This is the first book about the formulation, development and execution of e-strategy written entirely for senior executives in the language of the boardroom. Leading eCommerce expert Robert Plant cuts through the "consultantese" and technobabble to present a comprehensive, balanced, integrated strategy for ECommerce leadership. Drawn from research and interviews with senior executives at more than 40 of the world's largest organizations, Plant's strategy addresses all four key drivers of eCommerce success: brand, technology, service, and market. Plant introduces detailed models for the creation of a high-level eCommerce strategy and each dimension of that strategy. He demystifies the technical issues, explaining the functions and roles of each key element of eCommerce infrastructure. Along the way, Plant answers questions such as: "Where does your ERP system fit in? What is the role of knowledge management and data warehousing? Should you outsource, develop internally, or partner? How will eCommerce change your supplier and customer relationships?" Using a scorecard methodology, Plant helps executives understand their eCommerce objectives, and define metrics and processes that help every team member stay on track. From start to finish, eCommerce: Formulation of Strategy gives executives the intellectual tools to compete effectively in the new e-conomy.
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1. Formulating an Internet Strategy in a Networked World.
The Internet as a Business Solution or Pandora's Box. The Way Forward.
New Organizations: Born on the Net. Existing Organizations: Move to the Net. Move to the Net: Pillars of Success. Infomediaries and Business-to-Business Consortia. B2C, B2B, B2G, and G2B. Business-to-Government E-commerce. Government-to-Business E-commerce. Interorganizational Systems: B2C, Consortia, B2B, B2G, G2B.
Seven Dimensions of an E-commerce Strategy.
The Bonds of an E-commerce Strategy. Four Positional E-strategic Directions.
The E-centric Management Structure.
Senior Strategic Management Group. Content Owners.
Content May Be King, But it is Value Chain that is the Power Behind the Throne.
The Role of the Executive Technology Champion. Internal Technology Leadership: The Seven S Framework.
Strategy: The Alignment of Technology and Corporate Planning. Structure: Characteristics of a Flexible, Agile E-organization. Systems: The Nervous System Through Which the Organization Reacts to Its Environment. Staffing. Skills: Running Up a Down Escalator. Style and Shared Values: The Magic That Raises the Ordinary .com to Become a Great.com.
The Seven S Framework: Issues and Actions.
Manufacturing. Mixed Goods and Service Organizations. Service Organizations. Summary.
Bricks-and-Mortar to Clicks-and-Mortar Transition.
The Internet Service Value Chain - "Where the Rubber of E-commerce Meets the Road."
Customer Acquisition. Customer Purchase Support - A Helping Hand to Smooth the Transaction Process. Customer Fulfillment - Timely Delivery: A Key to Successful Service. Customer Continuance and Support - Maintaining That Customer Relationship Between Purchases. The Customer Service Channel.
Service Leadership: Rules of Internet Strategy.
Brand Creation: First to Market Wins and Wins Big.
Amazon.com. Developing a Brand Creator Position.
Brand Follower: A Last-Mover Disadvantage or Recoverable Position? Brand Reinforcement - The Development of a Continuous Brand Model Across Media.
Fending Off Brand Dilution: To Be Seen Online but Not to Sell Online.
Brand Reposition: Core Brand Values Combined with a Modern.
Brand Leadership: Rules of Internet Strategy.
Development Options-Where to Develop an E-commerce System (Internal, External, or Partnering).
The Internal Development Route. The External Development Route - Outsourcing as an Approach to Systems Creation.
Summary: Development Issues.
Hosting Options - Hosting Websites, Maintaining Control, and Managing Flexibility. Application Design. Network Topology. Server Configuration.
Forces Affecting Strategy Formulation - Understanding the Forces That That Impact You Is Half the Battle to Overcoming Them. Internet Strategy Effectiveness - The Creation of a Metrics Program.
Internet Effectiveness Scorecard.
The E-value Map.
Ownership Value Map. Ownership Levels. Process Value Map.
The Agile E-commerce Organization. Technology Change - A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats Equally. Brand Changes - Brand Equity, the Currency of the Global Leaders.
Leadership. Stability. Market. International Scope. Trend. Support. Protection.
Service Changes - Evolving to Meet the Changing Expectations of the Customer.
