exchange of goods and services between two or more people, otherwise known as commerce, is as old a practice as mankind. In recent times commerce has added a twist, pairing it with electronic resources. With the invention of the computer and the creation of the Internet business done online became known as Electronic Commerce (e-commerce). E-commerce combines technology, information systems, and the long reaching arm of the Internet to bring together businesses and customers in a paperless exchange of business information. It has proven to be an alternative means of conducting business that formerly was done in person, by phone, or in a brick-and-mortar store.
Business-to Business electronic commerce facilitates inter-organizational interaction and transaction. Here two or more business entities interact with each other directly or through an intermediary (Kumar & Kumar, 2009). In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, taking an academic computer network and transforming it into a communications system available to anyone with a computer. By the turn of the new century the Internet had grown to such an extent that businesses were able to offer their services and products online.
When speaking about globalization most refer to the recent past of the 1990s as the beginning but in truth one must go back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Human innovation brought forth the invention of the telephone and airplane, opening people to possibilities before unknown. Prior to this having contact with others at great distances took long periods of time. As time passed technological advances made it faster and easier to conduct business transactions.
Globalization and therefore e-commerce, brings market forces from all corners of the world, from industrial complexes and financial centers of large urban areas to small villages in remote locations, together to exchange goods and services. Economies across the world have integrated labor and technology, along with political, cultural, and environmental plans, bringing substantial benefits to all involved. As the economy moves from local to national markets, transactions span longer social and geographical distances -- this requires the production of institutional, formal trust (Koh, Fichman, & Kraut, 2009).
In terms of e-commerce centralization refers to a method of having one main location or area in which all data can be electronically accessed or distributed. That data will hold all information regarding services or products for sale, clients, customers, and preferences. All information is stored on one server and can be distributed to various interested parties. Due to this compilation of data more detailed information can be garnered; specific information on what services or products are most popular, the reason for that popularity, customer demographics, sales totals broken into specific time frames, etc. are all segments of information available in a centralized e-commerce location.
The Internet, a communications medium unlike any other and previously unavailable to businesses in past decades, has reshaped the way companies conduct business while simultaneously providing an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar stores and given small businesses an opportunity to level the playing field in their competition with large companies.
Koh, T., Fichman, M., & Kraut, R.E. (2009). Trust across borders: buyer-supplier trust in global B2B e-commerce. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1-6. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Kumar, M., & Kumar, M. (2009). An Analysis of E-commerce models and strategies. Advances in Management, 2(12), 7-10. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Mini Project 2
Need Analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating the needs of an organization. The identification of needs then details problems of a target subject and possible solutions to these problems. Need analysis focuses on what should be done and the requirements related to the goals that have been established rather than on what had been done previously as is the focus of most program evaluations.
Whether the analysis is formal and extensive or informal with a narrow focus it will include all activities used and the information collected that will be used to work toward goals previously set. The goals will be the foundation for the needs analysis and will provide the framework for future work to be done. Usually target goals will address organization needs as a whole, departmental needs, knowledge, and employee attitudes and skills.
Once the need analysis has been completed, the needs that were identified are translated into measurable objectives that can guide the training process. Training objectives should focus on the behavior component which describes in clear terms what a learner has to do to demonstrate that he or she has in fact learned. Behavioral training objectives state what the person will be able to do, under what conditions and how well he or she will be able to do it (Sunita, & Ajeya, 2010).
One of the first things a business must consider before entering the e-commerce market is to determine if the business itself is tailored to or can be adapted to doing business over the Internet. In this area not all businesses are created equally. Some types of businesses sell services that may be better handled in person, such as personal insurance or automobiles. It is fine to have a website that advertises the company with all pertinent information listed but no matter how well a photograph depicts an automobile it is no substitute for the buyer taking a test drive.
When an organization is making the decision to do a needs analysis there are two types to consider. The first type can be called a competency analysis because it identifies new skills and abilities that could be acquired based on opportunities available at the time. The second type of needs analysis is called a problem analysis because it identifies a specific problem facing the organization and offers solutions crafted to solve that problem.
Although it can be argued that conducting a needs analysis is redundant because there is already information available specifying what an organization's needs are, conducting an analysis contributes to the overall strategy of an organization in regards to educating and training all members of the company. All employees must be invested in making improvements that are deemed necessary for the growth and success of the organization as well as their personal career growth. The seeds for ultimate acceptance and use of the solution are planned at the beginning of the phase. The goal is to identify key people, think about how the solution to the problem will affect each of them and start to pursue their buy-in. The purpose of a strategy or a plan of action is to establish needs, regardless of the level or type of needs assessment to be undertaken (Sunita, & Ajeya, 2010).
Sunita, D., & Ajeya, J. (2010). Training Need Assessment: A Critical Study. Advances in Management, 3(11), 59-65. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Mini Project 3
Establishing an e-commerce business presence is a viable option for small businesses to reach more consumers. How people shop and search for information has dramatically changed over the past fifteen years. With the advent of widespread commercial Internet technologies, the changes in business operations and consumer behavior have been unprecedented. In the United States alone, purchasing has grown from nothing in 1993 to more than $1 trillion in 2007, accounting for more than three percent of all retail transactions (Moore, & Breazeale, 2010).
Before entering into the e-commerce marketplace it is important for a business to understand e-commerce. A business owner must have clearly defined goals and know what he wishes to accomplish by going online, as well as understanding the time and effort that will be involved in creating the business' online image. First impressions are import and the way in which a product or service is presented to the public will have a great impact on future sales and customer relationships.
Electronic commerce benefits a small business in numerous ways. It offers an opportunity to compete with the larger companies on a more level playing field. Limited resources frequently restrict the ability of small firms to reach beyond local markets. When confined to their brick-and-mortar world, small businesses typically are restricted to a certain geographic area. The Internet blurs those lines, allowing any business access to customers anywhere in the world as long as they have Internet access.
The Internet has proven to be a great equalizer, giving small firms a presence comparable to that of giants in the marketplace. For instance, an individual artist who may live in a small rural community and earns little money at local flea markets and festivals can open a web-based store and develop an online presence, allowing the artist to show his creations to people who may live anywhere in the world, increasing his customer base and profit margin.
Having an e-commerce operation can be helpful in compressing the sales cycle -- reducing the time between receiving an order and converting the sale to cash. The shorter cycle translates into quicker payments from customers and improved cash flow to the business. E-commerce also allows small businesses to build on customer service, one of their greatest strengths. Using Electronic Customer…