Reflecting Your Image
Established March 2000
     

 

article: internet maturity

Four prevalent pressures characterise business today. They are:

- globalisation
- 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 runners-up.

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.  
  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 barriers—build an Internet Organisation.  

© 2000 Quo Vadis Consulting Ltd. Reproduced with permission.

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