The changing World of Information Technology (IT)
Supply chain management
has become a strategic issue. How companies manage and structure customer
and supplier relationships greatly affects marketing channel efficiency
and the cost of marketing products or services.
Interaction via the Internet, EDI networks and mobile technology is a reality. IT is the essential enabler. IT provides the transport medium and infrastructure. It also helps automate many processes such as consolidating orders and forwarding them to suppliers, advising customers of order status, sending periodic forecasts, etc.
benefits means starting with the right reasons for using it and focussing
initially on the behind the scenes processes.
Each of the above categories comprises three segments. The specific segments will depend on what performance issue IT capabilities are being measured against. For instance, and organisation's requirement of its IT will be different if it wants to implement an ERRP, financial system or Internet solution. Each segment should be evaluated based on a performance scale. There are two over-riding attributes affecting the total score: environment longevity and its reliability.
By ensuring that the measured segments (illustrated in figure 1) relate to the requirements or the organisation's channel strategy and IT plans, we can measure the company's IT systems' abilities to act as the enabler of that channel strategy and solution.
Figure 2 illustrates critical issues which may impede IT's effective support of an organisation's channel strategy. Increased focus on these issues is required to address performance weaknesses.
An evaluation such as the above is fundamental to ensuring effective IT support for marketing channel, supply chain and Internet strategies. It measures the state of the company's IT and systems abilities and relates them to specific business requirements. It allows the implementation plan to take the company's IT systems' strengths and weaknesses into account. By doing so we increase the channel strategy's success and minimise costs.
The development of an effective marketing channel strategy and efficient use of IT that supports it, requires an integrated IT and channel strategy where the focus is on IT as an enabler rather than an end in itself.