Wang to CIOs: Integrate use of Internet

Charles B. Wang chairman and chief executive officer of Computer Associates International Inc. has guided the development of some of the most widely used systems management tools in the government including the company's flagship product CA Unicenter.

Over the last several years San Jose Calif.-based CA has evolved Unicenter to become a central management system for platforms across the enterprise including most recently the Internet. Wang in Washington D.C. earlier this month challenged the government's newly appointed chief information officers to take that approach to heart particularly with the Internet.

"If you want to make sense of the Internet treat it as part of the information technology infrastructure " Wang said. In some sense such an approach goes against the grain of the computer industry which tends to segment itself by technology. But "businesses and government do not look at it this way and shouldn't " Wang said.

Wang was in town to mark CA's donation of new Internet technology to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) based in Arlington Va. CA developed a database-driven World Wide Web site that allows NCMEC to easily post high-quality images and other data about missing children.

Extensive Reach

Such applications highlight the Internet's extensive reach and its vast potential as an information resource. However this is a potential most organizations fail to exploit because they do not incorporate the Internet into their business processes. As used today Wang said "the Internet is the world's biggest electronic bulletin board system."

He compared the Internet's current status to the fate of Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh computers which organizations tend to group in isolated pockets aligned with specific functions and on their own networks. Wang noted that CA is working with Apple on some technical issues so its computers "can become good citizens of the Net."

At the same time CIOs must forget the hype about the Internet and recognize its place in the larger scheme of information technology resources.

The network computer - a Web-based "thin" client - may indeed become an important platform but that does not mean the mainframe is going away. "Basic shifts in technology take decades not years " even though computer companies "like to redo the world every four or five years " Wang said.

That is where management tools become an important factor. As new platforms enter the IT scene systems managers must deal with all the resulting "permutations and complexities " Wang said. With increasing pressure on agencies to show returns on their technology investments federal CIOs "better find a way to drive the cost of that management down " Wang said.

Earlier this month CA announced it had begun shipping Unicenter TNG (The Next Generation) a new release that uses a 3-D graphical user interface designed to let users navigate visually through their IT resources.- John Stein Monroe

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