Internet businesses are facing a crisis because there are too few savvy executives to manage online operations.
“The demand for people is growing so fast that soon we will either have young people who know little about business running multi-million-dollar enterprises, or older business executives who are clueless about the online world. This shortage will be most acute in the ‘brick-and-click’ firms,” said John Gantz, IDC’s chief research officer.
IDC feels that fresh research is needed on certain trends:
• internal conflict: the inherent personality conflict between Internet executives and their colleagues in the IT department who must get the sites to work.
• internet profits: many commerce sites are already profitable, which is counter to accepted wisdom.
• wireless access: the emergence of wireless mobile access to the Internet will surpass PC access in a few years, yet will have only a small impact, because few ecommerce services are designed specifically for mobile customers.
• and who Internet executives think should be the next president.
The Internet economy is constantly evolving. As the hype begins to fade, dot-coms and other players are experiencing shakeouts and consolidation. According to Gantz, “The key to getting through the year would be a shift in focus to profits. This is not the end of the e-commerce boom, but the rules are changing. Only the companies that go back to business fundamentals will survive.”
Some of the hot questions remain:
• how to motivate the new breed of Internet executives, and retain them with the huge shortage of qualified professionals in the workforce.
• wireless technology subscribers sending and receiving information via the Internet will grow from 7.5 million in 1999 to 61.5 million in 2003, a staggering 730% growth.
• eMarketplaces – how to identify winning business models, critical service offerings, and new revenue opportunities – separating the emarket winners from the also-rans.
Supporting data and research analysis will be released at IDC’s Internet Executive Forum – Best Practices, People and Profitability in San Francisco on 28-29 September.