Jacqueline de Rojas
What will you say when your grandchildren ask, "How was Internet advent for you?"
You could say that it was a wonder that passed you by. Or you could say those were the years when you really made a difference, that new and incredibly exciting ideas changed the old supply chain and logistics and rocked the way you did business.
The Internet represents the fastest-growing technology of all time and I think we should be repeating this like a mantra. It is an exciting time, but it requires imagination and lateral thinking.
One of the biggest changes is speed. Product cycles have shrunk and being the first to market is a strategic advantage. It might be too late if your Web site is not up and running until next week.
Traditional notions of brand loyalty are totally undermined by the Internet. Most online customers have a preferred supplier whose Web site is the first port of call. But there is no point attracting people to a site if you can't deal with them once they arrive. If you do not deliver a fast, personalised service with efficient fulfilment of orders, you will ultimately fail. The competition is simply a click away so only those organisations applying tried-and-tested business principles will prosper.
Winning on the Web means three things: content is king, scalability is everything, and personalisation is your key business advantage.
Your site will capture and generate exponential amounts of information. Fast and accurate analysis of customer data is the key to providing a fast, efficient, personalised service, and it supports the shift towards improved customer relationship management. Making the move into the e-economy is a huge undertaking, but the rewards are enormous.
Jacqueline de Rojas is managing director of Informix Software
This was first published in June 2000