Many organizations are struggling with the challenges and opportunities the Internet
provides. The range of organizations tackling these problems in the attempt to build a viable business effort
range from well-established media conglomerate
s to one-person startup
s. Each group makes their approach to this new media format in a different way, based upon their core business capability
, and the resulting paradigm
. A television
company may approach the web from a more video
-oriented aspect, a print
company may approach the web
in more of a textual context
, and a software
company's approach may focus more upon gee-whiz
features and user interactivity
. Each group brings with them their operating models, and methods of doing business.
Due to the uncertain nature of the current state of the Internet marketplace, many of these viewpoints and philosophies are unsuitable in their current form. The situation is not unlike that of the blind men and the elephant. Each group is limited in their observation by the point of view their handicap (or business paradigm) restricts them to. Often this results in misdirected effort and poor results.
However, working from the parent organization's core business viewpoint need not be a bad thing. By properly applying the lessons and methods from their core business to the developing new web environment, an organization can adapt the best of their operating methodology to this new media
One problem some people have in modifying a print-only media operation to a web-oriented publishing effort is the difficulty in understanding roles, and transitioning the corresponding tasks and responsibilities to the new paradigm. This is a false concern. An operating parallel can be roughly drawn between the job positions in any media operation. For example, the leadership in a creative organization is usually a team of two individuals: one controlling the money and focus, and one determining style and content. In print, there is a publisher and an editor. In film, video, and radio, we have a producer and a director. In other arts, we have the patron and the artist.
Of course there are others involved, like art directors, production managers, designers, and writers. Each performs a task similar to that of their colleagues in parallel professions. Sadly, this established and well-tested structure has been completely disrupted by the developing requirements (actual and perceived) of web production. Some of this disruption is necessary, but much of it can be eliminated by properly applying the old methodology to the new paradigm. By recognizing where the parallels truly are in developing a new web operating structure, tasks can be properly allocated to the personnel most suited to transform the operating philosophy to the electronic format successfully.
By applying the new requirements of the web to the operating paradigm of the organization, it is important that cohesion and morale are preserved while enhancing effectiveness. Many of the turf wars that plague a company undergoing the growing pains of internet adaptation stem directly from employees that have served the company well. They feel that their loyal service has been ignored, and their positions are being marginalized. This stress can be used to focus the organization on the future. If the more resistant members of the company have it demonstrated to them that they have the opportunity to participate in the future, many will choose to move forward.
The threat of marginalization, coupled with the need to change, can impel an organization to move itself forward, but the onus on management is to make this a positive action as opposed to a negative one. There are many hurdles to leap, and the danger is that the procedure can become full of negative attitudes and poor interdepartmental cooperation.