Run Fast, Run Lean

Gartner: Speed, limited scope keys to e-business initiatives' success

Denver  May 9, 2001  Speed and limited scope are the keys to success for companies implementing e-business initiatives.

That was the message at technology consultancy Gartner's spring symposium and Itxpo, taking place this week in Denver.

Gartner analysts said the most successful e-business transformation projects will go from concept to completion of the first phase within nine months. In this timeframe, major initiatives start delivering value sooner and incrementally build their full objectives. By 2002, almost all Global 2,000 companies with effective e-business strategies will use rapid, repetitive planning processes, Gartner predicted.

"Recurring, fixed-duration cycles deliver additional benefits," said Jeff Schulman, Gartner vice president. "Their visible time pressure and urgency help identify and overcome bureaucratic delays and red tape."

A fixed duration forces an organization to zero in on the key elements of value that need to be delivered soonest, Schulman explained. Because each cycle requires less resources than the initiative as a whole, approvals and funding can be linked into the cycle review process to reduce risk and accelerate the approval process.

While committees are a popular mechanism currently employed by companies to implement e-business, Gartner analysts predicted that enterprises that are committed and striving to aggressively adopt e-business will appoint e-business czars. These czars will have direct access to the CEO to enable swift decision-making, to act as a symbol of e-business commitment and to integrate e-business with the overall enterprise strategy. Once they have done so, they will move on.

"Global 2,000 enterprises must culturally disrupt their organizations to capitalize on the opportunities in the digital economy," said Schulman. "New enterprise cultures will embrace flexibility, risk-taking, collaboration and swift decision-making."

The Internet is an effective medium for servicing the smaller, targeted market segments that result as organizations become more customer-centric, moving from mass-market, mass-production approaches to niche-market, mass-customization strategies, Gartner analysts said. e-Business plans yielding the greatest business value will be those that promote noncentralized, market-by-market initiatives. New opportunities are best perceived by those who work at a market's customer or trading touch points; they understand customer/partner needs and current channel and process weaknesses.

Gartner is predicting that between 2006 and 2008, more than 50 percent of the Global 2000 enterprises will qualify as true e-businesses, which the consultancy defines as an enterprise in which the 10 most critical revenue and cost-related business processes have been transformed into Internet-powered e-business processes.