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Featured Books

e-Profit:
High Payoff Strategies for
Capturing the E-Commerce Edge

Value Driven Management:
How to Create and Maximize
Value Over Time for
Organizational Success

Millennium Intelligence:
Understanding and Conducting
Competitive Intelligence in the
Digital Age

Internet Business Intelligence:
How to Build a Big Company
System on a Small Company
Budget







Recommended Reading

ONLINE, September 2000
Copyright © 2000 Information Today, Inc.

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This issue's Hardcopy looks at some ways to help your organization become more effective. These books will help you develop long-term strategies for your organization, including ecommerce and competitive intelligence initiatives.

* * *

e-Profit: High Payoff Strategies for Capturing the E-Commerce Edge
by Peter S. Cohan

ISBN: 0-8144-0544-4
Published: 2000
Pages: 285pp.; hardcover
Price: $27.95
Available from: AMACOM, American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 212/903-8087 or 800/714-6395; http://www.amanet.org

Does your organization have an ecommerce strategy? Does it integrate with all aspects of your current business? These are the kinds of questions Cohan forces you to address in this practical book designed to help you get your organization online.

Although the writing is sometimes awkward, and many of the case studies seem little more than summaries of published articles, the book does present some very useful information. It is designed to help managers guide their organizations into the world of ecommerce. The first part of the book presents the economic case for why you want to be involved in ecommerce in the first place. The second describes how to manage the transition to ecommerce, and the third part of the book discusses how to design and implement ecommerce applications.

Each chapter presents case studies to support that chapter's theme, as well as a set of guiding principles to help the manager in actually implementing the ideas. While not a step-by-step guide, the principles help to identify the major issues and roadblocks that must be identified and overcome to make your initiative a success. I particularly liked the constant call for educated and supportive senior management, and the importance of a willingness to change and cannibalize existing products and services.

If you are just starting out in the ecommerce realm, this book is a useful guide to issues and trends in ecommerce, without the hype. If you are already involved, this book may still offer some useful insights to make your strategies more effective.

* * *

Value Driven Management: How to Create and Maximize Value Over Time for Organizational Success
by Randolph A. Pohlman & Gareth S. Gardiner

ISBN: 0-8144-0485-5
Published: 2000
Pages: 240pp.; hardcover * Price: $24.95
Available from: AMACOM, American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 212/903-8087 or 800/714-6395; http://www.amanet.org

This book is based on a very simple premise: "The Value Theory: What people value drives their actions." The authors believe that a successful organization is no longer seeking just short-term profits, but is attempting to maximize the value for all those involved with the organization, be they customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, etc.

The first part of the book points out the importance of identifying the eight "value drivers" that must be understood and absorbed into the corporate strategy for the company to achieve sustainable success. And, wisely, in part two, the authors point out the necessity to reevaluate these values continuously as they change over time. They point out the difficulty of recognizing these changes quickly, and the necessity of "out of the box" thinking by providing a number of anecdotes showing value changes.

The book ends with suggestions on how to implement value-driven management in your organization. Of course, not all values are complementary, and you must choose the most important value drivers for your situation. The authors provide a list of seven critical steps for the implementation of value-driven management, and emphasize that you must take a long-term view. Change takes time, but by focusing on the values driving your customers, competitors, employees, and society as a whole, you will be able to quickly identify and adapt to changing situations. The need for value is always there. The problem is making sure your values match those of your customer. This book helps you do that.

* * * *

Millennium Intelligence: Understanding and Conducting Competitive Intelligence in the Digital Age
by Jerry P. Mille

ISBN: 0-910965-28-5
Published: 2000
Pages: 276pp.; softcover * Price: $29.95
Available from: Cyber Age Books, 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055; 609/654-6266; http://www.infotoday.com

Business intelligence, competitor intelligence, millennium intelligence--whatever you call it, no organization should be without it. If you are interested in setting up or managing an intelligence operation, this is the book for you. It provides an excellent overview for decision-makers who want to know why they should bother with competitive intelligence in the first place, and then how the process fits into their organization and how to best make it effective.

Each chapter of the book is written by a different expert, collectively referred to as the Business Intelligence Brain Trust, which provides a range of perspectives and expertise. Chapter One provides the requisite overview, explaining the intelligence process. Chapter Two should be read by all, as it discusses how the culture and structure of your organization can encourage or effectively squash your intelligence process. This, as well as Chapter Three's analysis of where to locate the intelligence unit within your corporate hierarchy, can have the most impact on the effectiveness of your entire intelligence effort.

The next few chapters focus on the skills, analysis methods, and resources employed by intelligence professionals. The goal is not to provide the reader with the skill set, but to educate the manager on what to look for and what is involved when hiring or managing the intelligence professionals.

The last few chapters discuss the roles of information technology and knowledge management in the intelligence process, ending with the legal, ethical, and security issues that may arise.

This book is not really for the practicing intelligence professional, but it is the book you want your boss and colleagues to read to understand what you do.

* *

Internet Business Intelligence:
How to Build a Big Company System on a Small Company Budget

by David Vine

ISBN: 0-910965-35-8
Published: 2000
Pages: 438pp.; softcover * Price: $29.95
Available from: Cyber Age Books, 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055; 609/654-6266; http://www.infotoday.com

This book has a little bit of everything related to using the Internet for business intelligence. In some ways this is good, as a broad perspective helps us see what is possible. In many ways it is bad, since too little knowledge leaves us frustrated and confused.

The book is based on the idea that you need an Internet Business Intelligence System (IBIS) to effectively run your business. However, the author correctly points out that not all of your information needs can be met by the Internet, so he also intersperses some non-Internet sources into the discussion.

The first part of the book describes the history of business intelligence (BI), and then identifies how BI relates to key functions within a company, top management, marketing, finance, and small business. Basically, the author provides lists and brief descriptions of the types of resources that are available, and a few examples of how they can be used. These are by no means comprehensive, and seldom is contact information provided. Some resources have URLs listed, but many do not. And there certainly is no overall list of resources cited--you must find your reference within the chapter text.

The most useful chapter covers a methodology for BI, which the author terms PROACtive. It is not really new, consisting essentially of 5 steps: 1) planning the process, 2) obtaining the information, 3) organizing the information, 4) analyzing, and 5) communicating the information. However, it is always good to apply structure to a process, and it reminds us of the entire cycle.

Other chapters cover using search engines, newsgroups, accessing the In- ternet, software for analyzing data, and suggestions for effective communication of your intelligence. Each of these topics deserves a book in itself--here, I fear, too little knowledge is dangerous.

Overall, there are some good tidbits of information scattered throughout this book, but you will do better to read separate books on the individual topics of interest.


Deborah Lynne Wiley (deb@consultnw.com) is Principal of Next Wave Consulting, Inc. and HARDCOPY Editor.

Comments? Email letters to the Editor to editor@infotoday.com.

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