Net Future

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What does tomorrow portend for executives, managers, their jobs and businesses in an even faster, more interactive and relentlessly competitive world? Welcome to Net Future. the prophetically plotted roadmap to a bold new world of commerce and consumerism. An interactive marketplace where success for the well-prepared will be no less than total. And all but impossible for those who are not. It's a world Chuck Martin, author of The New York Times Business Book Best Seller, The Digital Estate, is well equipped to ...
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Overview

What does tomorrow portend for executives, managers, their jobs and businesses in an even faster, more interactive and relentlessly competitive world? Welcome to Net Future. the prophetically plotted roadmap to a bold new world of commerce and consumerism. An interactive marketplace where success for the well-prepared will be no less than total. And all but impossible for those who are not. It's a world Chuck Martin, author of The New York Times Business Book Best Seller, The Digital Estate, is well equipped to foretell. A future dictated by seven "cybertrends" already taking form. Discover where they are, what they mean and how to get ready for all of them.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Chuck Martin is no Nostradamus. But as a former VP of IBM and founding publisher of Interactive Age, he thinks he knows a thing or two about the future.

However, Martins future actually looks a lot like the present. It revolves around three important Nets: the Internet, the intranet and the extranet. Products become commoditized and customers become data. Consumers bank online, shop online and take classes online. Companies gather information about customers online. And collaborative filtering and data mining prove extremely useful for turning profits. Sound familiar?

Net Future intends to help readers deal with current realities by examining how others have dealt with the changing economic landscape. On the plus side, the book offers mini-case studies: company X handled a challenge this way; company Y did it that way. Martin shares letters written by other executives, and these are rather insightful. For instance, its instructive to read how Onsales Jerry Kaplan and Pricelines Jay Walker view the Internetworked world.

The book also contains a number of checklists. Lists of dos and donts for content creation, ad sales management and wiring the work force aim to help companies plan their business strategies. Other lists like Business Rules of the Net Future and Executive Prep for the Net Future include really obvious tips: Surf the Net, learn to filter your e-mail, get a bigger hard drive, acquire a domain name and buy something online. While such assignments may seem elementary to sophisticated readers, Martin has apparently found a comfortable niche helping nonwired execs read the Internets tea leaves. Its a bit pretentious to claim you have a bead on tomorrow, especially when it doesnt look all that different from today. But amid all the recent fin de siecle future-telling, this books strength may be in telling you about whats happening in the here and now.

–Diane Anderson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780070411319
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Pages: 289
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 8: Learning Goes Real Time, All The Time

Go to school? No, school will go to you in the Net Future-if you're motivated to learn. New technologies will create classrooms in which the students may be in 100 different locations, all different from that of the teacher. Whether in colleges or corporations, whether used to gain a degree or new technical skills, online education will become an increasingly popular way to help students and workers get the education they need to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world.

There are several key drivers in the growth of online education.

1. The rapid change in skill sets required. With the growth of the knowledge economy, more and more corporate assets are developed, maintained, warehoused, managed, and distributed using information technology. The need for IT professionals is expected to double by 2006, according to the Information Technology Association of America. That new emphasis, plus changes in the technology itself-the rapid inroads of the Internet foremost among them-is driving a tremendous increase in the need for corporate training. U.S. companies spend $60 billion a year on training. The amount spent on Webbased training and education of just IT professionals will grow to nearly $2 billion by the year 2000.1 And more than half of adult education participants have some portion of their tuition reimbursed by their employers.2

2. The cost of training. About 70 percent of a company's training costs are tied up in getting people to classes: transportation, meals, lodging, and instructors. The Net has the power to eliminate those costs. Web-based training also makes the processmore efficient. Rather than having to hold multiple sessions over a long period of time, corporations will find that doing at least part of the training on the Web means that less time is needed in the classroom. Qualcomm, which makes E-mail software, finds that online preparation for classroom courses reduces butts-in-seat time by 40 percent. That is a critical factor in the highly competitive Net Future, where being slow in getting a sales force up to speed can give a competitor precious time to gain market advantage.

