article: internet maturity
Four prevalent pressures characterise business today. They are:
- the rate of technological change
- the information explosion
- the pressure of competition.
These are not new. They are the same factors that existed twenty
years ago. What has changed is their intensity and scale.
The meteoric growth of the Internet exemplifies all four.
So how will the Internet affect your business? Can you get by without
it? A simple technological analogy will bring the answers to these
questions into relief.
The development of the telephone provides the analogy. When you
understand the role of the telephony in your business and how essential
it is to running it you will begin to see that Internet decisions
are really 'no-brainers'. Your only true decision is how far behind
the competition you want to be. The issue is how quickly you can
evolve your business so that Internet technology is part of its
normal infrastructure, just as the telephone is.
the six stages of internet maturity
By looking at how businesses use the telephone we can see immediate
parallels with the growth and use of the Internet. The true importance
of the telephone may not have been recognised in its early days.
Certainly no-one could have thought that one day it would be used
for transmitting data as well as voice sounds, nor that it would
be able to send images in the form of a fax, or be connected to
computers as part of a thing called the Internet.
Likewise, without the benefit of hindsight, it is difficult for
us to imagine the wondrous things that the Internet will be capable
of. Things that we believed to be impossible will happen.
However, by using the development of the telephone as an analogy
we can see some pretty certain Internet trends that will not disappear
or decay. We are on the up-slope, not the down slope. The penetration
of the Internet in many businesses is not yet fully developed.
We see the current development of the Internet as a six stage process,
and call these The Six Stages Of Internet Maturity. Each stage has
an associated imperative or rule. Here are the stages and the rules
maturity stage #1
Is talking to other people on the phone a natural and vital part
of your business? This is the most basic use of telephony. The Internet
parallel is e-mail.
Internet Rule #1 is about Web Connection: Get Connected and exploit
the power of e-mail.
maturity stage #2
Is your business in the telephone book or is it ex-directory?!
The Internet parallel is about having a Web Presence: have a web
site that gives basic information about your business. The issue
is that unlike the telephone book Internet names cannot be duplicated.
They must be unique. In short, this means that if two companies
have the same name then whoever registers the name first owns the
name. In the Internet race you can only come first: there are no
Internet Rule #2 is about Web Presence: Get your business name
Internet registered and create your presence on the Internet.
maturity stage #3
Is your business in the Yellow Pages? Do you have a one-liner or
a box advert? The Internet parallel is Web Promotion.
Internet Rule #3: Web Promotion: Promote your business on the Internet.
maturity stage #4
Can your business accept orders, handle queries, or provide technical
information over the phone? The Internet parallel is Web Transactions:
these do not need to be about money changing hands over the phone
(telegraphic funds transfer).
Internet Rule #4: Web Transactions: Create the ability to do at
least basic business transactions on the Internet.
maturity stage #5
Do customers trust you with their credit card details when placing
an order over the phone? Do they feel secure? Can you do business
over the phone rather than face to face with the majority of your
customers? The Internet parallel is Web Commerce.
Internet Rule #5: Web Commerce: Develop the ability to run key
parts of your business on the Internet.
maturity stage #6
Does your business run solely over the phone? A good example is
telephone banking. The Internet Parallel is The Web Organisation.
Internet Rule #6: The Web Organisation: Demolish geographic and
time zone barriers, build an Internet Organisation.
If you have reservations about whether to get on the Internet or
to push forward your level of Internet maturity, we suggest that
you take your guidance from the development of the telephone. And
remember, opportunities always look bigger going than coming.
summary: the internet rules
|| Internet Rule 1:
|| Get connected and exploit the
power of e-mail.
|| Internet Rule 2:
||Get your business name Internet
registered and create your presence on the Internet.
||Internet Rule 3:
||Promote your business on the
||Internet Rule 4:
||Create the ability to do at least
basic business transactions on the Internet.
||Internet Rule 5:
||Develop the ability to run key
parts of your business on the Internet.
||Internet Rule 6:
||Demolish geographic and time
zone barriersbuild an Internet Organisation.
© 2000 Quo Vadis Consulting Ltd. Reproduced with permission.