By the Numbers: February 2003By Baselinemag | Posted 2003-02-01 Email Print
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Where 2002 holiday shoppers spent their money, and the change from 2001
You Can't Cut Costs That You Don't See
Understanding how and where you spend your money seems an obvious requisite to cutting costs. And yet most corporations don't analyze spending enough. The result? Businesses waste $260 billion annually, according to an Aberdeen/Penton Media Research report. Only half of the supply-chain professionals surveyed had any formal spending analysis in place, and, on average, only half of their companies' total spending was analyzed.
Look Little, Save Little
What's stopping companies from doing the hard work? Integrating data from multiple internal and external systems is time- consuming, and making sense of each system's coding schemes can be a nightmare. But companies that analyzed their spending on an enterprise level were well-rewarded, averaging 60% more savings than those looking only at the site level.
How safe you are from hackers may depend on how well you've set up Windows. Using commercial scanning software, the National Security Agency (NSA) found that 95.5% of serious vulnerabilities can be eliminated by adjusting security settings and installing up-to-date patches. Go to www.nsa.gov/snac to get the NSA's configuration guides for operating systems and devices. sometimes, Uncle Sam does know what's best.
The jumble of protocols currently used to manage industrial machines has met the Web. Ethernet handles the flow of information from factory equipment better than current systems do, and it offers a standard where none has existed. But replacing equipment is costly, so full integration is still years away.
Web Services: Better Late Than Now?
For all the talk, mainstream adoption of Web services is at least two years away. A survey of 1,500 tech professionals found that only 7% expected to deploy it in the next 12 months. No wonder: it's hard to show ROI for something that isn't even well-defined. Conflicting protocols (22, at last count), integration issues and, of course, cost are the major stumbling blocks.
Look for toolkits and enabling applications to emerge this year, says Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio, with IBM's WebSphere and Microsoft's .NET leading the way.