Working in a Maze

By Eileen Feretic Print this article Print

Business and technology managers must rush from one project to another, frantically juggling multiple tasks and trying not to drop any.

Do you ever feel as if you’re racing through a maze of projects, responsibilities and a seemingly endless list of to-dos? You’re not alone. That’s become a way of work (who has a life?) for many, if not most, of us.

That’s why Baseline’s cover art—designed to show the maze of regulations and requirements enterprises must deal with under the governance, risk and compliance umbrella—can also apply to business in general.

In addition to navigating through HIPAA and SOX, business and technology managers also must handle an ever-growing list of assignments related to cloud computing, social media, smartphone and tablet proliferation, cyber-security, big data, customer experience management, virtualization, business analytics, the virtual office, employee retention, and, last but not least, the consumerization of information technology.

No wonder you’re all rushing from one project to another, frantically juggling multiple tasks and trying not to drop any. It’s exhausting and often overwhelming.

We understand, and we want to help by reporting on how your colleagues in various industries are handling similar business and technology challenges successfully.

Take our cover story, “Navigating the GRC Maze”. Contributing writer Sam Greengard spent a month interviewing analysts, consultants and technology executives to create a GRC road map for our readers. Among the people Sam spoke with is Jerry Archer, the chief security officer for Sallie Mae, who helped build an automated compliance model. The result? Sallie Mae was able to slash its GRC expenses by 40 percent.

Data centers represent another major challenge. Though there’s a lot of talk and about the cloud, data centers are still a business mainstay. In fact, the Uptime Institute reports that 52 percent of the organizations it surveyed expect to increase their data center budgets this year. But that doesn’t mean data centers don’t need to change, pointed out contributing writer Bob Violino. Virtualization, green IT and cloud computing are resulting in extreme makeovers for data centers.

Enterprises must also determine when—not if—they should move some applications to the cloud. Software as a service offers many benefits, but it shouldn’t be a slam dunk, according to the experts interviewed by contributing writer Tony Kontzer. Jeff Muscarella of consultancy NPI Financial even provided a list of questions managers should ask before jumping to a SaaS platform.

For a more comprehensive look at what managers need to consider before signing up with a cloud provider, read “Cloud Standards and Remedies”, written by Philip Porter, a partner at legal practice Hogan Lovells. He provides detailed advice on how to structure contracts so that you will have “a reasonable expectation that the cloud-based services will be reliable.”

And, as all of you are well aware, the flood of smartphones and tablets into your enterprises has created some management and security challenges. In our “Tablets Go Corporate” article, Senior Online Editor Jennifer Lawinski reports on how health care professionals at the Children’s Hospital Central California are using iPads to access and share information about their patients.

The hospital’s CIO, Kirk Larson, is very pleased with this technology. “A clinician with an iPad in hand can quickly and easily access a patient’s record from anywhere in the hospital, thereby enhancing his or her ability to deliver patient care,” he told Jennifer.

Our two Job Site articles provide in-depth information on how Hilton Worldwide and Western & Southern Financial Group found technology solutions to their business challenges.

Hilton needed to focus on its core hotel businesses rather than technology. The answer? To create an Innovation Collaborative with five global technology leaders. The mission? “Deliver exceptional guest experiences while leveraging the skills, quality and scale of these technology leaders to differentiate Hilton Worldwide brands from the competition.”

Western & Southern had a different problem. It needed to improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and security of its software development and implementation processes. The solution? An aggressive program to revamp critical processes and implement a mainframe source code control system.

We hope that the advice and solutions offered in this issue will help you find your way out of your own particular technology or business maze. 

This article was originally published on 2011-10-03
Eileen Feretic is the Editor of Baseline Magazine.
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