Editor's Note: Will IT's Walter Mitty Step Up?

Editor's Note - February 17, 2003
In response to a comment that IBM CEO Sam Palmisano wrote in "Opportunity On Demand" (p. 18, Jan. 27), a reader recently lauded him for a simple yet powerful statement that "the next trillion of IT investment will come from something basic: reorienting the IT industry around the needs of the customer." And while one could argue that that goal would require a slew of different products and services, new business processes, and a change in organizational culture and business models, this reader portended that the IT industry won't achieve significant growth again until someone develops a product that customers simply can't live without.

On the one hand, that goes against the wisdom that a company must analyze and understand core business processes and then look for a way to improve or transform them with appropriate technology. But the reader's ultimate point was that it's refreshing to hear that the customer is king once again and growth will come when customers' needs come first and foremost.

I thought we might have a little fun and come up with a list of as-yet-to-be-created products that you couldn't live without. So dig deep into your imagination and let me know what would make your life or your company's business significantly better. Is there a gaping hole in your supply-chain processes that could be filled with a new product or service? A security product that would help you sleep better at night? A better budget-forecasting tool? Better yet, a better real-time business tool? A tool that filters out all spam--for real? (Fortunately, there's been progress on that front. See p. 22 for a look at what's working, and the lingering problems.)

Be general or specific, even wacky. Forget about the cost or R&D involved. I'll share the results later.

Stephanie Stahl
[email protected]

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