Information, Please – Brief Article

Julia Homer

IN A CFO INTERVIEW THIS MONTH (“Guru of the New Economy,” page 76), Adrian Slywotzky urges companies to prepare for a future of perpetual change, in which you must be ready to envision your next business model as you execute the current one. A tall order.

What’s striking about the people in this month’s issue is that, in one way or another–and, to my knowledge, without ever having spoken to Mr. Slywotzky–they are all trying to do just that. And although they would probably not frame the issue this way themselves, they are all preparing for their next business model through the aggressive pursuit of better information.

At Hard Rock Cafe (“In the Name of Rock,” page 68), CFO Scott Little is putting in place a state-of-the-art data warehouse to pin down the sales impact of initiatives ranging from the placement of items on the menu to the length of the line at the door. Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies (“Acquiring Minds,” page 54) are competing in an extraordinary acquisition race to lock in the intellectual capital–the people–they need in their fight to dominate the emerging data-convergence market. And as senior contributor Stephen Barr outlines in our cover story, “Back to the Future” (page 42), former SEC commissioner Steven Wallman, among others, is suggesting no less than a total overhaul of financial-reporting practices so that Wall Street can get the information it needs without forcing companies to distort their decisions or behavior in order to provide it.

The name of the game is information. The information companies need to make rational decisions. The information markets need to evaluate those companies. And the fundamental source of information, creative people, whose ideas ultimately determine whether any company will succeed. Increasingly, the critical role of finance is to do whatever it takes to get that information.


COPYRIGHT 1999 CFO Publishing Corp.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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