Slow pace of change stops firms keeping up with Web

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. E-research,published by Ashridge Management College, highlights managers’ fears that manycompanies are struggling to adapt to the Net age.Themain barriers to Internet-driven success are the slow, bureaucratic structureof conventional firms, according to E-research.Thesurvey also suggests that a shortage of resources – human and financial – andpoor implementation are barriers to change.Inthe survey of 500 managers, 90 per cent of respondents said they expectsuccessful Internet organisations to be innovative and adaptable.Butrespondents believe that less than half of organisations have these attributes,with many being too bureaucratic and hierarchical. Less than a quarter thinkthese traits would make firms successful in e-business.EdSmith, e-business partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said, “Middlemanagers are struggling with what their technology managers are telling them.They are unable to see this as an investment because short-term gains seem tobe very much in vogue.”Three-quartersof those questioned said Internet start-up companies are more of a threat than traditionalorganisations. But the on-line branch of large non-traditional competitors doesnot worry two-thirds of those questioned.Internet-drivenchange has already had a significant impact on information gathering andcommunication. Basic Internet tools are now commonplace, with 80 per centbelieving they are expected to use more information.Ashridgequestioned 500 managers in September 2000, three-quarters of whom were seniormanagers, partners, directors, chief executives or chairs of their organisations.About two-thirds had been involved with their organisation’s Internetinitiatives.Companiesmust speed up their response timesE-researchclaims that many companies need to undergo culture changes to fully realise thecapabilities of the Internet.Lessthan a third of respondents said their organisation responds quickly to change –but nine out of 10 think this is crucial to Internet-based companies.Manyrespondents expect the Internet to have the greatest impact on customerrelationship management.PricewaterhouseCooper’sEd Smith said, “What we will see is that a lot of the structures willdisintegrate in favour of more informal networks. Organisations will movetowards teams which are focused on the customer ñ it will not be up toindividuals to do it all.”Theywill possibly work via the Internet with somebody they don’t necessarily workwith every day.”Reportauthor Helen Wildsmith said, “Organisations will have to get used tooutsourcing. This will mean companies will be influenced by sources fromoutside, making their culture more dynamic.”E-generationcalls for a new breed of leaderInternet-drivencompanies will have to change their approach to leadership, claims the authorof E-research, Helen Wildsmith. Ofthose questioned, 31 per cent describe their organisations as”laggards”, lacking the necessary leadership skills for the Interneteconomy.Nearlytwo-thirds of respondents think their employer is ill-prepared for thee-revolution.Wildsmithsaid, “A lot of the skills managers will need is in reassuring theirstaff. There is a lot of risk involved with Internet organisations and managerswill have to be able to deal with the tension that will inevitably build withinteams because of this.”Leadersshould be prepared to allow people to make mistakes and learn from them ñ theprevailing culture is to try and brush mistakes under the carpet.”PwC’sEd Smith said, “While traditional organisations have older people who areseen as leaders ñ it might be the younger leaders, who are prepared to takerisks who will be successful.”TheInternet therefore presents the greatest challenge to the older generations inthe business.”ByRichard Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Slow pace of change stops firms keeping up with WebOn 6 Feb 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more