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August 26, 1998


ROI: Joel Maloff lures businessmen on to the Web

Madhuri Velegar K at Pragati Maidan

Email this story to a friend. Back to IIW coverage index. Joel Maloff, founder and president, Maloff Group International, has the most unenviable job in the business. His brief is to convince businessmen to use the Web.

Businessmen, interestingly, do not "understand the benefits the Internet can offer", says Maloff. "They look at it as a tactical tool but cannot relate it with the business they do."

"So, if a top level executive gushes to his boss to put up a Web site for their company simply because he has a 'gut feeling it will work' it is not good enough."

Maloff said, "It is critical to understand the Internet and see how it can be used in your particular business. Plan and identify mistakes that others have made. Have clear alternatives to enhance your organisation. How much will it cost to have other applications that you can use?"

"India," said Maloff, "enjoys the unique advantage of knowing the mistake that others in the West have made before hopping on to a new idea."

"Businessmen have a few misconceptions about the Internet. One is that the Internet will collapse," Maloff said. He explained that the Net would only collapse if and when

  1. The ratio of dial-up modems and users went up dramatically.
  2. If the ISPs do not have a solid arrangement with each other to get on to the Internet backbone.
  3. If 'meet points' or 'peering' gets jammed or the gateways get congested due to excess traffic and
  4. If your destination server cannot cope with the material you've sent.

Peering is important, says Maloff, and very often there is no contract between ISPs that they will ferry information packets. "They simply agree to do it."

"It's quite possible that your packet sent from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur reaches there after connecting with some Asian local ISP but via Washington. So having peering relationship with whoever you hope to do business with is critical."

Maloff can really demystify terminology related to the Internet. Here are examples:

"The intranet is the use of the Internet to transport communication within a corporation. Offices can use it to connect with their branch offices and because of security mechanisms, only you can use the intranet."

"The extranet is an extended intranet which allows your partners and suppliers to interact with you on a business level."

Planning, implementing and managing the Internet is a full time job. A survey conducted on network security messages revealed the following:

  • 4.4 out of 5 felt information security was critical
  • 3.0 out of 5 knew how to handle information security
  • 2.8 out of 5 were trained to do the job
  • 2.6 out of 5 felt it needed support services
  • 2.1 out of 5 felt it required sufficient funds and
  • 1.8 out of 5 felt it required staffing.

These findings best illustrates the level of understanding of the medium.

Back to IIW coverage index. Maloff summed up that to "develop a strategic approach, it is important to keep in mind business sense and value addition before taking the plunge because if you plan, the Internet experience can bring your tremendous results."

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