Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fortune Brainstorm TECH: The Internet for Business


Left to right: David Kirkpatrick, Michael Dell, Gary Hamel, Mark Benioff, Christiane Zu Salm (Credit: Rafe Needleman/CNET)

From the 21st-23rd July 2008, Fortune held its Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2008 conference in Half-Moon, California, USA. The purpose of the event was for business executives to better understand how technology will be a determining factor in their company's future sustainability.

In the opening session, moderator David Kirkpatrick asks the question, "Is tech making the world a better place?"

Michael Dell and Mark Benioff of, opened with the changes in business, stating that the web gives companies a communications connnection with customers. "We put big ears on," Dell said, referring to customer feedback systems that Dell uses. Benioff added that "Our customers are ganging up on us," and "our product managers have less to do. The Internet is the great accelerator."

Author Gary Hamel strengthened the argument with "The great scandal of management is that, most workers are disengaged. The Internet is great at harnessing customers' imaginations more than employees. It's going to make a lot of traditional executives very uncomfortable." From a society perspective, he also said that the web is "empowering people to create like never before in human history. We are emancipating human imagination."

What's the learning from this? The customer is King - more than ever before - as they become more web-savvy. Businesses need to reconcile their traditional planning and marketing management with the smarter and increasingly connected customer.

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