The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.
As the World Wide Web Consortium conference gets underway today in Edinburgh, the internet’s growing importance as a business channel has been underlined by this week’s Big Question survey.
Some 72% of IT professionals said they expected the internet to become the primary channel for business within five years, with many also noting that the web has particularly changed the landscape for small businesses.
“Wherever the internet represents the best way for the customer to get things done, it will become the primary business channel,” said IT consultant Matthew Treagus. “Everywhere else it will be an important part of the communication, sales and service mix.”
Others noted how the internet had created a more level playing field, strengthening the hand of small firms.
“Size no longer matters, and the savvy consumer knows it. In retail, I believe the trend towards firms offering cheaper, faster internet options will only continue,” said one IT consultant.
Among the dissenters, scepticism focused on the idea that the personal nature of business relationships could never be fundamentally threatened by a channel such as the web, however convenient or efficient it might be.