3. Employee recruitment and retention, Recognizing that they can no longer guarantee long-term employment-and that the workforce is increasingly mobile-companies have discovered that training programs can act as an effective employee retention tool. Both entry-level and more experienced information technology professionals say that the opportunity to improve their skills is a better.perk than flextime or additional compensation; for IT managers, it ranks third.3

When employees at CSX Technology check out job openings on the company's Intranet Career Mapping program, they learn more than simply what's available within the company. If the employee's skills don't match the position desired, the person can search the Intranet for available training and even take an online course from the company. The career-mapping center is the only place where employees can find the total picture of openings at CSX. More important, it helps define a career path within the company-an aid in retaining the knowledge that people have already gained at CSX.

4. The explosion in adult learners. Roughly 40 percent of all people pursuing degrees today are over 40. Unfortunately, these adult learners often find traditional educational schedules difficult to meet. Enter Net U, where learning adapts to the student's schedule rather than the other way around. The Chronicle of Higher Education, the bible of academic life estimates that every institution will be teaching online by the year 2000.

As bandwidth increases and standards for Web content creation become better defined in the next few years companies will be able to migrate much of the multimedia training delivered a few years ago via CD-ROM. Such training was regarded as a huge leap forward because of its ability to provide instruction on demand as well as rich animation and graphics.

In the Net Future, those digital assets will be delivered via the Net. And because the Net lends itself to alternative Me. ways of interacting with others, new ways of learning and teaching will emerge. At least one study of online education has shown that students in a virtual classroom can learn as MA- I as or better than their counterparts in a traditional classroom. 4

ANYTIME LEARNING

With Net-based virtual learning centers, school will become something you do, not someplace you go. Online classrooms can include not only lectures and other materials posted by the teacher, but E-mail exchanges (teacher/student and Student/Student), bulletin boards or chat rooms for class discussions, and tests. Using the Net, education no longer will need to have students gather at one time in one physical location unless being there serves a specific purpose.

University College at the University of MaryLand is one of several colleges that have established full undergrate or graduate degree programs online. About 4004 students have enrolled in the school, and 1500 have graduated

In the Net Future, there will be a blurring of the lines between the 18-to 2 1 -year-old student body that higher education has traditionally catered to and an adult population that will be pursuing degrees in nontraditional ways, seeking professional certification or getting training to improve job skills. At SUNY, 80 percent of all students also have jobs. Those students need greater flexibility if they are to be able to handle course work at the same time.

In the Net Future, students will be buying not only an education but the convenience of how they get it. In some cases, institutions have been able to charge higher prices for online instruction than they have for campus classes; students are willing to pay tuition that is as much as four to five times higher, because online simply makes their lives easier. Convenience is the key reason students cite for taking courses online-the ability to attend "class" at midnight on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead of 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or to do homework whenever it makes the most sense.

The same is true in the corporate training arena, where companies want to reduce the time and money employees spend physically going to training sessions. Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Company, which administers corporate 401 (k) programs, used to offer 90-minute seminars on retirement planning that were broadcast via satellite to employees at multiple sites around the world. Using live phone hookups that allowed employees to ask questions directly of the experts and hear questions from all the other sites, the seminars were intended to dramatically cut the time needed to make presentations to a large, geographically dispersed workforce.

The seminars were designed to reduce the number of Fidelity employees who had to spend time on the road briefing their clients' employees on their retirement plan. However, the broadcast process proved too cumbersome and expensive for most clients. Fidelity found that even clients that had established their own internal broadcast systems were beginning to substitute Intranet-based information, which required no set schedule.

WELCOME TO NET U!

