The client is a respected global supplier of industrial equipment. Under the auspices of the newly appointed e-Business manager, the project team was asked to analyse the existing e-Business platform and functionality, to develop a strategy for improvement and to engage top management in a discussion to adopt a more aggressive approach to e-Business across the company.
Leading on from a throw-away comment that e-Business is “not rocket science” the idea was developed to talk to the “rocket scientists” – the engineers and the engineering-biased management – about e-Business in ways that they could more easily relate to.
Three vehicles were utilised:
• Visual images – for instance web visitors counted in terms of New York City Marathon runners
• Dollars – high-level calculations of orders lost, returns on online advertising etc.
• Customer Activity – illustrating how e-Business supports the customer as he conducts his business with the company and showing how the existing solutions fail to provide that support
Considerable effort was expended to explain how e-Business works – or doesn’t work, as the case may be. We could assume that everyone understood the basic principles, but the nuances of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or the relationship between Visit Duration and order frequency needed discussion to get the buy-in required.
Similarly, it was important to demonstrate the e-Business team’s understanding of the business – “you can’t sell our widgets the way Amazon sells books” – and how Internet technologies such as forums or RSS feeds can support the Customer Activity Cycle at lower cost and higher user satisfaction rates.
The final management presentations resulted in
• a better understanding of the possibilities and pitfalls of e-Business, as they relate to the client’s business
• increased support for the e-Business team
• formal approval for further analysis of specific projects and for the development of a more aggressive e Business strategy.
My role in this project involved the following tasks:
• Moderation of the concept and analysis phases
• Development of the management presentations
• Addressing specific objections
• Development of supporting numerical models
• Presentation of the interim and final concepts to management