Summer 2001
Volume 42, Issue # 4


Revving the Engines of Online Finance

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Few industries have more to gain from digital technologies than financial services. After all, finance is a pure bits business, based on the flow of data through billions of transactions.T



Information Systems Go Global

  • Read Time: 3 min 

For best results, a multinational corporation should design its information systems to reflect its global business strategy.


Successful Customer-Relationship Management

  • Read Time: 4 min 

Getting close to your customer, we're told, is the key to success in the marketplace. That mantra of modern marketing has led to a boom in information-technology spending to help companies get in touch with their customers. Indeed, interest in customer-relationship-management (CRM) systems continues to heat up.T


What Really Makes Customers Happy?

  • Read Time: 2 min 

Which is more important to customers: delivering the right product or service, or eliminating problems in that product or service?According to a working paper titled “The Impact of Reliability and Customizability on Customer Satisfaction for Goods Versus Services,” the answer depends on what the customer is buying.


Commitment Counts

  • Read Time: 4 min 

When starting a high-tech company, be aware that organizations based on commitment do better than those founded on engineering or star power.



Innovation: Location Matters

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

Innovation has become the defining challenge for global competitiveness. The authors show the degree to which location matters for successful innovation at the global technology frontier. Such locational advantages help to explain an apparent paradox of globalization: Ideas and technologies that can be accessed at a distance cannot serve as a foundation for competitive advantage.


Winning the Last Mile of E-Commerce

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

As the holiday season drew near, e-commerce retailers were either working anxiously to get their in-house processes ready or were double-checking with partners and service providers on order-fulfillment operations. Fears of revisiting the previous year’s fulfillment problems hounded them during their preparations for the projected high sales of Christmas 2000.1


How To Make Strategic Alliances Work

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 18 min 

Research shows that the most successful strategic alliances are in companies that have a dedicated function specifically assigned to oversee alliances. Such companies more readily solve problems related to the four key alliance-management elements — knowledge management, external visibility, internal coordination and accountability.


Building an Effective Global Business Team

  • Read Time: 24 min 

How can companies reverse the generally weak performance of faltering global teams? The authors‘ survey of 58 senior executives from five U.S. and four European multinational organizations reveals the corrosive effects of a number of cross-cultural impediments. The authors elaborate on how carefully crafting a cross-border team‘s charter, composition and process work holistically to increase the odds of success.


Why Service Businesses Are Not Product Businesses

  • Read Time: 23 min 

What manager in a product-oriented business has not thought about growing revenues by adding related services? What company in a service business has not weighed the advisability of offering products? Expansion often seems to make sense, but most companies creating a new offering limit themselves to approaches that are familiar



Profits and the Internet: Seven Misconceptions

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 22 min 

The Internet has created new markets, customers, products and modes of conducting business. The authors explain why seven popular strategies are not the path to profitable growth and provide thoughtful guidelines for avoiding misconceptions and taking a sensible approach to business on the Internet.


Not All VCs Are Created Equal

  • Read Time: 15 min 

Raising capital for new ventures may have suffered a setback when the dot-com bubble burst, but that has not impeded the flow of bright ideas that cry out for funding. A panel of venture-capital experts met at MIT to discuss venture capital today. The panel discussion offers practical insights not only into what entrepreneurs should look for in a VC firm, but also what venture capitalists seek from startups.


Innovation by User Communities: Learning From Open-Source Software

  • Read Time: 15 min 

Imagine product development without manufacturers. Today’s user innovation communities are making that idea increasingly real. Open-source software projects, among others, have led to innovation, development and consumption communities run completely by and for users.


Improving Quality Just in Time

  • Read Time: 3 min 

Lower inventory levels not only boost efficiency, they also improve quality —especially when combined with training.