Web Site Blues (Commentary for HBR Case Study)
For teaching purposes, this is the commentary-only version of the HBR case study. The case-only version is reprint 99209X. The complete case study and commentary is reprint 99209. So far, Rachel Soltanoff's instincts had been right. As CEO in this fictional case study, she had successfully navigated TradeRite Software's transition from a news service for stockbrokers to a $70 million provider of shrink-wrapped software geared toward both brokers and the growing day-trader market. Now a well-financed start-up, Stocknet.com, was testing a very competitive product that traders could download directly over the Web. And TradeRite's Web site was nothing more than a collection of elaborate marketing brochures. Rachel knew she needed to start selling over the Web. But the e-commerce consultants she had hired to set up her Web store were behind schedule, and their 21-year-old CEO had just resigned. Her product manager, Lisa Bandini, was working overtime to transform TradeRite's entire product line into Web-aware applications to match Stocknet's, and Rachel had $2.5 million to launch them. But the consultants said it would take $5 million just to rent e-commerce capabilities. Ace sales VP Brian Rockart thought the company had already wasted too much time and money--money from his budget--on its Web site. Marketing VP Rob Collins thought TradeRite should focus on its core stockbroker customers. Chief Technical Officer Joe Martinez doesn't want to go ahead without a pilot project. Should Rachel try to convince Brian, Rob, and the rest of the senior management team that e-commerce is the way to go? In 99209 and 99209Z, commentators David Siegel, Candice Carpenter, David Ticoll, and Jeffrey F. Rayport offer advice on this fictional case.