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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success 5


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PHASE 2—DIAGNOSE
“If in the last few years you hadn’t discarded a major opinion or acquired a new one, check your pulse. You may be dead.” Gelett Burgess As shown in Figure 4.1, the second phase of the e-business planning process is Diagnose. In this phase, you will identify industry trends that impact the company. It will also be necessary to document the company’s current e-business situation. The current situation will be analyzed. You will diagnose the stakeholders and their process. You will also understand the industry and external impact to the company. All players in the value chain will be evaluated. The ?nal step will be to evaluate the impact e-business has on the business plan. At the end of this phase, you will have completed the following sections in the e-business plan document: Trends Current Situation—Intranet, Internet, and Extranet Situation Analysis—Intranet, Internet, and Extranet Stakeholders Stakeholders’ Process Industry Analysis Value Chain Business Analysis Each of these sections is described in more detail below.

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Figure 4.1 Phase 2, Diagnose

TRENDS
Chapter 1 outlined many trends in business, applications, and technology. As part of your planning effort, it is now time to make sure that your management understands these industry trends and to discuss the impact these trends have on your business, customers, and industry. The following questions can help analyze how business trends impact your company: Has the organization experienced a shift from a cost reduction strategy to a business growth strategy? Should this shift have occurred? Does the company have the proper balance of cost reduction and business growth to be successful? Is there an increased speed at which business must occur? Is the company operating quickly enough? Has the company shifted from being self-contained to a global organization? If not, what additional changes are required to become a global organization? Has the company experienced increased collaboration within the industry? Who are the partners with whom the organization is collaborating? What is the networked web of value? Has the company changed from economies of scale to one-to-one relationships? How has this impacted the internal business processes?

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Has the business focus shifted from internal to external? How? Do customers have the ability for self-service? Does it need to be improved? Is there an increased importance of processes? What are the critical processes? What impact does the shift to virtual of?ces have on the company? How have organizational structures changed to meet external requirements? How do they need to change to meet future requirements? Has technology become a critical enabler to business rather than an afterthought? What additional business trends impact the company? The organization must also analyze how business application trends impact the organization. The following questions can help in this analysis: Are improvements necessary in the areas of — Enterprise Requirements Planning (ERP)? — Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? — Supply Chain Management (SCM)? — Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)? — Changing Technical Infrastructure? — Knowledge Management (KM)? — Return on Investment (ROI) Applications? — Communication Applications? What additional business application trends impact the company? Next, review how technology trends impact the organization by asking the following questions: What network improvements can be utilized in your company: — Increased connectivity? — Telecommunication advances? — Voice, data, video integration? — Increased use and reliance on the Internet? What server improvements can be utilized at your company: — Decreased cost of a business transaction? — Increased interoperability and communication among diverse platforms? — Object-oriented programming? — Data synchronization ability? — Increased use of Java, HTML, XML, and other Web development and thin-client technologies? — Improved graphics, video, and sound?

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— Executive information systems? — Use of application service providers? What desktop and peripheral improvements can be utilized at your company: — Embedded, smaller, and more powerful processors and chips? — Wireless, cellular, and mobile technology? — Easy-to-use interfaces? — Voice recognition? — Multi-modal access, hand-held and PDA devices? — Computer telephone integration? — Pen-based computers and other mobile devices? — Bar coding? — Smart cards? — Encryption, biometrics, and other security measures? What additional technology trends impact the company? Finally, prioritize the trends based on their impact to the company, timing, and likelihood of occurrence. Now draft the trends section of your e-business plan document.

