Fundamentalist Preaching

EDS Dick Brown says the IT industry needs to refocus

Las Vegas -- PRNewswire  November 16, 2000 -- At the annual computerpalooza/schmoozefest that is COMDEX, taking place this week in Las Vegas, EDS Chairman and CEO Dick Brown told the IT industry it had lost sight of basic business fundamentals  including how to build sustainable companies  and challenged the industry to look beyond e. I believe our industry has been so consumed with chasing the e-space, weve lost sight of the basic business fundamentals  the big picture, Brown told a COMDEX keynote audience at the Las Vegas Hilton. As an industry, he said we had the glitz but missed the guts. And guts, as those who held on to stocks this spring know all too well, are essential if the glitz is to survive.

In his speech, Brown outlined a set of imperatives for success in the digital economy: eliminate boundaries; collaborate in new ways; continuously seek improvement; and establish trust with customers, partners and colleagues. These four basic imperatives are central to making enterprises work in the digital economy. They are simply stated, but increasingly complex to deliver, Brown said.

Brown went on to explain that EDS has analyzed the trends driving global markets  including convergence, privatization, voice over IP [Internet Protocol], broadband and intelligent agents  and examined consumer needs. You must see the big picture, work to improve everything you touch and be there when you are needed. Better yet, (you must) anticipate what consumers want and be there before youre needed.

Browns address is indicative of the changing face of COMDEX, which is moving beyond its traditional focus on hardware and software and into IT services. As evidence of the change, Comdex enlisted EDS as the project lead on a high-speed fiber-optic network that connects more than 2,200 exhibitors and the five conference venues. The system is the worlds largest temporary metropolitan area network (MAN).

This is EDS first year to have a major presence at Comdex. Part of that presence includes a 10,000-square-foot booth that brings to life the idea of transformation through a dramatic change. EDS transformed the entire quarter-acre booth overnight to illustrate the concept of how it helps transform businesses on the fly. You must re-invent and replace not only your own but your customers business models and processes ... and you must do it on the fly, Brown said in his keynote address, citing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as examples of agencies that understand this concept. The Navy clearly understood it has to constantly improve its effectiveness and change itself. (EDS recently signed the largest federal IT contract in history, valued at more than $6.9 billion over a potential eight years, with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.)