Keller chose Pendragon Software Corp.'s product (at a cost of $250) to create custom data collection applications for handhelds and deployed it on six Palm Z22s (with a price tag of $99 each). He also spent $24 on a guide to programming a Palm Pilot. "It's a Palm Pilot talking to an Access database on a local machine," says Keller. "Then we use ETL [extraction, transformation and loading] to move the data to a SQL database for use with Crystal reporting tools." Today the real-time tool developed by the aquarium provides data shared by members of the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Breeding Consortium.
An avid scuba diver, Keller once flirted with the idea of a career in marine biology. But he took a different path, working in IT at the U.S. Air Force. The aquarium offered the perfect mix of marine life and mammoth IT projects. "How do you make information actionable?" says Keller. "That's the question for all CIOs everywhere, I think." Problem solved.
Ellen O'Brien, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a senior editor at Storage magazine. Write to her at email@example.com.