IT on the edge: CIOs who (literally) keep the lights on

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First-world tech leaders can learn a thing or two from the way CIOs in developing countries keep connectivity up and services flowing.

Any IT leader in the mood to complain about excessive regulation should first have a cocktail with Murat Mendi of Nobel la, an Istanbul-based manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals.

Mendi, formerly CIO and now general manager of the firm, which operates in 25 countries around the world, can talk about the time an overzealous bulldozer operator started excavating the foundation for a new structure next to his company's building without bothering to confirm what might have been underground first. It tore through Nobel's Internet cables, leaving hundreds of employees offline all day.

Arguably, such events happen in Indianapolis as well as Istanbul, but with a few key differences: In Turkey there tends to be little regulation of excavation protocol beforehand and few options for restitution after. "That's part of the culture here," Mendi says. "If something happens, they'll say oops, sorry, and move on."

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