has stepped down to spend more time golfing, fishing and traveling with his family, as well as exploring new career prospects as a private consultant or IT adviser. "I'll see what's going on," Donehey says. "I'm not closing any doors, but after 30 years in IT, I do recognize that I need a break."
Capital One experienced boom years during Donehey's tenure, and that expansion has been reflected in the growth of the IT organization--from 50 staffers in 1995 to 1,800 today. This unbridled growth created Donehey's biggest challenge:
"How do you deal with that inflow of people and still keep the culture and camaraderie you had when you could fit everyone in one room?" Donehey says.
Among his accomplishments, Donehey believes he helped raise IT's visibility at Capital One. And if he leaves any legacy, he wants it to be that the IT group will thrive long after he's gone.
In fact, Donehey has left such a sizable imprint on Capital One that it has taken two successors to replace him. The IT organization is now jointly lead by Marjorie Connelly, who heads the IT infrastructure group, and Laura Olle, who leads the IT development group.
Barry J. Hammersley
Maximus Hammersley has been appointed CIO of Maximus, a McLean, Va.-based state and local government consultancy. Previously, he was that company's vice president of IS. Hammersley also worked for Unisys for 30 years, gaining extensive IT and government experience. In his new position, Hammersley will lead the company's strategic information technology efforts and its focus on multimillion-dollar system solution projects.
Timothy F. Kowalski
iCTConnectedTouch.com Formerly CIO of Langhorne, Pa.-based ICT Group, Kowalski
is now president of iCTConnectedTouch.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of ICT
Group and a CRM services provider. Kowalski, who joined ICT Group as CIO in 1997, has served as CIO and chief e-commerce officer since late 1999. As president, he will direct ICT Group's Internet support services strategy.
Informission Group Malo left the position of executive vice president and CIO at Quebecor, a Montreal-based IT services company, to become president and CEO of Informission Group, a Quebecor subsidiary. In his new job, Malo will bring more e-commerce solutions to Informission's worldwide clients.
ROBOTICS NO WITCHCRAFT REQUIRED
If you've ever watched Bewitched, that classic TV show from the '60s about Samantha the blond-haired witch and her hapless husband Darrin, you may well recall Samantha's magical ability to get household appliances to do their work all by themselves. Well today, even mere mortals might soon find themselves in the same position.
James Dyson, founder of Dyson Appliances, a vacuum kingdom in Wiltshire, England, has long been a pioneer in integrating technology and design into his world-famous vacuum cleaners. With its trademarked Dual Cyclone technology, Dyson has sucked up over one-third of the U.K. vacuum market and has given Hoover a run for its money both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Now Dyson is ready to offer a robot vacuum cleaner, which uses three onboard computers and 50 sensors to sense where it is and navigate around obstacles like furniture and the family dog, sucking up dirt and dust all the while--without human intervention.
Dyson hopes to make the vacuum widely available, but the price tag might prove to be a hurdle: The vacuum, which is still undergoing trials, will sell for about $3,700. On the other hand, for those who have always dreamed of relaxing while the house cleans itself, it may be well worth the price.
THE WORKPLACE STICKS AND STONES...
When coworkers treat each other badly, it's not just morale that can suffer--so, too, can the company's bottom line. That's the conclusion of a recent study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School on the effects of incivility at work.
The study surveyed 775 people across a variety of industries and company sizes who were targets of incivility on the job. Examples of uncivil behavior included sending a nasty and demeaning note, making accusations about a lack of knowledge, undermining credibility in front of others and shouting at someone.
Respondents who experienced such treatment described their reactions to the incident in the chart below. Only one-fourth were satisfied with the way their organization handled the situation, suggesting that leaders need to make some changes.
First, "be aware that there is a high cost to workplace incivility," says Christine Pearson, professor of management at UNC and author of the study.
Second, realize that many instances of uncivil behavior go unreported. "In IT, especially, there is a tendency to look the other way if the instigator is especially valuable on the technical end," Pearson notes. But it's in leaders' best interests to listen to employees who report such problems and to take action. Particularly in IT, where demand for workers so greatly exceeds the supply, Pearson warns that those affected can easily get fed up and find another job.
When Incivility Strikes: For 775 people who were targets of rudeness at work, the result was more than just hurt feelings: 28% lost work time avoiding the instigator 53% lost work time worrying about the incident or future interactions 37% believed that their commitment to the organization declined 22% decreased their effort at work 10% decreased the amount of time that they spent at work 46% contemplated changing jobs to avoid the instigator 12% actually changed jobs to avoid the instigator Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill DIGITAL DIVIDE WIRED HOME ON LAGRANGE Shows like Jerry Springer and Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? have only reinforced TV's reputation as the "boob tube" and the "idiot box," but for residents of LaGrange, Ga., TV may actually be getting smarter.
In March 2000, the city of LaGrange announced that it was providing free Internet access via television to every household with cable. The first-of-its-kind program is funded entirely by the city and gives many of its 27,000 residents their first exposure to the Internet. The hope is that Internet TV will help bridge the digital divide, felt most keenly by poor families, kids and senior citizens.
The service is provided through Philadelphia-based Worldgate's Internet on Every TV Service and allows residents to connect to the Internet by simply turning on their cable-connected TV and navigating the Web using a wireless keyboard that is included in the package.
Those concerned about the ever-widening divide between technology haves and have-nots see such programs as offering a ray of hope, says Edward Friedman, director of the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. "Programs like this will open opportunities to many people who wouldn't have had access otherwise." -Daintry Duffy HOT TOPIC SECURITY INSURING THE WEB A security breach can cost a company a lot more than money: Customers' trust and the company's reputation are also at stake. And for dotcoms on shaky financial footing, it can mean the business. But in the battle against hackers, CIOs have more than just firewalls to fall back on; they can also take out some insurance.
Website insurance has been around for a few years, but it is only in the past year--with the high-profile denial-of-service attacks--that it has generated significant interest in corporate America. The premise is pretty straightforward: If your site is hacked into and your network goes down, your website malfunctions or you suffer a resulting loss of revenue, you can recoup some of those losses through an insurance policy.
The interesting angle is that the insurers that are offering these policies, such as Marsh & McLennan (www.marshweb.com) and AIG (www.aig.com), are partnering with security service companies to perform the upfront assessment of each applicant's risk level. To determine a client's exposure, they will look at how firewalls are configured, whether there are holes in the network, whether the company has an intrusion-detection system, and how many IS staffers are qualified and dedicated to monitoring security. The standards companies must meet to qualify for insurance are extremely rigorous; many won't make the grade.
Meanwhile, many more might be deterred by the cost. A baseline risk assessment can be about $15,000, and the premium for $25 million of protection is in the $40,000 range.
Still, for companies that face significant risk, insurance could be a very smart move. It might even become a requirement of venture capitalists looking for ways to protect their investments. Explains Richard Dean, program manager for network support and integration services for Framingham, Mass.-based IDC (a sister company of CIO), "[having website insurance] says, 'We have an experienced staff and are properly managing our security."