Walking out of his Manhattan apartment for his day job as lead scientist at the National Tele-Immersion Initiative, Jaron Lanier, the man who gave us the term virtual reality and was instrumental in developing the first virtual reality glove so that people could touch the digital universe, is only too happy to talk about what he thinks is coming in 2003.
Stories by Lafe Low
It's a theorem from dotcom history: That which a retailer spins off must eventually return to the parent company or crumble from its own lack of success.
That was one of Marco Iansiti's principal findings when he studied 30 national brick-and-mortar retailers that launched online ventures. Iansiti, a Harvard Business School professor (and an expert consulted for the US CIO-100 issue), together with PhD student George Westerman, conducted the study for five years and saw that 21 of the retailers eventually reintegrated those ventures back into the company, and the other nine shut down.
Back in the not-so-long-ago, when Internet-driven capital still flowed and new applications sprouted like dandelions on the corporate lawn, it took uncommon vision to pursue integration as a core business strategy. Many companies put new ERP, CRM and other software and systems in place to feed their growth and solve their immediate business problems, but few had either the time or the inclination to put much thought into how they would all work together in the future.
Sure, CIOs invested in tools that helped one application peek at the data in another. Lots of IT executives cobbled together systems and made business happen one way or another. But precious few could say they were integrated, with a big-picture view of their companies, customers and corporate collaborators.