Pray for a connected future

It is now a thoroughly accepted cliche that those who don't yet have an E strategy have pulled their heads out of the sand and lain them face down in a large pool of H20. They'll be dead in the water soon.

Oh god, give us telephones that we might make transactions and prosper.

Oh God, give us calculators that we might count the profit.

Oh God, give us computers and mobile phones that we might make more transactions and still prosper.

Oh God, give us e-commerce that we might make exceptionally large numbers of transactions and still prosper amongst all the other peoples doing the same.

Everywhere you look now the message about the E stuff is that it’s basic to business. A year or so back the E dance was seen simply as a challenge to business and IT people to consider spending more bucks in IT. Perhaps you needed this sort of excitement like a bullet in the head.

What an exceptionally fast revolution it’s been. Let’s all stop and wonder. This new minimum level of operational efficiency is winging its way into every nook and cranny of the civilised world.

When yet another buffoon stands up and points out the obvious advantages of E it’s now akin to being told the telephone is basic to your business. You wish to hell these people would shut up and let you think.

Because there is a lot of real business thinking to be done to make the right E moves.

It is now a thoroughly accepted cliché that those who don’t yet have an E strategy have pulled their heads out of the sand and lain them face down in a large pool of H20. They’ll be dead in the water soon.

We’re under additional pressure here in New Zealand because we are, this time, well behind the times. No.8 wire doesn’t carry IP.

The really interesting questions now are about how precisely to do the E dance.

What’s going to happen to those companies for whom the E strategy is the total business strategy? Will they fall flat on their faces? It’s like running your entire business as a telesales operation. Some do it, but not many.

Long term there may be room for one or two Amazons, for the entire world of course. There may be a bit more room in the business-to-business space.

And watch those for whom the e-business component is a tack-on, run separately from the rest of the business. They’re sending someone else out to do their dancing for them. Their companies face divergent goals, duplicated cost and effort, and internal communication difficulties.

Their old businesses will struggle to fund their new business into existence, and application of the basic business knowledge will be difficult. Unless, of course, they can integrate everything together. And that’s the message coming through now loud and clear.

This is great news for New Zealand, because we can catch up by avoiding the mistakes that everyone else has already made.

Let’s push business-to-business e-commerce throughout all our organisations and create solid companies that can play in the new real world.

There is no room for holding back at this point. It’s not an optional IT expenditure, it is a modern business requirement. Like the telephone.

Richard Wood is editor of Computerworld New Zealand. All correspondence with the editor will be considered as publishable unless otherwise requested.

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