The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week to allow the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to continue its oversight of accounting firms with only minor operational changes brought renewed debate over the Sarbanes-Oxley Act back into the news and blogosphere.
The law, as many CIOs painfully recollect, requires publicly-held companies to document the controls and processes they have in place to run and monitor their financial operations. This has included the need for IT organizations to document the controls and processes that support financial systems used by their companies.
I've been reading a lot of stories and commentaries lately about IT governance and whose responsibility it is. One of the more insightful and balanced pieces I've come across was penned by Gartner analyst Julie Short on Silicon.com where she cited several reasons for why IT governance should fall to a company's board of directors.
I agree with many of her points, including how she sees "the lines between the business and IT becoming more blurred" and how IT tasks are being performed in the business, how business is taking on IT leadership roles and vice versa.
According to the most recent unemployment figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people in the U.S. who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer remains stuck at 6.8 million or 46 percent of the total unemployed. No matter how you slice it, that's a staggering figure. In fact, it remains at the highest rate since the Department of Labor began tracking such figures in the 1940s.
Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in May from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent. However, most of the 431,000 jobs added last month were the result of workers hired on a temporary basis by the federal government to help with the census. Some labor experts say the real unemployment rate is actually closer to 17 percent when you factor in people who are either under-employed or have simply given up looking for work.
There's a terrific article in Computerworld that probes how there's considerably higher volatility in the IT labor and skills market and why this kind of instability is here to stay.
Generally speaking, demand for IT workers appears to be on a slow but steady ascent as corners of the economy continue to gain strength, pushing organizations to move forward with new projects while driving additional support requirements as business continues to expand.
According to a study of 7,259 mathematicians who graduated between 1900 and 1960, successful academics did a far better job of mentoring students during the first third of their careers than during the final third of their vocations.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University and published in the June issue of Nature, found that students who were mentored by mathematicians who were in the first third of their career went on to train 29 percent more students than expected, according to an article about the study published in The Christian Science Monitor. By contrast, students trained by mathematicians in the final third of their careers ended up training 31 percent fewer students than expected.
CIOs like to take on big challenges. Like helping companies to identify and execute on strategies to grow revenues in a down economy. Or stepping in to rescue a foundering project, such as a struggling ERP effort.
But some challenges are beyond gargantuan. Like being the CIO of Enron during the height of its legal and financial troubles.