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Naked Goes the Enterprise

Naked Goes the Enterprise

If you can connect your company's design software and supply chain management software to their channel management, CAD and CAE systems, your executive leadership is confident that their prices will drop and their responsiveness will climb. You want your bonus, right?

The pressure for greater enterprise transparency is coming from all directions. CIOs can't resist the concept; they can only manage the execution. And they'd better do it well.

Your biggest customer comes to you demanding intimacy. He believes (and not just because his pricey consultants told him so) that real-time access to your company's intranets and databases will assure a more productive business partnership. His business will operate with greater efficiency if it knows what's going on in your business. Right now.

He doesn't make threats. However, if your company can't or won't see its way to greater network openness, well, his company will eventually cease to be your biggest customer. What's the matter; don't you trust him? Your CEO looks first to you and then to your chief counsel and says: "Make it so."

Turnabout is fair play. Your CFO tells you to approach your company's two most important vendors. Both sales and manufacturing have told him that they'd do a better job of hitting their numbers if these key suppliers could just get their prices down. Fortunately, your organization ranks high with them as a profitable and loyal customer. And by the way, these suppliers also need to do redesign turnarounds faster and be more responsive to just-in-time logistics requests. You are their means to that end.

If you can connect your company's design software and supply chain management software to their channel management, CAD and CAE systems, your executive leadership is confident that their prices will drop and their responsiveness will climb. You want your bonus, right? Then you'd better act when the CEO utters those three magic words: "Make it so."

We're not done, and while this is a US-specific scenario, it's one that could be played out in many a country today. An FBI agent, an ambitious federal prosecutor and a furtive-looking fellow who says he hails from Langley, Virginia, come to your organization with a proposition. They believe (some lawyers might say they have "probable cause") that several international clients of yours are behaving suspiciously in countries that are not friendly to the US. In fact, the G-men have been reliably informed that your products and services are an integral part of some potentially felonious behaviour. And many of their suspicious characters rely heavily upon your Web site to keep updated and upgraded.

Court order in hand, the feds want you to use your customer service Web site to deliver spyware to these clients surreptitiously. It will be capable of tracking their keystrokes and probing their hard drives. Not to worry. You won't have to collect the information the spyware generates. It will be transmitted directly to government computers. You just have to deliver it - and its occasional upgrades - to your trusting customers. But if you tell anyone about this (including your board of directors), you and your colleagues will be opening yourselves up to charges of contempt of court or obstruction of justice.

Your CEO, tiny beads of sweat glistening on his upper lip, looks at the chief counsel, looks at you, looks at the feds one more time and says . . .

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