E-business involves application of information and communication technologies in support of all business processes. In general, e-business is utilizing internet technologies to offer better customer service, update business activities, minimize expenses and improve sales revenue.
Generally, “e-business uses tools such as email, online banking solutions, websites, supply chain management software and web-based customer relationship management,” enabling businesses to achieve the following benefits (Canadabusiness, 2011). It helps businesses to cut cost and transaction times; saves time and money by improving internal and external functions; and streamlines internal and external supply chain management.
Moreover, it promotes marketing and selling to the global market at all times of the day through a website in the internet. Additionally, it helps to improve customer service, communication and relationship management. Lastly, it enables businesses to compete globally through the websites independent of their sizes without even setting offices in other countries (Canadabusiness, 2011).
E-business can be valuable to all types of businesses by doing business online and it is aimed at creating a business platform in which small and large enterprises can compete in the same level without much competitive advantage favoring any enterprise in terms of size. Below is a diagram showing how e-business can integrate and make businesses dynamic.
Gisolfi, D., 2001. http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/library/ws-arc1/
One of the major components of e-business is e-commerce. E-commerce is the use of telecommunications and computers to facilitate the trade of goods and services (Pankaj, 2010, P. 3).
Thus, e-commerce involves business operations taking place between different businesses or involving a business enterprise and customer interaction through electronic networks, with operations involving electronic funds transfer, e-marketing, customer service, online transaction processing, B2B data exchange, and trade in digitized goods and services. Other components of e-business include the internal business systems and the enterprise communication and collaboration systems (Pankaj, 2010, P.1).
To manage E-Business implementation effectively, efficiently and successfully, expertise is required, which is gained from individual differences and similarities among e-business implementation efforts in the real world. This is especially where there are organizational conflict, dysfunctional operations, many issues and problems, cultural resistance to change, and many opportunities for e-business (Lientz, & Rea, 2001, P.10).
In implementing e-business, an organization is acquiring and setting aside resources with aim to achieve specific goals in an organized and laid out manner. To achieve success, e-business implementation should support the vision and be in line with the E-business strategy the organization has selected.
In addition, to begin the implementation process, implementation teams are formed and resources are drawn from the line organizations, support organizations such as IT, and external firms (Lientz, & Rea, 2001, P.10). Thus, implementation will involve project and routine work performed by the line and support organizations. Shown below is a structure representing what implementation of e-business involves.
Source: ATA, 2011, http://www.ataebiz.org/organization/
In assessing implementation of e-business in an organization, the following steps are taken. First, understand the basics of the business. E-business must always be aligned with the core of the business basic objectives; therefore, in the study, one must consider the politics of the business, check where customers or suppliers touch the organization and business most frequently, examine the stable areas of an organization, and check how culture plays a strong role in business. Then, based on these reasoning, one should formulate questions to be used in the study (Lientz, & Rea, 2001, P.46).
Secondly, identify previous attempts at improvements. Thirdly, determine how the company addresses innovation. There are four types of companies depending on how they approach innovation. Innovators are companies that analyze a method and then try to implement it and achieve a result.
Followers are companies that attempt to implement changes but may not have the will to follow through for major benefit. Dabblers investigate several methods, but they never implement the change. Lastly, resisters distrust methods, concentrating only on basics (Lientz, & Rea, 2001, P.49).
Fourthly, determine the organization business strategy for e-business. Firth, collect information. The data should be collected by passive means through utilizing organization charts, vision statements, long-range plans, policies and procedures, and some external information on the company and the industry (Lientz, & Rea, 2001, P.50). More so, analyze the collected data to get results. Additionally, summarize the chosen business activities. Lastly, create comparison tables.
After assessing the implementation process, the results of implementation need to be analyzed and interpreted to gauge the level of success or failure of implementing e-business in an organization. This report will base the results on survey findings from an evaluation of a study carried out to establish the level to which e-business has been applied in the US construction industry.
In this study, “the survey was distributed to a random sample of 91 companies out of the 2001 Engineering News Record Top 400 US Contractors ranked by gross annual revenue who had a WWW presence” (Issa, Flood, & Caglasin, 2003, P.6).
In addition, to the demographic information about the 20 respondents, selected results of the survey are presented within the following four study areas: adoption of e-Business, communication tools usage, e-Business initiatives, and their prioritized goals for e-Business (Issa, Flood, & Caglasin, 2003, P.6).
An examination involves job functions of the sample selected, the distribution of the workforce in the industry, and the spread of operations within a given area of coverage, as shown in the following charts.
Source: Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. ITcon, Vol. 8, p. 20.
Source: Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. ITcon, Vol. 8, p. 21
The respondents shown that construction companies adopt e-business with the rate of adoption among the respondents being 82.3% indicating that companies involved in the survey implemented some form of e-business activities.
Source: Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. ITcon, Vol. 8, p. 22.
The survey was conducted based on the following question: “What type of connections do you have with your suppliers, partners, and customers?” (Issa, Flood, & Caglasin, 2003). In response, the aim was to establish how communication thrived between the various parties involved in the survey, more so the extent to which internet was embraced as a communication tool. The results were presented as shown below.
Source: Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. ITcon, Vol. 8, p. 24.
The survey aimed at checking to explore e-business efforts in the construction industry, and the following finding were recorded regarding various e-business initiatives.
Source: Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. ITcon, Vol. 8, p.25.
The survey sought to establish how e-business impacted on the lives and activities of the respondents, as well as their preferences on such influence, with the following being gathered.
Source: Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. ITcon, Vol. 8, pg. 26
E-business has proven to benefit all parties involved in business from customers, businesses and regimes. There is much expectations from e-business in terms of cost saving, revenue growth, market expansion, and customer satisfaction (Issa, Flood, & Caglasin, 2003, P.26).
E-business is more focused in streamlining businesses to improve their efficiency, productivity and quality. In essence, internet presents a medium to negotiate bulk prices, to purchase hard-to-find products, to collaborate with partners and suppliers, and to create a market that grows beyond traditional regional boundaries (Issa, Flood, & Caglasin, 2003, P.26).
The study further shows that the US construction contributors are very knowledgeable in terms of internet technologies and can provide a lot of support in implementation of e-business programs developed specifically for the US construction industry.
ATA. 2011. Organizational Structure and Operating Guidelines. Air Transport Association of America Inc. (Online). Available from: http://www.ataebiz.org/organization/ [Accessed May 7, 2011].
Canadabusiness. 2011. What is e-business? Government of Canada. (Online). Available from: http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/145/148/4325/ [Accessed May 7, 2011].
Gisolfi, D., 2001. Web services architect: Part 1. An introduction to dynamic e-business. (Online). Available from: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/webservices/library/ws-arc1/ [Accessed May 7, 2011].
Issa, R.R., Flood, I., & Caglasin, G., 2003. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US Construction Industry. University Of Florida. ITcon, Vol. 8. Pp 15- 27.
Lientz, B.P. & Rea, K.P., 2001. Dynamic e-business implementation management: how to effectively manage e-business implementation. California: Academic Press.
Lientz, B.P. & Rea, K.P., 2001. Start right in e-business: a step by step guide to successful e-business implementation. California: Academic Press.
Pankaj, S., 2010. E-commerce. New Delhi: APH Publishing.
The success of every business entity is dependent on its effectiveness in planning and the implementation of various strategies (Scallan, 2003, p. 35). Internet technology has stimulated a large number of firm’s to undertake planning in their strategic management processes (Coupey, 2005).
This is because the firm is able to obtain useful market information, such as the performance of its competitors. As a result, the firm is able to gauge its competitive position. If the firm’s performance is low, the firm is able to identify alternatives which it can implement to improve its market position. This means that the internet motivates planning through provision of knowledge.
