ECAT looks for quick e-biz 'wins'

The the government's E-commerce Action Team (ECAT) is 'looking for some quick wins' -- e-commerce implementations with potential payback in the short-term -- as well as longer-term strategies.

The government's E-commerce Action Team (ECAT) is “looking for some quick wins” – e-commerce implementations with potential payback in the short-term – as well as longer-term strategies, says team member Prashanta Mukherjee of IBM.

None of these quick wins was firmly identified at the team’s first meeting earlier this month, but some ideas should come back from the industry sector representatives’ contact with their sectoral groups in time for a second meeting next month, he says.

ECAT is “a fairly diverse group, and we have to achieve an understanding of one another’s perspectives”, he says. He thinks the team achieved that during the first meeting. “If you don’t share perspectives, you can’t come up with a portfolio of actions.”

Some sectors, like travel, clearly have more experience with e-commerce and see a different set of challenges from, say, the health industry.

“We are talking about moving commerce and the economy,” Mukherjee says. “We need to bring out the necessity of major change in business processes.” That will span from customer services processes back to sourcing merchandise and resources, where outsourcing to a shifting population of partners is increasingly the rule. “The e-bit of it is just an enabler. We evaluate success not by the number of clicks on the website, but by changes in the extent and type of business we’re doing.

“We need to identify the leading practices from the people who have gone through those changes already.” An early hurdle will be getting them to share that information, so the team has some examples to show the various industry sectors. “Too often we rely on overseas reports; we want to be able to say ‘look, it’s happening here’.”

The team has agreed to meet monthly for at least the next three months, but between meetings will be exchanging views via a secured area of its website. The site, at http://www.ecommerce.govt.nz/ecat , will also carry public information on the team’s progress.

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