Employees, Customers Left Out of B2B

Training for e-commerce has to extend throughout the organisation, says Keith Holtham, architecture manager for Intel's Asia-Pacific region.

Because of the speed of Internet development and of the decisions that need to be made in conjunction with it, many employees aren't "engaged" with business strategy in this area, says Holtham. As a result, their knowledge and awareness fall behind, he says.

Companies like Intel assume that because they are concerned with technology, staff will be familiar with the challenges associated with its use.

This is not so. "We found a lot of our people didn't have any idea of what our objectives were, and what we were trying to achieve."

"Big corporate strategy" tends to trickle down into the knowledge base, but e-business strategy doesn't - largely because of the high rate of progress at the top.

"People at the C_O level, such as the CEO, COO, CFO, CIO -- are delivering [the strategic thinking and planning] but it's not getting through, because [at lower levels] it's thought of as a technology problem."

He proposes training courses that explain the e-business strategy and why it's important, and says Intel has applied this with success to its employees.

"It's fun to do that training," he says. "You see people think of new things to do in their jobs."

Holtham also says the needs of the customer are still not being met, in e-business, particularly in the business-to-business market. E-business companies tend to concentrate on what they want out of the innovation, rather than considering how their customers might integrate it with their computer systems, to their benefit.

"That used to be okay when many customers had no such system; now they have not only today's systems but legacy systems," and all must be integrated into the total system.

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