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New Format: CTO Source                     InfoWorld.com
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001

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CTO Source

Tuesday July 10, 2001


IN TIGHT TIMES, CONTRIBUTING TO PROFITABILITY IS EVEN
MORE CRITICAL

The early success of the dot-com darlings was built on
the basic strategy of gaining visibility, with the
idea that more traffic would turn into more money. But
the money didn't follow the traffic, and those
companies that have survived -- such as Internet
infrastructure providers and vertical market plays --
do so because they provide unique value to customers
that translates into real profits. The CTO's role in
securing those profits is even more critical today as
companies struggle to gain or retain a competitive
advantage, reports senior editor Susan E. Fisher.

"Everything that a CTO does needs to be tied back to
profitability," says Michael Drapkin, chair of
e-commerce management at Columbia University. [A good
CTO] ends up becoming an investor in the company."


As profitability and long-term business success have
come into sharper focus, CTOs today are looking to
leverage technology to pull ahead of the pack as they
keep costs down to a minimum.

"[CTOs] have gotten the business maturity and the savvy
to now start asking [different] questions," says Eric
Richard, CTO and co-founder of Web analysis software
maker net.Genesis based in Cambridge, Mass. "It's now
tied much more clearly to the end business goals than before."

Lessons learned from those CTOs who were left standing
after the most recent downturn draw a useful road map
for other CTOs trying to plot a path to profitability.
For example, Maarten Van Emmerik, CTO of Bricsnet, a
technology provider to the commercial building
industry, helped his dot-com rise from the rubble by
focusing on the most powerful customer in their market
and pulling together diverse offerings into a single
solution.

"The most important thing is focus," Van Emmerik says.
"We were selling to a lot of different audiences, like
architects, engineers, contractors, [and]
manufacturers. It was just too complex -- too many
products, too many markets."

Meanwhile, Moster.com -- another starlet who has
managed to stay in the spotlight -- must manage its
success through smart, flexible technology choices
that support continued growth while providing profits,
says CTO Brian Farrey. As traffic has surged to new
highs and Moster.com's infrastructure remains
internally supported, Farrey says that building on a
flexible foundation has been key to the company's success.

"At this point, it's a matter of not getting in the way
to allow the company to grow as fast as it can. I need
to provide flexibility in the platform and the site,"
Farrey says.

For more lessons on reaching profitability from the
CTOs of Ultimus and Charles Schwab, see:
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/fe/xml/01/07/09/010709feroad.xml


TEST CENTER ANALYSIS: CONTENT NETWORKS BRING
PEER-TO-PEER INTO FOCUS

The real promise of peer-to-peer technology, namely its
potential to boost processing power and collaboration,
is beginning to live up to its potential in the
content-networking arena, reports Test Center
contributing editor Maggie Biggs. In content-based
networks, p-to-p can provide a manageable yet
distributed environment for automating workflow and
partner relationships.

However, the traditional concerns with p-to-p
implementations -- security, manageability, and
integration -- must be addressed before serious
business interaction can take place, Biggs explains.

What seems to be the key is a formalized p-to-p
technology structure, which allows users to work with
distributed content while maintaining access security
and integration with corporate workflow. Industry
analysts predict that a blend in server-based
technologies, such as server-based indexing and
directory services, in a formalized p-to-p
implementation will provide the most business benefit
in the near future.

Biggs points to current p-to-p content networking
solutions such as NextPage's NXT 3, which provide
distributed content creation and maintenance coupled
with unified access to such content through
server-based tools as a good starting point.

However, maintaining necessary security while keeping
the p-to-p implementation simple will remain a
challenge, Biggs warns.

"Business and IT leaders who are considering p-to-p
content networks also should be wary of platform
constraints, file format limitations, proprietary
networking approaches, and limited extendibility,"
writes Biggs. "Look for p-to-p content networking
systems that support a wide array of platform and file
system options."

For more on what you can garner from today's
peer-to-peer content networks, see:
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/tc/xml/01/07/09/010709tcp2p.xml


CTO SPOTLIGHT: YODLEE CTO SUPPORTS WALL STREET'S FINEST
BEHIND THE SCENES

Though Yodlee CTO Venkat Rangan started down the
dot-com path with high hopes of shining in the
consumer spotlight, today he is quite satisfied to be
the magician behind the curtain for financial services
heavy hitters such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, and
American Express.

