Article: Agile Strategies for E-business

“e-business” web site development

Assuming that you have decided to embrace E-commerce and the subsequent advantages that it can bring to your company, then the immediate questions I would ask is whether you are upgrading an existing website or constructing a purpose built E-commerce website and are you open minded? At issue is the fact that early web site design focused on the look of the site that reflected the designers taste and skills resulting in website that ranged from “garish” to “attractive” but were less than effective as a business tool. The focus of the early web sites was primarily on marketing or as a catalogue and certainly not integrated with business operations. Many web sites are still developed using these less than effective methods.

Current and emerging “e-business” web site development focuses on developing viable business tools. These new generation web sites incorporate the web site and related Internet technologies as an integral part of the overall business operations. The current strategies incorporate Internet technologies into customer relationship management, employee relations, project management, data collection and research, purchasing, invoicing, inventory management, fulfillment and logistics. Web site development is now specifically designed to enhance the overall business mission and smart businesses are using the Internet as a serious business tool.

It used to be that a web designer or Design Company was adequate for most first generation and some second generation Internet web site projects, yet current and emerging web development strategies require a fundamental shift in your Internet development strategy. Are you willing to listen to the fact that what you have is outdated or you that you may have made mistakes in initial selection and implementation?

Current or third-generation site uses typographic and visual layout principles to describe a page in two dimensions. Third-generation sites are constructed to fit the business practices of the company. Third-generation site designers carefully specify the position and relationships of all elements on the page, retaining fine control of the layout. Third-generation sites use metaphor and visual theme to entice and guide, creating a whole experience for surfers from the first splash screen to the exit. Third-generation sites use sophisticated database driven e-Business and e-Commerce software’s that are far in advance of the basic shopping carts currently in use.

Web site development is now a critical business undertaking and requires strong business technology skills rather than only graphics design. Building a flashy web site with some interactive functionality using ineffective ecommerce solutions is not adequate to meet current business demands. Businesses of all sizes are facing this issue of leveraging Internet technologies to enhance business operations and to reduce costs yet so many remain in a first generation time warp.

The problem is that in many cases management is resistant to change, listens not to the voices of experience and does not have a clear understanding of what eCommerce is or can be or how different it is from the traditional bricks and mortar approach to commerce.

It should be noted that successful management is eminently flexible, willing to learn and understands that constant change is a fact of business life. You need an agile business to survive in this new digital world. – John Shenton – January, 2003