All companies need strategy on information access in Internet Age, author Don Tapscott says in Gartner Fellows Interview

Gartner's Future of IT Conference; Gartner's Financial Services Technology Summit

STAMFORD, Conn., July 6, 2005 -- Companies need to examine and update their policies and technologies for managing rising volumes of once-secret information that can be retrieved without authorization by insiders and outsiders alike, according to strategy consultant and author Don Tapscott.

Effective management of secrecy-versus-transparency issues can help companies build more trusting relationships with key stakeholder groups, ranging from customers, employees and investors to public policy adversaries, Mr. Tapscott added in a Gartner Fellows Interview posted recently on

"Every company needs a transparency strategy" to adjust to advances in information technology (IT), Mr. Tapscott said. "If you just nonchalantly fumble into this new age, punishment can be very swift. Most companies are just winging it. There can be all kinds of unintended consequences of being too closed or inappropriately open."

Mr. Tapscott is CEO of the New Paradigm Learning Corporation, based in Toronto, and author of 10 books, most recently (co-author David Ticoll) of The Naked Corporation: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business.

He identified IT imperatives for an effective transparency strategy, including:

-- Create an IT architecture, suite of applications and data structure for a more "open" enterprise. "If you're going to be honest, you need a single version of the truth"

-- Understand interests of other parties by utilizing forecasting tools and models, data mining, and integrated communications across a variety of channels. "Amazingly, information released through one channel can be a disaster, but released through a different channel can be very positive"

-- Monitor performance against goals, applying customer-relationship management (CRM) software that gathers information about stakeholders and also builds relationships with them. "Effective score-carding is about translating strategy and managing measurable actions"

-- Develop IT systems to create transparency in the supply chain. "Effective portals, dashboards" and other communications devices "help employees, for example, better understand what is going on in their world"

"It turns out, as it often does in business, that information technology is crucial to implement a new vision and a new strategy," he said. "By harnessing transparency, any individual company can differentiate, build trust and high performance, and compete."

The interview with Mr. Tapscott was conducted by Howard Dresner, a Gartner Fellow and research vice president of Gartner, Inc. Mr. Dresner is a worldwide authority on business intelligence, the systematic process of data collection and analysis. He is scheduled to speak at Gartner's Future of IT Conference in Sao Paulo, Aug. 23-25, and Gartner's Financial Services Technology Summit in New York City, Aug. 29-31.

Other key points by Mr. Tapscott include:

-- A transparency strategy can ensure that privacy is protected. There is a danger that as more information is revealed about executive salaries at a company, for example, salaries of everybody in the company are made public. That would be a big mistake

-- Companies ought not to be good for the sake of being good...If greed is what drives you, then you will become more open and you will build integrity into your operations

-- Many companies will attempt to appear transparent when they are not, but they will be found out. We call this 'apparent transparency'

-- Certain minimal requirements for transparency are governed by law. Beyond that, there will be requirements governed by the tonic of the all different stakeholders

-- If you are a big company, chances are that you have a significant stakeholder web - a network of stakeholders scrutinizing your firm. Most big companies are not even aware that these things exist, let alone have a strategy to engage them

The Gartner Fellows Interview with Mr. Tapscott is available on Gartner's Web site at

The Gartner Fellows Interview features Gartner analysts each month in discussions with leaders in technology, business and government on significant industry issues. The Gartner Fellows are 15 Gartner research analysts, distinguished by their reputations as innovators and thought leaders. They collaborate with more than 600 Gartner research analysts worldwide to identify and examine emerging trends and technologies.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB) is the leading provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry. Gartner serves more than 10,000 clients, including chief information officers and other senior IT executives in corporations and government agencies, as well as technology companies and the investment community. The Company focuses on delivering objective, in-depth analysis and actionable advice to enable clients to make more informed business and technology decisions. The Company's businesses consist of Research and Events for IT professionals; Gartner Executive Programs, membership programs and peer networking services; and Gartner Consulting, customized engagements with a specific emphasis on outsourcing and IT management. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and has over 3,900 associates, including more than 1,100 research analysts and consultants, in more than 75 locations worldwide. For more information, visit

Tom Hayes, 203-316-6835

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