Thursday, 2 April 2015

E-Commerce Observatory tooling up to measure maturity

After several years of radio silence on this blog we are again picking up the quill to update people on our various thoughts.

In particular the self styled 'E-Commerce Observatory' team is gathering data on E-Business Maturity. We have previously examined a methodology for examining trends in companies use of E-Commerce systems and how to grade this in terms of a maturity model.

Our outline methodology is to start with a known group of companies in a geographical area, industrial sector, size range, or life cycle state. Then to determine what kind of on line presence the company has by examining and scoring a number of visible factors. From this scoring we will then map onto a maturity position.

Since we last looked at this area social media based platforms have become more central to the outlook of small companies, for example a Facebook Page might be the primary means of communication for a small cafe rather than relying on a standalone website, but it's function is equivalent. Our existing set of ecommerce variables do not include a factor for this and it does not map immediately onto our previous maturity levels.

Image result for myspace 2010
Measuring maturity when the latforms keep moving.
We are hence currently piloting a review of a series of companies with some potential new variables to examine how we integrate this into our models. We are also pondering which social media platforms are appropriate. For a consumer facing company such as a cafe we might expect that Facebook or Twitter are currently natural media. For a business to business operation we might imagine that Linked In and Twitter are natural media.

We would like to observe how individual companies or types of companies mature their use of Ecommerce over time but the rapid development of the platforms themselves could make this difficult. Can we work on the basis of a 'social media' platform rather than a named platform, hence cope with the changing fortunes of Twitter, GooglePlus, Facebook and others or do we just doggedly stick to rating companies on their MySpace account.

Obviously it would be nice to get to some conclusions about trends in E-Commerce, but for now we are resigned to having work a bit harder on out methodology before we can extract any authoritative data let alone conclusions.