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E-Commerce: You Have No Idea How Fast It Is Moving
May 17-18, 1999 in Boston, MA

special members' workshop
Mapping the Future of eBusiness Strategy: The Experience Presented by Northeast Consulting Resources, Inc.
Boston, MA - May 19, 1999



overview speakers agenda

conference overview
Includes a special tour of the MIT Media Lab followed by a Reception and Dinner at the Lab
Today, the imagination and intuition of its CEO, CIO and those who understand and are enthusiastic about technology inspire a company’s digital presence. Tomorrow, E-Commerce will be driven by the practices and pragmatics of CFO's, shareholders and those who just won't tolerate business otherwise. Any company who uses postage stamps or who is not open twenty-four hours per day seven-days a week is most likely at risk. E-Commerce is no longer a blue-sky hedge against tomorrow. It is a reality of today.

Imagine the following extreme: retail is merely indoor advertising for what people then buy over the web, manufacturers deal directly in every way with consumers, payments are made at no cost and without banks, and sales and value-added taxes disappear because they cannot be collected. Maybe these are not so extreme. In fact, it is clear that retailers will have to add value to the shopping experience. Distributors and wholesalers will be increasingly disintermediated in the sale of both bits and atoms. Payments will become a mix of digital credit, debit and stored value systems using both traditional and new forms of currency. And taxes will need to be revised in accordance of what can and cannot be realistically tariffed in the digital world.

The purpose of this conference will be to visit the most current developments in E-Commerce as well as revisit some of our most basic assumptions about commerce. For example, how will E-Commerce affect transportation and traffic, to what degree does advertising play a role, what value is there to add when all prices are the same and the lowest? In the year 2002, will we all look back and ask ourselves why we were so stupid not to have seen the size of E-Commerce. Probably.

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Walter Bender, Associate Director, MIT Media Lab
Michael Bove, Professor, MIT Media Lab
George Colony, Chief Executive Officer, Forrester Research, Inc.
Thomas Donohue, CEO, US Chamber of Commerce
Rob Guttman, Chief Technology Officer, Frictionless Commerce
Scott Heiferman, CEO, I-Traffic
Pattie Maes, Professor, MIT Media Lab
Heidi Mason, Partner, Bell-Mason Group
Chunka Mui, Partner, Diamond Technology Partners
Charles Nesson, Professor, Harvard Law School
Richard Schroth, CEO, Executive Insights and TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board Member
Hal Varian, Dean, School of Information Management and Systems, University of California at Berkeley
Walter Wriston, Former CEO, Citicorp & Citibank

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workshop description
In a rapidly changing environment like the world of eBusiness, the leaders that are best able to manage uncertainty, cope with sudden change, and take control of their corporate destiny have a clear competitive edge. Northeast Consulting Resources, Inc. (Northeast), the creators of Future Mapping®, are leaders in the application of scenario planning to the business problems of information technology and telecommunications for both vendors and users. They have been working on eBusiness strategy projects since 1994. What Northeast recognizes is that multiple vectors are developing in this field at the same time; what is truly of value is how these development vectors interact, not, which is "right" or "most likely". What is knowable are a sense of the dynamics in play 5 years from now - this understanding is what we want to derive with the rich experience of TTI/Vanguard members.

Northeast started mapping the future of computing and communications 10 years ago, providing a structured way to talk about what will be. Their work in eBusiness began with projects on the impact of the Internet on publishing, including a public workshop series on publishing. This was followed by work on payment systems, banking, impacts on system and software vendors and has grown into a current series of public workshops on eBusiness strategy.

The vectors of development will combine in fascinating ways. How will new distribution channels develop on the web? Does market segmentation on the web work differently than other channels? What issues will networked smart products bring to customers, manufacturers and service providers? For all the powerful technology required, isn’t it really all about enhancing relationships at many levels between organizations? Soon we will be able to link web order entry to ERP systems, trap data about whole supply chains and produce maps of funds flows, product flows, inventories, etc across entire value chains – but who will have access to the data and will anyone "own" it? Some of the big winners now are direct marketing operations like Dell but will everyone who wants your product come to your web site to get it or are new kinds of intermediaries needed? How to issues of scale economies and partnering vary across different eBusiness strategies.

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