Business Network Transformation

Jeffrey Word (ed.), Josey-Bass, 2009, 304 pp., $40 (book).

This book represents the work of 15 authors who focused on different aspects of the connected enterprise of suppliers, customers and other partners to deliver high value at high speed to customers worldwide. Word acts as editor, summarizing the best information in each of the chapters.

The book is based on Word’s experiences with SAP and the company’s 80,000 clients. Chapters one and two outline the global view of business network transformation (BNT), including the definition of the two types of networks: collaborative and coordinating. The book then moves into six chapters that discuss functional performance before closing with three chapters on critical resources and a roadmap for success.

BNT operates on three basic concepts: globalization, networks that help with the outsourcing process and networks that amplify differentiating core competencies, thus helping the company gain competitive advantage. The authors say the speed of business in 2009 required visibility through robust IT capabilities in small and large companies. They also say relationships are a new form of capital to be leveraged.

I found chapter seven on operational excellence to be an enlightening IT perspective on strategy, deployment and sustaining momentum, with some complex charts and examples. The discussion of trust in chapter nine by Jeffrey Dyer is excellent, and the last chapter lays out the roadmap to transform your business network.

This book is for top-level executives who can set corporate strategy in a networked world and drive organizations toward squeezing competitive advantage from all relationships.

Bill Baker
Speed to Excellence
Santa Fe, NM

Domino: How Customer Experience Can Tip Everything in Your Business Toward Better Financial Performance

Linda Ireland, Aveus, 2009, 228 pp., $24.95 (book).

In this book, Ireland shares her ideas and provides real-life examples of how customer experience can create a performance reward for any business. Her focus is on providing practical approaches to building and maintaining customer relationships, concerns certainly not new in the world of business and management literature.

Ireland manages to cut through the usual consultant psychobabble with her methodical, pragmatic approach to this important issue, helping readers extract and apply these concepts in any business, especially companies in the service sector.

The chapters take readers through the key steps of understanding a business’s current state of customer experience. The book concentrates on businesses exceeding their customers’ expectations.

Ireland’s information is cogently organized and nicely broken into bite-size bits that exemplify for readers how the ideas are presented in the author’s hands-on training sessions.

The solid material presented in this book will help any business create the ideal customer experience. The numerous tools and exercises further enhance the material, but, of course, these demand disciplined implementation by the reader.

I highly recommend this book for business leaders seeking a sustainable financial strategy in an increasingly fast-changing world.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

Risk Modeling, Assessment, and Management

Yacov Y. Haimes, Wiley, 2009, 1,010 pp., $140 (third edition, book).

This encyclopedic book published in Wiley’s Systems Engineering and Management series is up to date, comprehensive and well organized. This third edition (the book was first published in 1998) consists of chapters covering the fundamentals, advanced material, case studies and 12 appendixes.

The book is about incorporating risk analysis in the decision-making process for management and regulatory bodies. It covers an impressive range of applications, such as healthcare, the environment, water resources, transportation, supervisory control and data acquisition, cyber security and electric power risk management. The case studies include the 2003 Northeast blackout, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the Lahar flow threat and an application of extreme events statistics to Six Sigma.

One particular feature of the book is its approach to rare events with extreme impact and conditional expected values of risk. Specifically, chapter 11 covers a partitioned multiobjective risk method with extreme events. The chapter discusses analytic methods and numerical solutions based on simulation and regression models.

The book positions risk analysis in the broader context of systems engineering and, as such, places it in a central role. The text represents more than 30 years of research and consulting experience and is a valuable resource for quality engineers, risk managers and system architects in almost all fields of application.

Ron S. Kenett
Raanana, Israel

ISO 9001:2008 Explained

Charles A. Cianfrani, Joseph J. Tsiakals and John E. "Jack" West, ASQ Quality Press, 2009, 320 pp., $105 list, $63 member (third edition, book).

A major revision to the ISO 9000 international standard series on quality management systems was issued in 2000 to update the standards and to make the documents more user friendly. The purpose of the recently released version of ISO 9001:2008 is to clarify, not to change, the requirements.

This book focuses on the meaning of the requirements in ISO 9001:2008 and discusses the requirements as they relate to each product category.

New in this third edition of a well-known classic in the field are recommendations for implementation. Each clause now has a section on tips for implementation that sometimes go beyond the requirements. There are also new chapters on implementation, auditing and use of the system. The book contains the text of ISO 9001:2008 as contained in the U.S. adaptation.

Written by authors with a combined 100 years of experience in quality management system deployments, this book does a great job of addressing the interpretation of the standard and important implementation issues.

The book is strongly recommended for all organizations seeking a general understanding of the contents of ISO 9001:2008 or those with a desire to ensure their ISO 9001:2000 quality management system meets the new requirements.

Bengt Klefsjö
Luleå University of Technology

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