It served us well, but its time is done. I once had the term “e-business” in my job title, but that was in the heady days of the late 1990s. Back then the web was new to business and we were testing out that incredibly powerful new technology on every part of the enterprise. Can we sell this way? Can we hire this way? Can we buy this way? Those were the questions and because it was a whole enterprise exploration, the term e-business felt right. But it was never going to become a long term competency. To take full advantage you needed to specialise, area by area.
So I’m always a bit perplexed when I meet the few people who are still using the term e-business, to name a competency they are developing… and there are some. The management world moved on a very long time ago. Perhaps in a few emerging countries – where Internet enabled business methods are still novel – it has some limited value. However even there, from the outset of your project you need to be clear about the focal point of the effort. Are you doing e-commerce, e-service or something else?
Take a look at the Google trends graph below. It is pretty convincing evidence.
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