Executives Club topics to include outsourcing

October 25, 2004

BY MICHAEL KRAUSS

Outsourcing and growth. Those are two topics on the docket at tomorrow's Executives Club of Chicago event at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. With just over a week before the election, it's a relevant agenda. The speakers are all tech-industry types.

Keynoting the program is Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who heads the nation's 12th largest company. He'll speak on growth. Seidenberg controls an annual capital budget of $12.5 billion, and he's wiring a million homes for broadband this year and 2 million next year.

He surely will stump for more regulatory relief. He'll call for an end to 20th century regulation for 21st century companies. He'll talk about policies to create jobs regardless of the election outcome.

Can you think of a Chicago-based CEO who's talking about paths to growth and the nation's economic future? Our local CEOs seem hunkered down. They leave the statesmen stuff to the New Yorkers.

Following Seidenberg are six outsourcing experts: Gerald Kelly, CIO Sears; Bruce Weiner, managing director strategic sourcing, United Airlines; Jean Holley, CIO Tellabs; William Frech, vice president, CapGemini; Joe Hogan, vice president managed services, Hewlett-Packard, and Michael Gorriaran, general manager Midwest district for Microsoft.

H-P's Hogan has a perspective that's on the rise.

"I don't think the answer is to move jobs helter-skelter offshore," Hogan says. "You plan the strategy to have a flexible infrastructure to support your changing business requirements."

Hogan talks about outsourcing on-site, near-shore and offshore. He talks about leveraging support from facilities in Detroit, Colorado Springs, Atlanta or Toronto. Now, I'm not naive. I know the cost differential for tech workers in Chicago versus Bangalore. Still, Hogan's remarks are reassuring.

Here's what Jamie Dimon, the new president and COO of JPMorgan Chase said about outsourcing to a local civic group. Dimon canceled a $5-billion outsourcing contract with IBM. Why? Dimon sees information technology as a core competence. He wants to keep it internal.

"IT has to be [a core competency] or you won't succeed," Dimon warns. "If marketing, systems and operations don't sit down together, you won't get innovation."

Maybe the mad dash to move offshore is ending. Maybe judgment is returning to the executive suite. It's not simply about cost cutting. Maybe it's too soon to tell.

Daley Receives Bio Award

Mayor Daley is on the dais Tuesday morning at Navy Pier to receive the Maitland Award for his contributions to the growth of the Chicago area's biotech community. IBio President David Miller presents the award at the iBIOMarketplace Conference that starts today.

Miller credits Daley with attracting the "Olympics of biotech to Chicago." Miller's referring to the BIO 2006 show, which arrives here in April of that year. "He saw the value before anyone else," Miller says.

After winning an initial commitment to the show, other states tried to steal it, Miller reports. Georgia put a blank check in front of the organizers, but Daley intervened to solidify the deal. The show should attract 25,000 visitors, and could become a mainstay for McCormick Place.

Miller lauds Daley's application of tax increment financing and industrial revenue bond programs to help the biotech industry, and he praises Daley for his regional perspective.

"He's been supportive of the entire Midwest," Miller says. "That's a sophisticated and correct view."

I agree. Daley also launched the quarterly Chicago Technology Forums which showcases our local biotech prowess.

Bits & Bytes

E*Trade celebrates the opening of a bricks-and-mortar retail financial services center today. E*Trade CEO Mitchell Caplan and President Jarrett Lilien will be on hand. The center at 125 S. Wacker will be E*Trade's Midwest flagship.

"The golf score 58 has never been achieved in a PGA event," says Sam Mele, founder of Firm58. He picked that name to inspire. Mele aims to be a technology utility for financial services firms.

This early stage software development company could be the next big thing in town. Keep an eye on this Oracle and Ariba veteran.

The Technology Executives Club also looks at outsourcing this week. City of Chicago CIO Christopher O'Brien, General Electric CTO Andrew London and Allstate CFO of IS Mike Scardina are on tap Thursday.

Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.

 

 ©2004 Marion Consulting Partners