Page Three

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-11-08 Print this article Print

Now, it used to be when we had these conversations that wed talk about technology thresholds being crossed, but most of what Im hearing today has to do with security and operational and security issues rather than core technology performance improvements. Is that by necessity, or do you feel that technologies are about as good as they need to be?

Calabrese: I think its just that were so used to that amount of technology change that goes on year upon year. I can sit here and talk to you about some of our wireless initiatives, some of our mobile work force initiatives, but the focus really is on managing the costs, managing the efficiencies. Im spending an awful lot of time these days working on service-level agreements and making the services predictable.

One of the things we have talked about with you in the past, Frank, is having a work force distributed across international boundaries and working with technical and design teams and so on. Are you satisfied with your ability to handle security in those environments?

Calabrese: Were floating a proposal to charge out our services on a unitized basis for our machines outside of the United States, where before we would do it under the guise of a project. We would send a team to Europe to do some standardization, some work, and then charge that effort directly to the cost centers that were affected by it.

Now were saying, "OK, a portion of our lab has to deal with globalization, so were going to charge a portion of the lab, were going to charge a portion of our help desk."

Were creating a model where we can again unitize costs. We can use SMS to do the management, the inventory tracking, and then turn around and say, for every European desktop computer, its going to be "n" number of dollars per month payable to our corporate information systems group for licensing, support, internationalization, hardening—all of the core pieces of technology we offer to that population.

Bob, are things any different with IT budgets in your government sector?

Rosen: Our budget is essentially flat. Our emphasis is still on storage—storage is just a beast that devours all. We keep generating data so fast, and were trying to find places to put it. If we do make any investments, [storage] is primarily where theyre going to be—improving our storage and storage management.

Id really like to move along to what everybody is calling "information lifecycle management." But every time you talk to people and say, "How long do you need this data?" they say, "Forever." So it is a challenge.

I know that you have a somewhat diverse and independent user community, Bob. You have some people who are very definite about "this is what I need to do to do my job, and I need you to make it work." What are the costs of heterogeneity doing to you? Is it getting easier than it used to be? Apple Computer Inc., for example, has tried very hard to promote the idea that coexistence of OS X and Windows machines is a much smoother proposition than it used to be. Are you seeing any operational benefits from that effort on Apples part?

Rosen: I think were seeing some, in terms of OS X, but the full benefit remains to be seen. Were still suffering from the multiple varieties of Unix that exist. And so, in some sense, its yet another variety of Unix.

Next page: Consulting war stories.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel