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Technological gains had a strong influence on each aspect of human society and daily life in different ways. Particularly, technological revolution in the last decades strongly changed the business, entertainment and communication practices and methods. The Internet was developed in the late 60s as the computer small network that evolved to the critical link between people, governments, and organizations. Hence, the Internet managed to handle cost restrictions, time limitations and geographical boundaries. In the result, the society experienced the rise of e-business. Consumers buy different goods through electronic channels while organizations collaborate more in applying automatic systems that exchange information from the digital perspective. Therefore, the combinations of business, networks and computers have a significant influence on the way the modern economy operates. Hence, e-business is a crucial element of the modern global economy and reflects the technological development among the organizations.
E-business is the particular business activity type that is done by one or more companies with the information technology application. The e-business has own history and it is in a strong relation to the Internet development (Grefen, 2010). The information technology used provides organizations with the ability to collaborate on business, and this ability is traced to the previous century. In the early days of the development, some depicted systems for precious specific business activities were found. The bright example can be SBRE airline booking system that was used since the early 1960s in order to connect airline ticketing office to the central data center (Grefen, 2010). In particular, “before the Internet development, high-volume e-business scenarios relied on the dedicated digital communication channels, particularly, communication channels that were shaped for specific business activities between specific business partners’ pairs” (Grefen, 2010, p.4). Low-volume e-business usually was related to the use of existing phone modems and lines in order to connect computers to each other (Combe, 2012). However, the channels were extremely expensive and time-consuming for establishing. Hence, they supported only stable and long-term business collaborations between the great organizations’ pairs. It implies that e-business was only accessible to the group of small business organizations (Grefen, 2010). Nonetheless, the Internet had a strong impact on the e-business evolution.
The Internet development became the turning point because it pushed the e-business creation. The Internet predecessor ARPANET was provided as the the research network at the end of the 1960s and connected only few the US research organizations (Grefen, 2010). It grew in size and technology and was related to the NSFNet at the end of the 1980s (Grefen, 2010). Moreover, the global network began to rapidly increase. Both the first Web browser release and HTML became the ground for the World Wide Web development that implied the inception of the modern e-business technologies. Hence, the Internet provided great commercial possibilities for establishing e-businesses such as Amazon, Cisco, and Dell. Two of them are IT organizations, which is not a coincidence (Shaw, 2013). Within the several years, a great number of business organizations decided to venture commercially to the Internet and proved the e-commerce hype. Thus, with the Internet development, the rise of the e-business was established.
E-business, or as it was named e-commerce, received the tremendous proportions of hype. Many people were assured that prefixing any business idea with the “e” would lead to the rapid success and investor wealth (Grefen, 2010).. Besides, the e-commerce hype is known as the dot.com hype. This period lasted only for several years, but soon people realized that there is no perspective. (Grefen, 2010). Still, the situation proved to be opposite because e-business development from the right perspective showed great results. After such events, e-business in many domains has become the main way of operating a business, especially in the travel, insurance and banking industries. (Grefen, 2010) Other domains are currently in the transitional period, particularly concerning publishing, television and music industries. In these areas, it is possible to observe the increased use of digital communication media, in-demand services or interactivity. Anything from pencil to islands can be traded using the e-business in modern conditions (Grefen, 2010). Therefore, e-business has own history, and it is in a strong relation to the Internet development.
The e-business performs its operations through the Internet. Most of its crucial functions are applied to the e-business. The functions can be primary and secondary. The primary ones are directly geared toward the major organization’s business goal, such as the goods’ production and delivery (Grefen, 2010). The secondary purposes are aimed to support the primary ones through representing the critical context to their execution (Grefen, 2010). Among primary functions, there is an inbound logistic function that enables the material transportation used as the production input. Other issues of the operation function are concentrated on the goods’ production performance. At the same time, the outbound logistic function promotes the transportation of produced goods to the consumers. The sales and marketing function is focuses on attracting consumers and promoting the sales. The service one promotes the post-sales service to the customers (Grefen, 2010). These main functions are the significant part of the e-business operations.
Nonetheless, the secondary functions are also critical. They are procurement and involve the inputs purchasing activity for their transformation into finished services or products (Grefen, 2010). This function adds the value through the appropriate services or goods acquisition at the best price in the desired place and at the appropriate time in the required quantity and quality. The next secondary function is the technology management, which is critical in the modern technologically promoted environment. Technology can be applied in production in order to shape the cost-effective process, raise customer service facility, develop new goods, and to decrease cost (Grefen, 2010). This function provides the support to the value chain activities such as the process design, process automation, research, development, and others.
