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BRIC power-shift calls for 'New IT Story'

AMR Research sees former Sen. Bill Bradley's call for a shift in the way U.S. is run just as relevant to corporate survival in the new global economy.

AMR Research CEO Tony Friscia. Candace Lombardi/CNET

BOSTON--Emerging markets will be found in BRIC. That's Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

And unless companies start thinking and operating more collectively and less individualistically, they will not survive--let alone thrive on-- this change.

That was the message given on Tuesday to a group of CIOs, CEOs, and other executives at AMR Research's Executive Leadership Conference 2007.

Major challenges facing companies in the emerging BRIC-driven world economy will include how to manage data and how to mobilize a skilled workforce from one currently made up of aging skilled workers getting ready to retire and young unskilled workers.

AMR President and CEO Tony Friscia said that just like "The New American Story" former Sen. Bill Bradley speaks of in his book of the same name, there is, too, a "New IT Story." It's one of not just globalization, but of collectiveness among teams of different cultures and backgrounds within that globalized company.

Lee Geiskecker, AMR Research vice president. Candace Lombardi/CNET

In addition to investing in education to produce more skilled workers, Friscia said, companies will have to rely on collaboration among the workers they already have, and even among competitors, customers, and suppliers. The emergency response of stop, drop, and react that companies implemented when they had to set aside emergency corporate funds to quickly comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is not going to work for this next issue.

There's plenty of evidence backing up columnist Thomas Friedman's observation, articulated in his book The World Is Flat, that globalization is leveling the playing field for emerging-market countries. The barriers have already been broken and the world will continue to "flatten" with the emergence of these four economic powers, according to Lee Geishecker, vice president at AMR Research .

"Global means not just doing business in more than one country, but understanding localization, languages, and cultures," said Lee Geishecker, vice president of AMR Research.

Just as Bradley tells Americans they need to write their own destiny together, the "New IT Story" says corporations need to take a similar approach if they want to stay cutting-edge and economically viable in the face of the new, emerging world economic powers, according to both Friscia and Geishecker.

But dealing with these changes outside will have to start with a change of thinking inside a company, according to Friscia.

"My teenage daughters don't think of technology as a category within their lives, but as another thing that's incorporated into it. Corporations can't have an IT box that is kept separate. The CIO can't be thought of as only having a supporting role," he said.