Morphing into Web business managers
- By Rich Kellett
- Jan 24, 2001
As the World Wide Web becomes increasingly woven into agency programs, the
character of the Web community continues to "morph." Community members evolve
from Web heroes, to Web teams, to Web managers and to the final destinationWeb business managers.
The Web business manager thinks in terms of a Web organization as opposed
to a Web site.
Significant trends in policies and reports are encouraging Web managers
to take a larger organizational perspective. Indeed, the Capability Maturity Models published by Carnegie Mellon University have
established a perspective of "organizational maturity."
This theme also recently appeared in a General Accounting Office report
defining organizational financial maturity and a CIO Council Security, Privacy
and Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee report defining organizational security maturity.
Collectively, the many congressionally mandated reporting requirements
imposed on agencies define a federal version of strategic management. Subsequent
guidelines from oversight organizations spell out responsibilities for capital
planning, performance measures, budgeting, information collections, modernization
of transactions with the public and more.
Another significant trend calls for integrating Web activities to offer
a horizontal look across government. Clearly, FirstGov is the ultimate first
step in this effort.
But interoperability at the technical level is not enoughfunctions
delivered on the Web must also work together at the business level. The
role of the Web business manager is to seek and facilitate business and
This role becomes further complicated as the worlds of government and
The public benefit model calls for prioritizing projects based on services
that provide the greatest public good. The private competitive model calls
for prioritizing projects based on maximum profit and growth. Government
projects have attributes of both to varying degrees. The Web business manager
walks a middle ground in the relationship of the federal government to the
public and to industry. This means, more often than not, Web projects have
some attributes of both models.
As mentioned in previous columns, the Web business manager's activities
have seven attributes, or dimensions: architectures, business, leadership
and culture, management, policy, electronic relationships and technology.
These dimensions require the Web business manager to develop a broad
set of skills in accounting, appropriations, budgeting, capital planning,
intellectual property, business management, marketing and sales, procurement,
performance measures, project management, security and Web technologies.
The e-relationship dimension is especially important and guides many
other activities. The first priority of the Web business manager should
be managing the life cycle of the customer relationship, which extends from
attracting the customer to your Web site to fulfilling the customer's request
for your product or service.
Marketing and sales plans should incorporate internal and external relationships,
keeping in mind that collaboration across agencies enhances success and
improves service. And projects should be organized around customer themes
with business and technology architectures that are customer-centric.
See these links for more information about managing in the federal context:
The seven dimensions for Web business managers
Top skills for federal Web business managers
Summary on e-relationships
A primer on architectures
Information Collection Budgets resources
Kellett is founder of the Federal Web Business Council, co-chairman
of the Federal WebMasters Forum and is director of GSA's Emerging IT Policies