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The Internet: A Paradigm Shift in the Making
by:   Mark S. Deion
Deion Associates & Strategies, Inc.

The technology of the internet which was initially developed in the 1960's is only beginning to receive attention regarding its potential commercial uses. The internet was initially used by military, scientific and educational organizations to collect and distribute data. The use of this technology for commercial purposes, opens up a new realm of business development.

Although many advancements have been made during the past few years to "harness" the potential of the internet for commercial use, many of the beneficial aspects of the internet still remain untouched.

Preliminary steps have been made to utilize the internet for business development. Home pages, e-mail, data search engines, and even "cybercash" are all relatively new developments which have resulted from the use of this new technology.

But, the internet has brought about a paradigm shift which is ignored by most who utilize this technology. A clear understanding of this paradigm shift must be realized if the internet is to be utilized to its fullest potential.

Commercial entities have always been responsible for the logistical and financial burdens of coordinating the efforts of their personnel and operations in relationship to establishing, maintaining and profiting from a relationship with an end user (customer).

Focussing on a specific target market group has always been directly related to the financial and logistical capabilities of the commercial entity. The efforts, energies and resources utilized to accomplish this have always been the sole responsibility of the commercial entity. This action is described in the following diagram:

Diagram 1:

Commercial Entity

End User.

The paradigm shift which has occurred now allows the commercial entity to take some rather innovative and cost effective steps towards reducing their efforts while also expanding their influence on internal and external activities.

Rather than bearing the full responsibility for having to identify, qualify and acquire potential customers, the commercial entity only needs to properly position itself in a fashion conducive to ease of accessibility to end users who are already "qualified" and seeking the services/products being offered by the commercial entity. This action is described in the following diagram:

Diagram 2:

Commercial Entity

Access Point

End User.

The shift which has occurred, now allows the commercial entity to expend their resources in a much more controlled fashion, directed towards a greater percentage of qualified end users. Commercial entities no longer need to finance the entire "action" activity in an effort to connect to a qualified end user. Effective use of the internet will allow the commercial entity to re-focus their marketing efforts towards a quality access point, thereby limiting the efforts required to reach qualified customers.

The quality access point should be a centrally located source of information for qualified end users. If the end user determines that the information obtained at the access point is something which they are interested in acting upon, they should have the option of initiating a relationship with the commercial entity. This process allows the end user to bear some of the costs and responsibilities related to connecting to the commercial entity.

A primary benefit of such a scenario is that the potential exposure of the commercial entity increases as the number of end users (who are active on the internet) increases, without the commercial entity having to incur inordinate expenses to market to an increasing market base (as occurs in traditional marketing activities).

The global marketing capabilities of the internet are already evident. Effective use of this paradigm shift requires the definitive creation of primary, quality access points, rather than massive efforts to communicate on an individual basis to unqualified end users. A major portion of the responsibilities of doing business can now be shifted directly to the end user.

The commercial entity can now concentrate their efforts on the development of quality access points, without having to engage their entire marketing resources until an end user has initiated a qualified relationship.

One major problem which has been recently identified pertaining to the use of the internet, identifies a failure on the part of commercial entities to comprehend and assimilate this paradigm shift.

Many commercial entities fail to develop quality access points, and continue to market their products/services on an individual basis via the internet. Utilizing traditional marketing efforts on a global basis can easily overwhelm the operating capabilities of the commercial entity, especially if the resulting work does not generate an increased success rate in business transactions.

Access to a global market may be desirable for a commercial entity, but such access requires that significant changes be made in the methods of dealing with increased numbers of potential end users.

The development of quality access points, which facilitates the identification of end users, drastically reduces the amount of unwarranted efforts on the part of the commercial entity. Such an action should allow the commercial entity to re-focus their efforts to the maintenance of quality access points, and re-dedicate their efforts towards the potential relationships which have been initiated by qualified end users who have accessed these access points.

Another interesting development emanating from the technology of the internet is the development of "intranet" technology. As commercial entities experience the demands on operational performance related to information processing, they have begun to utilize the technological capabilities of internet-like systems to optimize their internal operations.

Many commercial entities are realizing positive financial impacts due to the introduction of intranet technology to their operational activities, regardless of any activity on the internet. This "discovery" identifies one of the fundamental requirements of utilizing internet technology: a commercial entity must have clearly identified operational practices and procedures in place prior to implementing internet technology.

Numerous commercial entities thought that the internet would provide them with unlimited business opportunities, but they were unprepared to efficiently process these opportunities. The internet can provide unlimited access to many things, but an effective use of this new technology requires that information processing technologies be drastically altered to make commercial entities internally more efficient.

Although increased access to, and use of the internet, may be considered as an innovative and new technology, it must be utilized with a new way of thinking. The paradigm shift which has occurred does not allow for the optimum use of this new technology unless the traditional modes of operation and business development are significantly altered to match the potential of the internet. The ultimate positive impact of this new technology is severely limited if archaic methods of operation are utilized to implement this new technology.

Mark S. Deion is the President and owner of DEION ASSOCIATES & STRATEGIES, INC. a consulting firm which provides numerous services related to business development, internet development, and business representation in the US and in the Former Soviet Union. He has written numerous articles on business, and has presented business seminars to various companies, colleges and universities both in the US and in the Former Soviet Union.

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Deion Associates & Strategies, Inc.
Mark S.Deion

15 Sackett Street
Warwick, RI 02886-2333 USA
Tel: (401) 732-0457 • Fax: (401) 732-8767
E-mail: marks@deionassociates.com
URL: http://www.deionassociates.com

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