Adding to your knowledge

Welcome to Ebzzz, ComputerWorld’s quarterly supplement on Electronic Business.

The name, Ebzzz, is meant to evoke the industriousness of that tiny winged creature, the Honey Bee, which lives in highly-complex and organized communities, is renowned for its industriousness, and employs sophisticated communication technologies…much like us.

Electronic business in the human sphere represents an application of information technology that is having a dramatic impact on how we do business and is fuelling an economic expansion that shows no sign of abating.

Just as lawyers, retailers, manufacturers and governments try to figure out electronic business and get on the bandwagon, we in the media have had to consider how to cover this new phenomenon.

But for us at LTI, publishers of ComputerWorld and Ebzzz, it was pretty clear. As publishers focusing exclusively on information technology, we have been spectators, along with you, of a long list of technological milestones and fads.

ComputerWorld has witnessed the buzz surrounding the proliferation of client/server architecture. Then intranets that occupied everyone’s attention. We have covered all these twists and turns in the evolution of information technology, and continue to do so.

To amplify our coverage of these hot technologies, we have over the years published a quarterly special interest supplement, that has evolved from Client/Server Journal, to Intranet Journal and today manifests itself as Ebzzz.

The alternative would have been to launch a totally new publication focusing on electronic business. We didn’t think this would be the way to go. Electronic business is a subject that is as important to marketers as it is to IT professionals, yet we didn’t think it possible to effectively serve the information needs of each of these disparate audiences with one publication.

In a recent on-line survey, 84.5 per cent of ComputerWorld readers credited executive management for initiating and driving electronic business initiatives. Seventy per cent of respondents also credited IT management for doing the same. Marketing and Operations Management trailed at 52.7 per cent and 44.1 per cent, respectively. It’s not surprising that executive management would score this high. They are, after all, responsible for the big picture. It is encouraging, however, to note that IT management is right up there, leading the charge.

But it’s one thing to initiate and drive, and a whole different matter when it comes to making things happen. In this domain, IT rules. When we asked who has most influence in the acquisition of hardware, software and services employed in building electronic business solutions in companies with more than 50 employees, 57.3 per cent of you gave the nod to IT managers. Executive management was credited with having most influence by 30.8 per cent of respondents. Marketing and other management together captured the remaining 11.9 per cent.

None of this is really surprising. Executive management normally doesn’t have the technical expertise to weigh one software or hardware solution against another or to decipher the techno-speak of vendors and consultants.

In the final analysis, it’s the skilled IT professional who understand the technology and either makes or influences the decisions.

And our job, through ComputerWorld and Ebzzz, is to add to the knowledge base you need to effectively leverage the technology on behalf of your employers and customers.

Tollinsky is publisher of ComputerWorld, and Ebzzz. You can reach him at [email protected].

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