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Memo to the CEO

If you are reading this book, you are probably responsible for steering your company or business unit through the stormy waters of e-business: continuous growth, cost reduction, and customer retention. As you witness the emergence of the electronic enterprise, you will notice more opportunities than ever before for adding value to your company and for making money. But it is tough to figure out how deep the business impact of this emerging technology will be, where to invest, and what changes to make. So here you are at the beginning of the twenty-first century, searching for a place to start, a path to follow, a destination to reach.

Creating an e-business design is only the first step. The most difficult part of the e-business journey comes next: the execution of your e-business design. In recent years, many best-selling management books have exhorted managers to be innovative and to develop a vision for the future. Also, the "strategic" consulting industry is making a killing by guiding executives in how to render their business strategy intelligible, develop strategic vision, make choices about product and service offerings, develop better competitive timing, segment and target customers, and outsource noncore competencies. Analyzing core competencies, planning strategy at the 50,000-foot level, and developing mission statements make great reports that, unfortunately, few read. Almost all firms these days have great visions and strategies, but relatively few execute them, and even fewer execute them well.


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