Instead of looking for top billing, Yodlee, which
shares its name origin from the same Indian movie hit
song that Yahoo was derived from, is in the support
business, aggregating sensitive financial information
to provide its big-name customers a consolidated view
of many accounts. Rangan says he was happy to abandon
the dot-com branding battle early on when he and
company founders realized that when it comes to
something as sensitive as financial information, the
most secure technology wouldn't win the consumer trust
that an established brand would.

"We have some of the best security in the world, but
the consumer sees a brand, not the technology behind
it," Rangan explains. "And when it is about personal
finance, the consumer wants to see a recognized name.
We realized that the ideal business model for us was
to be the engine behind the curtain."

Rangan points to his academic experience as the
foundation for his strength in leveraging the
technology that creates business value for the
140-plus financial services customers he supports.
Before joining the Yodlee founding team, Rangan was a
professor at the University of California at San Diego.

"The best and the brightest typically want to attack
everything at once, so you have to find a way to keep
people focused," Rangan says. "The collaborative,
collegial style that I learned at the university
serves me well here."

For more on how Yodlee CTO Rangan maintains his
behind-the-scenes success, see:
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/fe/xml/01/07/09/010709fectospot.xml


CATCH SELECT CTO FORUM EVENTS IN THIS WEEK'S WEBCASTS

Missed InfoWorld's June CTO Forum or a specific forum
session? If so, you can view Webcasts of a few
hand-picked sessions, including keynote speeches from
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Oracle CFO Jeff Henley.

See what Groove Networks' Ray Ozzie, [email protected]'s Dan
Werthimer, and Trellix's Dan Bricklin had to say about
the future of peer-to-peer networking. You can also
hear what CTOs Joshua Levine of E*Trade, Mike Oeth of
LivePerson, Mike Ragunas of Staples.com, and Barry
Briggs of Wheelhouse had to say about exceeding
expectations for customer service.

For a complete schedule of Webcasts available this
week, see:
http://www.infoworld.com/webcast/t_index.html


CTO DIRECTORY: CALLING ALL CTOS!

Join the launch of the CTO Directory online, an
exclusive listing of top CTOs unlike any resource you
will find on the Web today. In conjunction with
InfoWorld's CTO Forum and CTO magazine, this directory
provides a place for qualified CTOs and other
e-business drivers to connect with each other. This
unique directory lets you locate CTOs by name,
company, or via a quick search. Your peers are among
the best resources you can find -- as you are for
them. If you are not already a part of this directory,
now's the time to join so you can make connections
with your fellow CTOs. To view the directory or to
join the directory, go to:
http://ctodirectory.infoworld.


THIS WEEK'S HEADLINES

CA CHARTS TURNAROUND COURSE
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/07/09/010709hnca.xml

COMCAST PROPOSES MERGER WITH AT&T BROADBAND
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/07/09/010709hncomatt.xml

ONLINE GROCER WEBVAN CLOSES DOWN, FILES FOR BANKRUPCY
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/07/09/010709hnwebup.xml

BUSINESS OBJECTS, OTHERS REACH OUT WITH ANALYTICS
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/07/09/010709hnbizobjects.xml

NET TAXATION DEBATE HEATS UP
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/07/09/010709hnonlinetax.xml

TAKING OFF WITH WIRELESS
http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/fe/xml/01/07/09/010709fetrend.xml


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QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"A few years ago, Louis Farrakhan organized the Million Man
March. I fantasize about holding National Boycott Stupidity
Day and getting the same kind of turnout -- throngs of
citizens tired of popular culture's celebration of idiocy and
ignorance as greater virtues than logical analysis and
knowledgeable discourse."

--Survival Guide columnist Bob Lewis.

http://iwsun4.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/01/07/16/010716opsurvival.xml?07
17tuct


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reducing your data entry costs.  Drive increased revenues
while providing your customers improved service, regardless
of how or where your data originates (paper or electronic,
local or remote), or where you want the processing to occur.
To learn more and then to register for a free demo, visit
http://www.captivasoftware.com/demofree.

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Copyright 2001 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.