Business & Finance
Commentary
4/8/2005
06:40 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
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50%

Editor's Note: A Trip To The Airport, Part II

At the airport the other day, I came upon a fairly long line of people, with lots of empty self-service kiosks in front of them. Why weren't they using them? Were they technophobes? Didn't look like it. Were the four machines out of order? Didn't appear to be.

I moved to the front as courteously as I could and questioned a few about whether they were waiting for a kiosk. "Well, I have a ticket on a United flight and those say 'Ted' above them," the line leader said. A few people behind him nodded, indicating that they, too, thought their United tickets wouldn't work at the kiosks designated for United's low-fare alternative airline. "Yes, but Ted is part of United (UniTED, get it?)," I said. "Yeah, but I'm notsure those machines will work if you aren't flying on a Ted flight," one passenger said. "Well, I'm guessing the systems are integrated, so I'll give it a try," I said, thankful that I was about to make my way to my flight and still have time to grab a cup of coffee. It worked, and suddenly the people started spreading out to all open kiosks.

All the while I'm thinking, if a single company couldn't figure out how to integrate its own systems, how in the world could it survive in an increasingly global economy?! The answer--it can't. Global standardization of IT systems and processes is a key component of leveraging business opportunities in international markets. This week, we debut our Global 50--a ranking of U.S. companies operating in multiple countries that have the greatest year-over-year growth. You'll find out what business-technology strategies are driving this global growth. For a deeper perspective on the growing outsourcing business in China, we tapped our colleagues at InformationWeek China for their insight.

Are you racing to compete around the world? Find out how the leaders stay ahead.

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-in-chief
sstahl@cmp.com

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