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All definitions that are floating out there strive to distinguish "E-business" from "E-commerce." The former refers to the process of using the Internet and associated technologies to transform every business process and E-enable all parts of the organization's value chain from acquiring, serving, and retaining customers to interacting with employees, partners, and the world at large. "E-commerce" can safely be considered one vital but small part in the overall E-business ar chitecture. There are two basic categories of businesses conducted over the Inter- net. The first category is the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) segment, which includes the popular, Wall Street-friendly businesses like Amazon, E*Trade, etc.
The second is the Business-to-Business (B2B) segment, which is in creasingly overshadowing the B2C segment and includes such names as Chemtex and Auto Exchange. Despite fundamental differences in the busi ness models of these two categories, they share one common key aspect - use of Internet technologies to manage all aspects of the business. This article presents an integrated ar chitecture for these Internet technolo gies so that organizations can effectively implement whichever type of business model they choose
Effective E-businesses architecture must satisfy a basic set of require ments. The following sections discuss these requirements. Multiple Access Channels While the past decade has seen the use of the Internet as the point of contact with the customer as distinguished from the traditional channels; businesses are increasingly finding that customers are using multiple channels to satisfy their needs. This includes the Internet, handheld de- vices like Palm Pilots, mobile communication devices like the cell phone, and set-top boxes for cable.
E-commerce covers outward-facing processes that touch customers, suppliers and external partners, including sales, marketing, order taking, delivery, customer service, purchasing of raw materials and supplies for production and procurement of indirect operating-expense items, such as office supplies. It involves new business models and the potential to gain new revenue or lose some existing revenue to new competitors.
It's ambitious but relatively easy to implement because it involves only three types of integration: vertical integration of front-end Web site applications to existing transaction systems; cross-business integration of a company with Web sites of customers, suppliers or intermediaries such as Web-based marketplaces; and integration of technology with modestly redesigned processes for order handling, purchasing or customer service.
E-business includes e-commerce but also covers internal processes such as production, inventory management, product development, risk management, finance, knowledge management and human resources. E-business strategy is more complex, more focused on internal processes, and aimed at cost savings and improvements in efficiency, productivity and cost savings
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