The Roundup: Latin America's Digital Divide

Items in the Roundup this week include a survey on the state of CRM implementation and a stark look at the widening digital divide in Latin America.
Report
Latin America's Digital Divide

The digital divide is widening in Latin America, in terms of access to both basic telephone services and to the more sophisticated services such as those provided through the Internet, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group, Inc.

There are a number of indicators that show just how extensive the Latin American digital divide is. Both the teledensity and the broadband connections for the major countries in the region trail the United States by a large margin. Eighty percent of United States citizens have phone connections, while in Chile, which leads Latin America, only 25% have phone connections. Consumer broadband connections are only beginning to be added and not in every country. This gap is widening over time.

Gartner Dataquest defines the digital divide as the gap between technologically advanced cultures and those that have been left behind. It encompasses the degree of teledensity, the state of networks, and the access to technology by the lowest socioeconomic levels of society within a given country or intraregionally.

Survey
CRM Implementation: A Slow Growing Reality

A new study from The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), based in Seattle, indicates that CRM has moved from concept to reality, but still has a long way to evolve before it reaches market maturity.

The survey of more than 1,670 business executives and IT professionals found that almost three-quarters of companies have not yet deployed a CRM solution, although most plan to do so in the near future. On the flip side, one-quarter of respondent companies have deployed a CRM solution to one extent or another. These "early adopter" companies are mainly large (over $10 billion) firms in competitive industries, such as financial services, software, or telecommunications.

Analysis
Should You Report to the CEO? It All Depends.

A recent analysis of reporting relationships within IT departments, released by Giga Information Group, claims that whether an IT executive should report to the CEO depends on the nature of the organization. Factors that should be taken into consideration include the size of the organization, how large the technology organization is, whether the organization is distributed or centralized, and whether any technology in the organization is outsourced. The report does offer a few insights that go beyond the obvious.

When IT is largely outsourced, Giga says, then the CIOs role will inevitably be more one of relationship management than direct management. When this is the case, it makes better sense for the CIO to report to the CFO than to the executive officer. Giga also insists that a high-level report is inappropriate in cases where technology plays a supporting rather than strategic role in the business, such as would likely be the case with a manufacturing company. In global organizations that employ a number of CIOs in varying roles, on the other hand, CIOs should almost certainly report to the CEO or even to the board.

The more narrowly defined role of the CTO is a different matter, according to the report. Since this type of executive will often design a very specific technology direction for the organization, the CIO will usually be the proper go-to person. There are exceptions, though. If technology is directly responsible for opening up new lines of business, or if technology is the business, then the CTO should report to the top of the organization.





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