Stories by Tom Field

I.S. Outsourcing: High Anxiety

It's May day 2000, and the county of san diego is just six months into its landmark, full-scale IT outsourcing contract with the Pennant Alliance, a four-vendor partnership led by Los Angeles-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC). It's the beginning of the end of the deal's 180-day transition period, and the eyes of the outsourcing world are watching. But frankly, some of the early sights are scary. Staffing is down. Before the seven-year, US$644 million pact was approved by the county's board of Supervisors on Oct. 26, 1999, the county had 350 employees and 100 contractors providing IT services. When the deal was done, the county expected that about 275 IT employees included within the deal's scope would pick up tools and transfer. But instead, only 220 made the move. Of those left, 42 employees quit early in the outsourcing discussion, 25 transferred to other county jobs, and 63 took advantage of a severance/retirement package that gave employees 20 percent of their annual salary or credit for two additional years of service toward retirement. The contractors all found work elsewhere--some of them with the Pennant Alliance partners. But this instant staffing shortage left the Alliance in the position of hiring roughly 100 replacement workers unfamiliar with the county and its antiquated systems. With this higher-than-expected turnover came a huge loss of institutional knowledge.

Call Nikki & Co.

In New York City, a book publisher is three days away from printing its biggest catalog ever, when suddenly the computers crash and all the data--covers, graphics, descriptions--is seemingly lost.

4 Who Get It

Several CIOs have already made the changes necessary for IS survival. Here are 4 Who Get It.

Taxes Are Tech Execs' Top Concern

Representatives of the U.S. Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force recently toured Silicon Valley to get a better handle on the technocrats' election-year concerns. And much to the feds' surprise, the number-one issue has nothing to do with technology.

Change Leadership Cliff Hanger

Paul Quade knows when his story will end. Just under a year from now, on Feb. 28, 2001, he'll step down from his 18-month term as the state of Colorado's first cabinet-level CIO. And by then, as a direct result of his change leadership efforts, the state's government IT systems will either be more efficient, more effective, more customer-friendly than ever for the state's employees, citizens and businesses--or they won't. It's as simple as that, and either way Quade's out the door. Problem is, although Quade knows precisely when his story will end, how he gets there is the real trick. And it all hinges on the answer to one key question: Can a temporary CIO effect permanent change?

Enterprise Value Award Trade Secrets

It all began with a call from Chuck. It was in December 1995, at an offsite meeting of senior executives from Charles Schwab & Co., the San Francisco-based financial services company. Midway through the day-long session, the phone rang for Executive Vice President Beth Sawi. It was Charles Schwab himself-"Chuck," as he's known respectfully throughout his company-and he had an order, which, typically, he framed as a request: develop an online trading system. Now. Schwab's insistence arose not from fear-in fact, the 26-year-old company was living large off of profits from its branch offices and call centers-but, rather, anticipation. The internet was taking hold with American consumers, and Schwab wanted to make sure his company staked an early claim in the online investing marketplace. "I want us to be up and trading online by Feb. 14," Schwab said-six weeks away.

Government Affairs

The inside story on * The IT trade associations * The key legislative players * The issues that divide vendors and CIOs