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Lesson 2 Organization structure re-alignment
Objective Outline the ways in which an organization may change to include eBusiness.

Value Chain and Change Management

In many ways, eBusiness technology challenges the value chain:
  1. digitalization,
  2. globalization and
  3. deregulation
man that eBusiness success is largely decided by how well the business redefines its distribution channels. As we have mentioned in an earlier lesson, being able to do this at lower cost or better than the competition, secures competitive advantage. There is no standard solution to implementing judicious structural change when introducing eBusiness. However you look at it, charges to adopt sweeping Internet strategies will affect the current structure of the company, its size, the projected volume of eBusiness, and the availability of staff skilled in eBusiness and related technologies. Questions of re-alignment may not be within the architect's plan, but the architect should participate in these discussions, and attempt to influence them because these decisions are extremely important to the eBusiness success.

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Change Management

A change to eBusiness is rarely a cosmetic one. More often than not, it involves rebuilding the underlying structure of the business.
Because the process of change can be extremely damaging to business, the architect should also take steps to ensure that the organization can survive and benefit from the process of this change. The architect's challenge is to achieve the right balance between the short-term pressure for change and the long-term eBusiness goals. As we discussed in an earlier lesson, stakeholder buy-in is critical to the success of an eBusiness. Although the responsibility to manage this change can be formidable, the benefits can be far-reaching. The benefits of effective change management include
  1. Surfacing concerns and issues at all employee levels early on in the process
  2. Creating buy-in throughout the process within the organization
  3. Creating a comprehensive roadmap including planned interventions to support the change
  4. Monitoring change on an ongoing basis

Availability of eBusiness Resources

As we said in an earlier lesson, eBusiness generally should not be considered as separate to the existing business. However, the success of an eBusiness is largely dependent on the resources available to realize the solution.
For example, if a company's understanding of eBusiness is concentrated in a few eBusiness savvy employees, you face a human resources challenge. As we shall see, although part of the implementation will involve training, there are elements of the change process that require some prior eBusiness experience, as well as the technological knowledge to manage it successfully. How does the availability of eBusiness-savvy employees impact the design solution? If there is no shortage of knowledgeable employees, then the preferred approach is to immediately absorb the eBusiness into all business areas. However, this situation is not the norm, particularly in established businesses.

Shortage of tech-savvy staff

In general terms, there are two approaches to the problem of limited eBusiness-aware resources.
You could concentrate this group within a specialist unit. This group will implement and run the eBusiness. Secondly, you might create a separate eBusiness unit to grow a separate business. These two approaches are contrasted in the table below.
Approach Goal Success factors
Internal Specialist eBusiness unit Educate the existing business Transfer its knowledge and ultimately its resources to the business-as-usual areas over a finite period Expect that the new unit will have a tendency to delay its ultimate demise Clearly establish the principle oftransfer at the outset Ensure that the transfer is understood by all concerned
External separate eBusiness unit Grow the business as a separate unit, to promote the unit as a separate business Initiate a possible eventual separation from the parent group Ensure that the existing business recognizes this split of responsibilities Anticipate and avoid later duplication of effort and cost

In the next lesson, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of in-house development and hosting.

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