Organisation/Work Group Services

from Internet Business

The Internet was created to support messaging (e-mail), transfer of information (ftp) and remote use of computer capabilities (telnet), all in support of the normal work of the research community and, particularly, is support of collaborative work which was not constrained by geographical location. Many members of the research community were able to effectively use the early cryptic facilities of the Net and a few were able to develop software and protocols which progressively added functionality and made the Net more usable. While the explosion of interest in and use of the Net during the mid-1990s has been driven largely by the advent of easy public access to large amounts of useful information, there are now enormous opportunities to apply the newly accessible Internet facilities to serving the requirements of all manner of organisations and work groups by specialised support of collaborative and remote work.

While established suppliers of computer systems must come to support Net-based applications over time, there is a great need to establish new teams with a new mix of skills which can exploit the early opportunities to build Net-based systems to meet specific client needs. The migration from computer systems to Net-based systems entails a new level of standardisation, a new design philosophy, and a more distributed approach to project management. To service this market, a business would be expected to offer both the training and the technical infrastructure needed to enable a client organisation to move into collaborative working arrangements including work at home.

A business providing Organisation/Work Group Services would be expected to provide training and access to specialised Net services for of order $20,000 per team member for small teams, with a subsequent annual charge for service access, and with significant discounting for larger organisations. The cost of getting into such a business would be the same as for other Host Services plus the startup and salary costs of the professionals needed to service the client organisations. It would likewise cost around $20,000 each to train and provide Net access for the supplier business's professional staff, who could be expected to induct a lot more than ten client staff per year thereafter.

Given the current state of the art of Internet technologies to underpin collaboration, an Organisation/Work Group Services business would need to have access to a capacity for custom configuration work such as could be provided by the kind of Design and Prototyping business discussed in a later section. This situation typifies the current state of the market whereby the functionality that might be initially concentrated in a small startup business would become focussed into three distinct business units as the business developed; in this case into a specialised Host Service, a more general Design and Prototyping business, and a core Organisation/Work Group Services delivery business.