CURRENT SITUATION
It is important to have a thorough understanding of the company’s current e-business environment before entertaining improvements. Just about every company has some Internet presence and functionality in place. The following questions will help develop the current situation section: What functionality does the company’s Intranet currently have? Outline the general areas of information and purpose. How much is the Intranet used? What is the technical environment that supports the Intranet? Identify the hardware server, operating system, and version. What people support the Intranet environment? What do they do? What are their individual responsibilities? What processes support the Intranet environment, directly and indirectly? How are changes made? How are changes prioritized? How are changes tested? Answer the same questions for the Internet and Extranet environments. It is important that the current situation section contain only the facts, with no personal opinions or judgments. It also needs to outline what is there today, not what is planned for the future. Now draft the current situation section of the e-business plan document for the Intranet, Internet, and Extranet environments.

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SITUATION ANALYSIS
You are now ready to analyze the current situation. The strategy has not been developed yet, so you are not looking at the gap, but rather analyzing what is good and what could be improved regarding the current situation based on what is known today. List the strengths and areas of improvement of the overall e-business environment as well as each of the environments including the Intranet, Internet, and Extranet. A thorough and objective analysis of the current situation can immediately identify areas to improve and strengthen. As you go through the remainder of the planning steps, you can con?rm and strengthen the opportunities for improvement and build on the areas of strength. Figures 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5 show examples of a situation analysis of overall environment, Intranet, Internet, and Extranet environments, respectively. It is also extremely helpful to attempt to quantify the current situation. This can be useful when benchmarking or comparing future progress. Do not spend a tremendous amount of effort getting total agreement on the exact scores, but rather obtain a general consensus on the state of affairs.

Figure 4.2 Overall Situation Analysis

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Figure 4.3 Intranet Situation Analysis

This scorecard can also help identify strengths or weaknesses. Exhibit 4.1 is an example of an e-business scorecard that could be utilized. Now draft the situation analysis section of the e-business plan document, including the Intranet, Internet, and Extranet environments. Also complete the e-business scorecard.

STAKEHOLDERS
A stakeholder is any external entity that has an interest in the success or operation of the company. The customer is the obvious and most important stakeholder in today’s environment. Every company has customers: businesses have whoever uses the product or service, government has the citizens, nonpro?ts have the people whose needs they serve. Consider not only the direct customers (such as distributors, agents, brokers, retailers, and dealers), but also the end customer or consumer. Just because the company may rely on a strong distribution or intermediary network today, do not

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Figure 4.4 Internet Situation Analysis

ignore the end customers and their desires. As an example, a hearing aid manufacturer may have the following stakeholders: Patients Patients’ families Professionals — Audiologists — Dispensers — Clinics — Hospitals Public Government Partners or suppliers Employees As another example, Microsoft identi?ed its customers as:* Information technology managers Knowledge workers
* Siegel, David, Futurize Your Enterprise, John Wiley & Sons, New York, p. 5.

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Figure 4.5 Extranet Situation Analysis

Software developers Consumers A study by Meta Group interviewed 800 business and Information Technology executives and found that most companies (83%) lacked the data to build a comprehensive view of their customers, as Figure 4.6 shows.* Four out of ?ve of the companies surveyed said that they do not have a complete view of their customers, even though 92% said that improved customer intimacy is an important priority. Also, 70% of those companies collecting data do not believe they are effectively using the information that they gathered. Many companies are struggling with systems and processes to collect and integrate customer data. In the Meta study,
* “Companies in the Dark about Customers,” InformationWeek, May 1, 2000, p. 177, www.informationweek.com.

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Exhibit 4.1

E-Business Scorecard

Ranking: 1: No systematic approach is evident to the criteria; results do not exist or are poor 2: Beginning of a systematic approach is evident but major gaps exist 3: A systematic approach to the criteria with good performance 4: A sound and systematic approach to the criteria with good to excellent performance 5: Criteria are fully implemented without any signi?cant weaknesses or gaps in any area Criteria Strategy: A comprehensive e-business strategy exists with all opportunities identi?ed and prioritized The e-business strategy is aligned and integrated with the business strategy E-business competitive comparisons have been completed The vision for e-business is known and communicated (marketed) throughout the organization There is an e-business mindset within the organization, open to and aggressively pursuing the opportunities The e-business strategy is seamless and consistent across all parts of the organization Back-of?ce systems have a clear direction on how to support e-business and are moving in that direction Business areas, not Information Systems, drive the e-business efforts There is process for continually planning and adjusting the e-business strategy All employees understand the e-business strategy There is proper funding to meet the e-business initiatives The business is perceived as a leader in the industry and functionality is provided to obtain a competitive advantage Intranet Ranking Internet Ranking Extranet Ranking

