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Dot.Com is Dead - Long Live e-Business

[26 January 2001] - Over the past months, there have been many rumors of the imminent demise of the Dot.Com. These rumors are fast becoming reality and the end of the hype surrounding Dot.Coms and the 'New Economy' will be a relief. This is according to Mark Gilfillan, managing director of MB Worksoft, the e-business arm of MB Technologies.

"For a long time, business decision-makers and investors have been distracted from the real issues associated with technology in business. These issues centre on using technology to conduct existing business more effectively, not by taking any business idea and expecting it to be successful merely by using technology," he says.

From the thousands of aspiring Dot.Com companies that bloomed in the past year, IDC expects only a few hundred to survive. Gilfillan says that the successful businesses of the future will combine the good of both the old and the new economy. "For example, from the old economy it will take the concepts of an existing client base, a solid brand, reliable delivery, and a tangible presence. From the new economy, it will take speed of transaction, instant communication, flexibility, global availability and completeness of information. Together, these concepts will then form the basis of an e-Business."

IDC believes that an end-to-end integrated eBusiness solution is the logical next step after the integration provided by enterprise-applications suites and eCommerce applications. It also predicts that this year several key thresholds will be crossed, Web users worldwide will increase to more than 500 million, IT spend will exceed US $1 trillion and Internet commerce will exceed US $500 million.

Gilfillan explains: "So, what is an e-Business versus a Dot.Com? A Dot.Com is a new business venture that utilises the Internet as the primary means of customer interaction. An e-Business is an existing business that may or may not use the Internet as one means of customer interaction, depending on the nature and needs of its existing and prospective customers. In essence, an e-Business has identified and implemented the most cost-effective manner of conducting the full spectrum of its business activities electronically. An e-Business is fully computerised to the extent that all employees are empowered and capable of using them.

"It has systems that are open, integrated and span its organisational boundaries. An e-Business communicates electronically and all staff collaborate across functional divisions to undertake tasks. An e-Business understands the knowledge that makes it efficient and it makes that knowledge available to all. An e-Business has close links with its suppliers and customers and it makes the characteristics of both integral to how it does business. Finally, an e-Business has no boundaries in the definition and use of its systems," he adds.

"Why relief at the demise of Dot.Coms?," he asks. "Firstly, the hype surrounding Dot.Coms has blurred the distinction between the use of technology to make business better; and the use of technology to start off new businesses. As a result of this hype, technology has been cast as the villain in the many failed Dot.Com ventures. This has caused decision-makers to avoid utilising technology to e-business enable existing businesses. Hopefully, technology can now be viewed in its rightful context - one of many enablers to access new markets, deliver new products and services, and improve productivity," says Gilfillan.

Gilfillan concludes: "Finally, it brings to end the artificial distinction drawn between the new and old economy. All there is, is a new way of conducting business utilising technology. What remains exactly the same is the need for customers, suppliers, and an organisation to deliver the products or services profitably.