Every month or so another high-profile computer security breach hits the headlines, involving exposure of sensitive consumer information, uncovering of classified documents or disruption of corporate and government websites and systems. Why are these breaches happening so often, and at such high levels? What should managers do to reduce the risk of a security incident? The W. P. Carey School’s Department of Information Systems is home to a group of researchers who study various aspects of information systems security. KnowIT asked these experts to share their insights about root of the problem, and suggest what managers can do to keep their databases out of the news. On the Same Wavelength: The Inner Workings of Successful Teams
Just about every organization has teams that work together exceptionally well. You might say the members are on the same wavelength, but exactly what does that mean? An experiment conducted at the W. P. Carey School of Business by information systems professor Pierre Balthazard and management professor David Waldman may bring us closer to understanding what goes on when those teams are "in the zone." The researchers recorded the brainwaves of student teams using EEG technology. From Facebook to Freedom: Does Technology Spur Democracy?
Henry David Thoreau may have penned more than 9,300 words urging people to fight unjust governments in his essay on civil disobedience, but today's political dissidents have brought throngs to the streets with 140 characters or less. Such is the power of social media. In the wake of 2011's Arab Spring, many now think that information and communication technologies (ICTs) are a driving force behind increased levels of democracy. W. P. Carey researchers are asking, are they? Preventative Medicine: Calculating Disease Burden and Fighting Flu with Computer Models
Wouldn’t it be great if real policymakers could see computer simulations of their decisions before making them? In Arizona’s Maricopa County, with a population of 4 million residents, the Department of Public Health (MCDPH) will soon have such a computerized tool to use in fighting pandemic flu. Changing the Way We Talk About the Cloud
Marketing pitches for cloud solutions sometimes run to hyperbole: "Cloud is cheap, fast and easy! Did we mention fast?! No hardware required! Why build what someone has already built?" Corporate leaders on the receiving end of the marketing can be swept away by the hype, posing a communications challenge for IT leaders. Chris Filandro is CIO of Meritage Homes Corporation, which builds new homes and new home communities across the southern and western United States. Filandro spearheaded his company's transition to a cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) solution. In a presentation to the Society for Information Management in Phoenix, he offers a seasoned perspective on the associated challenges and opportunities. Michael Spandau of Fender Musical Instruments: Keeping IT In Tune with the Business
Michael Spandau is Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President for Global Information Technology for Fender Musical Instruments and a member of the W. P. Carey School's Department of Information Systems Professional Advisory Board. KnowIT caught up with him after his thought-provoking presentation at the Arizona Chapter of the Society for Information Management. His topic was the way the Fender measures key performance indicators, and how the iconic guitar maker has applied the agile methodology to IT projects. The common thread? Fender has altered the traditional approach to information technology, closely aligning IT with the business. From Green to Gold: Sustainable IT Efforts Can Drive Opportunity
Green IT initiatives already have proven their payback, but beyond energy savings and cost reductions, "green IT" is evolving into "sustainable IT." Clinical Professor Haluk Demirkan and his research partner, Robert R. Harmon of Portland State University, envision a sustainable IT that will be more externally focused; it will leverage IT to address both corporate needs and societal concerns, thereby boosting competitiveness. And in some cases, sustainable IT developments may morph into service-based technology that companies can offer to their customers. Use Prediction Markets To Raise Your Marketing Model's Performance
Which prospects are most likely to buy what you're selling? Who are your good credit risks? What will your customers buy next? Chances are, your company uses predictive models to answer these and other questions, or soon will. A recent study found that 38 percent of companies were using advanced analytics to create predictive models that can forecast consumer behavior, evaluate consumer credit-worthiness, pinpoint marketing targets and more, while 85 percent said they planned to start using such models by 2012. But sooner or later, most of these companies will experience model decay, in which performance lags and it's time to pick a new model. How can managers judge which new "challenger" model will outperform or, at least, replace the reigning "champion?" Information Systems professors Michael Goul and Sule Balkan think one smart bet would be to try a market approach. Recent research conducted by these scholars found that "prediction markets" proved to be an effective approach to selection of predictive models. Quantifying the Intangible: Determining the Performance of Knowledge Workers
Measuring the performance of workers on an assembly line is simple: Count the objects produced and find out how long the process took. That should reveal the productivity of the factory workers. But how do you determine the performance of knowledge workers? Observing and measuring what they do is an enormous challenge. They often work unscripted and alone. The workers themselves may be unaware of the individual steps they take when carrying out an assignment. Professor Robert St. Louis and Assistant Professor Michael Lee of the W. P. Carey School's Department of Information Systems and Robyn Raschke of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, are tackling this issue in an unusual study that could hit close to home for the researchers. Shared Values Help Companies Connect with Consumers
Online retailers looking to connect with customers and increase sales and profits would be wise to demonstrate values that appeal to those customers, according to researchers in the W. P. Carey School's Department of Information Systems. A pair of experimental studies conducted by Associate Professor Benjamin Shao and Professor Robert St. Louis found that consumers respond very differently to the values a company projects. Subjects in experiments were more likely to buy a product -- and to pay more for it -- if the seller's values were aligned with those of the buyer.