The First Step of e-Business Design: Self-Diagnosis

To perform self-diagnosis, ask yourself following questions about the impact of customer, business, and technology trends on your company:-

  1. Has the recent wave of technology innovation created new ways of doing business?

  2. Is your company responding to changing customer expectations?

  3. Is your company willing to take advantage of new opportunities while preserving existing investments in people, applications and data?

  4. Is your company successful at lowering operational costs while making complex business applications adaptive and flexible?

It all of your answers are yes, then you are in the innovator or market leader category. You are lucky and rare.

If most of your answers are yes, then you are in the early adopter or visionary category. You too are rare and among the first to exploit new technological innovations to achieve a competitive advantage over your rivals. For example, Charles Schwab, a brokerage house, is building its entire business model around an e-business infrastructure. This includes eSchwab, the largest online brokerage service, with more than 1.5 million customers. In 1998, eSchwab customers moved more than $100 billion worth of assets through online connection.

If most of your answers to the questions are no, then your firm belongs to the silent majority category. The silent majority is often made up of three types:-

  1. Pragmatists

  2. Old-guard conservatives

  3. Die-hard skeptics

These three types vary in the degree of risk they are willing to take.

Management of pragmatic firms sees the world changing around them but they want proof that the changes are long-term before they commit to action. Pragmatists often stay very close to their current customer base in order to keep focused on delivering superior customer value.