Various changes that are observable in the society are as a result of the Internet Revolution, which is extensive and is causing profound effects on daily activities of people. The Internet has infiltrated all aspects of human life the reason as to why the speed of e-business and e-commerce development is now imaginable and achievable by companies and businesses. Since Internet is such a wide phenomenon, it affects companies and business partners and the functioning of management and ultimately transforms business value chains and models . There exists a significant misconstruction concerning the nature of e-business and the manner in which it relates to e-commerce; and the importance and functioning of various e-commerce components. The misconstructions are resultant from remarkable advancements that have been realized in technology and the implications of these advancements on business opportunities in the markets. The Internet allows greater connectivity level amongst individuals and companies, compared to earlier decades; and a better-off interaction than in traditional businesses , .
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The Nature of E-Business and Its Relationship to E-Commerce;
According to , ‘e-commerce or electronic commerce is a business transaction that is conducted over the Internet. E-business is the use of Internet-based communications and computing to implement all business processes . E-commerce refers to transaction forms that relate to commercial activities involving business organizations and individuals that are based on processing and transmitting digital data. E-business and e-commerce are terms that many people use interchangeably; however, they are distinct business concepts. In today’s economy, e-business and e-commerce are necessary business components and strategies and are strong catalysts for economic development . Integrating information and communications technology in the business world has transformed business organizations and individuals. E-commerce has risen to be a new way of conducting business, but should however, not be confused with e-business. In a more specific way, e-commerce concentrates more intently and basically to the capability of transacting money on-line in the exchange of goods and services . While e-commerce is normally used when referring to the business practice of buying and selling of goods and services through the Internet; e-business touches on the same, but in a comparatively broader sense and explains the business aspect of involving electronic components. E-commerce is a representation of the aspect of e-business and encompasses more. E-business is viable research realm that integrates into all the operations all business areas. Research shows that the full nature of e-business involves appreciating that information technology and the Internet have transformed the world of business; and that this transformation comprises more than just conducting online business . The transformation also encompasses the integration of e-business abilities into the business aspect of creating value and managing client relationships. E-commerce has gradually converted into e-business, and it is not just about exchanging services or data through the Web, but also comprise of total transition in services and product offered by a business. E-business is inclusive of e-commerce and incorporates other internal processes like inventory management, finance and risk management and human resources , . The strategy of e-business is complex, more concentrated on these internal processes and it is also aimed at saving costs and improving efficiency, saving costs and enhancing productivity. E-business is inclusive of e-commerce and both business aspects address the internal processes and the technological infrastructure such as application servers, databases, security tools and legacy systems. E-commerce and e-business involve creating new value chains amongst the stakeholders such as a company and its clients.
Components of e-Business
For e-business to workout, there are various machineries should be put together to support and enhance operations. The components necessary for proper functioning of e-business include technological; infrastructural; strategic; organizational; and the human and social components.
Technological Components of E-business
The technological platform where e-Business is carried out comprises of technologies that have to be custom-developed, tried out and incorporated into the business . The technology component is one of the indispensable e-business components and may constitute of widely acknowledged technological norms and requirements that create a technical criterion and process; procedures and platforms; and computing and communication architectures such as computers. Since e-commerce systems are distributed in nature, they require further innovations and developments in techno1gies to bind various e-commerce components and computing systems together and create a functioning unit. Technological components such as middleware are essential in e-business since they offer subordinate services like secure processing and business time services that aid in the creation of a comprehensive and complex e-commerce system. Designing of an e-commerce system necessitates the use of many middleware services, since each of them accomplishes a distinctive role in an e-commerce system. Also, groupware technological components are required to form the foundation in the establishment of simulated business scenarios and to enable e-commerce applications to improve communication and information sharing.
Infrastructural Components of E-business
E-businesses fail due to inadequacy of infrastructure responsible for determining the corporations in responding to: the urgent demands from executives; the urgent data requirements within this modern business world; and competitiveness in the global marketplace. Infrastructural aspects of e-business comprise of hardware, software and Internet technologies like the intranets and extranets, security solutions and applications to promote management of client relationship and knowledge management. However, e-business infrastructure is comprised of more than technology; it also involves strategy management and dynamic interaction of skilled people and tools.