When UOL Publishing began offering distance education 5 courses in 1984, its name was University On Line. However, when the company went public in 1996, its name was changed to reflect the fact that 80-90 percent of its customers now are corporations. Of the 700 courses in the catalog, data communications, telecommunications, and information technology are the three biggest instructional areas; there even are courses for teachers and trainers on how to develop a Web-based curriculum. The demand for online corporate training over the Internet increased the company's revenues tenfold almost overnight from $1 million in 1996 to $10.1 million in 1997. . . .
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Introduction: The E-Business Revolution 1
Ch. 2 The Cybereconomy Goes Main Street 15
Ch. 3 The Wired Workforce Takes Over 49
Ch. 4 The Open-Book Corporation Emerges 91
Ch. 5 Products Become Commodities 123
Ch. 6 The Customer Becomes Data 149
Ch. 7 Experience Communities Arise 185
Ch. 8 Learning Goes Real Time, all the Time 221
Ch. 9 The Best and Worst of the Net Future 247
Ch. 10 Completing the Circle 257
Notes 265
Web Addresses 271
Index 283
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First Chapter

Chapter One

INTRODUCTION:
THE E-BUSINESS
REVOLUTION

The deepening and maturing roots of the Internet are about to grab, shake, and take hold of businesses and individuals like never before. While executives of major corporations no longer question whether the Net will impact their businesses, they may not realize how much this electronic El Nino will transform customers, careers, and relationships. Many even have someone, somewhere within the organization they think is "handling" it. But they may underestimate the extent of the coming onslaught on every aspect of business life, from product concept and creation through distribution and consumption.

    At issue here is the E-business revolution. For some, it will even be an issue of survival. For others, it will be an era of unprecedented opportunity and victory. Welcome to the Net Future.

    The Net Future is not about selling things on the Net or about a line extension of an existing business. It is a revolution in the making. Not only will every company have to deal with those transformations, but the wins and losses will be huge; there won't be any gray areas. Companies are beginning to realize that a Web site does not an E-business make. And the Net Future truly is about E-business, which goes far beyond electronic commerce. Electronic commerce involves the buying and selling of products, information, or services over the Net. E-business involves what I call the "Netting" of the entire value chain: from product conception and creation, all the way through manufacturing and production, distribution, and ultimately consumption. Companies that understand this and are willing to undergo the close self-scrutiny involved in becoming "Netted" will be the winners in the Net Future.


WHAT'S AT STAKE

Coming is a world linked by fast, cheap communication, where speed is key, access to "the network" is ubiquitous, and virtually every business and individual is affected. This linkage, enabled by technology, will redefine the way we function at work, at home, and in the marketplace. It will determine winners and losers, both corporately and personally. The opportunity for those who capitalize on this environment will be enormous--as will the risk for those who don't. Surviving in the Net Future involves these key adjustments:

Capturing the hearts and minds of consumers. With instant access to every company and every company's products, consumers will move firmly into the driver's seat in the new Net economy. Companies that miss this will be penalized by the market itself, since another company's products and services will be but a mouse click away. And click consumers will, if not treated properly.
Reorganizing distribution mechanisms. Wired organizations will electronically reach out to suppliers and distributors and expect that the companies they buy from and use to deliver their goods will be as Netted as they are. Those that refuse, or that cannot do business in this fashion, will fall by the wayside.
Rethinking pricing. Technology will allow more and more companies to segment markets into much finer slices, skimming a competitor's best customers in the process. It also will redefine the role of price in the purchase decision.
Changing corporate culture and authority. An increasingly mobile and Net-savvy workforce will gain unprecedented access to information, including the means by which workers can determine if their particular work environment suits them and, if not, which one would. And the work environment itself will have new forms.
Integrating personal and work lives. Technology that allows anyone to communicate anywhere at any time will erase the lines between work and home. It also will change the way information is processed; real-time access to both professional and personal peers will allow people to compare notes on virtually any subject.


