Winner Take All in New Economy

The Internet economy is "chaotic, bloody and deadly" where the winner takes all, the director of Cisco Systems Inc.'s Internet business solutions group, John Sifonis, said Friday.

And a major driver of this fierce competition is "today's customer" -- a demanding species with plenty of attitude, Sifonis said.

Speaking to more than 750 delegates at the annual Com Tech Forum in the Australian state of Queensland, he said companies require a "relentless customer focus" to compete in the new economy because people's expectations can be reduced to three words -- free, perfect, now.

"This customer attitude is global; I have 200 channels of digital TV at home and 195 of those are useless but I still have it," he said.

Describing the new economy as a "winner takes all" environment, Sifonis said the gap between first and second place in the market is becoming infinite and those who are not leading players quickly become irrelevant.

He said superior business models capture a disproportionate amount of the market taking most of the earnings and winnings.

"This is the new environment but in a market of chaos there is also plenty of opportunity; the business strategy is the IT strategy," Sifonis said.

He threw ROI (return on investment/costs) decision-making in the old economy basket claiming it doesn't measure market realities.

"It is about market share and customer satisfaction; when you implement a new application or technology you're betting on market share in the future," Sifonis said.

"Strategies have to be executed ruthlessly because failure is simply not an option. Do not become emotionally attached to a project, rely on logic."

Referring to the zero tolerance rate for not successfully completing a project at Cisco, Sifonis said "you're dead, you're out."

However, he said those who succeed are rewarded handsomely with annual bonuses that are "just phenomenal."

Since releasing his book "Net Ready: Strategies for Success in the E-Economy", Sifonis said intense competition in the new economy has continued to grow, and predicted it will get even fiercer.

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