Infodigest: Research on tap

Successful e-strategies translate established strategic concepts into contexts in which they previously were not economically viable. For example, in the ’60s and ’70s IBM won the loyalty of major corporate customers through highly paid account executives who provided so-called relationship management. Today that same concept – now technologically based – is being deployed to tailor support to individual consumers.

But there is still enormous uncertainty within the business community about the future shape of e-business – as evidenced by the mood swings of the financial markets and the faltering fortunes of even the icons of the New Economy. The sheer scope of potential change presents some challenges: how can executives make sense of the burgeoning e-business ideas, and where does strategic analysis begin? Behind the new e-business language, how new are the strategic concepts? And what form will a company’s strategic e-opportunity take?

Sloan Management Review


Ten deadly mistakes of wanna dots

Increasingly, it seems, there are just two types of companies left in the world: dotcoms, born on the Internet, and “wanna-dots”, established organisations that are seeking to incorporate the Internet into their businesses.

Some wanna-dots manage the deep mind-shift required to cross the digital divide. These are the pacesetters – the first movers and fast followers that exhibit organisational curiosity and the desire to innovate. But most wanna-dots are laggards; they don’t rise to the challenge with the same resolve.

In a global research effort involving more than 800 companies, the author uncovered so many wanna-dots making the same kinds of mistakes that it almost seemed they were following a “How not to change” guide. In this article, Kanter creates just such a guide, offering 10 pieces of anti-advice that expose the tendency of wanna-dots to make only cosmetic changes when deep transformation is required.

Beyond delineating what not to do, Kanter serves up two examples of wanna-dots that got it right. First, Williams-Sonoma, which successfully made up for a slow start to create a strong web presence. Second, Honeywell, a pacesetter led by e-believers from the start, which still found the road to the web a challenging one.

Harvard Business Review



Strategy as simple rules

The success of Yahoo!, eBay, Enron, and others that have become adept at morphing to meet the demands of changing markets, can’t be explained using traditional thinking about competitive strategy. These companies have succeeded by pursuing constantly evolving strategies in markets traditionally considered unattractive.

In this article – the third in an HBR series by Kathleen Eisenhardt and Donald Sull on strategy in the new economy – the authors ask, what are the sources of competitive advantage in high-velocity markets? The secret, they say, is strategy as simple rules. The companies know that the greatest opportunities for competitive advantage lie in market confusion, but they recognise the need for a few crucial strategic processes and a few simple rules. In traditional strategy, advantage comes from exploiting resources or stable market positions. Here, advantage comes from successfully seizing fleeting opportunities.

Harvard Business Review

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Users take it steady

ASP users – and those interested in using ASPs in the future – are taking a slow-and-steady approach to implementation, according to a recent report by Redwood City, California-based Zona Research.

The company surveyed 137 managers and IT professionals at companies of varying types and sizes to determine their ASP plans for the next one to two years. The study found that internal ASP usage is currently quite limited – 47% of those companies already using ASPs provide access to less than 26% of their total computing devices. But it notes that some 42% of ASP users plan to have more than half of their computers connected to some form of ASP in one year.

And the report found that would-be users intend to provide access in the same manner.


WANs begin to see the light

It used to be that the performance of the wide area network (WAN) was far inferior to the local area network (LAN). Not any more. DWDM core networks and international gigabit ethernet are now available to connect disparate LANs.

Communications technology and IT continue to develop with increasing speed and sophistication. It is difficult to find solutions that meet business operational requirements but don’t cost the earth.

Today’s business environment has never been more network bandwidth hungry. But the ever-increasing demands do not present a technological problem for the LAN, with 100Mbps and even gigabit ethernet readily available and becoming increasingly popular.

The challenge is clearly in the WAN and the choice isn’t quite so straightforward these days, with a proliferation of services being offered by a multiplicity of national and international carriers.

Telecommunications Online

telecommunications online

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