Executive Briefs: April 2003
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Organizational Behavior: Forgive and Remember
By Robert I. Sutton
Mistakes are inevitable at even the best companies, but the difference between good employees and bad ones is that the good ones admit and learn from mistakes while the bad ones deny making them, focusing their energies instead on pointing the finger at others. Columnist Robert I. Sutton looks at the latest research on organizational behavior and blame—and suggests that companies can turn errors into assets if they foster the right work cultures. Sutton suggests companies first try to improve their systems rather than lay all the blame on individual workers.
Code Breaking: Service Calls
By Lawrence Lessig
Everyone has a story about customer service from hell. To make customer service less of an oxymoron, companies should enlist their customers to help identify bad service agents in their midst. How? Change rules and regulations to allow customers to tape-record their conversations with service agents, so as to be able to document evidence of lousy service by a particular agent—or company. Columnist Lawrence Lessig suggests ways that information technology could be used to help customers help companies and help themselves in the face of rogue agents.
By Bill Birchard
CIOs are being tapped to sit on corporate boards, but information chiefs who don't broaden their executive presence and business smarts need not aspire, writes journalist Bill Birchard, who sizes up the trend by some boards to put CIOs at the table so as to avoid multimillion-dollar IT flops, meet the recent Sarbanes-Oxley regulations and help guide ways firms can cash in on the use of technology—not only to cut costs but also to boost revenues and inform future business strategy. Birchard interviews more than two dozen CIOs, governance experts, recruiters and board members at a variety of major companies to analyze the trend and takes a look at the latest research in this area.
Research: New Technologies
By the editors of CIO Insight
The economy has slowed the pace of new technology adoption, but not its importance. Our survey of 501 IT executives finds that early adoption of new information technology is strongly linked to business success; 71 percent say that new technology adoption is critical to reaching their companies' strategic goals, while 77 percent say their company has received significant payoffs in the past three years from new technologies. Involving business-side executives in IT adoption is key to achieving alignment, innovation and acceptance. The survey also found that many companies are evaluating and testing storage virtualization, tablet PCs, Voice over IP, wireless LANs, public-key security infrastructure and digital signatures.
Strategic Technology: ERP
By Gary A. Bolles
ERP systems are less and less likely to give companies a competitive edge on cost-cutting or strategy. So now's the time, says Contributing Editor Gary A. Bolles, to take a hard look at which of your ERP's capabilities are critical to the way you do business, and consider what you can do to reduce the cost impact of everything that isn't at the core. Does it makes sense to outsource those non-core elements to service providers? Yes, if you're properly set up to run them independently of core systems—and if your corporate culture can live with the loss of control.