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Strategic Components of E-business
The strategic components of e-business include strategic business planning that prepares effective action plans and sets business objectives . Strategic components of e-business also help in making considerations on the quantitative and qualitative methods and tools that institute the motivated and realistic objectives of the business . Strategic machinery of e-business includes tools that analyze and identify the businesses’ weaknesses and strengths. The component of strategic business planning consists of coordinating the investment in information technology to be in accordance with the business’ vision and strategic goals, which result in a strategic plan. The corporate strategies and applications in e-business also include projects organizations, e-commerce initiatives and new technologies , .
Organizational component of E-business
The organizational component in e-business is mainly comprised of business modeling; team building and consensus; business analysis; and the environment. Departments within the business that help in the smooth running of e-business by predicting and assessing effects of future developments; creating a shared vision and goals for the organization; and deciding on the actions to take in achieving those goals . E-business organization and planning helps a business to assess benefits and risks in the use of e-business technologies and strategies for competitive advantage. E-business organizational models can be useful in generating better e-business ideas for strategic use of information technologies and in supporting e-business initiatives .
Social and Human Components of E-business
The social and human components that make-up a successful e-business includes the Human Resource professionals who have to cope with the rapid changes of digitizing businesses so as to make the most out of e-business. Activities of the Human Resource impact greatly on the organization’s lucrativeness and have to be directly dealt with. Functions of human resource in e-business changes to maximize operational issues of the technologically new advanced business environment . The team dealing with e-business is also a part of the human and social components and comprises of highly-achieving personnel with technical and business skills; technical staff such as web designers and developers, website manager and Internet security experts . The human component should incorporate staff that is business-focused such as marketing and sales experts and other specialists (Mitchell, 2001).
A Balance of the Risks and Opportunities Involved In E-Business
Even though the use of the technology in business brings enormous business opportunities and benefits; the same advancements have brings new competitive risks and challenges within the e-business world. Communicating and managing online businesses has made businesses vulnerable to fraud and a fundamental reason that continually discourages many entrepreneurs and their consumers from going the “e-way”.
Opportunities of E-business
E-business has radically altered conducting current businesses are being. This includes determining the manner in which all goods and services are being created, transacted and delivered. It has transformed the manner in which various companies work with their partners and how they capitalize on the available opportunities so as o make them to be tremendously rewarding for them. E-business ensures that there is productivity improvement and cost reduction. E-business is more efficient and convenient communication and transaction ways with their business partners and clientele. Through e-business, many businesses are able to effectively reduce human errors; avoid uneconomical duplications and other tasks that do not add value to the business such as redundant paper work. Consequently, this saves the business huge amounts of resources and time and it also improves the speed and accuracy in which operations within the business are carried out; thus heightening productivity. E-business ensures that there is efficiency in communication within the business, that the transaction’s turnaround time is quicker, and that there is a closer access to the markets, thus reducing costs. Businesses can gain more and even save more once they decide on integrating their internal business processes and operating systems with e-commerce. By so doing, businesses can easily share vital and urgent business information including forecasts on sales; promotional and advertising plans, and sales data much faster and thus making the efficiency of the business even greater helping businesses to be more prompt in decision-making. Automating and e-processing make operations more efficient. E-business gives businesses a chance and enabled them to take their customer service to new levels because, by advancing business operations through the use of the Internet, clients also enjoy convenience during accessing of product information; there is much ease in making online purchases and keeping in contact with the relevant service providers at all times and everywhere is eased greatly. E-business makes communications more efficient and also, the response time to needs and queries of customers is bettered. E-business offers new and the existing entrepreneurs with vast and increased business opportunities because, integration of Internet use in business boosts the global business arena; and gives maximum acquaintance with customers beyond the expected or existing markets. Electronic business pioneers fresh and strategic business opportunities and alliances even with partners abroad giving the business an excellent platform to make maximum use of markets; expand markets; and discover new ones. E-business diversifies and sets-up other businesses within the main business and easily advertising the small business assisting many businesses to undertake other tasks that would normally consume a lot of time and may even cause inefficiencies to the business if not dealt with. For instance, legal tasks such as payment of taxes normally use up a lot of time when manually done at the tax offices instead of online, thus saving a lot of company resources. E-businesses avoid error in databases and help in storing information more safely and without taking up unnecessary space; and make the retrieval of the data more efficient.
