E-biz is business too (Continued from last week)

Whether one is transforming one’s business to the new paradigms or starting anew, the business perspective is a critical component and comes next. Obviously there is so much happening on this front that it creates a lot of confusion. But if one were to look at technology from a business perspective, the available choices might appear more manageable.

Generically, the questions could be unending. On the consumer side those relate to the access devices. Will it be the computer, the television, the PDA the cell phone in their current form or in a highly transformed avtar, that will be used by people to access information and communicate with others.

What combination of regular telephone lines, ISDN technology, DSL, cable and cable modems, wireless technologies like WAP or satellite communication will eventually be used to carry information into homes and offices?

Will it be fiber optics all the way for broadband communication over large geographics or could developments like the low orbiting satellites change the complete scenario by making it possible for anyone from anywhere on the earth to directly link up with a 2 MB or more connection to these satellites. There are no ready answers. We will have to wait and see. 
In India, the basic question is about inadequate bandwidth availability. How effective would conducting business on the Net be without this basic resource availability.

People also seem to be skeptical about security aspects. Secure electronic transaction is something that we are still not comfortable within our country.

Cyberlaws is another area of concern. The recent announcements, though welcome, have left quite a few questions unanswered. So what protection does the state offer against cyber crime.

These and similar other questions about the Internet make people wonder if they should think in terms of business on the Net and if they should, whether the time is right now.

How does one answer these questions? And whose answer should one rely on. And how much? As I said, those promoting the new technologies will obviously speak about the need to adapt to these at the earliest. They are after all selling this stuff.

To my mind, these are non-issues in a broader sense. Yes there are problems on the infrastructure front. But given the fact that so much work is happening on that front, these problems will take care of themselves. Bandwidth issues will resolve itself. Similarly security issues will also find solutions.

The decision therefore to do business on the Net, is like any other business decision. There is no rocket science to it. One needs to weigh the risks versus the rewards of doing business in a particular way. It will be based on economic and commercial considerations.

Those who are already in business and doing well may be less adventurous and may not like to venture into risk prove areas. New entrants on the other hand may be more adventurous in their zeal to catch up with the established players. Again, it is their perception of the risk and reward scenario that will decide their actions.

As to the question of relying on projections, again there are no absolute guidelines. If people follow a herd mentality and a whole lot of people pitch in, we may have situations of over capacity. As the usual demand-supply equation will apply, as in any other business and economic scenario, the answer lies in putting business principles first. Like any other business, E-biz is business too.

Sumit Sharma
is Associate VP, Microland and author of a book titled ‘The Corporate
Circus’

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