Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Why an eBusiness strategy?

The Web is one of those fields where anyone and everyone can become an "expert"... This often leads to situations where someone sincerely think the next greatest thing after sliced bread will be to build this nifty web site because THEY have this great idea... Even after the web-rush and dot-bomb era, there are still people who think the magic will work for them.

I have seen this thinking in all kinds of situations, from managers at large organizations going so far as to spend hundred of thousands of dollars before pulling the plug, small businesses thinking people will flock to their site to buy their nifty product or even individuals who think they will turn authors within days. If they know what to do, why would they need an ebusiness strategist?!

Instead of going into long explanations that would look like hype and marketing, I'll just give my top recommandations:

  1. Forget about the web! Define your strategy, your product, your idea, your measure of success or whatever it is without ever saying the Web will do it for you! If your idea makes the smallest sense without the web, it will certainly do with it!
  2. Forget about technology! Give me notepad or vi and I'll build you a web site. Give me Siebel, Microsoft.Net solutions or Open Source solutions and I'll build you a solutions based on those technologies. For 98% of the situations, technology is not an issue and is now mature enough to answer your needs.
  3. "Start small, think big". You might have heard this one before, but it is so applicable to the web! Do several iterations to improve your site, test with real users and think in term of evolution rather than trying to build the Coliseum that will stand centuries.
  4. Identify the "ecosystem". A web site doesn't exist by itself, it exists because of other systems: databases, search engines, links to other sites, people participating in your "community", etc. Interactions with those entities will determine the growth... and eventual death of your web site.
  5. Recognize you don't know... The important is not to know everything, but rather to know where to find the answer!