From the News Desk

SAN MATEO (05/23/2000) - What IT executive doesn't want to discover new business opportunities? Rather than focusing their IT investments primarily on their core businesses, more and more companies are seeking to leverage the Internet to break into new areas and generate more revenue for the bottom line.

The key role for IT executives is sizing up the possibilities and helping their companies decide where and when to break from their core business.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of pure-play dot-com companies, where technology is the foundation of the business. As our Page One story by Ephraim Schwartz and Dan Briody notes, Internet powerhouses -- which are already well-established in their market areas -- are looking at a number of ways to cash in on the Net to enhance their traditional lines of business or even break out of them. These initiatives range from leveraging back-end logistics know-how and software to business-to-business referral marketing.

The essential expertise of an e-commerce company goes far beyond the industry knowledge of selling books or cars. Amazon. com Inc.'s quick move into selling everything from toys to electronics is an obvious example. Understanding Internet business models, and having the partnerships and processes to make an e-commerce business hum, is perhaps the biggest asset a company can leverage.

Of course, every growing company is constantly on the hunt for new products and new revenues. But barriers to entry in the Internet are much lower.

Intellectual property -- in the form of software and business practices -- is a lot easier to replicate than investing in the physical infrastructure necessary in the brick-and-mortar model.

Another key difference is the importance of partnerships. In many cases, innumerable marketing arrangements between companies blur the lines between competitor and partner. And now technology licensing will make that notion of "coopetition" even more complex.

Is your company leveraging its technology and business assets?

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