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Keeping e-business in perspective

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Three years is a long time in the world of e-business. In 1999 bookstores were replete with treatises by evangelists heralding a new ‘network economy’ that would fundamentally change the conduct of business and commerce. According to the consultant Booz -Allen and Hamilton, more than 90% of top managers believed that these claims would be realized by 2001 [3]. As we now know, these e-vangelists were at best premature and at worst false prophets. Since the bubble burst in April 2000, many have become pessimistic about the future of e-business. Notwithstanding, IT professionals and consulting firms continue to promote e-business and many firms (though not start-ups) continue to invest in its application. A positive view of the events of the last three years might assert that we have learned from the ‘tech-wreck’ and now know how to build sustainable e-businesses. Seen from this viewpoint, managers should still be implementing substantive electronic business plans and doing so with a clearer, more viable vision of the networked future. However, this view could not be further from reality. Many firms remain confused about the implications of e-business technology and have curtailed their implementation plans.

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