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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success 4


3
PHASE 1—BEGIN
“While we ponder when to begin it becomes too late to do.” Quintilian

As Figure 3.1 shows, the ?rst phase of the e-business planning process is to Begin. As an e-business initiative will consume time, resources, and be of utmost importance to the business, it is paramount to begin the effort properly. During this phase, you will obtain management support and a business sponsor, identify the purpose of the e-business initiative, and identify the team and participants in the e-business effort. You will document the planning process to be utilized for the e-business project as well as de?ne the communication plan that will keep the organization informed throughout the effort. Finally, you will announce this critical initiative to the organization. At the end of this phase, you will have completed the following sections in the e-business plan document: Purpose of Document Planning Process Each of these sections is described in more detail, as follows.

OBTAIN SUPPORT
Executive management support is critical to the success of an e-business initiative. Without suf?cient management support, it will be dif?cult to implement the effort successfully. Some questions to consider include: Is executive management ready to address the business planning and business model questions that will arise?
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? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success

Figure 3.1 Phase 1, Begin

Is management willing to invest the time and money to see the project through implementation? Is there a strong visionary business sponsor who is willing to be involved? Does management need to be educated and enlightened on the impact of e-business? Is executive management convinced of the impact that the Internet can have on the business? Executive management may not instinctively appreciate the importance of e-business to its organization. It may be necessary to begin with executive management training, awareness, and discussions on trends in the industry. It can also be helpful to show management what competition is doing with e-business, or the results that other companies are experiencing as a result of e-business. In these discussions, it is important to translate what e-business can mean for the company and industry.

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

Phase 1—Begin

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It is important to encourage executive management to take a strategic view of e-business. As with any new business and technology venture, there will be successes and failures or issues encountered. Particularly in the fast moving technology environment, failure is to be expected and actually encouraged as a way to make progress. The organization must learn from mistakes rather than punish individuals for taking the risks. Executive management support for e-business is necessary to: Obtain the resources to work on the effort Provide funding as the effort is further de?ned Participate in developing the e-business strategy Participate in decisions that may impact the business direction Sponsor and approve the e-business projects Prioritize the e-business projects Make decisions on business process changes or organizational changes that may be necessary Executive management provides a steering committee for the e-business initiatives. Typically, an executive management team may already exist in the form of a business management team or Information Systems Steering Committee. Ensure that e-business is on the agenda for this group during its regular meetings. Identify a business sponsor for the e-business initiatives. This individual should take a key role in guiding e-business for the organization. The e-business sponsor should have the following traits and skills: Hold an executive-level position within the business (not Information Systems as e-business is a business issue, not a technical issue) Be in?uential within the organization Have the authority and responsibily to get resources, maintain involvement, make decisions, and ensure commitment Be a visionary Be passionate about e-business and possibilities with the Internet Have good communication skills Have the ability to make decisions Possess the ability to think outside of the box Have good knowledge of the business and industry Have good knowledge of the Internet and its capabilities The role of the e-business executive sponsor is to: Assist with establishing the vision and strategy for e-business Assist in obtaining resources, making decisions, and obtaining commitment from all areas of the organization

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success

Assist in communicating the e-business vision, strategy, and status to other areas of the organization Depending on the size of the organization and the e-business involvement of the organization, being the executive sponsor could take from 5% of one person’s time up to requiring a full-time person. The executive-level sponsor with a vision and executive management support is critical to the success of e-business. In addition to requiring money, e-business done correctly will cause individuals’ jobs to change and organizational structures to change. These changes can be dif?cult without proper executive support.

