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WA business wallows in the eye of a storm

WA businesses have been lulled into a false sense of security following the collapse of the dot.com market, according to one of the world’s acknow-ledged experts in online business strategy.

“They don’t realise that they are in the eye of the storm,” says Larry Quick, of WA’s Dow Digital, who last week was acknowledged as the architect behind the OnLine WA Single Doorway site which received a silver award at the Federal Government’s Technology Productivity Awards.

The awards recognise State and Federal Departments that have improved productivity and are providing better service with the aid of technology.

This OnLine WA site was strategised and developed by Dow Digital for the Department of Commerce and Trade in conjunction with Department of Contract and Management Services

Mr Quick describes many WA companies and executives as dinosaurs and says that the majority of WA businesses are sitting targets when the online commerce storm hits.

The worst or best is yet to come, depending on how ready your company is.

“When it does come it will have as much impact as the industrial revolution all over again,” he says. “And com-panies that try and resist it and continue to do business the traditional way will risk all.”

He dismisses the dot.com collapse as “a storm in a tea cup”.

“Those companies were launched too soon,” he says. “Some were trying to float bricks.

“But we need to be ready when the new on-line area arrives.”

When will the change come?

That is in the hands of consumers and technology and not businesses, he says.

“It will be a technology-enabled consumer revolution,” he says. “And it won’t be clear how these diverging and dynamic forces will end up driving the market but we know that when it comes it will be global and will have as much impact on the business world as the industrial age did.”

He says WA companies should be concentrating on building on-line capabilities.

“It isn’t all about Internet, it’s about connectivity. Who knows how it will be drive – wireless, cable, Internet, WAN, LAN or any number of different emerging technologies.

“But it is without doubt going to happen and it will be about connectivity.”

He says businesses should not be spending vast amounts of capital on hardware trying to get ahead of the game.

“It isn’t about buying and installing state-of-the-art hardware, it’s about immediate and perfect information – that’s power,” he said.

He says there are three levels of knowledge: “what we know”, “what we know we don’t know”, and the most important “what we don’t know what we don’t know”.

“Only after a company assesses its business needs in the future world should it invest in hardware, and then only in a minor way. – and then grow that side of the operation slowly.

“The way we do business is going to change for many companies yet many are not looking at even a strategy

to cope when the day arrives.”

He says that if CEOs and company managers don’t start planning for it now their companies will be left behind.

The job now is to research the company’s business as much as possible and then set out strategies.

Then try small seeding approaches to the new market to evaluate the response to help build a bridge between the now and the future.

“When a company has full understanding of its ‘now’ it can plan for its future in the world of connectivity.”

He says WA is well placed to take advantage of the new globalisation of business.

“But we need to start analysing how and where we can take that on,” he said.

“WA is far more attuned to the use of technology than its eastern States counterparts. WA is highly educated, is entrepreneurial, flexible and ready to try new things.

“We could be a major player in the future global business world.”

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