Ready to snap up dotcom bargains?



Several dotcom companies have now lost in the region of 90% off their market capitalisation compared to this time last year. And the list of high-profile...



Several dotcom companies have now lost in the region of 90% off their market capitalisation compared to this time last year. And the list of high-profile e-business failures is about to get longer.

There will be some in the IT profession who treat this merely as an opportunity for schadenfreude on a grand scale.

But the demise of dotcom-mania offers IT directors an even bigger opportunity: to shape sound investment decisions as real companies pick up the shattered pieces of online empires that were famous for only 15 minutes.

Six months ago everyone was talking about "corporate venturing" - with IT directors urged to be on the look-out for start-ups worth backing, while the corporate finance directors whipped out the cheque books.

Now it is different: the corporate sector can start looking for good value, not just good ideas, as the dotcom firms go bust.

And the IT director has a key role in sorting the wheat from the chaff. In the hunt for bargains three things are worth looking for: skills, adjacency and systems innovation.

Look for teams that have that elusive mix of programming, systems architecture and creative design skills.

Look for business propositions that will bolt on and add value to an existing business model. Remember, this was what most "bricks and mortar" firms were trying to do before the bursting of the stock market bubble changed the rules. It wasn't such a bad idea.

Finally look for technology innovations that your company can own as intellectual property - and roll out across the existing systems of the larger enterprise.

And don't leave the treasure hunt to the FDs and business development wonks. IT has a unique insight into success and failure of e-commerce. Insist on your right to bring that insight to the boardroom table.

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