Dispatches - New World Order

We built this shimmering IT palace on a bedrock of fat lies, phoney promises and poisonous exaggerations. It's no wonder that the media which record our foibles are such cynical historians.

So for me, as a one-time foot soldier of the fourth estate, and more recently as a consumer of its products, to tell you that the Internet will change all our lives, fundamentally and forever, is no small thing.

We are reinventing our publishing business with the Internet. We've gone from being a company which published some magazines once a month and a technology newspaper once a week to being a full-time provider of instant news with four daily news services and more on the way.

But don't listen to me, very few people do when that maniacal grin spreads across my face and I start ranting about reinventing the company. Listen instead to the people who pay my wage every week. Not the company I work for, but the customers who foot the bill.

This is a double barrelled column. Over the past few months we have asked both IT resellers and end users to tell us how the Web has changed the way they work. This month I want to focus on the resellers. In a sense, they will write this column for me (just don't ask for a share of the proceeds).

These entries came in as part of a competition, and while they were not necessarily the winners, (you will have read Australian Reseller News and ComputerWorld) to find those, to me they're representative of a solid cross section of views.

Competitive advantage

From a sales consultant in Bathurst: "It (the Internet) has altered the way we seek information. Instead of dialling long distance, talking to numerous secretaries and account managers, we can now access reports on stock, availability, the latest pricing, ETA's back orders and more, at the press of a button."

Time saver

From a company director on the Gold Coast: "Every morning I start my day with notes and e-mails from my peers around the world. Before 8am I am up to date, enthused and ready to tackle the world."

The net as a wave of creative destructionFrom a managing director in Sydney: "Since using the Internet we have almost eliminated the use of the fax machine. Wonderful!"

Saving money

From an IT worker in Queensland: "The Internet has provided our company with low cost communications with suppliers and manufacturers and has given our staff the latest electronic information at their fingertips. E-mail has also helped in the process of making our office paperless."

And finally what it is all really about

From a business alliance manager in Sydney: "It allowed me to gain access to the Italian soccer results and avoid going to Leichhardt every week!"

In the next column I will look at the responses from the ComputerWorld audience, which make for an interesting comparison.

Get Your Private, Free E-mail at http://www.hotmail.comAndrew Birmingham is the CIO of IDG Communications and is a former editor-in-chief of ComputerWorldandrew_birmingham@idg.com.au

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