Q

-Biometric Identity Documents

BPM Suites

Internal Web Services

Linux on Desktop for Mainstream Business Users 1 Micro Fuel Cells

Maturity

Maturity

Plateau will be reached in:

less than 2 years 2 to 5 years

Acronym key:

4G Fourth generation

ASP Application service provider

BPM Business process management

P2P Peer to peer

RFID Radio frequency identification

5 to 10 years more than 10 years

SOA Service-oriented architecture

VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol

WiMAX Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access

XBRL Extensible Business Reporting Language

Figure 3.5 Example of a Gartner hype cycle

Source: Gartner (2005) Gartner's Hype Cycle Special Report for 2005

It may also be useful to identify how rapidly a new concept is being adopted. When a product or service is adopted rapidly this is known as rapid diffusion. The access to the Internet is an example of this. In developed countries the use of the Internet has become widespread more rapidly than the use of TV, for example. It seems that interactive digital TV and Internet-enabled mobile phones are relatively slow-diffusion products! Activity 3.1, later in this chapter, considers this issue further.

So, what action should e-commerce managers take when confronted by new techniques and technologies? There is no straightforward rule of thumb, other than that a balanced approach must be taken. It would be easy to dismiss many new techniques as fads, or classify them as 'not relevant to my market'. However, competitors are likely to be reviewing new techniques and incorporating some, so a careful review of new techniques is required. This indicates that benchmarking of 'best of breed' sites within sector and in different sectors is essential as part of environmental scanning. However, by waiting for others to innovate and review the results on their web site, a company has probably already lost 6 to 12 months. Figure 3.6 summarises the choices. The stepped curve I shows the variations in technology through time. Some changes may be small incremental changes such as a new operating system; others, such as the introduction of personalisation technology, are more significant in delivering value to customers and so improving business performance. Line A is a company that is using innovative business techniques, adopts technology early, or is even in advance of what the technology can currently deliver. Curve C shows the conservative adopter whose use of technology lags behind the available potential. Curve B, the middle ground, is probably the ideal situation where a company monitors new ideas as early adopters, trials them and then adopts those that will positively impact the business.

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