PURPOSE
It is important to understand and communicate the purpose of the e-business plan document and process. This essentially builds the case for action on why the company should invest in developing an e-business strategy and provides an introduction to the plan document. Document the purpose in the e-business plan document, but the section should be no more than one to two pages. It is a compelling, clear, and concise statement outlining the need for, or purpose of, an e-business plan. The following are the necessary components and questions to help develop the purpose section, as shown in Figure 3.2:

Figure 3.2 Purpose of E-Business

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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Environment: What has happened or what has changed to cause concern about the current state of affairs? Have several e-business projects and initiatives been completed, but lacked an overall strategy, direction, and framework that encompass the initiatives and establish the roadmap for the future? Problem: What is the problem? Why is a plan or strategy necessary? Demands: What are the demands? What must be done? How was the effort initiated? How was the need perceived? Diagnosis: Why will the current methods not meet the demands? Cost of Inaction: What is the consequence of staying status quo? What will happen if an e-business strategy and plan are not developed? Will the company fall behind competition, and what would be the impact? Objectives: How will the organization know if the effort is successful? What are the guiding goals to developing an e-business plan? Is the purpose of the document to communicate the company’s vision, direction, and objectives relative to e-business? Is the result of the process to understand the current e-business situation and identify e-business opportunities? Scope: What is the scope of the effort and the plan? Does it include all divisions, all geographic areas, and all parts of the business? Figure 3.3 shows an example of a purpose section for an organization. Now draft the purpose section of your e-business plan document.

IDENTIFY TEAM
Next, identify the team of individuals that will participate in the e-business initiative. Although some of the members will be consistent throughout the effort, additional business resources may be needed during the business planning phases (Phases 2 through 6), technical design resources in Phases 5 and 6, and technical resources during the implementation (Phases 6 and 7). The following skills and attributes will be required of individuals on the e-business team: A good knowledge of the business Up-to-date knowledge of technology and how it can help the business Innovative, creative Industry knowledge Excellent communication skills Thorough

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success

Figure 3.3 Purpose

Flexible Team player Ability and track record of delivering on time and within budget Well respected by the business and information systems group A methodology for planning and implementing e-business initiatives Experience in implementing e-business initiatives After selecting the team of individuals, carefully select a project leader to lead the e-business initiative. In addition to the skills identi?ed above, the e-business project leader should have all the following skills: Excellent project management skills and experience Passionate and a visionary about e-business and what it can do for the organization Organized Ability to coordinate many activities

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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Ability to delegate Decisive Empowered Consider whether the organization has the internal skills and resources that can be applied to implement e-business successfully. The organization may need to augment the internal skills with external assistance in some or all of the phases. In the new economy, it is not practical to try to do everything yourself, but rather to align with experts. Choose collaborative partners who take a true interest in the organization’s success. When choosing a partner, consider the following points: Is the organization looking for one partner that is specialized in planning, and then a separate partner for the development and implementation? If engaging one partner to do both, make sure the partner does not slight the planning side and rush into implementation. Typically, ?rms either are strong in planning or in implementing rather than in both. Look for a partner who has a strong history and track record. The company should be well respected within its industry. Find out for how many companies the potential partner has planned or implemented a strategy. If considering an organization for implementation, look at the speci?c sites it has developed. How long has it been in business? Has the potential partner assisted companies in your speci?c industry? With what tools and technologies is the company experienced? Is the candidate a leader or follower in the e-business industry? How current is the candidate’s experience? Review other plans the candidate has developed. Does the candidate have a solid and proven methodology that aligns with your organization’s thoughts and principles? Obtain customer references and the total list of customers the candidate has assisted. Talk with previous customers to determine their levels of satisfaction. Talk with customers of the speci?c consultants who will be assigned to your project, not just customers of the ?rm. Have they completed other projects on time and within budget? Identify speci?c roles and responsibilities. What will be the expectations of individuals in the company as well as the external resources? Identify, meet, and review the credentials of the speci?c consultants who will be assigned to the project. Do they have the necessary experience and knowledge? Are you comfortable with them? Do you trust them? What is their approach to project management? How will the effort be planned and status and issues communicated?

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success

What is the cost? Is it ?xed or variable? What are the variables? What is the timeline? What are the tasks that will be completed? What are the risks in the timeline? What is the return on investment? What is the process that will be utilized? How will success be measured? Who will have ownership of the deliverables?

