Analysis: 'Cybercorp' to emerge, Martin says

A new type of corporation, dubbed the "cybercorp", is emerging as a result of the rapid changes brought about by the Internet, says James Martin, chairman of the worldwide consulting firm James Martin & Co.

"We are seeing enormous change in the way corporations are being managed," says Martin. "The explosive changes in technology are changing the way people work."

Martin, in the Philippines to lecture on "Retooling IT and the Cybercorp", defines a cybercorp as a corporation engineered to take maximum advantage of electronics and cybernetics. This kind of corporation, he says, conducts a lot of business in cyberspace.

"The cybercorp is like a jungle creature stalking its prey, but is itself being hunted. It has senses that are constantly alert," says Martin.

The renowned IT guru says that it will take at least two decades before the cybercorp matures. "When it does mature, the cost of technology will depend on the distance," he says.

He says the cybercorp is evolving fast and needs a corporate structure that is completely different from that of the '80s.

"Some corporations will grow at unprecedented speed; some will be victims," Martin says.

Corporations, he says, need to focus intensely on business values, and must be able to sense exactly what is needed by the market and anticipate demand.

He also says that corporations must develop "real-time behaviour", electronically monitoring wealth-generating processes, continuously making adjustments and constantly monitoring customer satisfaction.

He says that successful corporations are those that can move fast and change fast. "The least successful organisations are trapped in bureaucracy and have unchangeable procedures," he says.

Martin says that in the 1980s, corporations started automating existing processes. A decade after, they realised that they had to reinvent business procedures before automating. "Now, I think they should reinvent the entire enterprise and map the enterprise in terms of value streams," says Martin. Value streams are an end-to-end set of activities which collectively create value for a customer. Order acquisition, order fulfillment, procurement, manufacturing and customer communication are typical examples of value streams.

"The reinvented value streams meet the customer's needs as directly as possible with small, highly focused teams using the most powerful technology," says Martin. He says that every corporation has at least one strategic value stream which should be reinvented to the highest level of excellence. He says that this task is the primary role of the IT organisation. "We live in exciting times. The total wave of change which we have at the moment is absolutely enormous," says Martin.

Martin says that the use of electronic cash, or e-cash, will grow enormously along with the use of the Internet.

"E-Cash is essential to the future of commerce," says Martin. He says that e-cash will soon be a major standard of society.

Martin says there are three types of e-cash: money transfers, smart cards and credit cards. He says that by the year 2005, commerce worth US$1.25 trillion of e-cash will be transacted a year. Martin is one of the world's best attended lecturers and founder of several successful companies. His numerous books include "The Wired Society," for which he received a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

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