• As has been widely reflected in the popular and business media, the crash in April 2000 heralded a collapse of public and business confidence in almost anything associated with the ‘e-revolution’ of the late 1990s, or the first wave of e-change.

  • During 2002 and 2003 a broad-based, international sample of 281 organizations was surveyed to validate this populist perception. The findings indicated that many organizations have not only continued with their uptake of modern information systems, but that a good number have been quietly intensifying their efforts.

  • This paper distinguishes between the replicability of core operational systems for internal cost-efficiencies and the differentiating capability of customer-facing technologies that enables firms to attract and maintain a loyal customer base. The parameters for managing the dynamic balance between replicability and differentiation shape a new concept of ‘opportunity space’ which is bounded by a high-touch/high-technology dimension and the tangible/intangible nature of the customer offering.

  • The opportunity space model can be applied to a major product/service offering, a business unit, an enterprise or an industry sector. It allows managers to map where their effort can be focused when evaluating strategic options for the effective introduction of customer-facing information technologies.

Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.