Volume 10, Number 3
Your Business to the Internet
Donovan, president of Donovan Associates (firstname.lastname@example.org;
609-936-1880), is a consultant and executive coach to senior
management on increasing profits and growth through leadership,
strategic management, and organizational development.
today have some Internet and Web capability…yet often much of
this capability is disconnected, inconsistent and incomplete.
Thus, the enterprise cannot reap the full benefits of
increased synergies, innovation, growth, and profits that
connectivity platforms make possible.
Board’s annual Strategic Management Conference in New York in
January 2001 focused on strategies and tactics for transforming
businesses to more effectively embrace the Internet. Senior
executives from many industries and geographies participated. I
was the conference program director, and moderated the concluding
session of panelists* charged with interpreting and summarizing
what we had heard from our speakers and audience.
I’ve sketched the main conclusions from the conference.
(Note: The reader
might wish to refer to the summary from last year’s conference: Innovative Leader, Vol. 9, No. 3, March 2000, to appreciate the
maturing sentiment on the Internet during the past year.)
sobering markets remind us that nothing comes easily. Sustainable
value is not created out of mere wishes or hype, but rather
through well-formulated, customer-focused strategies, realistic
profitability models, and streamlined, cost-effective,
value-creating processes using the best available technologies,
practices, and people. The panelists emphasized the need for
enterprises to retain the basics of good business management.
Fear of the
dot.com companies is being replaced with the recognition that the
fiercest competitors will be traditional organizations that are
transforming to embrace the Internet.
And the leaders have a “ruthless execution” mantra.
unanimously felt that a traditional organization would not remain
competitive if it simply had basic Internet connectivity and did
not integrate its functions into the Internet.
business is more challenging than simply buying some technology
and adding an e-appendage. Transforming
requires leadership, ability to change, and ability to learn new
ways to do old things. Below are insightful comments from the
allocating company resources to make a company’s functions
• Core business is at risk if functions are not e-enabled.
difficult challenges organizations face in transforming to embrace
the Internet and the Web:
• Rethinking the business design so that it is consistent with
the best ways to take
trade-offs for an organization embracing the Internet:
• The human impact. There
is trade-off on control…less control than previously.
Items to address
first when developing a business strategy:
• Business design.
opportunities in this connected Internet economy:
• Cost reduction and new opportunities
The single most
important change in business conditions on the Web during the past
• Drop in market valuations, and recognition of need to get
back to fundamentals.
key concerns a year from now will be:
• Advances of traditional competitors as they transform to
embrace the Internet.
* Panelists: Cathy Benko, Global e-Business Practice Leader, Deloitte Consulting; Janice Castro, Assistant Professor Medill Graduate School of Journalism, Northwest University; Ryan Craig, Vice President New Business Development, Fathom; Robin Ferracone, Chairman, SCA Consulting; Dave Mason, Senior Vice President of Strategy, NerveWire; Neil Pitts, Director of eBusiness Marketplaces Worldwide Information Systems, Eastman Kodak; John Sifonis, Director, Internet Business Solutions Group, Cisco Systems.