Notes From IDS Scheer's ProcessWorld Conference

I’ve recently returned from IDS Scheer’s ProcessWorld Conference held February 13-15, 2008 in Orlando, FL. Although I missed the closing day, it was a brief but information-packed day and a half that afforded me the opportunity to meet with the firm’s leadership and share perspectives with their clients during the afternoon of the pre-conference user day and day one.

In his keynote, Thomas Volk, IDS Scheer’s CEO and President, proclaimed 2008 the year of the “rise of the operational CEO” who, in order to return shareholder value, increase market valuation, grow the top line, and mitigate risks:

• sets objectives prescriptively
• manages accountability objectively
• monitors execution constantly
• sees potential problems early
• makes adjustments regularly

To accomplish the above tasks, Volk described ARIS as the platform to provide “corner office command-and-control of the operational strategy”. While this could stir up visions of a corporate “Big Brother”, I prefer to see it as useful advice for today’s executives to keep an eagle’s eye view of their organization’s process performance at a high level.

Yet at the same time, this strategic view must be complemented at the operational and tactical levels. This theme of transparency at all levels is reflected in the ARIS Business Performance Edition for 2008. Dr. Helge Heß, a Director for the Process Intelligence/Performance Manager solution and Dr. Wolfram Jost of IDS Scheer’s Executive Board and IDS Scheer’s executive product steward, shared some product highlights ahead of the Q2 official release:

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Presidential Programming Languages


Just for fun. What if the next President of the United States of America was an application developer? What programming language would he/she use? No contemplation allowed. For each candidate, the first thing that came to mind (in alphabetical order):


Hillary Rodham Clinton would program in Java. Java was the hot language of the Internet boom in the 90's during Bill Clinton's presidency sometime just after Al Gore invented the Internet.  It continues to be one of the go-to development languages for new enterprise application development.

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Introducing Forrester's Web 2.0 Framework

Ericadriver_4By Erica Driver

One of my roles here at Forrester for the past year or so has been chief Web 2.0 cat herder. I'm by no means a Web 2.0 expert -- I've just helped to coordinate our coverage. A large team of analysts has put our heads together to try to create a well-rounded Web 2.0 research agenda and formulate a consistent way to conceptualize and communicate about this giant hairball of a topic. We hope you're seeing the results in our published research. Below is one result of our team meetings: a high-level Web 2.0 framework.

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Microsoft Parties Like It’s 2007

VoceMicrosoft celebrates the launch of the latest Windows
Server, SQL Server, and Visual Studio products with a global release party. The
events are intended to showcase the underappreciated IT professional with
their, “Heroes Happen Here” campaign. A nice touch for IT pros, whose work
often doesn’t get any attention until something breaks.

Windows Server 2008 brings enhancements in security,
manageability, and improved web platform in IIS. The virtualization solution,
Hyper-V will likely emerge as the biggest draw in the OS. As of now, it’s still
a beta and Microsoft promises to deliver the final version within 180 days of
Windows Server 2008’s release. 

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What impact will increased security budgets have on federal information security systems?

Increased security budgets are usually a sign that senior management and budgeters agree there may be an increased priority for security issues. But this begs the question: for what security programs are these funds actually intended? It is difficult to tell from aggregate budget numbers how these budget increases are being applied or what consequent impact they will have on federal information security systems.

As noted, the DOT alone accounted for this lion’s share of this year’s increases, but that increase is not in any way explicitly related to the relative security posture of DOT’s IT environment. It takes a search through the esoterica of DOT’s  budget line items to identify what security priorities are being addressed, and they do not appear at a glance to be related to current federal ISS mandates, such as FISMA or HSPD-12.

Partly to address this problem, a new Line of Business (LOB) was added to the federal IT budget last year: the Information Systems Security LOB. But OMB itself has yet to work out how to identify systems security spending in the departments that should be allocated to the ISS LOB, so it is still too early to try and assess federal security spending and security posture improvements. But one hopes the OMB’s establishing the ISS LOB portends more coherent budgeting of security investments in the future.

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US Government planning to spend 10% of its IT budget on cyber-security by 2009.

This article in GSN caught my attention on the proposed IT budget numbers released by OMB (Office of Management and Budgets). The 10% spending on cyber-security may seem surprising to some, especially when compared to an average 8% of IT spend in the commercial sector across North America and Europe. As many of us have seen stagnation in our security budgets, the US government has increased its cyber-security budget by a whopping 73% since 2004. The media has picked up on things such as DOT (Department of Transportation) more than doubling its budget while DHS (Department of Homeland Security) had less than a 5% increase, they don’t have their priorities right or that we should fund federal agencies based on how well they do on FISMA. These numbers may seem a little out of whack, but here is why I think the US government is headed in the right direction.

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See, they ain't that scientific either

I'm no big fan of overly complex approaches to risk management, and recent economic events have made me even less so.

There was a great article in the Economist about a conference for the American Securitization Forum - the wonderful people that brought us all these complex debt products that are giving banks no end of bellyache. Ironically the conference was held in Las Vegas, and a wonderful quote came from hedge fund manager John Devaney, who said "I'd like to thank the market for dealing me a direct hit. As a trader if you don't get sucker-punched every once in a while, you don't understand what risk is."

Also, there were a few good articles last week about how money managers had retreated from the market because they'd lost faith in the ability to model risk effectively.

If only it were so easy for information risk professionals, who often protect far more than just money - we protect innovation, national security, and even human life in some cases. It's not quite so easy for us to take a direct hit.

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Strange Development In Personal Information Management

Kylemcnabb_2By Kyle McNabb

Our research into the future of desktop productivity continues, and much of what we're learning suggests information workers want to more help tackling their work/life needs and managing their personal information. Interestingly, today, a vendor I wouldn't have immediately thought of as a possible savior for all of us drowning in our personal information (emails, contacts, social networks, work calendars, personal calendars, personal files, and so on) stepped up to the plate. EMC announced it had Pi Corporation, a stealth personal information management vendor. I can't figure out if this is misguided, or brilliant...

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Reward: $68 million for ratting out your employer

It has been a busy few weeks of news for whistleblowers.  Earlier this month, former Merck sales manager H. Dean Steinke was awarded $68 million of the roughly $400 million recovered by states and federal agencies when the company settled a lawsuit he brought against it seven years ago. (This was part of a larger $671 million Merck paid to settle complaints of overcharging government health plans and offering inappropriate incentives to doctors to prescribe its products.)

While a number of whistleblowers have been lauded by the press over the years, Steinke’s $68 million presents the possibility of more tangible incentives to those aspiring to expose corporate crimes. Other recent, related news includes:

- Court extends SOX whistleblower protection. Last week, a US District Court judge in New York found that whistleblower protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act applies to employees outside the United States, helping empower virtual armies of international employees that may have something to report.

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Complex Decisions Driven, But Not Overtaken, By Events

Jameskobielus_5By James Kobielus

As I may have mentioned before, I cover complex event processing (CEP) as it intersects with information and knowledge management (I&KM). Or, more specifically, as it supports real-time business intelligence (BI). Or, perhaps more pedantically, as it enables decision support systems (DSS) to facilitate business agility in response to dynamic conditions.

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