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Exhibit 4.1

E-Business Scorecard (continued)

People: Responsibilities are identi?ed and documented and individuals are held accountable for performance There is appropriate back-up of responsibilities and knowledge for e-business areas There is a strong business sponsor with a passion for e-business The appropriate business units are responsible for content Cross-functional teams exist to improve processes Metrics exist for assessing speci?c impacts of e-business on the organization Proper orientation and training is provided for e-business resources Incentives are provided to encourage the business to develop and promote e-solutions Change management is proactively considered in implementing e-business E-business projects are delivered on time, on budget with proper functionality Key customers are tied into the e-business environment and strategy Key suppliers and business partners are tied into the e-business environment and strategy The organization learns and implements improvements to new business initiatives The skill set of the e-business team is adequate to do the job Suf?cient resources are assigned to reach the e-business goals Processes: There is a systems development process that manages application life cycle, including version releases, code freezes, testing plans and cycles, change

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Exhibit 4.1

E-Business Scorecard (continued)

management, source code control, and documentation Changes are grouped in a release mode and the change management process is managed There is a test plan that is used for testing Stress tests are completed when necessary Changes are documented There is a process de?ned for updating content There is a process and escalation procedure for unhappy customers Domain registration is controlled and managed centrally There is a usage policy Business processes have been engineered to support the use of each application Service level agreements are in place and met Metrics are utilized to measure and report the value of e-business initiatives Individuals review metrics and reports on a regular basis and take appropriate action as necessary Updated documentation exists for the functionality and systems

Business Functionality: Functionality is designed from the customer viewpoint Content is provided for all the stakeholders Business applications are fully integrated as necessary Functionality addresses all worldwide facilities consistently All key information is available online Navigation is consistent and easy to follow Content supports the business direction and function at an appropriate depth

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Exhibit 4.1

E-Business Scorecard (continued)

Customer input is received on a regular basis and acted upon within 1 day; content is updated as necessary by the business Attractive and consistent look and feel that ?ts the environment Customers can quickly ?nd answers to their most frequently asked questions Customers can easily check the status of their orders or requests Customers consistently return to the site Automated e-mails are utilized to develop a customer relationship

Technical Infrastructure: Single points of failure and redundancy are addressed Disaster recovery plans and back-up processes are in place Documentation exists for the technical architecture There is a planned, consistent, and up-todate architecture Key metrics are captured and reported on a regular basis Proper security and ?rewalls are in place Infrastructure is scalable Information is restricted to those who need access There is suf?cient capacity A network management tool is utilized Proper standards exist, including Web browser, Web development application software, hardware and other software Antivirus measures are in place

56% of the companies indicated that improving customer intimacy was one of the top three business priorities while an additional 36% said it ranked among the top 10 business priorities. This step of the e-business strategy development is critical. If this step is missed, the target will be missed on the e-business strategy. Determine who the stakeholders are and what they want. Although it may seem like

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Figure 4.6 Customer Knowledge

an easy or obvious question, it may be a surprising revelation as all the detailed questions are answered. The following questions will assist in identifying the stakeholders: Who are all the stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, public, employees, partners, and government? Who are the direct customers? Who are the indirect customers? Who are the end customers? What are the categories of customers and the amount of sales and transactions? Who are the potential customers? Who are the customers desired in the future? What are the most pro?table customer segments today and in the future? How static is the customer base? What are the demographics of the current customer base? What is the purchase and interaction history of current customers? Which groups have the most in?uence on customer purchasing decisions? What customers generate referrals? What is the customer retention rate? What is the customer retention rate for targeted customers? What are customer service costs by customer segment? Does the company have a single accurate database of all the customer information that is necessary? If not, how can it be developed? Who are the suppliers? What are the categories of suppliers and the amount of business transactions and cost?

