Executive Briefs: December 2003

Signals: Information Polluters?

By John Parkinson

How much misinformation would it take to ruin your expensive and carefully designed
customer database? Not much, as it turns out. And now that it’s child’s play
to forge the bar codes and magnetic strips on the backs of loyalty cards, there’s
a potential for misuse that could lead to database problems. This sort of guerrilla
information warfare is on the rise, says columnist John Parkinson, the chief
technologist for the Americas at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and every company
that depends on the reliability of its customer database should pay attention.

Edge: Dare to Doubt

By Warren Bennis

The conventional wisdom is that leaders must be certain at all costs: better
to be wrong than perceived as weak or wishy-washy. But if you accept the premise
that the world has changed in fundamental ways, argues leadership expert Warren
Bennis, it follows that leaders must be willing to embrace uncertainty. Important
executive decisions should be subject to thoughtful revision, not written in
stone. The leader who admits, “I don’t know what to do,” and invites his or
her staff to work together toward a solution, has a chorus of strengths that
a reflexively adamant leader lacks.

Voices: C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy Upending CRM

By the editors of CIO Insight

Consumers have better access to more information, at greater speed and lower
cost, than ever before. But the information explosion has not necessarily resulted
in better consumer experiences. Now, say business professors C.K. Prahalad and
Venkat Ramaswamy, globalization and ubiquitous connectivity are forcing companies
to re-examine how they deliver customer value. And the new model has very little
to do with today’s CRM. “The problem with CRM is that it assumes that a company
knows what to do to create value for customers,” Prahalad says. “But this is
not right. This decision cannot be unilateral. It has to be collaborative.”

Study: Walt Disney World Resort A Better Mousetrap?

By Debra D’Agostino

Under CIO Roger Berry, Walt Disney World Resort has embarked on a next-generation
CRM strategy that uses the four Disney World theme parks as a market test bed
for one of corporate America’s most ambitious real-world tryouts of the business
use of IT convergence—the combination of GPS, smart sensors, wireless technology
and mobile devices. By personalizing the customer experience and influence consumer
behavior in real time, the goal is to stem customer complaints, boost profit
per customer, build customer loyalty and update the parks’ 75-year-old Mickey
Mouse brand for the digital age. CIO Insight Reporter Debra D’Agostino analyzes
the multi-tiered strategy and the company’s Pal Mickey customer interface, and
assesses how it could influence the bottom line.

Card Tricks

By Margaret L. Young and Marcia Stepanek

More than 75 percent of shoppers have at least one loyalty card, but how well
do they work? Freelance writer Margaret L. Young and CIO Insight Executive Editor
Marcia Stepanek analyze the problems with these popular data-for-prizes schemes,
tell why they don’t work for many firms, and profile three companies—Dorothy
Lane Market Inc., Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. and eBay Inc.—that are scoring
big loyalty program payoffs and using the customer data they reap as a cornerstone
in re-inventing their revenue-growth strategies.

Vendor Value

By the editors of CIO Insight

CIO Insight’s first-ever Vendor Value Study ranks how well vendors deliver business
value and reliability. Almost 1,300 IT executives rated 41 vendors on such factors
as delivering ROI, solving business problems, helping companies reduce costs
and meeting commitments. The five companies with the highest overall scores
are Symantec, Adobe, Cisco Systems, Dell and Motorola, while Hewlett-Packard,
SAP, Gartner, CSC and Storage Technology were winners in their respective product
and service categories. Hardware providers tended to fare better than consultants
or outsourcers in our survey.

Technology: Open Source

By Mike Perkowski

Now that the philosophical battles over open-source software are over, CIOs
can finally get down to the business of considering Linux and other kinds of
open-source products in terms of their strategic and economic value. While the
scalability of Linux remains an issue in some contexts, technology expert Mike
Perkowski says, there is widespread agreement on its reliability, cost effectiveness
and the solid support available from a growing list of top vendors. And the
Linux development community has become a valuable and growing resource for corporations
turning to the software.

CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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