Author: Yogi Schulz

Our enterprises all need an e-Business strategy. However, most of us don’t have the time or the money for an extended strategic planning exercise. That exercise may be valuable but it doesn’t fit into management’s expectation for near-instant results.

As an alternative, I offer the following instant approach that you can execute in less than a day and that produces a worthwhile e-Business strategy.

Step 1: Use an e-Business Framework

Every strategy worth having is based on a framework. Let’s adopt the framework described in the paper titled: “The Impact of Internet and electronic technologies on firms and its implications for competitive advantage”. Sendil Ethiraj and Isin Guler of theWharton School at the University of Pennsylvania wrote it.

The paper says that the impact of the Internet consists of three effects. The first is the Communication effect that dramatically reduces the cost of finding and transferring information. The second is the Brokerage effect that enables access to global marketswith minimal incremental costs. The third is the Integration effect that shortens and enhances the value chain.

Step 2: Develop an Organization Model

Every strategy also needs an organization model. We can invest a lot of time and money on models. However, today we’ll produce a model on the whiteboard consisting of a central circular box labeled with your organization’s name.  Surround this central box with six rectangular boxes labeled Supplier, Customer, Shareholder, Employee, Government and Society. Now link the six outer boxes with double-headed arrows to the central box. Our organization model is ready.

Step 3: Identify Opportunities in the Model

To develop our e-Business strategy, we will next identify opportunities for improvement. In this step, our creativity and our knowledge of our organization come into play. For each arrow, create a list of opportunities for improvement. For example, for the supplier arrow you could identify that suppliers are having difficulty meeting the delivery schedule that they have committed to us. For the customer arrow, the problem may be waiting too long for a customer representative at the call center. Continue this step until three or four opportunities are shown for each arrow.

Step 4: Rank Opportunities

Now rank all the opportunities. Opportunities that appear to be achievable more quickly should be ranked higher. {Quick opportunities usually involve only one department and one system.}  Opportunities that are likely take longer and to require more effort and should be ranked lower. {Larger opportunities tend to have higher benefits but involve multiple departments and systems.}

Step 5: Identify Solutions using the Framework

For each of the top ten opportunities, identify a potential solution using one of the three effects from the framework. For example, for the supplier problem, we could introduce a portal where suppliers could see our production plans in more detail to provide them with more lead-time. For the call center wait times, we could introduce richer web site content that enables customers to answer more of their own questions.

Step 6: Create a Presentation to sell your Solutions

For each of the ten opportunities, create a presentation slide that describes the opportunity and our recommended solution. Close with an overall recommendation to spend a modest amount of dollars and effort to elaborate each of the solutions into an action plan with a more detailed benefits case and a cost estimate.


Some may think this instant approach to creating an e-Business strategy is superficial and contains a high risk of missing a major opportunity. While that risk exists, it’s far outweighed by the pro-active, responsive impression this approach will achieve with management.