Lessons from the verticals

InfoWorld takes a hard look at five industries and highlights innovative solutions to IT's toughest problems

Every industry presents unique challenges, where IT must marshal more than the usual chunk of resources to solve extreme headaches. That may mean walking out to the edge of grid computing to garner greater compute performance, or it may involve management challenges such as accommodating a mobile workforce or connecting hundreds of far-flung offices. The greater the problem to overcome, the greater the potential to learn from successful solutions.

With an eye toward challenges that bedevil IT in general, we sent our intrepid reporters on a mission to plumb the depths of the top five vertical industries. Their task: to determine the problems that plague IT managers in each sector and what lessons could be gathered from creative answers to a variety of conundrums, such as how to stitch together a crazy quilt of legacy systems or how to integrate mom-and-pop operations into a modern supply chain.

The five areas we chose are fairly obvious: financial services, retail, telecommunications, health care, and government. So are many of the challenges -- but the solutions turned up by the reporters we sent into the field for this investigation may surprise you with their innovation. At the least, you’ll get a 20,000-foot view of where IT is pushing ahead today across a wide swath of businesses. At best, you’ll be able to glean valuable insight into various approaches to addressing your own IT challenges.

Finance Government Health care Retail Telecom

The Verticals: