Many business chiefs have failed to grasp the concept of electronic commerce, suggests a report.
In a report commissioned by Oracle and Sun, business managers saw the key benefits of electronic commerce as increasing customer loyalty and service levels, and facilitating round-the-clock shopping. But IT managers disagreed. Taking a technological perspective, they believe the primary benefit of electronic commerce, with its search tools and agents, is the way it helps customers find the best prices for goods and services.
The survey also uncovers an apparent ignorance among CEOs of their company's electronic commerce strategy. 11.5% of CEOs questioned, wrongly assumed their company was already implementing electronic commerce systems.
Jonathan Steel, managing director of Bathwick Group, the UK research firm which carried out the survey, believes there is a simple explanation for the ignorance. "Some senior managers are not as involved as they should be (in the IT strategy)."
Business chiefs and IT managers also differed in their estimates of how long it would take to implement electronic commerce in their firms. More than half (51.10%) of CEOs said they would do so within six months, compared to just 29% of CIOs. Most CIOs (31%) estimated that their plans would take between six and 12 months to implement.
The research, undertaken by the Bathwick Group, was based on interviews with IT managers in 100 major UK companies. It will be published in September.
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