Confusing times demand clear thinking and focused execution. Two senior executives explain the most crucial item on their leadership agendas. Edited

RAY LANE
JOB General partner
ORG Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
PLACE Menlo Park, California

After I left Oracle, I started to think about the Internet from a broader perspective. Out of that thinking came my vision of the "real-time enterprise." That's a fancy tag line for a company that uses Internet technology to drive out manual business processes, to eliminate guesswork, and to reduce costs. My goal is to help create companies that can enable or fulfill at least a part of that vision.

The key feature of a real-time enterprise is spontaneous transaction flow. In most businesses today, an event like a customer order spawns thousands of transactions that go through a series of vertically organized departments. As a result, most companies have a highly fragmented view of their customers. A real-time enterprise addresses that problem.

The Internet is still the most important business platform of the past century. Nothing rivals the Net when it comes to reinventing business proc-esses. Size begets complexity, and complexity loses. But the Internet can enable big companies to behave like the small, homespun companies that they once were.

Ray Lane joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers last September, shortly after resigning his position as president and coo of Oracle Corp. Earlier in his career, he held senior positions at Booz Allen & Hamilton and eds.

KATHY BIRO
JOB Co-founder and vice chairman
ORG Digitas Inc.
PLACE Boston, Massachusetts

This year marks the end of the dot-com smugfest. To celebrate, I've set aside my mana-gerial responsibilities so that I can fully explore the future of e-business. The Internet industry is desperate for adults who can speak in reasoned tones.