Some Intranet models in retail are "customer facing," such as online shopping and e-care solutions, while others -- including fulfillment and inventory control -- are behind the scenes. All, however, are designed to provide greater value to customers and partners -- value that creates real competitive advantages.
To realize those advantages, retailers should look for Intranet solutions that will:
Improve customer relationships
Reduce distribution costs
Acquire data on profitable customers
Strengthen supply chain partnerships
Develop new distribution channels
Enter new markets
With the Net so tightly woven into the fabric of today's business world, it's not surprising that one hears a lot about Internet business-model adjustments. Just listen to the news: One report blames an online company's demise on a flawed business model; another describes an organization's re-launch of its Web venture -- an attempt to hit upon the "right" approach. So what's the hype all about? Why so many shifts?
Does your Intranet need adjustment? Are you sure you would know if it did?
Running a profitable Intranet is a continual challenge, and finding the right business model is not always easy.
But thanks to many Internet pioneers, corporations now have some history to analyze for clues.
Who are you in the online world?
In an IBM analysis of over 700 companies currently active on the Web, specific online business model patterns emerge. Interestingly, while these groupings remain constant across geography, industry, company size or type of commerce (B2B versus B2C), their distinction is marked by their primary focus ("content and community" versus "orders and transactions") and market scope (serving single or multiple markets):
Off-line facilitator: These companies promote their brands online, but never take a Web-based order. They want to avoid any potential channel conflict.
Context provider: Sometimes known as affinity groups or content aggregators,