Over the years, E-commerce has managed to evolve from the earlier methods of conducting transactions to a more personalized and functional shopping experience. Today, E-commerce/E-business has provided significant boost to many businesses in different ways. For example-business has helped many IT managers to increase their ability in conducting strategic decisions of the business and expanding the knowledge and skills of the employees (Qin, 2007).
In simple terms, E-commerce refers to the various activities that involve selling of goods and services through the internet. E-business also relates to E-commerce but it is much wider in the sense that it incorporates all the different aspects that involve transacting business electronically (Rainer & Cegielski, 2011).
E-business has four main faces namely the Financial/Business Models Perspective, The commerce perspective, The responsiveness perspective, and The Relationship Perspective. All the four faces are linked with the risks and opportunities of the company and are helpful to the business especially in helping to determine the overall focus of the business. The financial models perspective focuses on the model of the business together with the other opportunities whose operations are in the form of an electronic entity. This face takes into account the major financial considerations like achieving efficiency and keeping the business costs at lower levels. The commerce face focuses on all those activities that involve buying of goods and services electronically. This means that it is vital for a company to be equipped with systems, relationships, services and models that support the buying and selling mechanism that appears to be the most effective. The responsiveness perspective also concerns making accurate timings and trying to achieve efficiency in all the transactions of the business. Lastly, the relationship perspective takes into account the importance of creating new relationships and collaborating with other companies to help the business expand the market of its goods and services and associate well with customers (Faramarz & Jamshid, 2001).
For a E-business to achieve its set goals and objectives, there is a great need for the business to incorporate the various E-business services like consulting, system integration, IT outsourcing and software development. Incorporation of these services should be done in a manner that increases the overall customer satisfaction. However, companies should avoid spending too much money since these activities require a lot of money to keep the business competitive (Faramarz & Jamshid, 2001).
Three critical success factors assist a business to conduct good E-business planning. These include the following. Execution and demand fulfillment is one of the success factors and this concerns the infrastructure that foresees the development of all other components of the business and the success of the management. Collaboration is another success factor that focuses on the need of a business to collaborate with other companies in order to make it easier for the business to identify the best partners. In order to undertake this process successfully, a business should aim at being very flexible such that it can engage in just-in-time collaboration. Flexibility and speed is the last critical success factors that require E-business to maintain speed, accuracy and flexibility in all the activities of the business (Faramarz & Jamshid, 2001).
Some of the benefits associated with E-business include improved management information, improved integration of the vendors and suppliers, improved channel partnership, reduced transaction costs, and wider geographical coverage. Improved management information helps the business to realize efficiency in its activities like reporting sales data and making analysis. Improved integration of vendors and suppliers makes it easy for the company to understand the various needs of the business and at the same time encourage increased levels of service and product delivery. Improved channel partnership helps the business to avail consumers with products or services in good time and at a convenient price. This helps the company to attract its current customers and attract new ones (Faramarz & Jamshid, 2001).
It is also important to understand that E-business/E-commerce faces some issues, which the business should review in order to continue enjoying success in its operation. Some of these issues relate to internet while others relate to domestic regulation. Domestic regulations issues are caused by the lack of clear guidelines making it difficult for the company to access vital information. For example, the company might find it hard to obtain information that relates to the international implications that result from domestic regulation. The consumer issues that relate to the internet arise because of the lack of appropriate measures that provide customer with protection whenever they are using the internet to conduct various transactions. Internet E-commerce and duties/taxes is another major issue that affects effective operations of E-business. Most of the businesses that conduct their activities over the internet are subjected to many taxes that consequently reduce the total returns generated by the business (Faramarz & Jamshid, 2001). Addressing these issues is key to ensuring that the organization attains success.
In order to address the issues in E-business, there is a great need to develop measures that dictate the manner in which E-business should be conducted. For instance, the amount of taxes to be paid should be well outlined to avoid instances where the business is taxed unfairly. The business should provide customers with adequate information that relate to the use of internet in order to avoid some of the risks associated with internet use.
In conclusion, it is evident that most of the businesses engaged in E-business lack the necessary strategies that enable the business to conduct its operations effectively. From this discussion, it is true to say that a business can realize its desired levels of growth and gain competitive advantage by employing good measures and strategies. There is also a great need to make adjustments in both the domestic and international regulations that are applied to businesses that engage in E-commerce. In addition, this study has identified a number of issues with regard to E-business and internet strategy application. For example, the study has revealed that engaging in E-business should not be taken as an alternative, but a decision that helps to ensure the success of the business in future. The study has also revealed that E-business helps to increase the competitive power and efficiency of a company in different ways.
Faramarz, Damanpour & Jamshid Ali Damanpour, (2001),"E-business e-commerce evolution: perspective and strategy", Managerial Finance, Vol. 27 Iss: 7 pp. 16 – 33
Qin, Z. (2007). Introduction to E-commerce. Berlin, Springer Berlin.
Rainer, R. K., & Cegielski, C. G. (2011). Introduction to information systems. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley.