BEST OF THE BLOGS: Getting tactical about business systems

If you spend any time at all watching sport and reading the oodles of analysis that goes with it (yes, I’m guilty) you’ll be familiar with the various obsessions over stats and systems.

Not to accuse our new blogger Mark Freidin of indulging in this boffin-like behaviour, but his SmartCompany blog, The Online Optimiser, promises to drill down to the intricacies of how business systems, especially those for retail online, work.

As for many people who end up as experts in a field, Freidin’s fascination with business and how it works and functions began at a young age:

From the time I was a little boy I would jump at any opportunity to spend as much time as I could with my father or my uncle when they were at work. I loved wandering around their offices, talking to all their staff, asking questions; I probably drove everyone mad with my incessant desire to know things.

He’s taken that early interest and turned it into a successful career as a chief operating officer, eCommerce pioneer and internet retail consultant. With margins getting ever tighter and competition ever fiercer, Freidin’s analyses of business systems will hopefully provide some valuable tips and tricks on to get your business structure in shape.

Click Frenzy and the fallout

By most reports, most of the retailers who took part in the Click Frenzy promotion were happy with how it all went.

That there were substantial technical problems has also been extensively reported. Two of our bloggers, IT systems expert David Markus and SEO guru Jim Stewart took a look at what went down and what might have caused the problems in their blogs this week.

Markus looked at the system failure as a lesson to SMEs on the importance of web hosting capability and server capacities:

I have to say, I do not know the details of how the technology is managed at Click Frenzy or what went wrong but I do have some advice I have given my SME clients for years around web hosting.

I strongly recommend we do not host our own website. Web hosting is a relatively simple server function but rapidly runs into a couple of key problems. The first is security and the second is capacity; neither of these is well managed by small businesses with limited IT departments or none at all.

From all accounts, those involved in the promotion had perhaps underestimated the numbers that would be attracted to this first Click Frenzy and have now learned some valuable lessons for any similar endeavour in the future.

The rising boardroom stock of the chief digital officer

Again, with the growing importance of all things digital and the increasing reach and hold that online has on the hearts and minds of consumers, the chief digital officer is shaping up to be a key member of the contemporary company board.

Digital strategist Fi Bendall reflects on some research from Gartner in her blog this week about this development:

A CIO is a systems and process-based professional, dealing with large enterprise systems, not people. While these systems would affect the role of the CDO, it is a common mistake of companies to push digital on to the CIO or even the CMO.

As the Click Frenzy promotion demonstrated, the appetite for digital and online consumer experiences is strong and companies need to look at prioritising the way they structure in order to reflect this digital seachange.


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