European business is moving too slowly on Ecommerce and risks missing out on a post-millennial boom if it does not revaluate IT relationships, according to a report published this month by Forrester Research.
Titled "Agile IT for Ecommerce in Europe", the report was based on surveys of 50 top IT executives and 30 Ecommerce experts and concluded that while large companies were gearing up to sell their goods online, they were moving too slowly and with too narrow a focus.
The report's author, Andrew Parker said: "Ecommerce is going to be a prime driver of change, and for companies to maximise its potential, they will have to become more agile."
This agility will prove essential in the fast-changing world of Internet technology, said Parker, who added that while established brands will be more resilient in the UK than they have been in the US, it is still very much a case of who gets there first reaps the rewards.
The report criticised blinkered management vision and its tendency to look for precise solutions for particular problems, rather than embark on a wider and more in-depth integration of IT. For companies to benefit from the increase in "dynamic trade", business strategy will have to be intrinsically linked with IT strategy.
Ecommerce is set to explode after the millennium, when other IT problems such as Y2K and euro integration will have been dealt with. The report labelled any major UK firm entering the online market at that time, however, as a latecomer, which will then have to build a large degree of IT flexibility into its systems if it is to regain lost ground.
The report's belief that Ecommerce will have a pervading influence across the whole company, including its business processes, has been supported by a further piece of research commissioned by IBM, which pointed to the emergence of a new breed of worker to deal with the online business environment.
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