Business guru sees e-business shakeout

More than 85 per cent of the companies trying to restructure their business around e-commerce are going to blow it, claims legendary business guru Tom Peters.

Speaking at the "e-Link 2000" conference sponsored by CommerceOne, the author of "In Search of Excellence, and the "Reinventing of Work" series said that most companies will fail in their efforts because they lack the intestinal fortitude necessary to accomplish their goals.

"E-commerce is not a technology play," said Peters. "It's a relationship, partnering, communication, and organisational play, made possible by technology."

Peters said the real issue is whether companies have the guts to engage in creative destruction.

"It's all about nerve," said Peters. "E-commerce will work to the extent that you alter every relationship in your organisation. So the real issue is: do you have the nerve to do this? Growth is a function of the nerve to destroy."

Peters predicted that over the next 10 years the business world will undergo a "white collar revolution" where 90 per cent of white collar jobs will be destroyed or altered beyond recognition.

"If you don't get every business process on the Web in 48 months, you stand a good chance of dying," said Peters. "And you cannot do business-to-business e-commerce in a six-level organisation. It has to be a flat organisation."

Peters said the key to e-commerce success is the ability to establish meaningful partnerships, which most companies are unable to do.

"You need to insanely share proprietary data with your partners," Peters said. "Unfortunately, I don't know one Fortune 500 company in 200 that is capable of doing that."

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