There is so much I want to say about this book. For once, I couldn't decide where to start. There's a surplus of books out there about electronic communication, the Internet and the impact they make on business and management. Look on the shelves and you'll see "e" this and "e" that. This book, however, is way ahead of the pack. It's amazingly well researched, full of information and examples, and actually does tell us, as the sub-title indicates, how the communications revolution is changing management.
The Company of the Future starts off with Frances Cairncross' 10 rules for managers' survival: manage knowledge, make decisions, focus on customers, manage talent, manage collaboration, build the right structure, manage communications, set standards, foster openness and develop leadership. My first thought: sounds good but not terribly new. However, she goes on to explain in detail the impact that the communications revolution and the Internet have had on these management and business issues. And she gives us a look at the resulting "company of the future" with examples at every step.
Cairncross discusses everything from the impact on the reduction of the employment-hire cycle to the global impact of immediate inventory reduction resulting from an enhanced strategic supplier partnership and information-sharing.
Think about the impact on business, communication, people relations and management in relation to these facts that Cairncross discusses, some of which were taken from others' research: "More than 50 percent of e-mail negotiations end in impasse; only 19 percent end that way in face-to-face negotiations ... Between 75 percent and 90 percent of online shoppers abandon their carts before they have to pay for them ... At one Finnish company, for example, the computer 'listens' to the pitch of a caller's voice to determine if it is an older person, in which case it forwards the call to a human being."
I like a book that makes me think more broadly, helps me to understand something or teaches me new things. This book did all three. The Company of the Future is not just a good "e-book," it's a good management book.