Moving Ahead of the E-Pack

“As e-business progressively influences how a company does business and with whom, the strategy chosen and how it is executed will either place companies in the winner’s circle or on the also-ran list.”

This quote was in a recent announcement of the formation of the EBusiness Forum (EBF), an Atlanta-based organization that focuses on the business issues associated with e-commerce. Chuck Lybrook, managing director at EBF related some background on the formation and mission of this new enterprise.

“The EBusiness Forum has been in the planning stages for two years. There were pilot meetings of the program in 1999, with 35 to 40 companies participating. We are formally launching EBF in January of 2000. It was founded in response to requests and suggestions from member companies of the Information Management Forum (IMF).

“The IMF is a membership organization of senior IT executives. IMF members recognized that with the completion of Year 2000 projects, electronic business was going to take center stage and become the next critical issue facing most information technology executives. They wanted a forum where they could meet with their peers from other companies and with business managers responsible for e-business from those companies to discuss the business-related challenges of e-business. They wanted a forum where IT executives and business executives could openly discuss their issues and challenges. It was in response to that request and suggestion that we formed The EBusiness Forum.”

One of the stated objectives of this group is to help provide the right answers for questions such as:

  • What’s really required to play in the digital economy?
  • Which parts of the business need to be reinvented, which need to be discarded, and what should be done with the pieces in the middle?
  • What has to be done, and how, to instill an e-business culture?

    Chuck explained that the concept of EBF was patterned around providing a platform for candid discussion of e-commerce management issues, frequent follow up with reports to members, and other forms of networking between companies. He further explained that EBF is based upon annual corporate membership, as opposed to the traditional per seat/per event concept.

    EBF has scheduled six meetings for 2000, each with a different focus. Most are one or two day events, and include such agendas as “Strategy for Senior Executives,” “E-Business Practices and Tactics,” and “Planning and Resolution.”

    In addition to the presentations and discussions at each scheduled forum, EBF also provides their membership.

  • 30+ session reports annually, including comments and questions voiced at the meetings
  • Position papers that provide a high-level summary of meeting highlights
  • Surveys of participants and other selected companies about their e-commerce issues, status and plans
  • Hot line access to peer contact as well as information from other participating organizations

    EBF’s premier program is being held in Atlanta on Feb. 16 and 17, 2000, and program participants include such well know organizations as Northwestern Mutual, Deere & Company, Texaco, and Milliken & Company. Other member companies that participate include 3M, BP Amoco and Canadian National Railway.

    I see the main benefit of being an EBF participant as being able to listen to and share views face to face with IT executives that are leading major organizations into e-business. The good, the bad, and the ugly will be highlighted in case studies that present the successes, obstacles, plans and challenges encountered in developing and executing e-business strategies.

    If you are interested in running with the lead dogs, instead of trailing the e-field, visit the Web site at or contact Dawn Aderhold at (777) 455-0070.

    Bob Lewis is VP of IT at the FoodService Purchasing Cooperative Inc. (Louisville, Ky.). He can be reached at