The innumerable peddlers of e-business solutions are persistent, and before engaging in long conversations, Michael Suman, Johnson Controls Inc. group vice president of e-business and marketing, immediately asks if the company has conducted a "business case" example to demonstrate how JCI will save money with the product and how much.

The caller sheepishly admits he doesn't really have such a business case, nor does he have one for a competitive company.

"So then I ask, `Have you done it for your own company, because obviously if you're selling this, you must be able to show how you've saved money doing it,'" Mr. Suman says.

Well, not really, the caller whimpers.

In the meantime, Mr. Suman has the enormous task of piloting the interiors megasupplier into the age of connectivity. His mission is to eliminate over-engineering, scrap legacy systems that don't add value and to get 290 facilities worldwide running lean, while focused on product development 24 hours a day, seven days a week.