A Special Report by CNET News.com and Knowledge at Wharton


With the economy rebounding and the technology sector once again focused on new partners, products and opportunities, the Wharton Technology Conference on Feb. 27 emphasized the future with the theme: “From Survival to Growth: The Emerging Face of Technology.” Panelists and speakers from industry, the government and academia discussed entrepreneurship and business innovation, new technologies, and hot-button issues such as outsourcing and open source software. Knowledge at Wharton and CNET News.com covered several of the panels and keynote speakers.


“Leaders Determine If the Economy Is Ready to Grow … It Is Time to Grow”  
The recession is over. The
U.S. stock market has rebounded, and productivity (although not hiring) is on the upswing. So how should businesses respond to this apparent run of good economic news? Keynote speakers Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP America, and Bruce Harreld, senior vice president of strategy at IBM, offered their advice at the February 27 Wharton Technology Conference. It’s time, they said, to exploit new markets, look at competitors as potential partners and emphasize growth over stability.



Getting the Most Value out of Open Source Software
Last week, software company SCO Group sued DaimlerChrylser AG and AutoZone, an auto parts retailer, for their use of open source operating systems Unix and Linux. The lawsuits – and others SCO filed last year against IBM and Novell – are further evidence that open source software is fast becoming a viable commercial choice. At the same time, there is growing debate over the actual usefulness of open source software vs. proprietary software in the context of new applications development. These were topics that drew particularly spirited discussion during a panel on “Delivering Value and Innovation Using Open Source Software” at the Wharton Technology Conference held in
Philadelphia on Feb. 27.



Information Technology: Value Creator or Commodity?
In the last decade, companies frequently could gain competitive advantage by coming up with a new technological innovation. The first banks to offer their services online, for example, undoubtedly attracted new customers, at least initially. Now, however, online banking is “just a commodity everyone has,” says business writer and consultant Nicholas Carr. Carr was one of several panelists at the Feb. 27 Wharton Technology Conference who debated what value, if any, can be created these days through IT.