PLANNING PROCESS
Now that you have management support, an executive sponsor, and a project team, the team can agree upon the process that will be used to develop the e-business plan. The planning process presented in this book can provide a general roadmap for the effort, but it may need to be tailored to meet the needs and environment of a particular organization and industry. Outline the process that will be utilized in your e-business plan document. This section can provide useful background to individuals reading the plan as to how the conclusions were reached. It also obtains agreement from the participants before the development of the plan as to the methodology the group agrees to use. Outline the initial process as well as how the plan will be kept up to date on an ongoing basis. Identify the governance process for ongoing e-business progress, including responsibilities, authority, and accountability. The following questions can help formulate the process section of the plan: What process will be utilized to develop the e-business plan? What are the underlying principles of the planning process? What phases are included in the process? What sections should be included in the table of contents of the plan document? How will the plan be kept up to date on an ongoing basis? How is the e-business planning process integrated with the company business planning process and information systems’ planning process? Who is involved in the development of the e-business plan? What are the individual responsibilities of each member involved in the development? Is accountability clearly identi?ed? Who is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the e-business plan and what are their speci?c responsibilities? Who has decision-making authority for the e-business initiatives and direction? What is the process for obtaining funding for e-business initiatives? Now draft the table of contents for your plan document as well as the planning process section of your e-business plan document.

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

Phase 1—Begin

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COMMUNICATION PLAN
E-enabling a business can have a tremendous impact on the entire organization. E-business may impact individuals’ jobs, responsibilities, organization, culture, and processes. It is critical to proactively create a communication and feedback vehicle to deliver information about the vision, strategy, plans, and progress of e-business projects. As with any major change, communication is critical, and lack of it can lead to failure. It is important to plan the internal communications vehicles to assist with the long-term success of the effort. Consider the following possibilities: Establish an e-business newsletter or include regular articles in an existing newsletter. Post the progress on an Intranet page. Provide regular e-mail updates and progress reports to all management. Provide regular updates at executive meetings. Provide presentations and updates at departmental meetings or allemployee meetings. The objective is to ?ll the formal and informal communication channels with enough information to minimize the rumor mills ?lling in the blanks, which could negatively impact the progress of the project. Communication will also create support and excitement for the effort throughout the organization. In addition to the communication plan to the organization, outline the internal communication plan for the project within the project team participants. It is critical to ensure that there is an open, honest, and constructive channel of communication throughout the entire team. Communication should be ef?cient so that bureaucracy does not slow the progress. Address the following: How will team members be kept informed of progress and decisions? How frequently will team meetings be held? What will be their purpose and who will participate? How will the executive sponsor be kept up to date? How will decisions be made?

ANNOUNCE
There is typically a lot of interest throughout the organization in e-business, and there might even be some unauthorized projects in progress in various places within the organization. Proactively announce the e-business initiative. Explain the following:

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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A Practical Guide to Planning for E-Business Success

Why is e-business important to the organization? What process will be utilized to develop an e-business strategy? What is the time frame on when a strategy will be de?ned? What is the time frame on when initial projects will be implemented? Who will be involved in the effort? Why were those individuals selected? How will others within the organization be impacted? Your e-business initiative is now off to a great start. You have the management commitment, a passionate executive sponsor, a competent project team, and a communication plan. You have announced the effort to the organization. You are now ready to begin the work in de?ning the e-business strategy!

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Executive management support and a passionate executive business sponsor are critical to the success of an e-business initiative. Build a case for action in the purpose section of the e-business plan document. Identify a competent team of individuals and project leader for the e-business initiative. Consider whether internal resources need to be augmented with external assistance. Do not try to do everything yourself. Carefully select collaborative partners. Identify the planning process that will be used for the initial plan as well as ongoing updating. Proactively develop a communication and feedback vehicle to deliver information about the vision, strategy, plans, and progress of the e-business effort. A lack of communication can lead to failure. Proactively announce and promote the e-business effort throughout the organization.

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC

Phase 1—Begin

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NOTES FOR MY E-BUSINESS EFFORT
_____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

? 2002 by CRC Press LLC


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