by Michael Friedenberg

Execs from NASDAQ, HP Show Operations Some Love

Oct 28, 20112 mins

Michael Friedenberg, CEO of IDG Enterprise, shares stories from CIO events that suggest the best ideas thrive when operations run smoothly.

One of the great joys I have in serving the CIO community is witnessing the openness and transparency you have with each other—especially when given the chance to sit down face-to-face at one of our events. Whether the perspectives you share come from your experience with business, technology or overall leadership, I’m always impressed by how generous IT executives are in exchanging invaluable insights and guidance that ultimately improves everyone’s performance.

Having attended several events put on by IDG (CIO’s publisher) over the past few months, I’ve listened in on many discussions and conversations centered on innovation, strategy and business growth. They helped everyone in the room think about the bigger picture.

One of my favorite recent quotes (from a venture capitalist at our Fall 2011 DEMO show) was this one: “It is just as hard to launch the next ­Starbucks as it is the next local coffee shop. Think big!” It’s certainly the right message about stretching ourselves further to capture the larger ­opportunity.

Yet as I think about growth and innovation, I reflect back on what newly appointed HP CEO Meg Whitman said recently: “In the end, all we can do is deliver results.” While everyone gets excited about vision and strategy, I sometimes wonder if we should really spend more time talking about operational excellence and how to achieve it.

Anna Ewing, CIO of NASDAQ and a speaker at our 2011 CIO 100 Symposium this past August, reminded her audience that “operational excellence is the foundation to everything. It creates trust and is the gateway for the CIO to become more strategic.”

So as we deal with global economic turmoil, massive technology ­transformation, and a rapidly evolving workforce, we risk forgetting how ­strategic operational excellence can be. Delivering on time and on budget is no longer enough. Today, it’s all about on time, on budget and on value.

Any great idea without proper execution is a waste of time. Visionary talk may get us motivated, but snappy execution gives us freedom. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how operational excellence makes a difference in your business.

Drop me a line at the email address below.

Michael Friedenberg is the president and CEO of CIO magazine’s parent company, IDG Enterprise. Email him at