LogoTechnology Management Associates, Inc., Serving Business Needs in the Global Marketplace

TECHMANAGE.COM
January, 1997, Volume 1, Issue 1,

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Joanne F. Gucwa MM CMC, Editor, jogucwa@techmanage.com

Sunset over the waters.

Welcome to the inaugural issue of TECHMANAGE.COM, our monthly e-mail newsletter addressing issues relating to the intelligent management of technology. We send it free of charge to subscribers on four continents. Our objective is to present to you practical information and resources on understanding and making the most efficient use of new and existing technology and management practices, particularly for business purposes.

Please feel free to forward this issue to anyone you think will be interested in receiving this newsletter. To subscribe, please send an e-mail with the words "subscribe newsletter" in either the subject line or in the message area to: jogucwa@techmanage.com

To unsubscribe, send the message "unsubscribe newsletter" to the same address.

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In This Issue

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Introduction

In a month or so, you'll be able to visit the archive section for these newsletters at our Web site so you can easily follow any links we've incorporated.

Here are the sections we envision will be making periodic appearances in future issues:

  • Open Book
  • CyberSeedlings
  • Inspirations
  • Full Circle
  • Guest Speakers
  • What's New at our Web site
  • Focus on Consulting

Open Book: Reviews books we believe are worthy of your attention. To make your life easier, we'll soon be adding links on the books we review directly to on-line bookseller Amazon.com from our Web site.

CyberSeedlings: Brief articles with ideas for using technology to reduce drudgery and make your life or work more productive.

Inspirations: Some might call this section "Best Practices" or "Benchmarking" or "Case Studies." (After all, what's best for one may not even be practical for another). We hope you'll be "inspired" by some of what you read here to adopt or modify the concepts to fit your own situations. This section will probably debut in March, giving us time to fine-tune the look of the database from which it derives. Watch our Web site for its first appearance.

Full Circlez: We want this vehicle to be speeding along a multiple-lane, multi-directional highway and invite you to speak your mind on things tech or management/strategy. We can't promise to publish intact everything you send (or even at all), but we do want to spark some creative, value-added dialogue. If enough of you respond, we might even set up a "Consultant's Corner" or "Client's Corner" at our Web site.

Guest Speakers: We certainly don't know it all, but we do know a lot of people who supplement and complement our own knowledge and experience in areas we think will be of value to you. We're always happy to point out respected colleagues for you to check out.

What's New at our Web site: Speaks for itself, no?

Focus on Consulting: Our services are continually evolving, spurred by new developments in technology, by the changing needs of our clients, and sometimes are based on our own observations and instincts on a new or better way of serving our markets.

Even terminology and "buzz words" can take on new meanings. For example, re-engineering started out respectably enough, gradually became synonymous with "down-sizing" and has now regained legitimacy as a process for improving your business productivity.

The purpose of this section is, quite bluntly, to let you know some of what we do for a living and, hopefully, to stimulate your interest in using our services. But...we firmly believe that sharing some of what we've learned creates a bigger tide that "raises all boats."

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Open Book

Cybercorp: The New Business Revolution (James Martin, 1996)

If you read only one book on future "thrival" (better than mere "survival"), let it be "Cybercorp" by James Martin. He goes so many steps beyond the "Beyond Re-engineering" genre of books and articles, you may as well save your time and just go after the best, especially if you're involved in setting corporate strategy, rather than the nuts & bolts of implementation. Come to think of it, you probably should read this book even if you are not involved in strategy-setting. "Cybercorp" will arm you with plenty of ammunition if your management insists that you re-engineer obsolete, pre-cyber business processes. You might even save your hide by sidestepping a lose-lose situation.

Generally, I find plenty in even the slimmest of books to disagree with; I only found a couple of sentences in all of 311 pages that I couldn't quite say "amen" to. No, I won't tell you what they are.

The overall message? "Don't re-engineer and automate what ought to be thrown out. Don't waste your time trying to teach the old dog new tricks. Design and generate a new puppy instead." (But ... Martin emphatically does not advocate the usual, easy way out, i.e. tossing your people out into the streets. A major lesson of "People and Management," the final of three sections of the book is: communicate, educate and re-deploy.)

If you like laundry lists and rules of thumb, you'll revel in the wealth of both, and the bibliography at the end of each chapter makes for much easier reference, should you want to pursue a given topic in greater depth. The lists and rules of thumb offer ideas, guidelines and caveats. Pay particular attention to the caveats. Such as? The counterintuitive consequences of cyber activity, due to geographic and time separations. Your "causes" may produce unexpected, disastrous "effects."

