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"What does an ancient Chinese warrior sage from 400 B.C. have to do with a new medium that is changing the competitive landscape of the next millenium? Lots! Intelligent use of the capabilities of the Internet enables both large and small companies to implement the principles discussed in Sun Tzu and the Art of Business:
Obviously, one can use the Net to gain intelligence about competitors from their websites and by using news sources and tools like Pointcast that "push" information to you. Sources like government census and industry association websites can also be used, enabling you to gain information about your marketplace. Finally, using intranets (secure internal-company websites) and e-mail allows you to readily provide information about your company to executives and employees with a need to know. All these contribute to your foreknowledge and preparation, and thus your ability to "know the enemy and yourself".
Using the internet effectively can also increase your speed to market. Having access to key information via the Web and e-mail and being able to share it electronically across the world in minutes can dramatically reduce your information-decision-action cycle time. However, one must be careful not to allow information overload to slow things down rather than speed them up. This can be done by using intelligent agents to sort the information for you. More importantly, when making decisions ensure people understand which issues must be decided immediately and limit information flow and discussion to only those issues.
Finally, as you most likely know, security concerns about the Internet are rife. Therefore you must take the proper steps to protect your intellectual assets. While many people and companies are working hard to improve the security of the Net, this will be a never-ending battle. There will always be those seeking out your company's secrets!
Therefore, using the Internet wisely as discussed above will allow you to know the enemy, avoid their strength, attack their weaknesses, and win-all-without-fighting.
Mark McNeilly brings Sun Tzu's strategic principles to life as the author of Sun Tzu and the Art of Business; with TV and radio interviews and with seminar presentations. For more information visit www.suntzu1.com
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