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Risks of E-business
There are some risks which may be exclusive in the world of e-commerce businesses in comparison to the traditional offline businesses . E-businesses are prone to incidences such as loss of merchandise from fraud if an error is made in addressing the goods’ location for delivery; or when an untraceable alteration is made to deliver goods to a fraudulent location. E-business requires a third party in delivering of goods to the buyers and even use of these third parties payment collection. If the third parties are untrustworthy in their jobs, the businesses are prone to risk losing goods and money. E-businesses are more prone to encountering chargeback costs that are as a result of customer disputes . This often occurs when a transaction comes back as a financial accountability by the bank that issues a credit card to the bank that offers credit card processing facilities. In E-businesses, chargebacks are prone to occur due to various reasons such as disputed transactions by the customer; fraud and issues of authorization; inaccuracy in the transactions; and errors in processing, which may not be as persistent in traditional business models . E-businesses are prone to loss of credit card payment processing services which are also as a result of customer disputes. This may not only affect the product businesses, it could also affect the merchants, causing them to have their status withdrawn and thus being unable to offer credit card payment services customers. At times due to losses, the merchants are made to pay the bank charges and make compensation for all losses. Lack of adequate infrastructure such as authentication systems dealing with new and unacquainted clients are endangered to considerable risks of fraud, disputes and financial loss. In e-business, the type of goods and services that are sold and the transaction value determines the need for extra time and resources in performing verification of buyer’s genuineness before receiving the orders and delivering the products. These procedures are unpractical, incompetent and may not be sustainable in the end particularly, if the business grows. These also add to loss of trust with clients since many may see it as being over –scrutinized.
For And Against the Adoption of New E-Business Initiatives
Businesses in all industries have been made to assess various opportunities and threats that are come from engaging in e-business. Businesses adopt e-business initiatives in order to manage their internal business processes in a better way and in order to use these initiatives in their interfaces with the business environment. Businesses should adopt e-business initiatives since they have proven to be the most modernized and up to date business models. By adopting e-business initiatives, organizations can easily enhance the clients’ access to their products and services and be able to reach their customers even beyond the existing local market. Adopting e-business initiatives is a very cost effective way of companies to market their products and services . E-business initiatives adoption will allow businesses to make use of general and tailor-made administrative application software that can go a long way to help many entrepreneurs in the organization and enhancement of their business operations. The e-business initiatives allow use of software that is introduced when a business embraces e-business also gives the managers and business executives a better and a quicker access the network of their businesses. The networking and use of Internet services that e-businesses initiatives encourage allow businesses to make easier comparison and rating of their products and service in relation to the market prices in order to find business good deals . Strengthening the competitive advantage of businesses is fully realized once a business embraces e-commerce initiatives. By adopting e-business initiatives, businesses can without a doubt manage to lower the costs that may be associated with transacting business in the traditional way . This allows businesses, to keep with the pace of the competitors and surpass them immensely. In order for businesses to enhance their distinguishability and approachability with many customers and suppliers, the must adopt the modern e-business model. This model will also allow businesses to easily and efficiently communicate and transact all it operations without necessarily having to be in one fixed location . This is very suitable especially for companies whose managers engage in lots of travelling in order to close business deals. Through e-business initiatives, companies will avoid many delays in closing of business deal and thus expand the business to greater heights . Also, undertaking legal tasks such as payment of taxes which use up a lot of time will also be curbed. If businesses adopt e-business initiatives, they will be able to create error-free databases of their transaction information; they will also store such data more safely and without necessarily consuming unnecessary space . On the other hand, e-business initiatives may not be worthy of being adopted by companies due to various issues. Firstly, adopting e-business initiatives brings up the issue of security concerns and other technological threats such as computers being attacked by virus, due to the exposure and availability of the business operations to the world all round the clock . This is also an issue since many people still have no trust for their security while purchasing online. Adopting e-business may cause sectorial limitation for some businesses and exert a lot of expenses since the maintenance cost for e-business may be comparatively high than in traditional business . For businesses that deal in perishable goods, e-business may cause losses because many clients prefer buying such good like grocery physically in order to pick their right tastes and quality.
The concept of e-Business is potential, not only to benefit the business owners, but also the customers and even the governments. The principal possibilities that are brought about by e-business are evident in areas of savings transaction, operation, and maintenance costs; growing the revenue of the business; expanding the market for products and services; and guaranteeing satisfaction customer in all business transactions. Ideally, the implementation of e-business and particularly, the aspect of using the Internet not only presents a negotiation medium for prices, it also helps in collaborating with other business partners in creating a market that goes even beyond the physical or traditional regional boundaries. The advantages of e-business do outweigh the disadvantages of the business concept and thus, companies should consider it in bettering themselves and staying up to date.