New Strategy for Enterprise Competitiveness

Christopher S. Rollyson

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Resources/Papers/2000 Vision and Predictions

E-Business Key Themes and Issues

Here is my crystal ball as of December 1999.  All of these themes and visions emerged in almost every engagement with which I was involved in 1999.  They are uppermost in the minds of every CEO, whether of an Internet start-up, a clicks and mortar or a bricks and mortar.  Check out white papers and e-business briefs. Print version here.

Future State: The E-Business Environment

  • Connectivity between highly diverse companies (and their systems) at a very low cost and on an unprecedented scale
    • Provides the opportunity to coordinate heretofore disparate activities with increasing ease
  • Prominence of asynchronous communications (those not requiring real-time communications among two or more people; for example, websites and email)
    • Enable communications to take place at a time that is of the lowest cost to each participant
  • Hyperavailability of information to anyone who has access to the "web" of activity
    • Enables a large number of people to make decisions based on the same information (for example, the end consumer's demand signal)
  • Connectivity and asynchronicity combine to drive down the cost of interaction and transactions, among customers as well as members of the enterprise and its partners


  • Adoption of many customer segments will undoubtedly follow the tornado model
    • "The jury" will return a positive verdict after which hordes of customers will interact and transact on-line
  • "Opening up" the enterprise to an unprecedented level of scrutiny will be a difficult reality for some business leaders to accept
    • The true value delivered by the enterprise's products and services will be discussed openly everywhere
  • This will be inevitable, and enterprises that resist it will be seriously disadvantaged

Future State: The E-Business Customer

  • Enterprises are becoming increasingly transparent to their customers
    • Customers have the unprecedented ability to learn in-depth information about the enterprise's products, processes, problems and competitors
  • Customers of all types have a far lower cost and increased scope of interaction
    • Increasingly able to share their experiences with almost infinitely many other customers
    • This is a key element of the power shift to the customer, away from the enterprise
  • Customers will demand increasing satisfaction from enterprises, once they know that they can deliver it with e-business processes
    • The market will not forgive companies that ignore this phenomenon
  • Customers will demand that enterprises think of their needs first and allow them to design products and services to fit their needs
    • This contrasts sharply with the enterprise-focused model of today in which enterprises to design products and sell them to a mass market
  • Customers will take the lead in dictating what kinds of products and services they use, and they will reward enterprises that enable them to do this most easily


  • The rise of the power of the customer will upset many traditional enterprises that are accustomed to pushing product to customers
  • Due to their pain, many companies will turn inward, forgetting that customers are going through significant changes
    • Companies that have the foresight to help customers make the transition will gain huge benefits
  • The enterprise that creates the capacity (knowledge) to engage customers to help it to satisfy them will be far better off in the satisfaction game

Future State: The Extended Enterprise Is a Knowledge Enterprise

  • The extended enterprise is one with valid core competencies operating within a web of complementary companies that is coordinated to present one face to customers
  • Hyperavailability of information, low interaction cost and the need to satisfy customers drive the ascendancy of knowledge
    • Knowledge is defined as information applied to performing an action
  • The cornerstone of creating value in the e-business environment will be creating, organizing and leveraging knowledge
    • Focus on how the enterprise satisfies customers and knowledge about how the enterprise interacts within its web to deliver unique value to its customers and its partners
  • The leading extended enterprises will drive strategic planning into their organizations
    • The focus on core competencies will drive the creation of opportunities that create and deliver value
    • Opportunities will be more short-lived and more numerous than they are today
  • The leading enterprises will be those that have confidence in their ability to create and deliver unique value propositions
    • Confidence will be necessary to take the risk of adopting the new model and sharing knowledge with their customers and partners at a level unheard of today
  • Confidence will stem from building a cadre of knowledge workers
    • This will have to be pursued organically, via an individual and organizational learning process
    • Workers that are conscious of knowledge and how to apply it to customers in the new e-business environment do not exist yet
          >They have to learn on the job


  • Knowledge is an accelerator because it increases the enterprise's ability to learn and create more knowledge
  • There will be no extended enterprise that is not first a knowledge enterprise
  • Enterprises that fail to act and ignore the knowledge component of e-business put themselves at significant risk

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