E-business Convergence: Corporate Survey Results

by Toby Ward — During the month of November, we conducted a small online survey on the subject of e-business convergence - or the convergence of Internet, extranet, and intranet platforms and applications. Here's the results.


E-Business Convergence – The Melding of Internet and Intranet


Participants were asked questions on how their organizations are approaching e-business convergence. Highlights of the answers are documented below:


Does your organization operate multiple sites on multiple platforms (Internet, intranet, or extranet)?

(Yes / No)


92% said ‘Yes’, only 8% said ‘No’.



What platforms do you use?

(Internet Only / Intranet & Internet / Internet & Extranet / Intranet & Extranet / All three)


86% said ‘All Three’.
14% said only ‘Internet & Intranet’.



Is there some form of integration or convergence between your sites?



57% said ‘Yes’.

43% said ‘No’.



To what degree is there integration or the reuse of resources across Internet, intranet and extranet sites?

(None / Very Little / Reusing some applications & people/A single architecture platform (ATG, Vignette) across multiple platforms/ Near or complete integration)


57% said ‘Very Little’

43% said ‘Reusing some applications & people’



Please explain:  

(Open-ended question)

Sample answers:

  • “All three sites are managed separately, by different departments. There is very little knowledge & content sharing (if any!).”
  • “Major reuse is of content. Technical platforms also tend to use similar or the same standards.”
  • “Three groups, little information sharing, no reuse of code.”
  • “Extranet users can get to specific intranet segments if their authorization requires it.”
  • “Reuse of common content.”



In which of the following areas is there some form of reuse/integration of resources across different platforms?

(People / Servers / Applications / Content Management System / Development Platforms)

  • People is a resource that is being reused or shared the most frequently with 43% of organizations with some or extensive sharing of people, and 29% planning to reuse people across multiple platforms.
  • Participating organizations are split on the reuse or sharing of servers with 43% saying there is no or little reuse of servers and 43% of participants saying there is some reuse of servers across multiple platforms.
  • Fifty-seven percent of organizations are reusing to some extent, or planning to reuse, different applications across different platforms.
  • Twenty-nine percent of organizations are extensively reusing content management systems across different platforms.
  • Fifty-eight percent of organizations have not at all reused (or very little reuse) different development across different platforms such as ATG, Vignette, and others, across different platforms.


What drivers could/will advance integration/convergence efforts at your organization in the future? Please answer according to the following integration drivers:

(Operational Efficiency  / Cost Savings  / Security  / User Experience)


Most organizations rate cost savings and operational efficiency as primary drivers/motivators for advancing (or possibly advancing) further integration/convergence at their respective organizations. User experience was a driver for few organizations, and security was generally not seen as a driver.



Is it worth examining further opportunities for platform integration or is the effort far too troublesome and complicated?

(No / Yes)


Eighty-three per cent said yes, while only 17% said no.





How big is your organization?

(Open-ended question)


The largest organization responding to the survey was 50,000 people – the smallest was 3000 (with an average size of 15,000 employees).




Is there money to be saved from integrating Internet, intranet and extranet resources?

(Open-ended question)


Participants were unanimous that money could be saved – but few ventured a guess, and no organization has any precise ROI measurements.



What corporate group (e.g. sales, communications, finance, etc.) owns/manages your websites?

(Matrix question)


IS/IT is overwhelmingly the lead stakeholder and owners of most corporate websites. Marketing and e-business groups are also fairly prominent stakeholders – namely focused on external facing websites. Communications figures prominently as a stakeholder of intranet websites.



What is the level of willingness and understanding of the various site owners/stakeholders to see better integration of resources across different platforms?

(Matrix question)


IS/IT and Communications are seen as the leaders within the respective participant organizations. Ironically, IS/IT is also seen as one of the most uncooperative stakeholders as well – as are Sales, and individual Business Units or LOBs. Neutral and somewhat cooperative stakeholders include Human Resources, Marketing and Finance.



Assuming there is a will and the necessary resources to achieve better integration of Internet, intranet and extranet platforms at your organization, how long would it take to implement a satisfactory level of integration?

(Open-ended question)


Answers ranged from 2 months to 30 months with the average being about 18 months.



Are your competitors (or similar not-for-profit organizations/departments) doing a better job in the area of Internet, intranet, extranet convergence?

(No / Yes)


One-third of participants believe that competitors are doing a better job of reusing/integrating various platforms. Two-thirds of participant organizations believe they are doing a better job of convergence at their companies than the competition.



What companies/organizations that you can think of are leaders in the area of e-business convergence/integration?

(Open-ended question)



Few participants could cite industry leaders though Siemens, Fidelity Investments and Cisco were mentioned as leaders.


Toby Ward, a former journalist and a regular e-business columnist and speaker, is the President and Founder of Prescient Digital Media. For more information on Prescient’s CMS Blueprint service, or for a free copy of the white paper “Finding ROI”, please contact us