Conclusion: One of the best means of gaining greater leverage in business marketing is with the sales force. The sales team is the most valuable unit to promote the business, as it already knows the key elements of selling the business, namely:

  • a brand value understanding;

  • the customer value;

  • an ability to communicate customer value;

  • and follow through with implementation and management.

In the current business environment operations are being reviewed to gain greater returns and consequently the sales force needs to be retrained in operational management and undergo a revision of sales tactics to achieve targets. Those tactics may include ancillary and competitive affiliations to network the company’s product to the market.

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Procurement of PCs, software, servers or services can seem overwhelming due to the complexity inherent in the process, market and business volatility, and uncertainty in the vendor community. Buyers should use a formal process - including the establishment of documented best practices and standard document templates - tailored to that organisation’s culture and structure to bring discipline to the process. Ultimately such an approach will reduce TCO. A successful negotiation requires a complete understanding of the product or service, how it will be used, user profiles, and identification of vendor negotiating levers.

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Conclusion: When faced with proposals requesting investment in Business Solutions in an environment in which demand exceed available resources, firms need to develop and apply an IAC (Investment Allocation Criteria) to help them prioritise and rank the competing proposals.

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IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity have always been issues that have figured prominently on our list of priorities but continually get pushed to the back of the queue, replaced by other operational issues that assume greater importance and that can be seen to return some immediate benefit. It is not that the company does not recognise its importance, its more of a “laissez faire” attitude that “nothing has gone wrong so far so we will continue to take a short to medium term risk on anything happening in the future”. It is typical of the approach to risk in the company where construction risk is everything and other risk is considered insignificant.

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Conclusion: Server consolidation has become widespread as budget pressure is maintained and corporate mergers and reorganisations continue. Although the overwhelming majority of consolidation projects are viewed as successful (at least in terms of the reduction in number of servers) when failures occur it is usually because of poor planning. Vendor endorsed programs often appear very attractive, but unless the full implications of your particular environment are taken into account the only goal that will be met is the vendor’s revenue target.

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We first investigated the benefits of video conferencing in late 1996. The main driver for the initiative came from Leighton Holdings’ major shareholder Hochtief, based in Essen in Germany. Their objective was to have access to a more efficient form of communication between themselves and Sydney and thus reduce the amount of travel that board members and other executives had to undertake.

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Conclusion: In the past, age and income were reliable predictors of behaviour but now, and in the future, the old definitions do not depict consumers well. Regardless of the industry, businesses in the future must gain quality consumer psychographic research either, syndicated or customised, if they are to operate confidently in evolving consumer markets. The other ingredient to the emerging customer strategy is segmenting and categorising the market by what consumers think, hope and wish for rather than any other fixed metric like age or even income. This involves slicing consumer markets into separate dimensions to gain a better view on how they operate and what will drive them in the future.

Marketing management has always wanted to get inside customers’ heads and it will be essential to do so to understand what they want, dream of, and ultimately buy.

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Conclusion: For the medium-sized enterprise investing in marketing channels entails a high exposure to risk because the investment consumes a larger portion of available capital than is the case for a larger company. Determining obvious returns in customer usage and communication from each channel is critical for prioritising investment. As most competitors have instigated similar customer channel opportunities, and there is a high degree of peering between competitive firms, the cost of maintaining the status quo is nearly the same for all players.

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Conclusion: Successful projects are analogous to freshly cooked puddings in that they not only have to smell nice when taken out of the oven but also excel when tasted to earn the praise of the client. Or to put it in simple terms a successful project is one that has helped the firm to realise the expected business outcomes.

To increase the probability of firms implementing successful projects senior managers must, at a minimum:

  • Identify staff with potential to handle the political as well as the technical arena of projects and a) give them training in project management disciplines as well as b) negotiation and influencing techniques

  • Implement the initiatives described below, monitor their outcomes and ensure the lessons learned in both technical and political arena are widely disseminated

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Conclusion: In today’s business climate in which discretionary capital is scarce, CIOs, or equivalent, need to be confident and able to convince the Executive they can deliver the benefits expected in proposals to invest in IT Infrastructure1. To meet the needs of stakeholders when real time services are at stake, the arguments must be compelling and presented in a way that leaves the Executive no alternative but to approve the proposal.

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Conclusion: Integration, Optimisation and Functionality are the three concepts to drive growth in technology investment in the future. In the tactical sphere these drivers of growth can be applied in planning the overall channel strategy. Technological implementation has mandated that efficiency gains ought to be made from the capital invested and that will be derived from either Functionality or Integration and Optimisation or a combination of all three.

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Conclusion: Short-term targets have affected planning but many companies will want to ensure that a qualified planning procedure will remove any shocks. This process can be isolated into various scenarios depending on market conditions. Scenarios minimise risk while maintaining the firm’s potential for reward relative to competitors.

The status of a market is affected by the number of competitors. This a major variable which could change rapidly, so it is significant to create a scenario for such a possibility and plot the effects and outcomes on the firm.

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Leighton Contractors recently made a significant decision in choosing to continue with in house development to upgrade core modules, in our enterprise applications suite, rather than going down the path of package acquisition and third party implementation. It has been an interesting exercise arriving at this conclusion which, at face value, appears to conflict with the generally accepted way of implementing such systems these days. I would like to take time to tell you how and why we chose to take this path.

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Conclusion: For medium sized companies there is no opportunity to fail at the planning stage otherwise it’s burning the investment capital and not even dealing with the big ROI issues.

Whatever web analytics software is selected it ought to be accountable over four key criteria:

  1. Enterprise Resources

  2. Capital Invested

  3. Human Capital

  4. Web Productivity

This is a progressive evaluation of a system and is therefore robust enough to assess the return on investment over many dimensions.

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There is a sea change taking place in the IT world according to a symposium hosted by Gartner Research in Sydney this month to plot the industry''s future path. The central case points to a maturing IT industry and a greater emphasis on increased accountability for acquisitions. Delegates heard that the days of "technology for technology sake" are long gone in the face of reduced IT budgets and less than fruitful past investments.

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Conclusion: Over the next 5 to 10 years marketing to the mature, that is, over 50 consumers will become an essential element in the business of all types of enterprises as the entire population ages. The largest portion of consumers will be in this age group. Grasping the demographic difference will set a marker between those companies that can prosper and those that are living in the past.

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This month Optus announced the development of a trading exchange specifically for the Australian Construction Industry today. The exchange, named InCITE, will be built, owned and operated by Optus E-Solutions and is planned to be launched in early 2003.

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Conclusion: CIOs, because they have a cross enterprise perspective, are ideally positioned to champion the institutionalising of benefits management practices and demonstrate how to do it by corroborating the benefits from IT Infrastructure investment.

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