Gerstner, e-Business, And Management

If you've just arrived on the planet, you may not have seen IBM's prize-winning e-business marketing campaign. The brainchild of Chairman and CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr. and Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM's Internet Div., its thrust is to reach managements with the message that the revolution of e-business isn't just about the technology. "The real revolution is the one taking place in the executive suites of commercial enterprises, hospitals, universities, and government agencies," says Gerstner. "We talk about the fact that e-business is fundamentally the urgent search for new business models. Consider that every one of the commonly accepted conventions of business -- things like manufacturing, distribution chains, stock exchanges, and retail sales -- are all a function of time, space, and distance in a physical world. And every one of those limitations is affected, if not dismantled, in a digital, information-based economy. "Yet on another level, line management is forced to involve itself with what it once considered a lot of remote, arcane technical issues. In a networked world, issues of business strategy -- things like speed, competitiveness, cycle time, or globalization are so interconnected with technical issues that it really doesn't make sense to discuss them separately," adds Gerstner.

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