Editorial: May 2002

You have in your hands the first anniversary issue of CIO Insight. Its publication presents an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 issues of the magazine, and more important, on the past 12 months of thought-provoking discussions with our readers—not just the CIOs for whom the magazine is designed and edited, but also the business leaders, consultants, analysts, academics and vendors who make up the extended CIO community. We like to think of all of you as an integral part of our “community of practice”—the phrase author and consultant Etienne Wenger, interviewed in this issue (see “Knowledge Management Takes Community Spirit“), uses to refer to the formal groups set up in corporations to generate ideas, and manage and exchange the knowledge they create.

Our first year has coincided with some of the toughest times this community has ever faced. The technology binge of the late 1990s has lapsed into a widespread, if shallow, recession, and while there are signs that the economy as a whole is recovering, corporations remain reluctant to rev up their IT spending, and CIOs whose instincts are strategic at heart find their energies turning to strategies of survival, in which the bottom line can take precedence over top-line visionary thinking. And the pain has spread throughout our community—to the consultants, analysts, vendors and media as well.

This issue of CIO Insight keeps up our yearlong tradition of articles analyzing both top-line and bottom-line strategies. In Strategic Architecture, we look at advances in demand forecasting that can bring significant cost-savings to your supply chain (see “Supply Chain Forecasts On Demand“). The case study looks at Webcor Builders Inc.’s top-line strategy of bringing advanced collaboration software, wireless technologies and team management to bear on the process of heavy construction (see “How Webcor Builds on Collaborative Tech“). And in our trends article, we analyze some new techniques old-line retailers are using to consolidate the gains they are reaping in their e-commerce efforts (see “E-Commerce ROI: Many Happy Returns “).

The process of putting together an article for CIO Insight is very like knowledge management. At its best, it involves turning to our community to collect the best thinking and the most telling examples, and then putting that knowledge into a form that best communicates what we’ve learned. In keeping with that principle, we will be adding several new columnists, beginning with longtime technology journalist Eric Nee, whose bimonthly column debuts in this issue (see “HP/Compaq: Merging Standards“). Over the next several months, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig and futurist John Parkinson will also be joining us. We hope the additions will add to the exchange of critical knowledge that is at the heart of CIO Insight’s community of practice.

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