Ecommerce Is Not Just About Technology; It’s More About Business, IDC Reports

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., June 8, 1999 — Companies that center their ecommerce strategies around only technology are missing the mark. They should be focusing more on business, advises International Data Corporation (IDC) in a new report titled Ecommerce: Fitting the Appropriate Software to Business Objectives.

"In our discussions with executives about their ecommerce strategies, it became abundantly clear that although it is heavily wrapped in technology, ecommerce is fundamentally about business," said Mary Wardley, manager of IDC's Ecommerce Software and Personal Applications research. "When evaluating their individual courses of action, organizations placed the business goal at the top of the decision tree and dictated the process from that standpoint."

IDC's new report includes advice garnered from in-depth case studies with executives from 10 leading-edge organizations that have implemented their own ecommerce solutions. "Despite the fact the interviewed companies were from a varying range of industries, the issues encountered in implementing an ecommerce solution and the words of advice given were remarkably consistent," Wardley observed.

"Unlike other technology implementations that may affect only one department, ecommerce touches the customer and drives revenues, ultimately affecting the entire organization," Wardley said. At the very least, it affects three distinct groups in a company: the CEO, marketing, and IT. "It's important to have representatives from all groups involved to develop cooperation and feelings of ownership. Also, it's important to involve multiple departments because no single department will have all the answers," she added.

Companies that decide to build an ecommerce site must determine how to develop it. They can build their own solution, buy a solution, outsource development, outsource hosting, or use some sort of combination. Wardley said before settling on a particular approach, organizations should ask themselves a series of key questions, including how hands-on they want to be, can their existing processes handle the added demand, and does the expertise need to reside in-house? "When selecting a solution, it's imperative to weigh speed, cost, and control against one another," she said.

The information presented in Ecommerce: Fitting the Appropriate Software to Business Objectives (IDC #B19075) was obtained through in-depth case studies with 10 companies that encountered unexpected benefits and learned valuable lessons when deploying their own ecommerce sites. The report shares insights into how companies actually created their ecommerce solution and how they arrived at their decision. This report is part of the Decision Point Strategies report series from IDC and InfoWorld. This series of reports was developed to help readers make the best-informed decisions regarding their software solutions and vendors. To order a copy of the report, contact Sally Donovan at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4219 or at To view the report's complete table of contents, visit and search for 19075. For more information on the Decision Point Strategies of reports, visit

At you can view IT research notes, data points, analyst insights, and sample IDC research targeted to IT professionals and users.

About IDC

International Data Corporation is the information technology industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, trends, products, vendors, and geographies. IDC provides data, analysis, and advisory services to the world's leading IT suppliers as well as IS professionals in finance, insurance, entertainment, advertising, consumer goods, and publishing. IDC's research and opinions are based on the results of more than 300,000 end-user surveys, in-depth competitive analysis, broad technology coverage, and strategic analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through its 500 analysts in more than 40 countries worldwide. Additional information on IDC can be found on its Web site at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

# # #

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.