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Will the enterprise market spend significant IT budget on Windows Vista in 2007?



How Can So Many Chiefs Be So Wrong?

By Rajeev Rawat, President, BI Results, LLC

Many a business lobbyist and even some in Congress are assailing regulatory requirements or strict enforcement as being excessive, redundant, draconian, and expensive. They seek to delay or roll back rules. Champions of industry are apprehensive about intense scrutiny of their actions. IT managers are shying away from stepping out to lead change. Aren't these efforts misguided, myopic, and wrong? Couldn't they do better by helping businesses and enterprises rebuild the fabric of the American enterprise? Let's take a closer look.

If legislation does get rolled back or truncated, who loses? The structural vulnerabilities Congress worked hard to fix remain uncorrected. Users and consumers, investors and employees endure hardships legislation intended to eliminate. Quality and value of service suffers on the global stage. CEOs lose too. Lobbyists" win prioritizes share-prices and short-term returns for CEO performance. Under the gun to produce high share-prices, they remain compelled to continue choking infrastructure investments and moving profitable services to lowest cost geographies, hollowing out broad skills at US offices of Global Icons at Kodak, Xerox, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, and CNN's Lou Dobbs" growing list of companies shopping for least expensive services. Wal-Marting will spread faster and wider. Jobs and wealth will trend towards a bipolar distribution: well regarded strategic and expert level skills at one end and commoditized operational jobs at the other. But we in IT will be among the biggest losers of all. Champions of technology, we will see the power of solutions we built here routing out the very same people who built them. Delaying or truncating new legislation is misguided, myopic, and wrong.

Now is the time for leaders to stand, be measured, and prove their worth. What leadership should Congress, business leaders, lobbyists, and IT provide? Motivate, encourage, provide incentives, and grow. Let's x-ray two high profile regulations as an example of why we lose by not leveraging compliance investments for competitive advantage.

First, Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) Act of 2001, which applies to enterprises listed on the stock exchanges, is a top target for lobbyists. SOX requires the CEO and CFO to sign off on the integrity of financial reports. Penalties for are stiff fines and jail terms. Critics complain high cost of compliance makes US enterprises less Globally competitive. Can we forget thousands of investors and employees suffered catastrophic losses in the legendary financial death-spirals of iconic US businesses whose market capitalization evaporated with employees and investors handcuffed and unable to salvage value from Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, Tyco? Billions in pensions and savings vanished while top executives gilded their gains in seeming collaboration with their bankers. Hopefully, the threat of long prison sentences and stiff financial penalties will effectively deter mismanagement and illegal greed. Convictions of Enron, Adelphia, and WorldCom executives are sending the message. Top chiefs are accountable for cooked books.

What's wrong in asking for full financial and sound-ethical practices? What is the excuse for inaccuracies in reporting when the best tools for accounting are available today? Let's look at another case.

Cost of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance is staggering. It is even de-motivating doctors to practice their craft. By some estimates, 40% of medical costs go to processing paperwork between the doctor's offices, health-care providers, insurance companies, pharmacies, and the government; not for either doctors" fees or patient care. Indeed, the costs are prohibitive. HIPAA is intended to cure the ills of this morass. Moneys wasted on paperwork must be redirected to improved treatment, better care, and doctors" services.


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