The world is facing some of the biggest parties it has ever seen. While preparing for the 'big bash', companies should not forget that life after 1999 might never be the same again. With more than one million connected Internet users and almost four billion rands worth of business-to-business transactions over the web in South Africa, businesses are in for change in the New Year.
According to Calum Rusell, Business Marketing Manager at Microsoft South Africa, there are two areas where businesses in South Africa can expect fireworks in the New Year - electronic commerce and knowledge management. Electronic commerce has probably become one of the most over-used words in business today with many companies still not understanding the meaning and impact of it. Regardless of this, the hype and fanfare will not die down. Companies should realise that electronic commerce is here to stay and that it is to become the de facto way of conducting business with partners and customers.
The standard way of doing business
"Looking ahead to the New Year, we can see electronic commerce becoming the standard way of doing business. With the Year 2000 changeover behind us by then, companies will adopt the Internet faster and consumers will feel more at ease with the idea of buying over the Internet," says Rusell. "With the growth in electronic commerce, companies will have to develop the relevant systems to accommodate the new way of doing business. This means having an efficient information technology infrastructure with the necessary back office systems in place to support electronic commerce."
With the explosion and increase of data within organisations, companies will have to be able to store and retrieve information, so individuals are empowered to do their jobs. Knowledge management will play an important role as businesses realise that to survive in a world where the competitive landscape changes so fast and just a good decision is no longer good enough, they will need a strategy and infrastructure to deal with the changes. The emphasis for the next millennium will be on speed: who will be first to market and possess the necessary information to induce change?
Rusell adds: "The Internet will become a central part of business development in the 21st century, from being used as a business tool, to forming part of a new way of managing information. South African companies will be taking to the web and competing with the rest of the world long after the parties are over."
For details contact Calum Rusell of Microsoft SA on tel: (011) 257 0131, fax: (011) 257 0132 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org