Electronic business commonly referred to as "eBusiness" or "e-Business", may be defined broadly as any business process that relies on an automated information system. Today, this is mostly done with Web-based technologies. The term "e-Business" was coined by Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM.
Electronic business methods enable companies to link their internal and external data processing systems moreefficiently and flexibly, to work more closely with suppliers and partners, and to better satisfy the needs and expectations of their customers.
In practice, e-business is more than just e-commerce. While e-business refers to more strategic focus with an emphasis on the functions that occur using electronic capabilities, e-commerce is a subset of an overall e-business strategy. E-commerce seeks toadd revenue streams using the World Wide Web or the Internet to build and enhance relationships with clients and partners and to improve efficiency using the Empty Vessel strategy. Often, e-commerce involves the application of knowledge management systems.
The term e-Commerce (also called Electronic commerce), which is frequently mixed up with the term e-Business, as a matter of fact, onlycovers one aspect of e-Business, i.e. the use of an electronic support for the commercial relationship between a company and individuals.
E-business involves business processes spanning the entire value chain: electronic purchasing and supply chain management, processing orders electronically, handling customer service, and cooperating with business partners. Special technical standards fore-business facilitate the exchange of data between companies. E-business software solutions allow the integration of intra and inter firm business processes. E-business can be conducted using the Web, the Internet, intranets, extranets, or some combination of these.
Creation of value
The goal of any e-Business project is to create value. Value can be created in different manners:
• As a result of anincrease in margins, i.e. a reduction in production costs or an increase in profits. E-Business makes it possible to achieve this in a number of different ways:
o Positioning on new markets
o Increasing the quality of products or services
o Prospecting new clients
o Increasing customer loyalty
o Increasing the efficiency of internal functioning
• As a result of increased staffmotivation. The transition from a traditional activity to an e-Business activity ideally makes it possible to motivate associates to the extent that:
o The overall strategy is more visible for the employees and favors a common culture
o The mode of functioning implies that the players assume responsibilities
o Teamwork favors improvement of competences
• As a result of customer satisfaction. Asa matter of fact, e-Business favors:
o a drop in prices in connection with an increase in productivity
o improved listening to clients
o products and services that are suitable for the clients' needs
o a mode of functioning that is transparent for the user
• As a result of privileged relationships with the partners. The creation of communication channels with the suppliers permits:
oIncreased familiarity with each other
o Increased responsiveness
o Improved anticipation capacities
o Sharing of resources that is beneficial for both parties
An e-Business project can therefore only work as soon as it adds value to the company, but also to its staff, its clients, and partners.
When organizations go online, they have to decide which e-business models best suittheir goals. A business model is defined as the organization of product, service and information flows, and the source of revenues and benefits for suppliers and customers. The concept of e-business model is the same but used in the online presence. The following is a list of the currently most adopted e-business models:
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