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E-business occurs when a company has established critical business procedures and activities to support e-commerce transactions. Using this definition, e-commerce is part of e-business—a company needs e-commerce to implement e-business. Utilizing e-commerce, however, does not mean that a company has transformed into an e-business. E-business is implemented only when a company changes its internal procedures to take advantage of the e-commerce technologies.
Interest in the evolution ("e-volution") of e-commerce into e-business is a growth field. With the early November announcement that GM and Ford were forming online marketplaces for their suppliers, they placed themselves at the center of new e-business ecosystems that will transform their entire way of doing business. Many firms are increasingly discovering opportunities to move away from simply selling products on the Internet to being able to reinvent their conventional supply chains (as in the auto makers' case) and to being able to offer custom-built products (as Dell Computers does now).
Audience: Managers and staff who head up e-business implementation efforts; managers considering e-business implementation and want to know the best methods to employ; employees involved in e-business implementation; entrepreneurs interested in starting an e-business; consultants who want to pursue e-business implementation as a line of business; IT professionals who want to establish themselves and their groups firmly in e-business.
When you do E-Business, you will likely employ a mixture of some of the following E-Business components:
Surveys indicate that firms have gotten a rapid payback for their E-Business investment if the underlying business activities were improved correctly. Firms cite as benefits the following:
E-Business implementation aims to implement electronic transactions as well as modifying current business activities to integrate and interface with the electronic transactions. Implementing E-Business then transforms your current business as well as enabling you to support electronic business.
At the heart of E-Business implementation you are installing new methods and procedures as well as changing current ones. In the past improvements have often employed continuous improvement or reengineering-with very mixed results. In continuous improvement you seek to change the company processes over time. Unfortunately, this is too slow for E-Business implementation. Reengineering aims at radical process change. This sounds nice, but many companies have found that this doesn't work. The organization becomes traumatized. People become resentful since they perceive that their jobs are threatened. It is no wonder that the success rate is less than 50%. In E-Business implementation, a key goal is to involve many employees-down to the lowest levels of the organization. Participation leads to commitment. Commitment leads to E-Business success.
Our approach has the following themes:
Some standard terminology will be used throughout the book. Here are some definitions of frequently used terms:
Why do businesses change how they do their work to implement E-Business? E-Business implementation can take place for both external and internal reasons. External reasons include changes in competition, supplier-customer relations, government regulation, and technology. Internal reasons may include management direction, lack of flexibility, and obsolescence of current work practices. Change is also motivated by the simple fact that the existing business activities do not live up to management expectations-on top of E-Business pressures. Perhaps, people have been focused on the "how" and not the "what," "who," or "where." Perhaps, the people performing the work feel comfortable and secure with "the way it has always been" and have not reevaluated the workflow for awhile. Whatever the reason, the current workflow and procedures are failing or have already failed and will not support E-Business as they are. Another basic premise of the book is that since you are spending all of this money and energy on E-Business, you should achieve flexibility and improve current workflow and procedures at the start-to the extent that time permits.
When change is called for, pouring effort into changes to systems, technology, and organization structure may not improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the work. Implementing E-Business requires wide-ranging, concentrated effort-effort that is technical, political, and managerial in nature. E-Business implementation requires elapsed time because the culture in the organization must be altered toward an E-Business culture.
Your E-Business Implementation Roadmap.
Action 1: Understand Your Business.
Action 2: Select the Activities for E-Business.
Action 3: Assess E-Business Trends and Competition.
Action 4: Set Your Technology Direction for E-Business.
Action 5: Collect Information for E-Business.
Action 6: Analyze Information for E-Business.
Define Your New E-Business Transactions and Workflow.
Action 8: Define and Measure E-Business Success.
Action 9: Develop Your E-Business Implementation Strategy.
Action 10: Perform Your E-Business Marketing Activities.
Action 11: Plan Your E-Business Implementation.
Action 12: Execute Your E-Business Implementation.
Action 13: Followup After Your E-Business Implementation.
E-Business Implementation and Operations Outsourcing.
Address Specific E-Business Implementation Issues.