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Who in the public would be interested in the company? Why? Who are the key partners? How bene?cial or critical are these partners? Who are the key partners desired in the future? What government agencies have an impact on the company? Next, understand more about the customers and what they want from the business. For example: To be able to get all the information that is needed from the Web site with powerful search abilities The ability to communicate in native language and currency To be able to obtain information or service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week anywhere in the world To receive quick, personalized information, service, and experience that doesn’t waste time To be able to easily understand the information To be able to ?nd out whom to call if it is desired to speak to someone To receive immediate (or at least within the same day) response to e-mails To be able to ?nd answers to questions and help themselves To interact seamlessly by telephone, palm, Internet, e-mail, voice response, or mail To be able to get one-stop shopping, even with several accounts with other locations or divisions A broad selection of quality goods and services To be able to place an order on the Web site To be able to customize the product or service to individual needs To obtain fair value for the price To get accurate price and delivery information To receive immediate electronic con?rmations on orders or requests To easily ?nd or know the status of an order online To obtain an order quickly To obtain invoices electronically To pay invoices electronically Complete product or service guarantees with easy, hassle-free returns Anyone the customer interacts with to be knowledgeable of any previous transactions or conversations the customer has had with the company no matter what of?ce or person the customer has worked with in the past All information and personal pro?le on ?le after providing it only once To feel that each person is important and valued, and that the individual’s business matters To be assured that information is secure

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Accurate service and response to requests To obtain trouble-shooting, service, replacement parts, and replacement instructions online Proactive service To be asked for individual opinions on how to improve the product and service Companies that can satisfy all these requirements are easy to do business with. Try doing business with your company and see how many of these requirements the company can ful?ll. It might be surprising how many improvements may be necessary! Although the list of requirements for companies may seem long, some companies, particularly leaders in their industry, are able to meet all of the requirements. Customer requirements typically increase with time. The list of requirements today may seem minor compared to what customers will require 3 years from now. Think about the interactions when you are a customer. Many companies have made improvements that actually raised the bar of expectations for a particular industry and forced their competitors to match or beat their functionality and technology to meet customer demands such as: Rental cars with easy return of the car by agents with hand-held devices Airlines with electronic check-in and tickets Banking, allowing electronic payment of bills and automatic deposit Automobile automatic emergency assistance Shipping companies that allow tracking the status of a package Does the organization want to lead the industry by providing what the customers want, or be forced to do so by the competition? What do customers want from the company? The following detailed questions can help answer that question: What are the interests of customers? Why do customers come to the organization? Are customers happy with the business? Why or why not? Who else have customers considered for their needs? Why? How can the Internet help the business to give customers what they want? What do potential customers want? What are the preferences as to how customers want to be treated? What makes customers successful today? What will make them successful in the future? Is the business getting true customer input to really know what customers want?