THE NET EVOLUTION

There are five waves of evolution of the commercial Net:

1. At the Brochureware stage, companies simply transferred what they were doing in their traditional business onto the Net. A typical example involved putting annual reports and corporate brochures on a corporate Web site exactly as they appeared in print.
2. The New Content arena took off in 1995, when companies started to create new products and services for the Net environment. This is when the true interactivity of the Internet began; for example, companies began to solicit E-mail responses to various offers. This was also when Net-only companies such as search engine Yahoo! and bookseller Amazon.com started to show how business would be conducted in the Net environment. By 1997, countless Net-only companies sprang up. Some grew, some died, others merged. Established companies started to look for payback as well as successful Net business models.
3. During the third wave, that same Internet technology infiltrated the enterprise company-wide, and the intranet was borne. By 1998, many companies started to see the power of the Internet's open technology in connecting all the workers of a company. One of the inherent problems of this wave was that executives of some companies initially viewed the intranet simply as "plumbing" and deployed the technology for the purpose of saving money, rather than devising new ways to tap into a wired workforce.
4. In the current Business Transformation wave, this same Internet technology is used within the enterprise to connect suppliers, distributors, customers, and business partners. These closer connections between buyer and seller will enable more streamlined operations inside and outside the enterprise.
5. The true E-business wave involves tapping the end-to-end Netted enterprise so that an organization, armed with real-time knowledge from customers, can create and modify products on the fly to suit those customers' needs. It will be in this phase that the interactive environment will start to drive a company's core business. That is not to say that companies' traditional businesses will go away (though some will). But the components of the interactive environment--the wired consumer and the wired organization--will start to function in harmony.


THE SEVEN CYBERTRENDS

Over the course of this five-wave evolutionary process, seven major trends have emerged. These seven cybertrends--all driven by technology--will come into increasingly sharp focus as businesses move to the fifth wave. Each is significant by itself. Together, they define the ultimate in end-to-end electronic business, or E-business. Together, they comprise the Net Future.

The Cybereconomy Goes Main Street. New ways of buying and selling will create a new breed of online consumer who will expect faster delivery, easier transactions, and more factual information. Traditional businesses will operate in the online arena, and online businesses will adopt traditional methods.

The Wired Workforce Takes Over. The intranet will put more information in employees' hands and create virtual work communities, irrevocably altering the dynamics of the workplace for both individuals and companies.

The Open-Book Corporation Emerges. Boundaries between the corporation and the outside world, including suppliers and customers, will be erased. Power shifts away from the providers of products, information, and services into the hands of the recipients of those products, information, and services.

Products Become Commodities. New interactive dynamics will dramatically change how value is established for products. More importantly, it will mean a shift to real-time, flexible pricing as value is established moment-by-moment.

The Customer Becomes Data. New technologies for analyzing and predicting customer behavior in real time will require companies to organize differently in order to move to a new Net-version of customer-centric.

Experience Communities Arise. People will harness instant global communications, aggregating knowledge in real time. Collective experience will play a larger role in information-gathering and decision-making.

Learning Moves to Real Time, All-the-Time. The new means of networking will create a new generation of empowered and independent learners--and require both self-motivation and information sharing to succeed.

    A company's grasp of these seven cybertrends and its consequent willingness to transform its business will determine how well it survives in the Net Future.


THE RELATIONSHIP NETS

The seven cybertrends grow out of an interlocking series of relationships among customers, employees, distributors, suppliers, and business partners. These relationships will be facilitated by the move to an internetworked world, and the companies that are first and most adept at maximizing them will be the winners in the Net Future.


INTERNET: THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP

For most customers, what they see at a company's Web site will determine their view of the company. A company already is expected to have a Web presence. This is just the cost of entry. While some companies allocate limited marketing dollars to maintain a minimal Web presence, others are forging new relationships with their customers and redefining themselves for the online world. In the Net Future, simply electronically distributing company brochures and annual reports won't cut it. The Web will provide unprecedented opportunity for companies to interact with traditional customers and to create ongoing dialogues with new customers. Companies will have the opportunity to turn these interactions into true company-customer relationships.


