Editorial: June 2002

By Ellen Pearlman  |  Posted 06-17-2002

In his new book, aptly titled Execution, Honeywell International Inc. Chairman and CEO Lawrence A. Bossidy, this month's Expert Voice, reminds us that good ideas are worthless if they're not put into action. Simple, right? Yet in Bossidy's view, most senior managers, CIOs included, botch the process. For too many managers, what's missing, he says, is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people to goals and keep everyone focused on delivering solid results.

It takes leadership—and collaboration—to pull it off. In today's fast-moving business world, nothing gets done without it. This month's case study profiles the partnership of Doug Schwinn, Hasbro's CIO, and its chief marketing officer, Ed Kriete. It's a marriage made of necessity: Hired within months of each other, a shared car ride forced the two to realize early on that they wouldn't get very far in their respective jobs unless they figured out a way to work together. Under a corporatewide mandate to cut costs, Kriete needed the technology to remake Hasbro's Web strategy, but without Schwinn's help in figuring out how to do it at half the cost, neither would have succeeded.

The collaborative spirit can spawn powerful new results on other fronts as well. "Open Secret," a roundtable of technology and business strategists hosted by CIO Insight, shows how the collaborative open source software movement has emerged from the shadows into the mainstream—and talks about why both open source and proprietary software are here to stay.

In the end, it's all about getting the biggest return on investment, and companies most successful at that task are good at aligning ideas to strategy and action. But very few companies have gotten that totally right, and as both experts and our own research and reporting show, the business of alignment is the new Holy Grail in corporate circles today. Our upcoming special issue on the Alignment Gap, coming out at the end of June, looks at the special kinds of leadership, management techniques and processes required to start building companies that use technology in the service of the business, both to keep the lights on and to innovate for the future.

This month we're also pleased to introduce a new regular columnist, Stanford University Law School professor and cyberlaw scholar Lawrence Lessig, whose new quarterly column, "Code Breaking," will explore how the digital revolution is reshaping the nation's laws and influencing the ways companies use technology.