Online strategy is a way for organizations to make major improvements in performance.
With the rise of the Internet, organizations of all kinds can improve use of information, enhance communications, and offer new, cheaper, and swifter ways of delivering goods and services.
In previous stages of the strategic planning process, we have set targets and analyzed relevant strategic factors in the SWOT analysis to find the short list of big issues. We now select strategies to address these issues.
I have outlined doing this for businesses here. See here for non-profit organizations. This section focuses separately on strategies online. I will cover possibilities for both business and non-profit sectors.
Many organizations have some degree of online presence. This does not mean it is vital to their corporate strategy. For many it is a background facility like having electricity, cleaning services and such.
As with any form of strategy, it should be a choice from options that address the specific situation of the enterprise.
Do not go online with strategy because you think it is fashionable.
It should contribute at least 10 - 20% to the ‘bottom line’. Otherwise, it is not ‘strategic’.
It may be an important element of the operations. This would be similar to HR operations or IT activities.
It also may change over time. Your online commitments may be genuinely strategic when a firm is in transition from being all offline to when it becomes an important aspect of business as usual.
Obviously, many businesses have gained success through being online. This may be through online marketing strategy, where the Internet becomes a major new channel for promoting, goods and services at lower prices, and more speedily.
This has been very important for businesses selling information products, such as software, books and other digital media. Online investments can lower barriers to entry for a larger range of businesses. Small business online is an obvious example. Even micro businesses and solo operators have learned to earn money online. Some businesses have reinvented themselves through an e-commerce strategy, and some have gone beyond this to a full-blown e-business strategy. Many non-profit organizations have also benefited by going online. These include, online education, and even government online.
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