Scope of this workshop

for Positioning Business on the Interent

The most obvious value of the Internet to an established business is found in use of the World Wide Web as a promotional medium par excellance. The Net is particularly suited to making very specific information available cost-effectively to those who might need it. The Net can facilitate effective communication without regard to geographical or organisational boundaries and so support new business structures. But before any business can use the Net effectively, they must learn to use it routinely as a source of information and as a means of communication.

It is but a small step from effective use of the Net for promotion, information access and communication, to using it for actual delivery of services your business provides. Taking that small step does not need to really put you in the Internet Business--most likely you will utilise specialised Internet service providers to get you there. Before moving in that direction, it will be important for you to consider where the boundaries of responsibility should lie between you and your service provider. For some, it may be appropriate to evolve your operations towards the direct provision of Internet services.

Others will see the provision of Internet services as a business opportunity in its own right. If you are tempted in that direction, you must understand that there are already many very different kinds of Internet services, amongst which you will need to define your position with some care. Different kinds of service have different operational and financial models. As with any value-adding business you need to clearly understand your potential customer base, what and how they will pay you, the suppliers on whom you will depend, and what they will cost you.

Whether you wish to use the Internet to benefit your business or you want to become an Internet service provider, you will also need to consider the demographics of the Internet user base, both now and in the future. And before you go any further, it is vital that you get a real feel for the Web and other parts of the Net. Only by knowing the Internet, and by knowing your own business, can you properly come to see how they might fit together.