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How can new customers be acquired? How can customers be retained? How can existing customer accounts be grown? What would customers change about the relationship with the company if they could? What new advances could bene?t customers that they may not realize are possible? In order for the business to be successful, it is critical to understand the end customers and what they value. Establish processes to regularly obtain input and comments from customers. Customer focus groups, user groups, customer interviews, incentives to encourage online comments, and regular interactions with customers should all be part of the regular business processes. It can be harmful to be insulated from direct customer feedback by always working with the middle organization, such as distributors or dealers. It may take extra effort to forge a relationship with the end customer, but it is always well worth the effort. For example, software purchased through local electronic stores usually contains warranty registration cards or information to collect end-customer information. Once the company has that valuable information, it never asks the customer for it again, other than to verify it. It may seem like obtaining customer information on small commodity items would be impossible, but it is not. Hallmark (www.hallmark. com) is a great example. Although Hallmark sells a large number of cards to millions of customers, it has begun the process to become customer intimate. Hallmark has a Web site with many useful tools that can be used once a pro?le is entered. A customer can establish reminders for important dates (birthdays, anniversaries), and Hallmark will send an e-mail reminder to the customer speci?ed a number of days before the important date. Hallmark has started to create a valuable database of its customers and its customers’ important dates that require its product! Hallmark can launch many other services using this valuable database of information. The key to business success is to determine who the customers are and what they want, and to forge strong relationships with them. Build community, build a useful customer database, provide self service, and provide personalized service. Now draft the stakeholder’s section of your e-business plan document.

STAKEHOLDERS’ PROCESSES
After understanding who the stakeholders are and what they want from the business, it is important to understand the process used by the stakeholder. One approach to understanding customers is understanding how they engage or want to engage with the company. In other words,
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Figure 4.7 Customer Process

what steps does the stakeholder take to know about the company, engage the company, and establish a relationship with the company? For example, a customer might have the process outlined in Figure 4.7 and a supplier might have the process outlined in Figure 4.8. A typical process for a customer may include: Awareness: How does the prospective customer become aware of and introduced to the company and product? Evaluation: How does the prospective customer evaluate the options and consider the company or product unique from others? Engage: How does the prospective customer become a customer and engage in business with the company? Support: How does the customer receive follow-up service, support, and sales? Community: How does the customer provide referrals and sell others? The following questions will help understand the stakeholders’ processes: What steps or processes do customers (indirect or end customers) go through to select and buy the product or service? What steps or processes do the direct customers go through to select and buy the product or service?
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Figure 4.8 Supplier Process

How does the company interact with customers? How can the customer process be streamlined? What steps or processes do suppliers go through to have a relationship with the company? How can the suppliers’ processes be streamlined? Does the business have control over the customer’s entire process? What topics of information is the public interested in? What topics of information do employees need? How often do the stakeholders (including customers, suppliers, others) use the Internet? How technology literate or averse are the stakeholders? What are the various points of interaction that the company may have with the customer and various stakeholders? How can the company engage customers in the order, production, and delivery process? Now draft the stakeholder’s section of your e-business plan document.

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INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
In addition to a thorough understanding of the stakeholders, it is also important to have a thorough understanding of your industry, what is happening and changing in the industry and its distribution channels. Industry changes may signi?cantly impact your business strategy as well as your e-business strategy. Companies not aware of industry changes could ?nd their business models out of date and their businesses extinct. The Internet can be a terri?c source of information on the industry. Internet sources for industry information as shown in Figure 4.9 include: Competitors’ Web sites Industry journals may have articles referencing activities of competitors — www.individual.com provides industry-speci?c news clippings — www.cahners.com has a variety of industry-speci?c trade publications Technology journals may have articles referencing activities of competitors — Information Week (www.informationweek.com) — CIO (www.cio.com) — Computerworld (www.computerworld.com) — InfoWorld (www.infoworld.com) — CRM (www.crmmag.com) — eAI Journal (www.eaijournal.com) — eWeek (www.eweek.com) — Internetweek (www.internetweek.com)

