Editor's Note: Processes On Our Minds -- And Yours
I got a letter last week from a reader who was shaking his head (figuratively) about a presentation he heard from an analyst earlier in the week and some recent articles in the press (meaning InformationWeek) about real-time business. He wasn't necessarily taking issue with the specific content, but more with the timing. The concept of real-time business, he argued, was something Regis McKenna wrote about in 1997 in his book Real Time: Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer (Harvard Business School, 1997), in which he describes the pace at which innovation is speeding up and a world where customers demand instant gratification. Why are we so hell-bent on covering this issue now? McKenna had it right years ago. I'm not really picking on the letter writer, per se. He is trying to give credit to McKenna, to whom my hat goes off for his insightful and provocative book. Likewise, I applaud Bill Gates for his ideas on transforming business through just-in-time practices in his book Business @ the Speed of Thought (Warner Books, 1999) a few years ago and anyone else who may have words of wisdom on the topic. But that doesn't make it any less relevant a topic today.
I'm sure some bright mind said many decades ago that treating your customers well is a good thing. That doesn't mean customer service isn't important today, right? More than ever, we're seeing companies use business technology to shorten and optimize their operations to improve customer relationships, stamp out inefficiencies, make better decisions, and create revenue opportunities. That's precisely why we're paying attention to it today. Improving business processes isn't a new thing, either. But it's taken on broader urgency thanks to the huge investment in Internet technology, the demand for more real-time information, and tighter collaboration among business partners. And that's precisely why we're launching a new section called Business Processes this week (see story, "Strong Foundation For Change"). So, while we're not aiming to downplay anyone else's thoughts on any of the topics we cover, we hope to provide some of the most current research, insights, and thought-provoking content on topics we know are on your mind.
The books I mention above can be found at Amazon.com. You might also want to check out a recent article that McKenna wrote for Optimize magazine, "CIO As Marketeer," June 2002, www.optimize mag.com/issue/008/marketing.htm.
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