One more function is the management of human relationships. Business functions are highly similar to those of the e-business, and human resource management has the same crucial role for the e-business companies. This function’s performance forms the work positions through employee development, career planning, appraisal systems, reward, recognition, and hiring (Grefen, 2010). It acts as the employees’ advocate in order to motivate them and develop the positive working environment. For the organizational changing situation, HR executes the organization strategic needs with the minimum employees’ resistance and dissatisfaction. The other issue is the infrastructure function that involves general management, quality management, public affairs, accounting, financing, legal framework, and planning management (Grefen, 2010). This function helps e-business organization to operate successfully. Hence, all these functional units represent the e-business activities’ performance.
At the same time, there are e-business processes that are highly critical. It is determined as the business activities that were done in a specific order to fulfill the particular business goal. The processes need steps to reach the business goal, and these steps are done by actors. One of the processes is the order fulfillment that is surrounded by a great number of issues such as delivery scheduling, time taken to deliver the good, and stick availability to satisfy the requirement (Buffy & Dale, 2002). Through the Internet, users can find the unlimited products’ sources and suppliers within seconds (Buffy & Dale, 2002). Hence, this process plays a highly critical role for the successful performance of the e-business.
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Another process is the revenue generation and collection. The procedure of gaining funds exchanged for the products is crucial. There are different calculation methods of the costs, and the transaction type is the simplest (Buffy & Dale, 2002). The most difficult is “national savings because the deep analysis of the previous purchasing is needed to assess previous costs as opposed to current costs, then the agreed percentage is charged” (Buffy & Dale, 2002). As the e-business companies have a number of sales channels, their established organizations are aimed to protect their core business through the technology used in order to control the revenue collection. With revenue generation, the general purchase to payment process is similarly critical for organizations with e-business. This is one of the most fundamental success processes (Buffy & Dale, 2002). The other procedure is the financial control. In order to be successful e-business, the organization has to provide the strict control over both expenditures and revenues. With the multi-channel outlets for products, such as the outsourced order fulfillment and call center operations, it is critical to ensure that all credit card clearance, deliveries, payments and credits discounts are monitored and controlled by one financial system (Buffy & Dale, 2002). These processes are needed for the e-business success.
The next process is the web changes. The e-business environment puts emphasis on the ability of rapid response to business opportunities or consumer profiles. To gain the competitive advantage over competitors, the organization has to possess an ability to immediately respond to threats or opportunities (Buffy & Dale, 2002). Commonly, it can arise from “the change of Website within the short time period, just as analysis using advanced customer profiling can indicate the Website weakness that has to be changed to retain the induce customers to buy” (Buffy & Dale, 2002, p.434). The other procedure is the older generation that is critical for attracting consumers to viewing the website. Besides, there is a process of call center integration that has to be fully integrated into the technological backbone of the organization (Buffy & Dale, 2002). The staff has to bt able to provide visibility of general business scenario in order to resolve customer questions in an effective way. Another process is the 24/7 operations. This is the common issue in the e-business organization (Buffy & Dale, 2002). The availability and the maintenance of the website is a vital process, and the disability to access the website is the block to advertising and customers’ flow. Therefore, all described processes are essential for the successful development of e-business organization.
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There are many benefits in the e-business establishment. One of them is lower costs of business. These organizations have no need in the physical store for representing the products due to the possibility to use the website for displaying goods (Chow, 2014). The branches’ removal can save both staff and rental costs. Additionally, the smaller inventory volume is required when the branches’ number is reduced. Inventory management helps businesses to gain the lower inventories without taking the risks (E-commerce: Purchasing and Selling Online, 2013). Moreover, it is possible to receive orders from all parts of the world while the customers are able to find the website of the organization from anywhere. E-business can provoke the intermediaries’ reduction or elimination, and manufactures may benefit from decreasing the distribution and selling costs paid to these intermediaries (Chow, 2014). E-business promotes capturing the habits and the spending behavior of the customer that is quite helpful in analyzing clients’ preferences. It helps businesses to produce products and services to meet customers’ interests. Therefore, businesses experience many advantages.
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Furthermore, there are benefits not only to the businesses but to consumers as well. They can organize the products’ purchasing at any time and in any place (Chow, 2014). There is no need to carry products due to the delivery, and it is possible to stay at home and buy goods comfortably. Thus, “the traditional business consumers do not need to wait for a reply from the hotline because they can easily find answers to questions from websites” (Chow, 2014, p.3). Besides, e-business promotes lower selling prices. The intermediaries’ elimination can decrease distribution and selling costs, and consumers can buy goods at the lower price (Beheshti & Salehi-Sangari, 2007). Additionally, customers can save the travel time in looking for goods from different stores instead searching the website of vendor looking for the needed services and goods and viewing the specification for every item (Chow, 2014). Therefore, e-business represents advantages and benefits for both sides, organizations and customers.
