Editorial: December 2003

Here’s an early taste of next month’s CIO Insight research study: Seventy-two percent of CIOs point to customer service as the top business priority for their IT departments in 2004. We see that as a sign that the recovery is in full swing, even in Corporate America’s IT departments. In the hope that most CIOs are already gearing up for the recovery, this month’s issue concentrates on business strategies and technologies for delivering greater value to the customer, and reaping the rewards of doing so.

In early November, C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy stopped by the magazine’s offices to discuss their new book, The Future of Competition. The devotion of the authors, both professors at the University of Michigan Business School, to the concept of co-creation—how businesses must figure out ways to engage their customers in the process of creating value—made quite an impression on the editors. Indeed, it informed two other articles that round out this issue’s focus on the customer.

In “Card Tricks,” technology journalist Margaret L. Young analyzes the ever-increasing use of loyalty programs to boost revenues. At their worst, such programs cost more money than they bring in. At their best, they really do build loyalty, boosting both revenues and per-customer profitability. That, of course, is also the goal at Walt Disney World, which has suffered since the Sept. 11 attacks from falling attendance and revenues. Now Walt Disney Co. CIO Roger Berry has taken on the task of fixing Disney World’s woes through a cutting-edge strategy of technology convergence that includes sensors, wireless, global positioning and sophisticated customer databases to transform the customer experience at the Orlando, Fla, resort, and make them keep coming back for more.

This month’s issue also features the first-ever CIO Insight Vendor Value Study, which presents the results of an in-depth survey of nearly 1,300 top IT executives. The result is an eye-opening rating of 41 top IT vendors—from the CIOs who deal with them every day.

On another note, we’d like to announce that the winner of CIO Insight’s second annual Partners in Alignment Award is Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. Also honored for excellence in aligning IT with business strategy were General Motors Corp. and Marriott International. And speaking of awards, CIO Insight has won the gold “Ozzie” award from Folio magazine for best overall design among business-to-business magazines with circulations of more than 35,000. Congratulations to Art Director Laura Baer and her staff.

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