|As more organizations
understand the importance of e-business concepts, the
prefix e- may eventually disappear from our vocabulaI3'.
Whether we want it to happen or not. e-business affects
every organization. It is impossible to hide from its
impact or influence in the marketplace.
E-business will remain very important to
our organizations: however. understanding e is not as much
of a challenge as we all might think to begin with.
Throughout the rise and fall of the New Economy (whatever
that has turned out to be), vendors and influencers in the
marketplace have tried to keep the relevance of e-business
'hidden from the average Joe on the street. Much has this
has happened because of the propensity of vendors to have
solutions looking for problems, (Hammers looking for
nails, as I like to call it.) Also. the media and the
financial markets have head sway during this process,
causing firms to take action just for the sake of it. The
reality is that technolog3' and the supporting work
processes that make up e-business are just alternatives.
They can be ignored or they can be used but they are
options, no more and no less.
Beginning with the fundamentals, there
are three ways that we can do business: directly with
consumers, commonly known as B2C; between business
operations, whether in supply chains, partnerships, or
development environments (B2B - Business to Business); and
internally inside the organization (B2E- Business to
Employee). Using e-business tools and techniques
dramatically, assists organizations with the development
and delivery of improved strategies.
One thing we do now know. is that the
world will never be the same again for us, now that this
technology is out there in the marketplace. The Internet
has meant change for us, we have experienced the early
years, but as James Champy. chairman of Perot Systems
consulting practice and also head of strategy for the
company, quipped at a recent conference "We are ten
minutes into a 24 hour poker game." We have already had to
change, but we are still not sure how much more is to
For any strategy' to become a successful
e-business plan, focusing on the business in e-business is
a great place to start. While that might sound trite, it
is unlikely that e-business technology alone will
transform your operation. Most firms that have been
successful using these technologies have initiated change
associated with their existing businesses and created
opportunity through incremental improvements in operations
for themselves and their clients.
This book is a good example of such a
change. Traditional publishing models have followed a
pattern unchanged in centuries. The book outline is
prepared, a contract is signed with the author, and this
is followed by development of cop)', editing production,
printing, marketing, and distribution. Typical timelines
arc around 9-12 months from beginning to end. Far too slow
for some of the time-sensitive information contained in
this series. So, taking advantage of electronic creation,
production, and distribution technology., a new product,
process, and business model emerges, one not bound b)'
book- sellers, marketing timelines, and the processes
normally associated with marketing books. This example,
like most examples in the e- business catalog., does not
mean that the traditional book market is going away. but
in the same way that Amazon has changed the way that many
shop for books, the other e-business technologies will
create new options for the presentation and delivel3. of
CHANGE-READY AND ARMED FOR THE FUTURE
Building business environments that are ready for
change may turn
out to be the most important aspect of using e-business
Managers today are faced with many challenges: paying
costs and productivity while staying flexible enough to
ensure that they
are ready for the next round of changes that markets and
thrust upon them. In addition to being experts in their
have to stay abreast of the most important technology
risk missing opportunities. Using e-business technologies
can help in this effort.
Market conditions are changing faster than ever. yet our
adapt and deal with these changes seems to be decreasing.
fact that information technology and e-business solutions
that meet the
most complex business transactions are mature and
available, the gap
between the organization that wins the first time out and
continues to widen. How can operations such as Cisco and
tremendous value using technology to support their
business needs, and yet another spend millions and still
fail to get it right? How can one firm by so immensely
successful, while others fail?
IT'S ABOUT BUSINESS
One way to ensure that benefits are derived from IT
systems is to focus on the most strategic applications and
tie them into the way that the business is working and
needs to work in the future. The development of new
products and the promise of an Internet-based economy have
all added to the confusion in the marketplace. Now more
than ever, executives and line managers need to create
game plans that will bring them successfully through
potentially challenging market conditions.
We all understand the value of strategy
to an organization, but the real value is not just
understanding what strategy is, but knowing how to
transform a strategy into results. Turning strategy into
results requires expertise and techniques that leverage
enterprise and individual business function skill into
improvement across the board.