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Afterword > Forests and Trees

Forests and Trees

With the wiring of the corporation, its suppliers, and customers, management is required to make real-time decisions in an environment of accelerating speed and complexity. Unfortunately, designing technology to produce relevant information that is easily understood and acted upon has proven to be very difficult. Even the most technologically savvy companies fail to understand and act upon their data. In May 2001, Cisco Systems (one of the world's most wired companies) took a $2.25 billion charge to write down inventory. Although Cisco surely has excellent data on its order pipeline and supply chain, the company was unable to use its data to respond effectively to industry conditions. Where management used to wait for market studies, cost analyses, and competitor's reactions, today's decisions often need to be made in real time with difficult-to-evaluate data. Thus, the availability of almost unlimited real-time data makes the “old-fashioned” skill of seat-of-the-pants decision making more important than ever.


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