Monday, October 09, 2006

Reality Check I: eCommerce is a fax

Every now and then, something happens that really strikes home how resistent most of us are to adopting anything new most of the time.

Swamp Fox LLC has been engaged by a global corporation to do a small project for which we will get paid $3,000. First, the purchasing documents that we had to complete and send back were 25 pages.

But what really got me was that, being the tech savvy guy that I am, I checked the box in the middle of those 25 pages to do business via eCommerce. Just now, someone in the purchasing department called...

Her: I'm reviewing the purchasing documents you sent, and you forgot to give us your fax number.

Me: Can't you email me what I need, or give me a web portal to go to?

Her: No, eCommerce is a fax.

Me: eCommerce is a fax?

Her: Yes, we only fax purchase orders.

Me: Huh. eCommerce is a fax. That's interesting. Well, I don't have a fax number for this company. Can you mail it to me?

Her: Sure, we'll mail it to you.

Wow! I talk here about Enterprise 2.0 and social networking software and open source and the like. There are still people out there, and probably plenty of them, for whom eCommerce is a fax. This is your reality check for the day.

A company's culture gets embedded deeply into its procedures and processes, and it becomes extremely difficult for people inside the company to do different, even if they want to - even if they know they need to. If you need an example of a source of The Innovator's Dilemmna that Clayton Christensen talks about, there you go.

1 comment:

Bear said...

In this day and age of computer scanners, high speed internet, and email I have no idea why people still use the fax. Yet still, I get request for faxes every once in a while and they look at me funny when I tell them we don't have working fax machine.

Why should I. It's almost 2007 people.