Visions of the Future: E-Business
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E-Business is the trade of products, assets and information through the use of the Internet. It is all about using the convenience and worldwide reach to enhance existing business or creating new virtual business . Currently e-Business is thriving and growing at a substantial rate, it is estimated that e-Business will generate more than $2 trillion in revenues worldwide by 2005 . This trend is no surprise when the Internet is growing at 1.5 million pages per day and doubles in size every 8 months .
If businesses are to be part of the future in e-Business they must develop with the times and not fall behind. At the moment businesses seem to be doing this, as investment in computing and communications equipment now accounts for almost half of total investment in business equipment . Consumers have also taken to e-Business well and the number of buyers on the web has soared in recent years, see figure 1 . Consumers now are using the Internet to buy almost anything, from cars, holidays, clothes and weekly shopping. Customers are provided with a greater choice of products that they can compare easily to find the cheapest price.
E-Business is becoming ever more popular because of the advantages it brings to business and consumers. For businesses, e-Business can have the following advantages;
Closer connection with consumers.
Wider market to sell to.
High returns on investment
Of course these are not the only advantages but these are the main rewards that have a big effect on the future of a business. The advantages for consumers are also great and are reflected by the money being invested into products and services provided by e-Businesses. Advantages for consumers are;
24/7 service and support.
Customised products and services.
All these points have shaped the way people shop and live, and the advantages are reaching a growing number of people everyday. There are many ways that e-Business could evolve in the future but the rest of the essay will focus on the vision of every business as an e-Business and the consequences of this.
Any company that uses the Internet for e-mail, maintaining websites or uses online resources for research is conducting e-Business to some extent, and once a company enters this online world it can be hard to turn back. Imagine the business opportunities of online markets where orders are processed 24 hours a day. Imagine the possibilities of an on-demand electronic market where anyone can buy or sell from anywhere in the world, where people shop in digital worlds with customised products . This is the future, where every business is an e-Business or they wont remain a business. In the future it will be viewed as insane not to explore the advantages of doing e-Business. The Internet will help change rules in business, as it is a completely new model, a comprehensive holistic revolution in economics, human perception, and technology all converging at the same place in cyberspace . E-Business will be the next stage in the evolution of business, leaders that understand this will thrive and those that dont will struggle to survive. Every business will eventually become an e-Business to a certain extent simply because of the advantages the change can bring and also because if they dont make the transition, competitors will run away into future with success and their customers.
Every business as an e-Business is a realistic vision for the future considering how well it has developed in such a short period of time. It took over 38 years for the telephone to be adopted by 10 million customers. It has taken the Internet less than 5 years . As a society we are learning to adopt new technologies faster than before and so the idea of every business becoming an e-Business is not that far-fetched. Some may argue that instead of businesses just copying the trends and becoming an e-Business they may change in other ways, one view is that e-commerce technology may force shops to become more fun, to make shoppers want to get out – away from their screens and mobile phones . This view is likely to be taken by smaller businesses with little ambition, just happy to get by and break even, but will probably lead to hard times and eventually the closing of the business. Larger or more innovative businesses will recognise the key business advantages of e-Business.
Conducting business over the Internet will lead to lower overhead costs as businesses will not need to own as many buildings or equipment. This will lead to lower costs per unit and mean that businesses can either make more profit per unit sold or reduce the price to attract more customers and increase profits that way. Because of this sizeable advantage, businesses that are not conducting e-Business will find it hard to compete and will have to find other ways to reduce costs enough so that they can reduce their prices. This may mean sacrificing quality, something an e-Business will not have to do in order to reduce prices. Infact the quality of products for some e-Businesses will rise because of the way products and services can be customised over the Internet. Online stores will take care of inventory management and enable just-in-time production. Suppliers have production cycles that are made to order and customers will have their customised order placements . Quality of goods and services will also improve for e-Businesses because of the closer connection and deeper understanding of customers. This will come about because of the greater time and money e-Businesses will have to conduct research about products, services and customers. Burke was quoted saying, “Customer data is so important. If you arent used to collecting customer data now, in three years you will be.” If businesses do not become an e-Business they will not be able to keep up with such an in depth knowledge of what consumers want, this will lead to falls in sales and negative profits. Knowledge