In my humble opinion, Cybercorp is Martin's masterpiece. He ties together important business concepts such as value streams, the corporation as learning laboratory and as part of a business ecosystem with the intelligent application of technology. This is his one hundredth book.

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CyberSeedlings

101 Things You Can Do to Revive a Dead Web Site

A misnomer, actually. (You guessed that, didn't you?).

But not at all an exaggeration. Check out Exhibits 2-2 and 3-2 in Martin's book, reviewed above.

My intention is to call your attention to the importance of adequate planning once you make the decision to invest in a Web site and to our "Look before You Leap" workshops that help you do just that and avoid premature extinction of what's probably the most valuable marketing tool since the printing press, or maybe even since papyrus. (No, we don't design Web sites. Check out http://www.wilsonweb.com for a dynamite designer and tons of info on Web marketing).

One of the things you should do right now (after reading this newsletter, of course), whether your Web site's been up for two years or still on the back burner, is to list as many ways you can think of to make use of this great technology to either:

Make Money

or

Save Money

There are dozens...probably hundreds...of articles and lists on how to make money using the Internet. (I'm using the term Internet broadly here to include non-Web e-mail as well), so I'll not squander electrons or your mailbox space by reciting them here. Contact me or visit the WilsonWeb site (noted above) for those references. Here are a half-dozen ways organizations are:

 

Saving Cash And Increasing Customer Satisfaction Via The Internet

  • Publish on-line forms for event registration, surveys. Conserves fax paper and toner, cuts down on incoming calls, return calls to verify information, and garbled or lost messages.
  • On-line recruitment for potential employees, even suppliers and business partners. Reduces recruitment fees and advertising expenses. Global reach.
  • On-line brochures, catalogs, price sheets, product descriptions. Reduces printing and mailing costs, resources wasted through mis-targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Order fulfillment status. Reduces 1-800 toll calls and staffing costs, provides on-demand "real time" information to customers.
  • Education and training materials on-line. Reduces instructor time, travel and facility expenses. Allows learner to customize pacing, may provide instant feedback which promotes learning.
  • Professional collaboration. Saves time and travel costs for product design and engineering, especially for widely-scattered staff (and more frequently, customers and suppliers)

These only hint at the rest of the financial and less-tangible benefits of the cyber iceberg available to you at little additional cost if you already use the 'Net. Don't ignore the substantial cost savings and increase in customer service levels that can be yours.

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Focus on Consulting: Beyond Customer Satisfaction

Everyone's talking about "Customer Focus" "Delighting the Customer" and other variations on this theme nowadays. There are plenty of articles on the legendary services extended by Nordstrom department stores and Infiniti dealerships. And there are some very good companies conducting massive customer satisfaction studies (e.g. Opinion Research Crop. and J.D. Power) for major organizations with tens and even hundreds of thousands of customers.

Achieving a sustainable competitive advantage is more than merely satisfying existing customers (see "Why Satisfied Customers Defect," Jones and Sasser, Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec '95: "The gulf between satisfied customers and completely satisfied customers can swallow a business"). We agree. But, focusing solely on existing customers can leave mega gaps between your current and potential market share and a more favorable bottom line.

We've observed that the greatest enlightenment comes not from existing customers, but from lost customers, distribution channels, competitors (both direct and peripheral-now-but- emerging) and prospects.

How do you (or have us help you) get this information? After setting your objectives and identifying which groups hold the keys to your profitable growth:

  1. Develop a base questionnaire with modifications (or modules) for the different targeted groups;
  2. Design in frequent, qualitative, probing questions to reveal the real issues behind the numbers;
  3. Use skilled interviewers (please!!) for phone contacts (preferred for most industrial esearch...responses to open-ended questions and professional-level interactions elicit the most valuable information). How do you make sense out of the survey?
  4. Get on-going feedback and updates - unexpected responses may lead you to valuable new directions of questioning;
  5. Insist that negative information gets back to you within several hours so that you can set corrective wheels in motion right away;
  6. Value is in smart "slicing and dicing" of the responses, not the raw data or simplistic statistical analyses, which could be misleading ("The simple inherit folly...").

 

I hope you found something of value here that you can put to use directly or that might have stimulated some new ideas. Our Web site's always open, the fax machine is always on, and we check our e-mail frequently. Of course your phone calls, snail mail and visits are welcome as well. We'd be delighted to hear from you...anytime.

Technology Management Associates, Inc.
(312) 984-5050jogucwa@techmanage.com

Copyright 1996-2000, Technology Management Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.