From the Editor in Chief

SAN MATEO (04/24/2000) - IT considerations have been an afterthought in many a merger and acquisition plan. And this has caused a promising deal to falter on more than one occasion. With the current pace of merger and acquisition activity showing no signs of slowing, IT professionals would be wise to consider the potential for such a large-scale enterprise integration when planning future systems. This is yet another reason why IT professionals need to be business-savvy.

If your systems aren't aligned with the core business functions, integration with another enterprise will be difficult, to say the least.

And chances are, your systems will not be among those adopted in the new enterprise. IT systems that will fare well in any massive integration scheme are those that have been built using proven technology and open standards, as well as for scalability.

Building an integration-ready enterprise isn't the only challenge. If you don't have management's ear, your work may all be for naught.

Build relationships with the key business stakeholders in your company to ensure that IT is part of the merger-and-acquisition planning process.

You need to help upper management understand that IT is more than a cost center. They need to learn what the IT assets bring to the business in terms of decreased costs, increased revenues, and competitive advantage.

This relationship with upper management will put you in good stead. Not only will it increase the chances of IT being part of the merger-and-acquisition planning phase, but also put you in a good position after the merger is complete.

But don't wait until there's a murmur of merger or acquisition activity to start building those executive partnerships; it will be too late.

As long as IT is viewed as an enabler in a merger and acquisition situation, not a limitation, you can play a key role in planning and executing a successful transition.

New and improved

As the driving force behind many companies' e-business initiatives, CTOs are an interesting breed of technology drivers. Not only do they possess an exceptional skill set, combining technical know-how and business acumen, but they are also as diverse as the career paths they have chosen to get them where they are today.

CTOs are a source of great insight and ideas as more companies move parts or all of their business to the Web.

So we've expanded our CTO Spotlight coverage to a full page beginning with this issue. With CTO Spotlight, you'll get the inside track on how leading CTOs are putting business goals into practice, using technology to gain a competitive edge in an Internet economy.

In addition, we've added a CTO Profile box to provide a snapshot of the person behind the position.

This week, Senior Editor Mark Leon profiles the vice president and CTO of GE Global eXchange Services.

A key part of the CTO's job is to recommend and approve technology decisions as well as supervise technology implementations. And keeping abreast of the latest and greatest, or even fledgling but promising, technologies enabling e-business is a monumental task.

Reporter Stephanie Sanborn this week revisits portals -- how they've evolved as both an internal and external tool for reaching out to customers and users, and where portals are heading in the future.

Siobhan Santinelli is Executive Editor/Features at InfoWorld. Send her e-mail at siobhan_santinelli@infoworld.com. Editor in Chief Michael Vizard will return to this space in a few weeks.

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