INTRANET: THE EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP

As the network of all networks, the Internet has become a place where anyone can find just about anything using a Web browser and a search engine. However, what can't be found is information contained in intranets, since they are essentially internets deployed by a company or organization for internal use only. Employees receive a password, and their access and communication within the company are handled behind a "firewall," a technology aimed at keeping outsiders on the outside. Typically, a company uses its intranet to cut the cost of distributing information, such as health plans and messages from top management. In the Net Future, smart companies will use their intranets to strengthen employee relations; to empower employees to manage, learn, and grow; to facilitate the work process; and to institute electronic programs that keep morale high and turnover low. Perhaps more important, constant online communication will keep company goals in tune with customer needs, since employees often are closer to the customers than are many top executives.


EXTRANET: THE SUPPLIER-DISTRIBUTOR-PARTNER RELATIONSHIP

The extranet is the same as an intranet, except that it is used privately outside the enterprise. If the Internet is the public track, an extranet is a private train that is allowed to run on that track. A company might conduct a private auction of excess inventory for its best retailers. Suppliers might be allowed to be "members" so that needed supplies are only a mouse click away. Shippers and brokers will be given access to a company's database so that it can better serve the company's needs in real time. Companies will enlist business partners, suppliers, and distributors to create and track their own records, fill out their own forms, and in effect become an integral part of the enterprise.


WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE: THE CONVERGENCE OF OLD AND NEW

Converting a company's three nets into relationship nets and then leveraging them will require totally new thinking and approaches. In my book The Digital Estate, people in the business world are divided into two camps: those who get it and those who don't. By now, most people have to some extent "gotten it." The new fault line is between businesses that operate only in the bricks-and-mortar realm--such as many manufacturing entities and retailers--and businesses that operate in an online, interactive environment, such as online travel agents and CD retailers.

    In the Net Future, these two worlds will converge, as companies in each one begin to embrace the other. This convergence will allow companies to leverage existing brands as well as create new ones, and become E-businesses. Netted companies also will be able to take enormous time and costs out of the manufacturing and distribution channels, sharing those savings with customers, suppliers, and business partners.

    True convergence in the Net Future will encompass more than just hardware that delivers information, or marriages of content and technology. The new convergence will be between the digital and physical environments. And the ultimate Net Future company is one that understands that this hybrid business environment will be driven by the interactive digital, not the traditional, component.

    It is this final stage that represents the Net Future. It is a phase in which the interconnectedness of everyone and everything allows the external world to transform the very notion of the corporation. It is a time when because of total, end-to-end connectivity, consumers can truly indicate to a company their product and service desires, future needs and wants, and likes and dislikes, all in real time. In the Net Future, consumption can drive concept.

    As these seven cybertrends allow the enterprise to become truly customer-centric, consumers will receive more personalized and valuable services, ranging from new public services from state and local governments to deals on virtually anything they want.


RECONCILIATION TIME

Succeeding in the Net Future means reconciling many disparate elements.


THE BUSINESS

Some companies have developed their three Net strategies in silos, each with its own approach and objectives. In other cases, the three Nets within a company really just exist, without any coherent strategy at all. And some companies haven't yet identified the difference, or don't see the need for the three Nets, content to use the Web as nothing more than an extension of their core business. For example, the Internet, or company Web site, might be positioned under a marketing department. The organization is based on the fact that much of the site's information involves corporate profile data as well as the company's marketing messages, which would normally flow through that channel.

    The corporate intranet, on the other hand, generally falls under the eye of the Chief Information Officer or the Information Systems department. Higher security is required, since the intranet often includes corporate records and even electronic warehouses of information. While CIOs command huge operational budgets and IS staffs can number in the thousands at a big company, the focus often is on creating operational efficiencies and using information technology to create sustainable, competitive advantage. The intranet has played only a small part in those objectives. Human relations departments and purchasing agents often also will play a role in intranet content, since the automation of benefits and cost savings in procurement are two of the most obvious uses of an internal Net.

    Extranet implementation might be executed by the information technology department, though it may be driven by a business unit that sees immediate benefit in linking its sales force with its customer bases or distributors. An extranet also might be driven by a manufacturing division that wants to reduce cycle time by linking suppliers into its production process.

