Global Data Disconnection Holds Back U.S.Business

When the financial crisis reared in 2007, the resulting recession compelled many U.S. companies to reach beyond domestic borders to sell their products and services. With business flat at home, the high market growth rates of China, India and elsewhere presented a tantalizing opportunity to buffer the top line.

Now, it appears this opportunity came with a hidden cost. According to a recent study by The Hackett Group, many newly-global companies are “flying blind,” unable to quickly assess and analyze their performance in overseas markets to make needed changes in budgets, resource allocations or forecasts. Less than half of the more than 100 companies surveyed have acquired real-time visibility into such vital performance data as customer information, business volumes, supplier spend and working capital, among other financial metrics.

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How a ‘Wired’ Hospital does Data Security

Few sectors of the economy face a bigger information security challenge than healthcare. Not only do hospitals have all the typical compliance issues of any business with sensitive customer data, but they must grapple with a growing thicket of regulations governing personally identifiable information, state laws that protect patients’ privacy, strict confidentiality provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and infrastructure reforms in the Affordable Care Act and its required, albeit delayed, switch to electronic medical records.

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‘Serious Attacks’ Linked to Rising Costs of Cyber Crime

As the founder and chairman of the eponymous Ponemon Institute, Larry Ponemon is to cyber crime what the Greek god Hermes was to Zeus—the messenger of often-bad news. He’s the go-to guy for statistics on the incidence and cost of cyber crime, courtesy of the institute’s annual benchmark study. The newest one was released on October 10 and the news, alas for U.S. businesses in particular, is not good.

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Burritos in the Cloud

Here’s how one restaurant chain approaches data security.

Fast-growing restaurant chain Boloco Inc. pays as much attention to today’s latest technologies as it does to the nutritional quality and taste of its burritos.

The Boston-based private company (annual revenues of $23 million) celebrated the opening of its 22nd restaurant in the Northeastern United States in September, and has plans to open another five eateries in the next three years. Along the way, it has wielded an impressive range of cutting-edge technology tools to capture and build market share, including a social media site and Twitter feed, a customer-oriented mobile app to check up on (and cash in) loyalty points, and the recent addition of an iPad kiosk, whereby diners can remotely order their Tikka Masala specialty burritos.

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Playing Defense

CFOs of defense contractors are preparing their companies for a new era of austerity at the Pentagon. Read the full article written by Russ Banham here.

Cities on the Brink

Municipal finance chiefs are fighting to keep their troubled cities solvent. Sometimes it’s a losing battle.

Prior to its incorporation in 1850, Stockton, Calif., was known as Fat City, and later Mudville. Prophetically, its financial fortunes followed this progression in names from boom to bust. Stockton filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and until Detroit went bankrupt earlier this year, it had the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the country to seek Chapter 9 protection. The cities are two of 12 other municipalities that have petitioned for bankruptcy protection since 2008, among them Jefferson County, Alabama; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Vallejo, California. Eight of these filings occurred in the last three years.


May the Field Be with You

Cloud-based applications are pushing out planning and forecasting to workers in the farthest reaches of the company.

Simplifying the decision-making process is a fundamental goal for CFOs, given the competitive necessities of agility and speed. Unfortunately, many traditional planning, budgeting and forecasting systems see the business world as local and linear, not global and cooperative, frustrating this imperative.

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Failing—to Win

Make no mistake about it; no one likes to make a mistake. But admitting one’s failure and learning from it often provides for greater success in future. That’s the message from several CEOs who made well-informed decisions backed by solid research and due diligence that nonetheless failed miserably. Sure, their pride took a punch, but they came away from the knockdown tougher and smarter for the next round.

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All Together Now

The convergence of social, mobile and cloud technologies —“SoMoClo”— is changing the way companies work.


No, it’s not the latest trendy neighborhood in New York City. “SoMoClo” is shorthand for a phenomenon that will have a lasting impact on business intelligence: the convergence of social media, mobile technologies and a cloud IT infrastructure.

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Lessons Learned: Before You Sign Off on a New Technology System, Who Will Support It?

Sit half a dozen chief financial officers from large organizations in a room. Ask them to take a deep breath, then say these words: “ERP implementation.” Now run for cover.

Despite the backbone utility of enterprise resource planning systems, which seamlessly facilitate the flow of internal and external information between business functions, the significant process changes required are a headache in the making. Add to this the eye-popping costs and the risk of a security breach and it is no wonder why more than one CFO has lost his or her job in the post-implementation dustup.

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