Unit 4: Online Business
Today's businesses must know how to compete online – it is as simple as that. In this unit, you will learn what steps a business must take to implement to do business online. This unit will also introduce the concept of intellectual property and the Pew Internet Project, both of which are important as part of your overall understanding of online business. Finally, the unit wraps up with topics related to marketing your business using online tools. Understanding this unit will be vital to implementing information systems strategically!
Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- explain the concept of e-commerce;
- describe the technologies used in e-commerce, including hardware, software, and database systems; and
- analyze the competitive advantage of the types of hardware, software, and database systems as they relate to e-commerce.
4.1: Overview of e-Commerce
Online business has many names; e-Commerce, e-business, online shopping and others involving the use of the internet or a modern telephone or smart phone to place transactions for desired products and services. As you read, think about the power a successful online firm has over his store-based counterpart. What is online business? What is the role of the Internet and other communications media in providing an organization's e-business presence? What are some similarities and some differences between e-business and brick and mortar commerce? How can they complement each other? Are the days of brick-and-mortar stores coming to an end?
Watch this overview of why today's business organizations need to consider e-commerce (increasingly known as e-business or online business) as part of their business strategy. This video states that without an online presence, "you might as well be selling out of the back of a covered wagon". Do you agree with this statement? Do you think having an online presence reduces business risks? Why or why not?
Is there a difference between e-commerce and e-business? If so, what is the difference in terms of customers, products and services, business processes, resources, supply chain, finance, and sustainability? If not, how are the two terms the same?
Read this chapter to learn about the technologies that support e-business and e-commerce. Although this chapter was written in 2008, think about instances in your own experiences where more recent technologies have made e-commerce/e-business faster, less expensive, more reliable, and more secure. Create a small chart of some important items you purchase frequently. Label the columns "Item", "Purchase Frequency", "How first purchased" (such as at a store, over the phone, online, etc.), "Most recent purchase date", and "Purchase method". Notice the changes. Have you evolved into an e-commerce/e-business user?
Do a quick search to see the number of web hosting companies offering their services on the internet. Make a simple chart of who they are, what they offer, their pricing, and how much they assist in creating and maintaining your website. What are the costs? How would you evolve a strategy that makes sense for you as you consider an online business strategy or a combination of in-store and online purchase capabilities?
Intellectual property protections, if properly exercised, are the key to preventing inventions, innovations, or other types of intellectual property from being stolen by others. Here you will learn a good definition of intellectual property, the types of protections afforded under the various Federal Laws, and how you can protect yourself and your business from significant loss. Include in your notes a brief description of the three types of protections, where you can go to seek relief, and the kinds of actions you can take to preserve your intellectual property.
4.2: e-Commerce as a Competitive Advantage
As we have with other topics during the course, we return to the concepts of competitive advantage and the impact on the value chain using e-Commerce/e-Business to increase the potential for increased returning customers and increased satisfaction, both of which lead to success. This section discusses how business organizations leverage Information Technology throughout the value chain. E-Business and e-Commerce, by their nature, involve technology. As we have done previously, Take some time to think specifically about which elements of the value chain are affected by e-commerce or e-business capabilities. A business organization may use e-commerce for marketing and sales, or it may use e-commerce to order raw materials from other businesses or provide customer service support. That same business will use e-business to make it easier for customers to order and receive merchandise or services. Write down two or three uses for e-commerce for each element of the value chain affects by e-commerce or e-business.
From the Australian perspective, this video discusses how their-commerce practices and processes for dealing with China might bear fruit, should they recognize the need to adapt to different, And frequently changing Chinese business practices. Gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage requires constant oversight and revision, whether with China or any other major trading partner. Technology is uniquely suited to meeting that challenge. While reviewing this video, put yourself in the shoes of the Australian business community, and jot down a few ideas on how to maintain your competitive advantage through progressive revision of policies and practices. Identify some additional strategies suggested in the video? How could each approach provide a competitive advantage in Australia, the US, or another country wanting to do e-commerce with China?
Unit 4 Assessment
- Receive a grade
Take this assessment to see how well you understood this unit.
- This assessment does not count towards your grade. It is just for practice!
- You will see the correct answers when you submit your answers. Use this to help you study for the final exam!
- You can take this assessment as many times as you want, whenever you want.