    For a company to become a Netted enterprise, the three Net strategies will, at the very least, have to be coordinated. At best, they will function orchestra-like, as a set of unified components all playing the same tune--and the tune will be composed by the customer.


THE CUSTOMER

Just as company Nets grew separately, so did customer sets. Established companies had to move so fast just to stay even with Net-only companies that very little time and effort went into analyzing who the new online customers were (or should be). The market was too new and growing exponentially.

    Companies typically find that a large percentage of their online customers are new customers. While some executives view this as good news, allaying fears of cannibalization of traditional business, they often miss the new challenges and opportunities presented. These include how to reconcile new customers with a company's traditional customers, how to coordinate customer care, and how to integrate various technology issues such as linking customer billing systems with customer databases. One of the largest challenges will be creating an infrastructure and deploying robust technology to deal with a highly interactive and highly demanding customer in real time, all the time.

    On the other hand, the opportunity in the Net Future will be immense. Because companies will be able to tap into connected consumers for real-time feedback, they can use this customer base to help conceive, create, test, and enhance new products. Because it is so easily obtained and because more customers will become connected, this feedback will increasingly begin to drive the direction of the company. Meantime, companies can begin to reconcile the new online customer base with their traditional customer base by introducing each to products and services in the other's world, thereby leveraging long-standing as well as new relationships with customers.


TECHNOLOGY AND THE PEOPLE

Ultimately, just about everything and everyone will be networked. Internet access will be everywhere, whether from a personal computer, a handheld organizer, a pager, or some other remote communications device. However, being wired does not change human behavior overnight. There will be both technical and cultural challenges while the technology awaits and promotes changes in the way people act and think.

* At the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London, the removal of a bottle of Coca-Cola from the refrigerator automatically sends a message to the hotel's billing system and the debit is included on the customer's bill. However, travelers not accustomed to the invisible tracking might search through the refrigerator for a particular drink or use a container to store milk for their baby's bottle, only to be faced with hundreds of dollars in erroneous expenses at checkout.
* Ninety percent of pagers in the United States were left stranded for anywhere from a few seconds to several days when a $250 million communications satellite wobbled out of position. Doctors were left without a way to receive emergency messages. Radio and TV stations were temporarily off the air. Retailers couldn't run credit card verifications. Field personnel didn't know where their next job was. In some cases, however, people adapted by using E-mail and cell phones.
* A drugstore chain that released the names of its pharmacy customers to a direct marketing firm quickly found out that customers were outraged and was forced not only to recall the list but also to institute a policy against issuing one in the future.

    The road to the Net Future will be fraught with issues related to privacy, bandwidth capacity, and taxation of E-commerce. However, companies that focus solely on the obstacles miss seeing not only the larger picture but also what their competitors are doing to take advantage of it.


THE 180-DEGREE EFFECT

Doing business successfully in the Netted environment will be challenging, especially if business is conducted using old rules and metrics. As many companies have found, the dynamics of the Net are very different from those in the physical environment. Often, an element of business is exactly the opposite from what is expected. One might say it started with Netscape, which challenged common wisdom and gave away its Internet browser software for free in order to gain quick market share. America Online used to pay content providers for appearing on AOL. Now content providers pay AOL.

    In the physical world, companies created products and sold them; in the Net Future, consumers will determine what they will buy and a company then will produce it. In the past, the more information you controlled, the more power you had. In the Net Future, the more information and power you give away, the more you have. I call this phenomenon of contrary expectations "the 180-degree effect." It's best exemplified when things are not as they appear.

* When a public relations company establishes a date for an online chat, the event is over by the time the event is held. The prechat publicity generated is the event, not the event itself.
* Signed up to handle groceries for online retailer NetGrocer, FedEx charges dramatically less to deliver 10 pounds of groceries than it does to deliver a 1-ounce letter.
* Students attending college away from home take online classes from their college.

    The ultimate 180-degree effect representation in the Net Future is that the business will be initiated by the customer, not by the business itself. The 180-degree effect means that companies cannot take for granted that the assumptions of the past hold true in the Net environment. The Net Future will belong to those who can turn assumptions inside out, upside down, and backward.


