E-business Convergence: Corporate Survey Results

by Toby Ward — During the month of November, we conducted a small online survey on the subject of e-business convergence - or the convergence of Internet, extranet, and intranet platforms and applications. Here's the results.
Participants were asked questions on how their organizations are approaching e-business convergence. Highlights of the answers are documented below:
Does your organization operate multiple sites on multiple platforms (Internet, intranet, or extranet)?
(Yes / No)
92% said ‘Yes’, only 8% said ‘No’.
What platforms do you use?
(Internet Only / Intranet & Internet / Internet & Extranet / Intranet & Extranet / All three)
86% said ‘All Three’.
14% said only ‘Internet & Intranet’.
Is there some form of integration or convergence between your sites?
57% said ‘Yes’.
43% said ‘No’.
 4. To what degree is there integration or the reuse of resources across Internet, intranet and extranet sites?
(None / Very Little / Reusing some applications & people/A single architecture platform (ATG, Vignette) across multiple platforms/ Near or complete integration)
57% said ‘Very Little’
43% said ‘Reusing some applications & people’
 5. Please explain:   (Open-ended question)
Sample answers:
  • “All three sites are managed separately, by different departments. There is very little knowledge & content sharing (if any!).”
  • “Major reuse is of content. Technical platforms also tend to use similar or the same standards.”
  • “Three groups, little information sharing, no reuse of code.”
  • “Extranet users can get to specific intranet segments if their authorization requires it.”
  • “Reuse of common content.”
 6.  In which of the following areas is there some form of reuse/integration of resources across different platforms?
(People / Servers / Applications / Content Management System / Development Platforms)
  • People is a resource that is being reused or shared the most frequently with 43% of organizations with some or extensive sharing of people, and 29% planning to reuse people across multiple platforms.
  • Participating organizations are split on the reuse or sharing of servers with 43% saying there is no or little reuse of servers and 43% of participants saying there is some reuse of servers across multiple platforms.
  • Fifty-seven percent of organizations are reusing to some extent, or planning to reuse, different applications across different platforms.
  • Twenty-nine percent of organizations are extensively reusing content management systems across different platforms.
  • Fifty-eight percent of organizations have not at all reused (or very little reuse) different development across different platforms such as ATG, Vignette, and others, across different platforms.
 7. What drivers could/will advance integration/convergence efforts at your organization in the future? Please answer according to the following integration drivers:
(Operational Efficiency  / Cost Savings  / Security  / User Experience)
Most organizations rate cost savings and operational efficiency as primary drivers/motivators for advancing (or possibly advancing) further integration/convergence at their respective organizations. User experience was a driver for few organizations, and security was generally not seen as a driver.
 8. Is it worth examining further opportunities for platform integration or is the effort far too troublesome and complicated?
(No / Yes)
Eighty-three per cent said yes, while only 17% said no.  
 9.  How big is your organization?
(Open-ended question)
The largest organization responding to the survey was 50,000 people – the smallest was 3000 (with an average size of 15,000 employees).
 10.  Is there money to be saved from integrating Internet, intranet and extranet resources?
(Open-ended question)
Participants were unanimous that money could be saved – but few ventured a guess, and no organization has any precise ROI measurements.
 11. What corporate group (e.g. sales, communications, finance, etc.) owns/manages your websites?
(Matrix question)
IS/IT is overwhelmingly the lead stakeholder and owners of most corporate websites. Marketing and e-business groups are also fairly prominent stakeholders – namely focused on external facing websites. Communications figures prominently as a stakeholder of intranet websites.
 12. What is the level of willingness and understanding of the various site owners/stakeholders to see better integration of resources across different platforms?
(Matrix question)
IS/IT and Communications are seen as the leaders within the respective participant organizations. Ironically, IS/IT is also seen as one of the most uncooperative stakeholders as well – as are Sales, and individual Business Units or LOBs. Neutral and somewhat cooperative stakeholders include Human Resources, Marketing and Finance.
 13. Assuming there is a will and the necessary resources to achieve better integration of Internet, intranet and extranet platforms at your organization, how long would it take to implement a satisfactory level of integration?
(Open-ended question)
Answers ranged from 2 months to 30 months with the average being about 18 months.
Are your competitors (or similar not-for-profit organizations/departments) doing a better job in the area of Internet, intranet, extranet convergence?
(No / Yes)
One-third of participants believe that competitors are doing a better job of reusing/integrating various platforms. Two-thirds of participant organizations believe they are doing a better job of convergence at their companies than the competition.
 15. What companies/organizations that you can think of are leaders in the area of e-business convergence/integration?
(Open-ended question)
Few participants could cite industry leaders though Siemens, Fidelity Investments and Cisco were mentioned as leaders. 

Toby Ward, a former journalist and a regular e-business columnist and speaker, is the President and Founder of Prescient Digital Media. For more information on Prescient’s CMS Blueprint service, or for a free copy of the white paper “Finding ROI”, please contact us