Book reviews: Dotcom craze hits the hardbacks

Ross Bentley reviews two of the latest crop of dotcom books

Ross Bentley reviews two of the latest crop of dotcom books

Culture.com: Building Corporate Culture in the Connected Workplace by Peg Neuhauser, Ray Bender, Kirk Stromberg

Published by John Wiley & Sons

While the business world is spending vast resources on designing, marketing, selling, and delivering goods and services in the networked world, very few companies are addressing the internal infrastructure changes. This book tackles the question of how to create a corporate culture that matches the new dotcom business strategy. It provides a practical roadmap of strategies to shift an organisation's culture from a liability to a competitive advantage in the dotcom world. Readers will find a practical approach that guides them through the nine key characteristics of a dotcom culture that every organisation must embrace.

For example:

  • Making the jump to warp speed: how do you meet the demand for a rapid product launch without compromising quality?

  • How do you create a strong corporate culture in a virtual organisation?

  • How do you keep the old business going while making the transition to e-culture?

    We've all heard of knowledge management but how do you harness a workforce's brainpower?

    How important is leadership into the new era?

    They'll also learn how to break old organisational habits that no longer fit in the world of e-business, and how to develop new ways to think, believe, and behave.

    The co-authors are suitably qualified to pass opinion: Peg Neuhauser is a management consultant at PCN Associates, where she specialises in organisational culture, communication, and conflict management. She is a frequent speaker and author of two previous books. Ray Bender is a speaker and consultant who owns his own company. Kirk Stromberg is a managing partner of the StarCompass Group, a consulting firm specialising in organisational and individual change.

    Loyalty.com - Customer Relationship Management in the New Era of Internet Marketing by Frederick Newell

    Published by McGraw-Hill

    Customer relationship management has become a big buzz phrase over the past few years. Through loyalty card schemes, retailers have been able to build up databases of customer profiles and preferences. But regardless of this information many marketing campaigns are unsophisticated. We can't keep targeting our customers and blasting them with junk any more. And we can't keep building loyalty with ever-deeper loss-making discounts.

    There are better ways to build customer relationships, argues Frederick Newell, CEO of the international consulting firm Seklemian/Newell. He caused a stir in 1997 with The New Rules of Marketing, and now with Loyalty.com, he wants to cause another one by declaring that most companies attempting to create customer loyalty are going about it all wrong.

    In fact, he shows that areas with the most aggressive loyalty programs tend to have the least loyal customers, and vice versa. Today, writes Newell, the Internet has made market research cheaper and faster than ever. Software can be designed to predict what customers will want before they know they want it. The company can go straight particular customers to suggest they buy that product, rather than showering millions with hundreds of product offers.

    It is not easy, and pitfalls abound, as Loyalty.com shows (the issue of customer privacy alone will be the subject of endless legislation). But the company that masters customer relations will be rewarded with both loyalty and profits.

    Loyalty .com outlines what the new technology means for marketeers in every field and provides specific, easy-to-implement techniques to create and implement cost-effective customer relationship management strategies.

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