Finding your place in the new value chains
There is no simple answer to this question : new links
appear every day, some prove to be worthwhile and become
important, others are useless and disappear as quickly
as they appeared. You should observe, analyse and test,
However, we can identify different dominant value chains
on Internet at present.
In the case of certain oligopolistic markets dominated
by a few very powerful companies (as is the case in the
personal computer market), the value chain is short for
the main elements : Dell is a textbook case. The company
makes a daily turnover of over four million on line and
even plans to use Internet as its only distribution channel.
Many customers connect directly to its sites http://www.dell.fr
or http://www.dell.com to buy or upgrade their computer
on line. The chain is thus relatively short. But with
the reorientation towards online buying (Compaq and Apple),
the competition will intensify, necessitating the development
of Dell's online commercial presence by means of agreements
with virtual communities, agents or portals, to prevent
them signing with competing companies. The chain is still
short, but has lengthened a little.
But Dell sees other advantages than the reduction in
the number of intermediaries. Internet also allows it
to get closer to its customers by fluidifying the exchange
of data : for example, for Shell it has installed the
programme 'Dell First Pages', an extranet reserved for
its major accounts, allowing it to manage its purchases
and their lease-purchase plans on a page personalised
with the company's colours. In contrast, Dell also uses
Internet to get to know its suppliers, and to take advantage
of the variations in availability with Intel, for example,
of which it is a major client.