IMPEDIMENTS TO CHANGE

Any number of factors can inhibit established companies from moving aggressively and successfully in the Netted environment.

* Lack of speed. Does anyone feel that their company moves too fast?

* Inflexibility. Does anyone think their company is too flexible?

* Corporate will. Companies need to align executive management, the internal Net champions, and the troops so that everyone marches in the same direction.
* Old business models. Traditional business models do not work in the Net environment.
* Internal focus. The larger the company, the more internally focused it usually is. If more than 50 percent of your E-mail is from inside your organization rather than from your customers, you probably are too internally focused.
* Skills and habits. Since the commercial Net is only several years old, human behavior has not yet caught up with the dynamics of the Net environment. Old habits are hard to break. The next generation will change all that.
* The desire for perfection. Established companies with strong brands hesitate to do anything in the online world that does not match the researched, tested, tried-and-true methods of the physical world.


CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS FOR THE NET FUTURE

So how does a company get from here to there? Taking arms against the factors listed above is a start. In addition, businesses have three core tasks:

1. Understanding the end-to-end nature of E-business. The seven cybertrends are not independent of one another. Looking at each in terms of how it interacts with all the others reinforces the understanding that an E-business is dramatically more than the sum of its parts.
2. Aligning the organization to tie it together end-to-end. Understanding the nature of E-business does no good unless the enterprise reflects that understanding. Because E-business is so interconnected, implementing many of the changes required can seem an overwhelming process. However, learning from mistakes based on rapid feedback is the right model in this environment. E-business is a destination and a journey.
3. Make sure that alignment is centered on the customer. Connectivity allows customers to drive companies.

    In the Net environment, so much seems to happen so quickly that it's often difficult for companies to step back and see how the various pieces fit together. There are so many disparate parts, and yet all the pieces interconnect, much like the Net itself. Changes in consumer buying patterns will affect which products get developed. The products that are developed will affect the operations side of a company. A change in operations will affect the way a company relates to its business partners and what is needed from its workforce. Workforce requirements affect corporate training needs and employment patterns. Employment patterns affect consumer buying.

    The E-business revolution is just around the corner. This is the Net Future!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2000

    Change or Perish

    The message of Chuck Martin's book is simple; be prepared to adjust to life on the net or be left behind. In Net Future: The 7 Cybertrends that will Drive your Business, Martin discusses the evolution of the 'commercial' net. He warns against companies who merely appear to be evolving by transferring their businesses onto an online format. This is dangerous as he suggests that companies who will thrive in the Net Future will change the way they do business as a result of the internet. Business will become much more customer-centered and people will be more informed and demanding as a result. The seven cybertrends that he cites suggest not only a change in the way business is done, but a more fundamental change in the way people behave and interact with one another. In the net future, one will see few successful businesses without an online component. The line between the home and office will be fuzzy in the workforce of the future. Business will operate in a global market where prices are competitive and products are driven by consumers. Classrooms and training centers will be without walls, where students and employees can learn 'on-demand' according to their schedules and lifestyles. Perhaps the most intriguing chapter of Martin's book is his last in which he discusses the future of education. He certainly has the right idea of where education is going, but the details are somewhat misleading. For example, he quotes the CEO of Real Education (now known as ECollege) Rob Hemlick as saying his company supplies 'professors with pre-developed course content and textbooks developed for the online environment'. To say that this is the future of online education is not wholly accurate. It is certainly tempting to say that by putting a course online that you have 'changed' education, but with accreditation bodies strictly monitoring the development of online programs in higher education, it is likely that we are going to see a shift away from transferring the 'bricks and mortar' idea of schooling into the cyber world. Rather, education itself will undergo a fundamental change. This perspective is lacking from his book. Martin's book is certainly thought provoking and does present an aerial view of the way that technology is changing the way people do business. However, it does not offer in-depth look at any one of these trends. It is food for thought, but the he only begins the conversation on the future of the internet and its impact on technology.

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