All these aspects of a B2B transaction, when consistently executed on, create a level of trust that becomes one of the strongest and most unassailable differentiators there are in a market.
Companies occupying the second highest layer, Collaborating, are using portals and other Internet-based tools to maximize information sharing and co-development of strategies and the co-sharing of communications tools and ultimately platforms. Security, DRM and digital signature strategies all aimed at increasing trust as a differentiator; apply equally across B2B and B2C selling strategies, with B2B-based approaches having the greatest long-term impact on eventually quantifying trust and leading to greater levels of synchronization across channel, supply chain, and selling partners.
Anticipating, the second highest level in the maturity model, is where the majority of companies are today from both a B2B and B2C perspective. The focus on making a strong correlation between making information flow optimized vs. striking a collaborative focus with other global trading partners on the part of EU manufacturers and service companies. This level of the maturity model is a transitory one and is focused more on either small, incremental gains from the first level, which is Reacting. For many companies in the Anticipating layer of the model, initial efforts have proven at time successful, and time problematic. An example would be the use of online transactions from Expedia where prices are changed suddenly at check-out as old pricing tables are used for the presenting of offers and new pricing tables, for check-out. This technological gap causes a lack of trust to take hold and eventually force a company to re-define their process workflows over time to stay competitive. When the medium of exchange is trust in transactions, no company can afford to stay in this layer of the model for very long.
In the Reacting layer of this proposed PR Maturity Model, the majority of EU manufacturers and service companies alike have decidedly "every department in the company for itself when it comes to security" approach to process maturity and have trusted workflows that are purely dependent on personal productivity applications that have no synchronized series of processes and programs that align efforts internally . That is to say specifically that at this low level of performance in the model, e-commerce departments focuses first on tactical wins at the expense of global victories in the pursuit of trust with either B2B or B2C customers.
This mindset in turn creates an isolated approach to defining trust in e-commerce initiatives from a strategic perspective for industries where the majority of companies inhabit this lowest layer of the model. One of the key attributes of this level of the PR Model is the neglecting of the many user-generated from of content including blogs, Wikis and other forms of interactive customer feedback. The short-sighted nature of being a company in the Reacting layer of this model forces security and marketing teams more into firefighting and creating a chaotic environment where security firefighting pervades the growth of strategies for turning trust in a competitive differentiator.
In summary, the three critical success factors of becoming a trusted advisor, focusing on value-based differentiation and less on features and functions, and the strong trend towards the quantification of any company's ability to generate trust through its strategies. Underscoring all this in the research is the acceptance that blogs, Wikis, and user-generated content is here to stay and is aiding in the globalization of B2C and B2B activities by companies comprising the EU manufacturing and service base. Finally, the correlation of a company's ability to attain trusted advisor status with its customers and retain that status through continual reinforcing of security and DRM initiatives that validate that trust once earned must be kept if any EU-based company will survive for the long-term.
Proposed Thesis Chapter Structure
In completing this thesis the following chapter structure will provide for enough flexibility on covering core concepts yet also be flexible enough in defining the future developments in the quantification of trust and the introduction of the EU e-commerce Maturity Model as briefly discussed in this proposal:
1) E-Commerce's Dilemma: Global Growth and Local Distrust
This chapter will discuss the global growth of both B2B and B2C e-commerce including the role of evolving role of standards in the B2B arena including RosettaNet and other Internet-based protocols overtaking EDI. The chapter will also show the progression of the quantification of trust for B2C companies from the most fundamental approaches of 64 bit encryption in browsers to the frameworks now used for the definition of online identity including DRM. The following are suggested sections of this first chapter.
1-i) the First Section of this chapter will look to a working definition of E-commerce, with brief discussion of the terminology with specific focus on the role of authentication, DRM, digital signatures and roadmap to the quantification of identity online, and in that context, the growth of approaches to creating sustained levels of trust online.
1-ii) the second section will discuss how this progression of technologies related to DRM and the overall quantification of trusts increased the velocity of transactions, and with it, the globalization of order management. The focus on this second section is the validation and quantification of trust being the impetus of growth for distributed order management growth and its resulting growth across manufacturing hotspots globally including China. The implications for EU manufacturers and their relative levels of trust have direct implications on their ability to be global competitors.
1-iii) the third section will discuss the current uptake of E-commerce, in terms of the availability of access to E-commerce and the potential size of the sector, in both the EU and global context. Specific focuses on the approach of EU manufacturers have taken to creating online trust.
1-iv) the fourth section will place E-commerce in a wider political context. On the one hand it will place E-commerce in the context of the EU, discussing its role in the "Information Society" programmes, and its place in the Lisbon Agenda. The role of the EU to erect trading barriers despite the pervasive growth of e-commerce globally and the resulting impact on eroding trust globally is examined.
1 -- v) The introduction of the EU e-commerce Maturity Model is provided at the close of chapter 1, and used to organize the many initiatives and programs mentioned in the chapter to this point. Most critically however is the need to unify the many B2B and B2C strategies on the one hand, and the need to synchronize these efforts with the legal precedents in EU nations. The model's four major layers are defined and provide the basis for discussion throughout the remaining chapters of the proposal.
2) The challenges of E-Commerce Maturity - Contractual issues
2-i) the beginning of this chapter will discuss and define the issues surrounding E-commerce, and divide them into two types- contractual and non-contractual. It will then discuss their shared basis in the development of trust and its preservation from the perspective of go-to-market strategies on behalf of B2B and B2C companies. The EU e-commerce Maturity Model will be used for illustrating the growth of contractual and non-contractual impacts on companies whose B2C and B2B strategies strive to create trust and align with these legal areas of compliance.
2-ii) the second section will discuss contracting in E-commerce, to investigate general differences between the traditional legal paradigms of contract and the contractual possibilities offered by E-commerce. The section will be centred on a discussion of general contract theory, setting up the following section's discussion of specifics. The e-commerce Maturity Model illustrates the impact of contract and contractual implications on companies with B2C, B2B, or a combination of both models in their approaches to quantifying and furthering trust as a lasting differentiator to their companies.
2-iii) the chapter will then discuss the specific contractual issues created by E-commerce, and some potential legal solutions, drawn from various jurisdictions, including the UK and the U.S.A. Included in subsections of this part will be the issues surrounding validity, jurisdiction, applicable law, signature, place and time of formation, agency and the methods for redress of mistake. This chapter will concentrate on analysing the way the arguments used by legal responses have been constructed, to show how they have been dependent on, and specific to, the technologies which raised the above issues.
2 -- iv) The role of the EU e-commerce Maturity Model will next be defined in the context of the contractual positive and negative influences on global growth. The use of customer listening systems and the ability to quantify the performance of EU-based companies in retaining and growing trust as a sustained perceived value over time will be explored. The concepts of using online security, DRM, digital signatures, and the growth of technologies to support the quantification of trust as it relates to the growth of trust as a…