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E-business or Out of Business

Oracle's Roadmap for Profiting in the New Economy

By Mark J. Barrenechea

Published by McGraw Hill, 2001
Hardback, 256 pages
ISBN: 0-07-137336-5

If you like business books that discuss management practices based around one specific case study, then this is a book for you. Mark Barrenechea is part of the senior management team at Oracle and this book is part business justification, part brand development, and part case study on how the Internet can impact a traditional business model.

The 10 page Foreword to the book, written by Oracle's founder and CEO, Larry Ellison, is perhaps the most enlightening section. Here he describes the poor state that the global corporation was in, with fragmented systems, poor communications and a de-centralised decision-making process with variable pricing structures that was costly and inefficient. The Internet gave the company the chance to improve the management processes around the world in a way that was not previously possible and it makes impressive reading.

The main part of the book looks in more detail at the processes and issues that were involved in the transformation, not least of which were management attitudes to change. There is padding here, such as putting the changes in the context of major technology changes throughout history, but the lessons learnt and the impact on both the Oracle business, and others, is well documented.

If you run a small business that lacks a global infrastructure similar to Oracle's you may not think this book is for you. However, if you want a bigger picture of the potential that the Internet can bring to business, either now or in the future, this book makes an interesting read, with plenty of food for thought.