Thursday, 30 December 2010

2011 - a new beginning?

I've been looking back over the last couple of decades recently. And having been in this thing called E-Business for a long time now I've started to ask the question every year - 'so what's next?' or, more importantly, 'what should happen next?'

The answer I think is simple. E-Business (the people and companies involved in it) has got to start to mature a bit. We've all got to start doing the right thing all of the time not just throwing in some best practice here and there, but applying best practice all the time (or at least trying to).

Also, I think a lot of digital practitioners are guilty of being disruptive a lot of the time, it's in their nature to be inventive and challenge the status quo, and it's important they continue to do this. However, it isn't always a good idea to start again or try something new when it comes to certain practices that are perfectly appropriate to the task in hand. For example, producing well thought through research programmes (UCD), or developing products (NPD) that are optimal for the channel they are most likely to be purchased and even experienced in, rather than just fitting them in at the end. Instead E-Business people need to learn from other practice areas more often and certainly work more collaboratively with them than they often do at the moment.

The maturing digital landscape will require a lot to happen over the next few years, here's some of my immediate thoughts:

1. Non-digital practitioners need to get more involved in digital stuff.
2. Digital practitioners need to get more involved in non-digital stuff.

[Effectively digital practices need to be increasingly demystified and democratised - see previous article.]

3. We need to involve the customer in developing our E-Businesses as much as possible. The great thing about digital is that technology allows us to really dig deep and understand what the customer struggles with or prefers etc. when using online systems. There really is no excuse.
4. Real commitments need to be made to create best practice E-Business environments / cultures and this needs to come from the top - Board Directors you know who you are.
5. The customers relationship with your brand and the products & services you offer often still needs to be properly understood - this means investing (time & money) in data, related systems and web analytics as well as turning all the information into insight - and that's just the start. New technologies allow much more effective and insight driven business decisions to be made far more cost effectively than ever before. Whether your business requires full blown eCRM from day one and all the associated headaches of getting a single view of your customer etc. or having the ability to determine a thousand variables for every communication you want to make to your customer - I'm not sure. I can say that it is probably a good idea if we start to ask the questions that will help answer this now and gain what is likely to be considerable competitive advantage as well as an improved bottom line.

As I have stated above, these are only my immediate thoughts, and I'd be interested to hear yours.

If this maturing of E-Business practices doesn't happen immediately there is enough evidence of some of these things happening for me to feel excited about what is going to happen in 2011.

Good luck.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Final thought for the week 2010

“Even after all this time The sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me'. Look what happens with a love like lights the whole sky." Hafez of Shiraz, Persian Sufi poet c 1350 AD

Monday, 20 December 2010

Thought for the week

"The great mistakes are made when we feel we are beyond questioning." American advertising guru William Bernbach (1911-1982)

I'm going to keep asking and answering questions in 2011 and I hope you are too.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Thought for the week

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could." American author, poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)