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Friday, June 25, 2004Deploying disruptive technology, keeping a wary eye on outsourcing and defending IT makes JP Rangaswami of DrKW our Top CIO of the Year, said THE 2003 WATERS EDITORIAL AWARDS TEAM .The CIO of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein isn’t afraid of disruptive solutions, doubts the benefits of outsourcing, and has seen technology go from ‘poster child to whipping boy’JP Rangaswami is not one to shy away from strong metaphors. "Over the last three years, the IT industry seems to have gone from poster child to whipping boy," says the CIO of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW). "We’re under pressure on all fronts: budgets, delivery, reliability, and security."Like his peers, Rangaswami has seen his budget and staff slashed in the last three years. His IT budgets is down 40 percent and his staff has been trimmed 43 percent and now numbers at just more than 1,000 employees since he started as CIO. "It’s not about doing less with less, but about doing more with less, which is what technology should be about," he says.How has DrKW’s CIO managed this feat? For starters, he and his firm are driving harder bargains as they are no longer held ransom by their IT vendors, and they are demanding plug-and-play products rather than ones that require expensive customization as they did in the late nineties. Rangaswami continues to champion open source technologies, and he estimates that approximately 43 percent of DrKW’s Unix user base is on Linux. DrKW also, for example, makes use of the JBoss open source application server environment rather than pay proprietary fees.But has IT become a utility, as a controversial article argued last May in the Harvard Business Review? "Absolutely not," says Rangaswami. In order for technology to become a utility, he says, it has to reach a level of standardization, which it has failed to do. Furthermore, while certain aspects of IT have reached a point of commoditization and "could be a utility, the industry should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water," he says. Technology can still provide a distinct advantage, he says, but it’s an argument bolstered by the recent technology patent battles raging in both financial services and other industries. "Throwing that away is like being told that Amazon’s one-click model is not distinctive and did not give them any advantage," he says. I read this article just recently and thought that it is good enough to be referred in this blog - very insightful and straightforward comments - peraps working in financial services and equity research enteprise helps one to think more clearly and be more articulate - enjoyed reading this article.
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