Customer Acquisition. Customer Support - During Purchase. Customer Fulfillment - Purchase Dispatch. Customer Continuance and Support.
Market Changes - The Rapid Evolution of Global, Segmented Systems-based Markets.
Market Segmentation. Global Markets. Market Hubs. Future Directions: Agile and E-organization Confluence.
Change in External Relationships - It Is the Company We Keep That Determines Who We Are.
The Battle for Information Supremacy: The Information Hub.
Government and Political Change-The Visible and Invisible Hands That Influence Commerce.
The United States of America. Global Issues. The Eighth Principle.
Commentary on the Road Ahead.
Executive Interview # 1: Travel Related Services. Executive Interview #2: Financial Services. Executive Interview #3: Power Utility. Executive Interview #4: Telecommunications. Executive Interview #5: Healthcare Services. Future Steps: Epilogue. So, What of the Future?
Even the Super Bowl, the most sacred and most watched sporting event in the United States had succumbed to the Internet and its influence. Victoria's Secret, the lingerie company, was the first to take the initiative with a 15-second slot promoting a live supermodel fashion show on the Internetan event probably more memorable than the game itself. By Super Bowl XXXIV only two years later in January 2000, with an estimated 130 million viewers the excitement and conversation was centered as much around the "dot-com" advertisements airing during the game as the game itself, each company paying out a record $2.2 million for each 30-second slot.
The message is clear: the Internet is here to stay. But beyond the start-up legends, the intermediaries, infomediaries, and service providers, the Internet is challenging established corporations' relationships with customers. The question they face is: "What will be the impact of the Internet on our business, our competitive strategy, and our information systems strategy?"
In researching this book, I interviewed senior executives at more than 40 major corporations in the United States and Europe. These in-depth interviews revealed diverse approaches to how this question is being approached.
Thus, in the face of a barrage of new rules for the information economy, business is finding that the boundaries of strategic thinking, and of competition, have vastly expanded. The challenge is to keep up with the rapid growth in converging technologies and to translate the potential of these technologies into business vision and dynamic competitive strategy.
So, what exactly is corporate strategy in the face of e-commerce? We can define corporate strategy as the formulation of a set of directives that, when effectively executed, fulfill the competitive vision set by executive management. In light of that, my consistent finding has been that, to be effective, an e-commerce strategy has to be integrated with the strategic vision of the company as a whole. As an executive from American Express put it, "The Net has to integrate into your core business." However, the approach to the creation of an effective e-commerce strategy is not always clear. True, many classic examples now exist and are very visibleAmazon.com, AOL.com, eBay.combut these are new organizations, born on the Web. What if you're an industrial manufacturer of cyclical products, how do you proceed? What if you are a supplier of information-based services and wish to develop an Internet strategy, again, how do you proceed? Executives can study the successes of the Amazons of the world, but does an Amazon-type strategy translate to other industries or organizations? Probably not. A sample of one type of Internet strategy, even if derived from the best of pure dot-com companies, has severe limitations.
The aim of this book therefore is twofold:
The methodologies presented in this book are based on a series of in-depth interviews and studies with executives and managers at 33 North American and European companies and, through use of public data and case studies, information for 10 additional organizations (see the table). This approach allowed us to get inside the thinking and philosophy of these global marketplace leaders, 16 of which were in their industries' top 10 as defined by Fortune. The in-depth interviews, examination of case situations, and discussions with leading practitioners have been distilled into a comprehensive set of frameworks. From these, you will get a clear picture of the dynamics involved in the creation of an Internet strategy and its deployment.
|Interview Case Studies|
|4||American Express||Fin'l Div|
|8||UTC (Pratt & Whitney)||Transport. Equip.|
|19||CSR Rinker||Nonmetallic Minerals|
|Private Companies or Companies That Are Part of a Conglomerate|
|CompaniesPublic Data and Case Study Information Sources|
|33||Swiss RE||Insurance Carriers|
|37||Edmunds||Automotive & Publishing|
|38||Internet Securities Inc||Finance|
|40||America Online||Internet Service Provider|
|42||Co-Op BookShop Australia||Publishing & Distribution|
The book is organized in the following fashion.
The chapter discusses the dynamics of the e-commerce marketspace and the three market positions that organizations and their executives find themselves in-traditional established organizations, new online organizations, and hybrid organizations.
