Business Information Systems Term Paper

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Business Information Systems

Advantages Internet Electronic Commerce

The Internet has much to offer companies like FedEx and UPS. More and more businesses like FedEx and UPS are realizing the long-term advantages and benefits they stand to gain from engaging in electronic commerce. For one companies like these can handle scheduling, shipping and tracking all using the World Wide Web. E-commerce offers businesses several unique advantage, none the least of which is the ability to offer services to customers around the globe 24 hours every day of the week (Kundu, 679).

By setting up a website an organization like FedEx or UPS allows corporations to easily attract and sell customers while the customer need only order from the comfort of their home. Businesses can use the Internet to generate data regarding customer buying patterns, visits and other vital statistics that will provide valuable insight into their offerings and structure (Nash, 64). Market research is also easily accomplished with the use of a website (Nash, 64; Epstein, 50). Of course to make this process successful both FedEx and UPS have to not only attract traffic but also convert them into paying customers. Fortunately with the right website and information this is usually very easy.

Establishing a web presence is increasingly important in modern society. More and more consumers are looking to the web to complete transactions and buy products and services rather than rely on traditional retail outlets. Thus any corporation including FedEx or UPS that takes advantage of this increasing interest is going to expand its market segment and improve its customer service, in part because it is filling a customer need. That need is to complete transactions in a timely and efficient manner from the convenience of one's home. One may even argue that not having a computer e-commerce presence may harm a business by reducing its market segment and reducing the level of customer service it is offering its customers (Epstein, 70). Establishing a web presence often requires a little investment that pays for itself ten times over in many cases (Epstein, 70). FedEx and UPS are living proof of this, expanding their profit margin by billions since investing in e-commerce (Epstein, 70).

Working in an electronic commerce environment also enables paperless transactions, meaning FedEx and UPS can exchange services or goods with customers using electronic information rather than exchanging paper (Nash, 64). With the click of a button companies can also alter their market presence, merchandising tactics, pricing and even sales process. The Internet allows organizations to maximize their profit potential by enabling services to be customized to individual consumers.

Perhaps the last benefit is electronic commerce enables increasingly beneficial partnerships between multiple organizations. These partnerships can expand the company's basic business services and increase their market segment domestically and globally. Companies working together in partnership can also share relevant information including data sets, statistics and marketing information with one another much more easily when a company is taking advantage of technology.

How Internet Changing Business For UPS and FedEx

More and more corporations are turning toward e-commerce to stimulate business. The Internet is changing business for UPS and FedEx in many ways. Perhaps the most obvious way that the Internet is changing business for companies like this is it is making business transactions more efficient and easy to track. Paperless recording of transactions and report development are now the norm rather than the exception to the rule (Kundu, 67). Many companies utilizing e-commerce on the Internet "resemble network organizations in the form of interdependent coalitions of task or skill specialized entities: (Kundu, 679).

E-commerce corporations have many advantages over traditional only corporations. For one e-commerce business transactions enable "multinational accessibility" meaning anyone in the globe can access a corporations products and services (Kundu, 679). As an added benefit participating in e-business enable competition with domestic and global firms (Kundu, 679). Yet another benefit, corporations can use networks of partnerships strategically to grow and expand their business and enter new areas of the market, in part because partnerships enable more network resources, easier and more open accessibility, more "innovative entrepreneurship" and allow corporations to share information more efficiently and easily (Kundu, 679).

One of the key ways the Internet is changing business for UPS and FedEx is by allowing package tracking. Package tracking allows customers to track their package from the point of sending to the point of delivery using a corresponding tracking number (Jupitermedia, 2002). In addition to traditional tracking FedEx offers an API that allows interaction with the FedEx system (Jupitermedia, 2002). This allows better systems interface and allows programmers to work with the system more easily (Jupitermedia, 2002).

FedEx and UPS have a clear advantage over start up businesses interested in using the Internet. For one both FedEx and UPS have a long-standing reputation. These companies won't need to find what their markets are; they already know their targets (Nash, 64). To make e-commerce work for these companies each need simply position themselves in a manner best suited to attract traffic. Connecting to the market is easy once a company starts getting information out about their Web presence.

Explain B2B B2C and C2C using E-commerce

Business to business, business to consumer and consumer-to-consumer interactions may all benefit by e-commerce. For these relationships to work an e-business infrastructure or EBI for short has to support applications "for consumers, business partners, employee and corporate functions in one continuous network environment" (Ritter 26). What this means is networks within the e-business infrastructure should be divided to accommodate the primary focus of the business, whether B2B, B2C or C2C (Ritter 26). Most companies including FedEx and UPS have accomplished this by dividing their e-business structure into multiple models including an intranet to enable C2C transactions, an extranet to enable B2B transactions and remote access which can support all three interaction types (Ritter 26).

C2C may also refer to intra-business infrastructures where the company is looking to provide service that matches the internal network services such as responsiveness, scalability and security (Ritter 26). Within a B2B environment FedEx and UPS have to work diligently to maintain an extranet that is secure; security is the most important element in this case because FedEx and UPS are opening up their network environment to multiple outsiders, including "trading partners, suppliers and other business relationships" (Ritter 26).

In a B2C environment, one of the most common environments within the world of e-commerce, a corporate website is provided (as is the case for FedEx and UPS) that allows consumers to connect to the company (Ritter 26). It is here that consumers can purchase products and services, return items, order, communicate with customer support staff and interact with the company on multiple levels. B2C is the primary e-commerce focus for both FedEx and UPS because this is where both companies stand to generate the majority of their income. Much of the research that has gone into e-commerce has focused on B2C interactions because money results from these types of transactions. In the future there is some expectation that any boundaries that exist between B2B, B2C and C2C may dissolve, supported by a more complete electronic business infrastructure (Ritter 26).

UPS currently works in partnership with eBay allowing customers in the C2C (consumer to consumer) transactions to have "easier access to shipping options" (Epstein 70). In addition UPS has enabled a special shipping function that directly integrates with eBay, allowing better access to new customer bases without having to invest a lot in online marketing (Epstein 70).

FedEx is also working in partnership with multiple corporations in order to expand its C2C transactions and enable better shipping and delivery services around the globe (Epstein, 70). At this point however speedy delivery and expense have cost FedEx something in the way of C2C services, though the corporation is still a lead between B2B and B2C transactions in many areas.

Compare Website Specifications of FedEx And UPS/Where One Has Advantages Over Other

UPS has the unique distinction of being the first to the Web with the ability to handle package scheduling and pickup at all stages of the delivery process. That means that customers can make payments online use the Website to check on the status of delivery, schedule a pickup or even calculate the rate it would cost to send a package. The current Web specifications at UPS include an IBM Mainframe and AS/400 scheduling system that churns out information easily understandable by consumers. Most of the web-based package tracking functions used by UPS and FedEx are virtually the same, with FedEx tracking roughly 13,000 packages every day compared with 10,000 by UPS (Nash, 64).

FedEx offers an international express mail option for global customers. Many feel UPS have an IT leadership position over FedEx in part because UPS has continually rolled out new services "while integrating acquisitions" by acquiring IT capabilities purchasing a small IT firm and integrating that into its IT solution (Epstein 15). UPS currently uses e-commerce as a means to provide total service to…[continue]

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