Intel chief calls for more risk-taking

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Intel chief calls for more risk-taking

Will Garside
Doug Busch, director of technology at Intel and member of its executive board, has called on IT directors to gamble, despite the current economic downturn.

"You can do all the metrics and cost studies you want but sometimes you still need to take strategic risks," he said as he outlined Intel's plans to save money within its IT department and become a 100% e-business company within four years.

Busch runs Intel's 4,000 IT staff, managing 87,000 internal users covering manufacturing, R&D, engineering and general office locations in 70 countries.

"My IT budget is pretty much levelled out for next year," admitted Busch, whose department spends a sizeable proportion of Intel's $34bn (£23bn) annual revenue. "But that is not necessarily a bad thing," he added.

Busch outlined a number of innovative ideas that successfully deployed by Intel to reduce costs and improve efficiency. One of the lowest-cost solutions is its Share and Learn software.

The peer-to-peer (P2P) application allows Intel employees to distribute software via local peers. Busch said: "Share and learn has given us 10-times increase in file transfer speeds performance and reduced the amount of traffic on our global intranet."

The software is based on the Napster concept. Busch revealed that Intel was planning to release it as a low-cost application or to transfer the IP to another company to release to the public.

Another tip recommended by Busch is the use of Web-based portals for collaboration. Intel last year deployed a simple Web-based application to allow people to arrange meetings on a single, global Web site.

"We [Intel] managed to shave between 10 to 15 minutes off every meeting by the use of our Web-based meeting manager software," Busch said. For Intel employees that routinely meet with several thousand partners, suppliers and customers every month, the cost savings are significant.

Busch also talked about standardisation on a single desktop operating system - Windows 2000 - and the productivity gains made by the high adoption of notebooks, which offered low initial cost for longer term cost savings and efficiency gains.

Intel's goal to become a 100% e-business within four years is attainable, Busch said. But he conceded that the lack of European adoption of the Intel-backed RosettaNet initiative was hampering this goal.

The RosettaNet platform allows electronics companies to quickly set up business deals and exchange information on components and services.

Busch also said that he doubted that e-business would do away with old fashioned deal making among suppliers

"I don't think that e-business will end the negotiations and deals made, say, on the golf course," said Busch. "But e-commerce will make commodity-type businesses more efficient and lead to cost savings."

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