Many of us have looked at the consumer side of the Internet and been fascinated by the business models of companies like Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo. As it turns out, the real Internet revolution is not going to happen on the consumer side.
The true value of the Internet is in helping businesses becoming efficient, in helping them grow their revenues while cutting costs at the same time, about getting access to information in real-time and leveraging it in ways previously not even thought of. This wave is only just beginning. There are millions of companies using IT across the world, but few are using it in an integrated sense. This is where the opportunity of tomorrow lies: creating a set of standardised applications for companies which can be used across their functions internally, and collaboratively externally – with suppliers, customers and partners.
Companies like Oracle, Siebel, SAP, i2, Peoplesoft target the large corporate accounts and perhaps the mid-market companies. Of course, there is nothing to prevent them from selling to the smaller companies.
But their one-price-fits-all approach will make it very expensive for the smaller companies (the start-ups, the growing companies, the learning companies), especially in many of the emerging markets. Such companies exist in millions across the world. They have to use the Internet as part of their business – the benefits are too large to ignore. And yet, most do not know or care.
It is like how many of us entrepreneurs have been – just get the work done, and since you really do not know anything better, you keep doing it the way you have been doing. And when you try and automate, you try and automate the flawed processes that you have been working at, processes which were not created assuming the Internet, but processes which have come from legacy or just evolved out of necessity. What really needs to be done is that one has to discard these processes and look at making the Net integral to the company, and adopt processes which are new, which means there will be pain, there will need to be learning.