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Sun 19 Mar 2006 04:00 AM

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We need to learn how to embrace e-change

Just when you thought it was safe to go online… last week saw yet another business expert wax lyrical about the benefits of e-business and the transforming nature of the online world.

|~|Murdochbody.jpg|~|Rupert Murdoch says organisations need to learn to adapt online ways. |~|Just when you thought it was safe to go online… last week saw yet another business expert wax lyrical about the benefits of e-business and the transforming nature of the online world.

We’re used to taking such statements with a pinch of salt here at IT Weekly, but we should point out that this time the speaker was one Rupert Murdoch.

The Australian business tycoon last week warned that the rise of the internet could sound the death knell for traditional publishing, and for those publishing companies that did not learn to adapt in time.

“A new generation of media consumers has risen demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much as they want it,” he said, during an address in London.

“It is difficult, indeed dangerous, to underestimate the huge changes this revolution will bring or the power of developing technologies to build and destroy — not just companies but whole countries.”

For those of our Middle East readers who are not so familiar with the name, we have to say that when Rupert Murdoch speaks about publishing, it is worth listening: he is the boss of News Corp, one of the most powerful media organisations in the world, with newspaper and broadcast arms in many countries.

However, power is moving away from media organisations such as News Corp, Murdoch believes, as today's internet pioneers change the rules of the game for everybody.

“Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change, driven by advancing technology, will fail and fall,” he warned.

“That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other business on the planet,” he added.

Murdoch was speaking to an audience which is about as traditional as it is possible to get in today’s business world: 200 members of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, a 603-year old trade guild.

While it may be hard to see a future for print in the online world, that was not Murdoch’s point: he was urging the audience to embrace online publishing and learn how to fit it into their own operations, not simply fight against it.

We were reminded of this point when we look at the work that Q-Post, Qatar’s postal service, is doing to create an extranet to help other postal authorities around the world track the progress of deliveries to and from their countries.

Q-Post is looking at how it can make this information available online, believing it can save time and money by doing so.

A traditonal postal service that doesn’t see the online world as a threat but as a way of helping improve its own operations, would seem, to us, to be a postal service that has a good chance of surviving in that same online world.

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