The ultimate success of the strategy created and adopted by an organization depends heavily upon early identification of the specific issues and options available in each of these sectors when applied to the individual circumstances of the organization.
In this chapter we discuss the seven dimensions of an e-commerce strategy: The four positional characteristicsbrand, technology, service, and marketand the three bonding factorsleadership, infrastructure, and organizational learning. Determination of the interrelationships among these factors is key to the creation of a strong yet adaptable e-commerce strategy.
The creation of a successful e-commerce strategy is more than just the development of a conceptual product and plan. This chapter considers two critical factors internal to the organizationthe organizational structure and the content owners.
Success in the online marketspace requires flexibility and adaptivity on the part of the organization. To facilitate this, new e-centric organizational and management structures need to be adopted. These are structures that have their roots in the world of mass customization where the concept of the networked cross-functional management group has been previously successfully deployed. This chapter considers how these structures can be utilized in the online organization and how content owners within the organization play a valuable role in that structure.
The chapter thus considers the key organizational issues that need to be effectively managed to successfully compete in the Internet marketspace, including:
Technology does not work in a vacuum to make an organization world class. In this chapter technology issues are considered in relation to other key driverscorporate positioning and structure. The chapter describes how these factors, when carefully molded together, combine to create the dynamism found in the world's great companies.
This chapter considers the issues facing industry types and develops the issues pertaining to the four major segments through case studies of leading organizations in e-commerce strategy and deployment. The chapter also considers the role of partnering in developing a successful online market position and outlines the strengths associated with the e-consortia e-business model.
We look at:
The ability to create a meaningful customer relationship at all points of contact is central to doing business on the Internet. However the first generation of models that organizations followed were too simplistic both in their view of the customers' behavior and the metrics that they used. This chapter considers the interaction of customer relationship management through three drivers-content, format, and access-and discusses e-commerce metrics from a perspective that combines research from the area of knowledge-based systems verification and validation with that of market research analysis. At the end of the day, corporate strategists must know that what they are measuring is both valid and useful!
The power of branding on the Internet cannot be underplayed; the strength of the new online organizations has created significant brand equity very quickly. For traditional organizations moving to the Net, their challenge is to leverage existing brands effectively and move forward in their new chosen marketspaces. This chapter discusses the four major positions that can be adopted:
This chapter discusses the issues surrounding developmental choices available to executives-whether to develop the systems internally, externally, or some combination. The issues surrounding development and Web hosting are also explained and discussed through the Charles Schwab case study. The case illustrates at an executive level the major technical issues chief information officers and technologists face regarding server configuration, network topology, and application designs.
We look at:
This chapter develops a set of frameworks that executives and managers can work from in order to gain an understanding of the forces in strategy formulation pertaining to their own individual circumstances. The frameworks contain over 50 questions covering the seven dimensions of strategy formulation. The aim of the chapter is to help executives answer two fundamental questions: What are the strengths and weaknesses of my strategy or proposed strategy? What will I get out of this technology investment?
This chapter discusses the six major areas in which change will emanate as the environment of e-commerce goes forward in time. The ability to stay ahead in all of these areas is vital to e-commerce strategies, and the chapter highlights critical issues in each: patents, e-consortia, wireless technologies, brand equity valuation models, the threat from the "old economy" industrial giants as they recreate themselves, jurisdiction, copyright, pricing models, the home services station, global markets, market hubs, market segmentation, emerging markets, Latin America, China, the information hub, the visible and invisible hand, the White House, cyber crime, the Eighth Principle.
The areas are:
This chapter contains five interviews from executives on the leading edge of strategy and vision. The executives were chosen for their fresh views and their insight into particular industry segments. They reveal issues that are both far reaching yet pragmatic as they run their operations in a day-to-day environment. These interviews may help real-world managers and executives cope with their mainstream environments and organizations more effectively. Not all companies are Fortune 100 companies or situated in Silicon Valley as portrayed in most other interviews and texts. The interviews include two dot-com start-ups, a software company transitioning to the Net, a multinational telecommunications company, and a power utility.
The models are created, based on the research collected for this book, to maximize the strategy potential of all organizations that adopt and adapt them for their own individual circumstances. The book's intent is to help executives in all stages of growth and positioning and for executives globally. All organizations have the opportunity to transform themselves through the Internet and the potential it offers.