Web-Based Infrastructures – Preface
A 4-D Framework
First Edition,304 pp.
( by:Sanmay Mukhopadhyay and Cooper Smith )
Technology and business have been working hand in hand, literally, for centuries. The last 50 years have ushered in first the Electronic Age and now the Digital Age. Never has the potential marriage of technology and business meant so much to so many. In just the last 10 years alone, the leap from the Digital Age to the Internet age promised to go beyond the potential of landing on the moon. However, as high as the Internet rocket rose, it crashed. Why? Were expectations set too high for too long? Were the American business markets too greedy, too avaricious, too anxious to strike it rich?
Perhaps. Greed is nothing new, and the internet rage of the 1990’s is not much different than any other Gold Rush. A few actually do get rich, many more fail, but almost everyone tries their hand one way or another to grab the brass ring. Although the Gold Rush of 1849 created thousands or even hundreds of millionaires, it also helped create the city of San Francisco and eventually the San Francisco Bay area. Once the hype and the hoopla settled down, a small port town nestled in a raw windy bay found itself engulfed in a population doing what most populations do: eat, sleep, drink, work, and, hopefully, earn a living-first with their hands and now 150 years later with their minds. Yet the results of those 150 years, no matter how they started, are undeniable. Once miners seeking gold flocked to this little town; 150 years later their descendants are the doctors, lawyers, engineer, and academics who now breathe life into Silicon Valley.
No doubt, by the time the next century rolls around the Internet Gold Rush will have had as much historical significance as San Francisco’s, perhaps even more, for in reality it is still going on. The Internet, although without the hype, without the fanfare, is still going strong and growing every day. The ubiquitous ness of the “Net” is slowly taking route, albeit late for some, but just in time for the real revolution that is taking place throughout the world: the quiet, unassuming revolution that is here to stay, the effects of which businessman, technologists, and consumers, can only guess at over the next few decades.
Hopefully, by now we have learned that the Internet in and of itself is not the magic elixir that makes all of a business’s ills disappear. It will not make us all instant millionaires. But we are starting to look analytically at what it can and does do. Business is all about communication and that is where the real evolution lies. Business and business people now realize they cannot view the Internet as a separate entity to be exploited in and of itself. It, too, is a tool, like any other. Like the networks it runs on, like the computers that access it, it must be incorporated into any business the same way. The Internet is a means to an end, not the end, itself.
With that in mind, this book hopes to shed some light on our views of what kind of strategies business should and do employ to bring about some of the old-fashioned business objects of competitive advantage, productivity gain, and, yes, old-fashioned profit. The 4D Framework will probably not be the only business strategy on how to use the Internet to its maximum effectiveness in the next few years, nor will it be the last. But we do hope it will be the most useful.