[ISN] Sarbanes-Oxley seen as biggest IT time waster

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Aug 23 14:17:45 EDT 2005


By China Martens
IDG News Service

IBM users expect compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley rules governing
U.S. public companies to prove to be the least effective or the most
wasteful use of their IT resources, according to the results of an
online poll of Share members released late Monday.

Share, the oldest independent IBM user group, which is celebrating its
50th birthday this month, polled individuals between Aug. 4 and 15,
who were preregistering for its Boston conference. The organization
received 444 responses to a short online survey containing five
questions. The conference is taking place in Boston through Friday
Aug. 26.

One of the survey's questions asked respondents to imagine themselves
being transported to 2015 and then looking back at 2005 and what they
thought in retrospect would prove to be either an ineffective or
wasteful use of their IT time. Twenty-eight percent of those polled
cited Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, followed by deployment of unproven
technologies (23%), purchase of unneeded technologies (19%), and
continuing support for outdated technologies (17%). The fifth-rated
bugbear cited by 10% of respondents was external consultants, with
software upgrades only distressing one percent of those polled.

Robert Rosen, the current president of Share, wasn't surprised that
Sarbanes-Oxley is proving to be a major headache. "It's occupying a
lot of people's time and they can't figure out what the return on
investment is there," he said.

Rosen is hearing that some smaller firms are talking to their venture
capitalists and looking to return their businesses to private
operations specifically because they can't afford to comply with the
Sarbannes-Oxley rules. "It's the law of unintended consequences," he

Information security is the dominant emerging trend most likely to
impact business computing over the next five years, according to 31%
of those answering the Share survey. Two other significant trends
cited by respondents are the shortage of qualified enterprise-class IT
professionals (17%) and the outsourcing or offshoring of application
development and maintenance (14%).

Not surprisingly, the one technological innovation respondents rate as
having had the most significant impact on business computing over the
past 50 years is the Internet, followed by PCs, IBM's System/360
(S/360) mainframe which debuted in 1964, and the World Wide Web.

Turning to IBM specifically, respondents named Big Blue's DB2
Universal Database as the company's most significant offering over the
last 25 years, followed by CICS, MVS and z/OS. The IBM PC was in fifth
position followed by the company's WebSphere software. Users have
really responded positively to DB2 Universal Database because they can
run the software on lower cost servers as well as mainframes,
according to Rosen.

The final question posed to respondents asked them which three of a
list of named people they believe have had the greatest impact on
business computing over the past half century. Microsoft's Bill Gates
was No. 1 (55%), followed by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson (40%), and
then Gene Amdahl (39%), the chief architect of Big Blue's S/360

While Amdahl is in Rosen's top three, Grace Hopper, placed sixth by
respondents (19%), was his number one pick. She developed the first
compiler for a computer programming language. Rosen referred to her
anecdotal claim to fame, that she coined the term "bug" in relation to
a computer system that wasn't functioning properly due to an actual
bug, a moth, logged in the machinery.

Rosen's third pick, not on the list, is Fred Brooks, an IBMer who
headed up the development of OS/360, the operating system for the
S/360 mainframe, which he detailed in his 1975 book "The Mythical
Man-Month." The book expounds on a principle the author observed,
dubbed Brooks' Law, that adding more people to a delayed software
project doesn't solve the issue any quicker. Instead, the additional
manpower actually delays the project still further as time is spent in
educating those new to the project on what needs to be done. "I've
seen the thing in action so many times," Rosen said. "It's as valid
today as it was then."

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