In the early '90s, James Champy and Michael Hammer championed the idea of reengineering the corporation--rethinking business processes and breaking down walls to facilitate more communication and information sharing. At that time, it was hard to imagine that we'd have such a fundamental change as we do today in how business gets conducted internally and across borders .
The advent of sophisticated collaboration tools, emerging supply-chain tools, and changes in business culture have facilitated new ways of developing products, conducting commerce, and providing customer service. Additional collaboration is being driven "from the edge inward," notes Ray Ozzie, the creator of Lotus Notes and more recently of Groove Networks, which provides tools for ad hoc, virtual teams to work together. Virtual offices, telecommuters, mobile devices, and a need for real-time decision making are driving collaboration even further, he says.
Collaboration is something Wal-Mart's IT team knows all about. It's part of the culture that CIO Linda Dillman has built. It's part of Wal-Mart's aggressive strategy around RFID, which enables information about products to move through the supply chain more quickly. It's at the heart of systems to improve inventory management and forecasting. It's part of the company's contributions to retail standards.
It's also one of key reasons that we chose the entire Wal-Mart IT team as our "Chief of the Year" this year. Led by Dillman, the 2,400 team members take on several thousand projects a year to help keep the retail giant innovating. They're trained to think like merchants whose goal is to serve the customer and as business enablers. Their success is measured by their impact on the business.
Congratulations to the entire Wal-Mart business-technology team!
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