E-com favours the fast

SPEED is critical in the fast-moving world of electronic commerce, according to US-based Interim Technology Strategic Solutions executive vice-president Bill Weathersby.

Mr Weathersby was recently in WA to discuss e-commerce strategies and trends evolving in the US.

He said many Australian businesses took too long to set up their e-commerce facilities.

“Most Australian businesses use the ‘waterfall approach’ which implies the business needs to jump off the top before they get to second base,” he said.

“This college-taught approach involves initial analysis, design and testing – by which time it may be ten to twelve months before the user sees the first set of screens.

“The ‘spiral approach’ involves getting a site up as fast as possible. A first cut, from a visibility

perspective, should be out to the public within forty-five days.

“The site at this stage covers only basic business drivers that are crucial to operations.”

Mr Weathersby said the next phase was to compile traffic movement statistics so the performance of the site was immediately monitored.

“You can then phase in further business drivers and improvements to Phase 1,” he said.

“So you’re basically already remodelling the site before it’s complete.

“This process should be repeated so you are bettering the site in ninety day increments.

“It’s called the spiral approach because you improve functionality by drawing people from the whole organisation into the process.”

Mr Weathersby said most US clients wanted their websites to be created “from strategy to delivery in four months”.

He said Australian businesses were using outdated first generation tool suites such as Cold Fusion and Front Page.

“In the US, we’re using tier two tool suites such as Trading Dynamics and Silver Stream,” Mr Weathersby said.

“There are a number of preconfigured wizards in these tool suites and they can automate the freshness of content.

“Statistics show around 70 per cent of websites are not meeting business requirements and the first generation tool suites certainly don’t allow that to happen.”

Mr Weathersby said a major hindrance to e-commerce in Australia was a lack of involvement in the website by many of the staff of a business.

“Techies get it up without consulting the business-makers and they don’t understand the day-to-day needs of the business as a result,” he said.

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