As you read this and the coming installments, please keep in mind these were written when Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Twitter, and Yahoo! did not yet exist.
Written: November 1993
The following four factors will help ensure the successful implementation of the “Get Connected” program in your organization:
Grassroots support. Many kinds of skills are necessary to implement the concepts of “Get Connected”. Some are technical, some are communications oriented, and some are marketing oriented. The program most likely cannot be implemented with only a top-down approach. Grassroots teamwork must be encouraged, nurtured, and supported.
Executive commitment is critical to break through the barriers which may occur. By definition, electronic communications have the effect of flattening the organizational structure, thereby threatening entrenched middle management groups. The commitment from the top is critical to keep the grassroots teams energized and avoid bureaucratic resistance to the implementation of these ideas.
A strong technical infrastructure. Once you have established a presence on the World Wide Web, it is critical it be available consistently around the clock, the World Wide Web is global. You may be surprised to find you begin to generate as many inquiries from other parts of the world as you do from your own region.
Erratic availability will cause people to lose interest in your home page, and with so many interesting sites on the World Wide Web, there is no guarantee someone will come back to your site if information was unavailable the first time.
Listening to your constituents. Electronic communication makes it easy for constituents to give you feedback. A commitment must be made to listen to the feedback you receive from your constituents, and promptly and thoughtfully respond to it. Remember, feedback is critical in nature and is usually insightful. Listening to leading-edge users will save you time, and money, in the long run.
“Get Connected” can energize your organization and allow you to transform it to meet your vision for doing business into the next century. The obstacles are real, the benefits are spectacular. Get Connected!
About the Author
John R. Patrick is the IBM Vice President of Internet Technology at IBM Corporation. John is spearheading IBM’s efforts to introduce a broad range of Internet servers, services, and solutions to empower customers with the vast capabilities of Internet connectivity. John has been with IBM for 30 years. He was a founder of the IBM Credit Corporation, today the largest computer leasing company in the world. In 1992 he became Vice President of Marketing for personal systems and was part of the team responsible for creating the ThinkPad brand.
© 1993 John R. Patrick
My reflections – 2022
In reflecting on “Get Connected”, I would not change any of the principles advocated. Some of the technology was superseded. Many new technologies were developed. While there are issues and improvements needed in several areas, the positive impact of the Internet has exceeded anyone’s forecast. A new study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and led by a researcher from Harvard Business School, found the Internet economy grew seven times faster than the total U.S. economy during the past four years, and now accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).[i]
The Internet economy’s contribution to the U.S. GDP grew 22 percent per year since 2016, in a national economy that grows between two to three percent per year. In 2020 alone, it contributed $2.45 trillion to the United States’ $21.18 trillion GDP. More than 17 million jobs in the U.S. were generated by the Internet, 7 million more than four years ago.[ii]
I continue to be inspired by the potential of the Internet. These are very exciting times to live in as the Net evolves to support cryptocurrencies, new business models, AI, and the metaverse.
[i] “Study Finds Internet Economy Grew Seven Times Faster Than Total U.S. Economy, Created over 7 Million Jobs in the Last Four Years,” Interactive Advertising Bureau (2021), https://www.iab.com/news/study-finds-internet-economy-grew-seven-times-faster/#:~:text=More%20than%2017%20million%20jobs,companies%2C%20which%20generated%2034%20percent.