The structure of the e-business organization is highly critical. One of the e-business components is the value propositions that involve several elements. One of them is the focal customer benefit choice that is focused on the care services and products as well as supplementary services and products. The other element is the target segment that is concentrated on the market attractiveness and market competition intensity (Lee, Ze, Chen, & Fan, 2006). The next component is the scope of offerings. It involves customer decision process that in turn implies such phases as pre-purchase, purchase, post-purchase, and purchasing. The other element is the service or product contents that include care product or service, supplementary service or product, and care delivery process (Lee, et al., 2006). The other component is the unique resource system. Its element is the capabilities and the reprocesses that concentrate on resource system specifying and accessing the resource system quality. Therefore, these aspects are a critical part of the general structure.
The next element is the logistics and delivery systems with such issues as integration and fulfillment while the components are the growth and the revenue. Revenue model element covers such aspects as product and service sales, e-business related revenues, and pricing (Lee, et al., 2006). At the same time, the financial growth models element is focused on the growth model and strategy. The other feature is the competitive strategy that involves value chain positioning, covering value system or network, and generic strategy, dealing with the strategy itself and the competitive advantage (Lee, et al., 2006). Therefore, in order to have a success, the e-business has to address many issues, including the appropriate structure and element that are based on what value is proposed to the customer, which customers are provided with the value, what abilities are needed for unique and successful resource system building, how the services or the production and creation of revenue streams are preceded, how the venture scope and scale are raised, and what strategies and processes are required in order to sustain and shape the successful e-business organization (Lee, et al., 2006). Therefore, the presented structure is highly crucial and has a strong relation to the e-business’ functions and processes.
The interface plays a great role for the success of an e-business organization. Usefulness is one of the most critical factors that promote the customer to stay on the website. It is critical to find a balance between download speed, content, navigation, and branding (Tucker, 2008). One of the crucial problems is the controls that very on every website. Hence, there is no standard way to build the e-business’ site navigation. Additionally, most of the websites do not have a global navigation system, and the local one can be quite challenging. One of the possible solutions can be the application of the e-menu system (Tucker, 2008). It was found that e-business users accept such an idea (Tucker, 2008). The e-menu systems make it possible to shape the standard navigation menu for the e-business sites from the global perspective. The standard menu can be developed by the intermediate intelligent agent that performs on the system user's behalf (Tucker, 2008). Hence, the mentioned menu plays a critical role in the appropriate interface.
In general, interface standardization is a highly critical issue, but it is quite challenging because when designing the website, the major factors are task flow and information that cannot be standardized. The reason of the standardization inability is that each of them is individually related to specific information nature. The general approach to website designing is following the same decisions and designs as the other have chosen (Tucker, 2008). The efficiency measure implies moving from the general design, but it is critical to be assured that its alternative will gain the highest possible usability. The main visual design principles are simplicity, harmony and balance that are basic elements of the visual organization and communication. E-business design needs flexible approaches in relation to business goals and target audience consideration (Cordella, Martin, Shaikh, & Smithson, 2011). The entrance to the site makes the first impression of the customers while the homepage has to provide the suitable appearance basing on the business aims and target audience (Tucker, 2008). From these perspectives, there are three such principles as “communicate”, “economize”, and “organize”. These foundations can be efficient in the interface design.
It is expected that e-business will become so widespread that this phenomenon will become the synonym of business in general with the only difference in the level of service and products’ supply. E-business is the use of the Internet to empower and network business processes, electronic commerce, organization communication and collaboration within the organization and with its suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. This phenomenon is the basic element of the new economy. The information technology's diffusion played a critical role in knowledge sharing, promoting creativity and innovation, integrating global supply chains, facilitating global trade, and creating wealth. Therefore, e-business development is in a strong relation to the Internet occurrence. There are specific functions and procedures of the e-business, which include the primary (inbound and outbound logistics, sales and marketing functions, as well as operations, and service functions) and the secondary ones (procurement, technology management, human resource management, and infrastructure function). At the same time, the most common procedures include order fulfillment, financial control, collection and generation of revenue, web changes, call center integration, and order generation. Besides, the e-business has own specific structure, and it has a direct connection with the mentioned processes and functions. E-business is a critical part of the modern world that provides many benefits for the customers as well as the organizations. Among them, lower operational costs, lower selling prices, more comfortable conditions for both sides, time-saving and geographical distances management are the most distinct. Nonetheless, for the success of the e-business, it is vital to represent the effective interface of the website because this is the main tool for such organizations. The interface has to be grounded on the main principle, particularly the usability for the consumer.