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E-commerce Strategies

Your business is already struggling to adapt to the exigencies and opportunities attendant the Internet. Standardized, cheaply deployed - and secure - networking technologies are dynamizing internal business processes and re-ordering how businesses engage their vendors, their partner companies and their retail customers. It is indeed an exciting time, redolent with all of the promise of the new.

Yet all change is not necessarily good or easy.

Your organization's implementation of new connectivity media and philosophies can be a boon or, up the line, a costly impediment to further growth and efficiency. Additionally, too many companies have discovered too late that embracing Internet technologies is largely a non-technical engagement, requiring usually as much - or more - thought in transfiguring the enterprise than in connecting pipes to boxes and rolling out the new applications.

TRG's E-Commerce Strategies practice is here to make those assessments for enterprises seeking a change in technological or organizational direction that includes development of Internet-mediated applications. Our consultants can provide planned, rational, e-commerce deployment strategies of enduring value for internal applications, business-to-business processes and develop workable customer service applications for retail enterprises.

A vision without a plan, we like to say here at TRG, is a hallucination. On the Web, it is a recipe for failure. A KPMG report issued late in 1999 says many traditional companies failed to successfully integrate the Web into their core business - specifically because they went tinto the engagement without a strategic vision, adequate planning - and the IT talent and infrastructure required to execute the effort.

The survey, conducted by Benchmarking Partners for KPMG, concludes that companies moving out onto the Web must properly align IT with a business vision that defines how the Web sales channel will complement the bricks and mortar operations. TRG's perceptions align tightly to these findings. Too often, the Web is treated as something other than a set of applications that have to serve a constituency with appropriate data and programming. The mystique somehow leads companies to take leave of their own good practices.

Specific to the task of creating a working Web presence, however, KPMG identified three categories of failure:

organizational, external and executional. At the organizational level, some 75 percent of the survey's respondents had no central decision maker for their e-commerce programs. Many reported that their companies had multiple, department-level initiatives in play - with no larger unifying strategy. TRG regards these projects as internal training programs since, at some point they will have to be joined and redeployed again with appropriate planning.

In terms of external influences on their Web strategies, many companies are conflicted about how they should address channel issues. The Web is a medium that can connect any and all trading parties - end running existing relationships such those a company may have with distributors and business partners. The choices that these companies see in front of them are:

Do Nothing;

Go direct and reap new business - and possibly upset any relationships with distributors;

Partner with a Web middleman and trust your products' critical on-line channel to a third party - and still draw the ire of your distributors;

Organize a stealth strategy

In terms of execution, the big trouble is in the technology: A lot of companies reported having difficulty keeping IT talent, which makes it really tough to refit existing systems to handle real-time transactions with suppliers, vendors and partner and customers.

At TRG, we believe that e-commerce requires a special kind of diligence - a hybrid discipline of IT expertise and management savvy - to ensure that the new connectivity technologies get the job done with the least amount of disruption and retooling possible.

TRG's e-commerce consultants have the expertise and the experience integrating available technologies into the most appropriate for your business's culture and enterprise with maximal security. Our aim, in sum, is rather simple: to sculpt the most prudent electronic commerce solutions and to manage the change in business architectures that those technologies provoke.

Contact Rodney Thayer, TRG's director of E-Commerce Deployment Strategies Practice

US Offices: 38 Rice Street Suites 2-0/2-2
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 02140
VOX: 1-617-491-2952     FAX: 1-815-364-3002

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