The hype over e-business is leading organisations away from forming crucial integrated teams of IT and business specialists, a Gartner analyst has warned.
According to Geoff Johnson, research director at Gartner, integrated IT and business teams are an essential combination for getting an e-business plan off the ground. "e-business success has more to do with whiteboards and smart people in the industry than technology," Johnson said.
Organisations need a balance of robust IT infrastructure and strong business and marketing heads to execute a successful e-business strategy, he added.
This meant creative "tiger teams" and "skunk groups" - which Johnson labelled the "pony-tailed, ear-ringed, T-shirted and sandalled set" - should be outsourced by businesses to allow for specialisation in e-business projects.
"These creative people should be able to go off and do whatever they want, innovate and implement the processes to get [the plan] to market." On the flipside, the challenge for business specialists is to educate their organisation as to what their core business is about, Johnson said.
Aspiring e-businesses should not define their market too narrowly, otherwise they risked not being identified as possible sales targets in the burgeoning e-commerce market, he said.
Freedom to innovate would also flow by forming an informal "e-business council", embracing members from all business areas to hammer out strategies and identify problems with e-business plans before they became critical.
He also advised businesses to develop a culture focused on education and learning in a short, intense time period, and one that could bounce back after mistakes in the planning process.
Yet despite all of his prescriptions, Johnson claimed e-business was no longer a "big deal" to the corporate sector. Instead, he predicted the year 2000 was the year to focus on developing e-business strategies. 2001 would see the industry hone in on implementation, he said.