chapter  1
10 Pages


This is a competitive world. The pace of change is increasing, and businesses are continuously being disrupted by external factors. In recent times the biggest external factor has been e-commerce or e-business. The spectacular rise in 1999 and fall in 2000 of so many companies showed that without substance no business will survive. When a large bubble bursts, innocent bystanders will feel some effect. E-business has actually been around for many years, and organizations with substance have benefited vastly from the intelligent use of information technology. The most successful pioneer in ebusiness is arguably the banking industry; likewise, the success of bar coding in the supply chain cannot be denied. In 2001 e-business made another spectacular advance, with the formation of large business-to-business alliances. Business to business (B to B) took on a new meaning with the advent of the Covisint alliance between Daimler/Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. It is reported that the alliance of these three major (and fiercely competitive) organizations has a purchasing power of $300 billion per annum. The interesting phenomenon is that such fiercely competitive organizations have been able to form an alliance at all! Other industry groups have been quick to follow – for example, the oil companies, the aeronautical industry, the computer industry (led by IBM), and alliances of fast-moving consumer goods distributors.