GartnerGroup has advised organisations to abandon e-business projects that cannot be completed within 12 months.
Al Lill, research director at Gartner, told delegates at the company's US Spring Symposium that unlike traditional strategies, companies do not have the luxury of planning five years ahead for e-business developments.
Budding e-businesses should also be "brutal and ruthless" in looking no further than 36 months into the future, he added. "If you can't get a technical project done in 12 months, don't bother. You must check on progress every 90 days."
He also advised companies to develop separate strategies for industries, business units and geographies and to give equal consideration to both internal and external processes.
Getting support from the board is also crucial. "I've seen careers being shattered because this did not happen," he said.
Lill also stressed that traditional business models must also be transformed to take advantage of e-business, and that companies need to follow new rules. He gave the example of retailer Toys 'R' Us, whose first foray into e-commerce in 1998 harmed the company because it did not put all its products on the Web or give discounts for fear of aggravating its traditional distribution channels.
"You should enhance or destroy your distribution channel based on its true power and value," said Lill. "If the only value is that you've been doing it that way for years, then destroy it."
He concluded: "Terminate all weak links along the entire chain, regardless of the short-term pain. Speed and ruthless execution are absolutely everything.
Once you pull the trigger, all of these things are important."
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