Figure 4.9 Competitor Information

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Research companies (typically involve a charge): — Giga (www.gigaweb.com) — Gartner Group (www.gartner.com) — Meta (www.metagroup.com) Industry portals and searches: — www.business.com and www.of?ce.com have general information on industries — www.hoovers.com lists industries or companies — www.vertical.net provides vertical portals for a wide variety of industries — www.dowjones.wsj.com provides industry-speci?c resources — www.corporateinformation.com provides links to industry data and company pro?les, information by company, industry, or country — www.edgar-online.com posts the latest ?lings, quarterly and annual reports, ownership statements, insider trades, and mergers and acquisitions — www.company.sleuth.com compiles news, insider trades, and registrations of Internet domains, trademarks, and patents — www.yahoo.com can search on industry or words that describe the industry Industry associations can provide competitor information: — www.vcanet.org has a directory of associations — www.asaenet.org/?nd also has a directory of associations — www.tscentral.com is a directory of trade shows Software products: — www.alexa.com provides free software to analyze Web sites and provide information — Liaison Express tracks product and pricing information from Web sites of competitors and suppliers, enabling immediate responses to price cuts and promotions — Caesius Software Inc. has a product called WebQL (www. webql.com) that can be used to gather infor mation about competitors — www.rivalwatch.com can also provide competitor information Employees (or even individuals interviewing for positions) who come from competitor companies can also be sources of information. Interview individuals within the company who have a good knowledge of the industry. Industry presentations, trade shows, and associations may feature company activities or have employees in attendance who would provide information. Talk to customers and suppliers. Internal processes should be established

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so any employee who has information about a competitor can easily share it via an Intranet. The following questions help understand the industry: Who are the competitors? What are each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses? Are there a lot of competitors, or a few large competitors? What companies dominate the industry? How might this change in the future? What might competition look like in the future due to market expansion, product expansion, backward integration, forward integration, change in fortune, or e-business? What is the total industry size today? In the future? What are the distribution channels? What changes or technologies would revolutionize the industry if they were implemented? What are future technologies that will impact the industry? What are the largest e-business threats to the business? How can the Internet change the business? What impact will e-business have on the retail channel and the distribution channel? What impact will e-business have on the price structure? What impact will e-business have on existing business? What channel expansion or disintermediation is possible? What types of distribution channel con?ict may arise? What is the company’s channel strategy? What companies are allies? How can the company reach new customers and new markets? What is the impact on marketing and branding strategies? Are there any governmental or regulatory changes impacting the industry? What are barriers to entry in the market? For example, high capital costs, high customer switching costs, strong customer loyalty, regulation, and patents. What are barriers to exit in the market? For example, expensive equipment that is dif?cult to sell, long-term labor contracts, extended customer leases and commitments, service agreements, and government regulations. What other alternatives do customers have for the product? Do market assumptions need to be rede?ned? Now draft the industry analysis section of your e-business plan document.

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VALUE CHAIN
In addition to the industry, an in-depth understanding and redesign of the value chain is important. The value chain is a combination of business processes that create value by delivering goods or services to the customer. Every company, whether it delivers a product or a service, has a value chain. An organization’s internal value chain includes product planning, procurement, manufacturing, order ful?llment, service, and support. However, the complete value chain extends back to include all the organizations that produce raw materials or other functions that enable the organization to deliver the end value, or solution, to the customer, as shown in Figure 4.10. Although many people refer to the value chain as the supply chain, the value chain is more descriptive of the new economy with complex webs of value rather than linear supply chains. Companies that do not provide a distinct value in the process will quickly be eliminated from the traditional supply chain. An integrated value chain can deliver the products or services more ef?ciently and effectively to the customer, thereby creating greater value. Organizations within an integrated value chain view one other as collaborative partners, or an extended enterprise, and share information to achieve agility, speed, and reduced costs. As Chapter 1 identi?ed, the industry is moving from linear and sequential supply chains to networked webs of value providing units. If any company in the value chain aggressively pursues e-business while the other participants lag in e-business, the company can drastically change and challenge the entire value chain. Therefore, redesigning and reviewing the value chain is not an option, but a requirement for survival. Some companies may fear or feel limited with e-business because they have built a substantial dealer or distributor network that they do not want