The planning process is complex and involves a number of activities which include formulation of the firm’s mission, objectives, conduction of a situational analysis, and formulation of the strategy, implementation and control (Bidgoli, 2004, p. 482). For the planning process to be effective, the firm is required to scan the business environment (Kenjale& Phatak, 2002) owing to a dynamic business environment.
As a result, the firm’s plan must reflect the changes occurring in the environment. Some of the core environments which should be considered relate to political, economic, social, technological and legal environment. In addition, the firm should also conduct an internal environmental analysis. The internet is a rich source of information, and it may therefore enable a firm to gather the necessary information.
Through the internet, a firm is able to post its vision, mission and objectives for potential clients to access. Therefore, a firm must ensure that the components of its strategic plan reflect the interests of the various stakeholders (Kaufman, 2003).
In addition, the internet acts as a collaborative tool through which the firm can interact with the various parties. As a result, the firm is able to identify possible trends and hence adjust its strategies accordingly. This ensures effectiveness in the firm’s long-range planning (Bidgoli, 2004, p. 482).
An outcome refers to a desired result. In business, outcomes can be categorized into financial and financial outcomes. Through the internet, a firm is able to determine whether it has achieved the forecasted outcomes as there are various internet technologies which aid in measuring the outcomes (Haig, 2001, p. 34).
In addition, a firm can be able to identify possible risks which might result in the failure of achieving the desired outcomes (Bidgoli, 2004, p. 234).
For example, through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software which is an internet based technology, a firm is able to determine the customers’ attitude towards the firm’s products and services. This arise from the fact that the customers can post their views regarding the product or service. In case of dissatisfaction, the firm’s management is able to identify it and adjust it accordingly.
According to Haig (2001, p. 11), B2B exchanges ensure business partners such as suppliers and intermediaries interact with each other in their operation by offering products and services in line with a predetermined criteria. According to Coupey (2005) the number of individuals that a firm interacts with is dependent on the buying situations. There are three main buying situations which include;
This is a situation in which a firm purchases the same product without any form of modification. In addition, the firm continuously re-orders the same type of product from the same vendor. Examples of such products may include bulk chemicals or office supplies. In order to ensure that a straight re-buy is maintained between the firm and the supplier, the supplier has to ensure consistency of the quality of the product or service.
To ensure efficiency in the purchasing process, an automatic reordering system is installed. By establishing a straight re-buy, a firm is guaranteed of a constant stream of revenue as the firm will not need to seek for other vendors to supply the products. This means that the firm can concentrate on seeking other market opportunities.
This is a form of B2B exchange which entails a firm purchasing products or services for the first time. During a new buy, a considerable duration is involved. The duration of time taken during a new-buy is dependent on the complexity of the product or service. If the product is complex, a large number of firms will be involved in an effort to select the most effective supplier.
This is a b2b exchange whereby a firm intends to purchase the same type of product. However, a number of modifications with regard to a certain specification such as delivery, quantity and packaging have to be made. Alternatively, the firm may require the product to be customized. In addition, the firm has discretion to make the purchase from another vendor.
The internet technology has positively influenced various business practices such as planning in three main facets. These include motivating firms to plan, the planning process and outcome. In addition, the internet has also enhanced business to business exchanges. The core b2b situations include straight re-buy, new-buy and modified re-buy.
Coupey, E. (2005). Digital business: Concepts and strategies. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Bidgoli, H. (2004). The internet encyclopedia: volume 2. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Haig, M. (2001). The B2B e-commerce handbook: how to transform your business to business global marketing strategy. London, UK: Kogan Page Publishers.
Kaufman, R.A. ( 2003). Strategic planning for success: aligning people, performance and payoffs. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Kenjale, K. & Phatak, A. (2002). The benefits of B2B exchanges. Retrieved December 14, from http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Web-Exclusives/Viewpoints/The-Benefits-of-B2B-Exchanges-48031.aspx
Scallan, P. (2003). Process planning: the design/manufacture interface. New York: Butterworth-Heinemann.