Figure 4.10 Value Chain Analysis

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to disturb or upset. However, this should not hinder a company’s plans, as there are many ways to complement or work with an existing channel. Many companies have successfully implemented e-business without disturbing an existing distributor channel. E-business can help support dealers and distributors rather than threaten their existence. Many times, action must be taken to meet customer requirements and remain competitive. A friend visited a boat manufacturer while on vacation in Florida. Because she was in the market to purchase a new boat, she thought it would be bene?cial to see the manufacturing process and inquire about purchasing the boat directly, thus eliminating the additional costs of going through a distributor. During the tour, she raised the question of purchasing a boat over the Internet. As there were distributors on the tour, the tour guide was defensive and the distributors quickly explained the value they add to the process. As a customer, she felt that customer preferences were ignored, because she just wanted a boat without the additional services provided by the distributors. Cars and other vehicles can be purchased over the Internet, why not their boat? The boat could be ordered over the Internet and picked up at the nearest distributor. Companies must learn how to manage their old distribution strategies while still taking advantage of the power of the Internet. The following questions help understand the value chain that the company participates in: What are the steps in the value chain? Where are the weak links in the value chain? What is the role of the business in the value chain? Can the company work with others to add more value more ef?ciently? Do others have assets the company can utilize? What impact will increased connectivity have on the value of your brand? How can the entire value stream be re-engineered? How can steps be simpli?ed? Can steps be combined? Can the order of steps be changed? Can the process be accelerated? Can the timing change? Have parallel industries cut major steps from the process? How? Now draft the value chain section of your e-business plan document.

BUSINESS ANALYSIS
It is important to have an honest self-portrait of the business situation as it exists today. The best way to do this is through development of the traditional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (or SWOT) analysis. This analysis of strengths will provide information to help identify

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how the business can maintain and extend the competitive advantages it has today by identifying areas to capitalize on. Weaknesses, or areas of improvement, will identify areas to improve, monitor, or eliminate as well as identify areas that may impact the ability to execute a strategic direction. The following questions assist in the development of the SWOT analysis: Strengths: What are the internal strengths of the business? Are there any new strengths relative to e-business and Internet capabilities? What is the business good at doing? What capabilities, resources, and skills can the business draw upon to carry out the strategies? Why do customers buy from the company? What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why do employees stay at the company? Consider and rate the critical areas, such as management, organization, customer base, research and development, operations, sales and marketing, distribution and delivery, and ?nancial condition. Weaknesses, or areas of improvement: What are the internal weaknesses of the business? What is the business not good at doing? What de?ciencies may hinder the business from achieving the strategies? Why might the company lose a sale or customer? Why do employees quit the company? Opportunities: What are possible shifts in technology with e-business and Internet? How might availability of new materials change with e-business? What are new customer categories with the Internet-enabled world? Why might there be sudden spurts or changes in market growth? Are there any new uses for old product? Can the business get access to highly skilled people through the use of Internet technology? Can the business reach new locations and geographies with the Internet? Would any new organization models be useful? Are there any new distribution channels available as a result of the Internet? Are there any potential changes to laws or regulations? Threats: Might there be market slowdowns? Is there any legislation that might be costly? Are there any changing trends due to technology?

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Is there new and aggressive competition resulting from the Internet? Are there substitute products? Is there exchange-rate volatility? Might there be a shortage of any raw material? Are there any potential changes in patent protections? Are there any potential changes in labor agreements? Has the product saturated the market? Now draft the business analysis section of your e-business plan document. Congratulations! You have successfully diagnosed the current situation, both internally and externally. You can now go on to develop how the company will function in the new economy.

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Identify how business trends, business application trends, and technology trends impact the business, customers, and industry. Thoroughly document the current situation, including the Intranet, Internet, and Extranet environments. Analyze the current situation utilizing an e-business scorecard. Carefully identify all the stakeholders, including customers and their desires. Identify the stakeholders’ processes. Analyze the industry. Redesign the value chain and clarify the role of the business in the new value chain economy.

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NOTES FOR MY E-BUSINESS EFFORT
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? 2002 by CRC Press LLC


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