Driving an eBusiness

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Driving an eBusiness

Operating a business is much like operating a car, you need to stay on track and focused in order to reach your destination. This chapter you will be focusing on eBusinesses, businesses that are run from the internet, but the same rules are true for a brick and mortar (physical stores) business. You will learn the steps that are needed in order to create the strategic plan that will be the map to run your business. You will see the evolution of businesses and their use of the internet to sell their products and services to consumers throughout the world. The internet has truly opened the global marketplace to businesses of all sizes.
Developing the company’s strategic plan is important to the success of the business because it helps it to stay on track, this is especially true when technology is involved. Some businesses can get sidetracked by the latest and greatest technology, the strategic plan keeps focus. Disruptive technology is a new technology that might take focus away from the original plan, original products and even original customers. This is not a good thing as it allows the business to be driven in a different direction. When a business starts to veer off course they either need to re-focus or consider creating a new branch of the company or a new product. Disruptive technology can be an asset if it is used to create a new market but is usually disruptive (bad) for the old ways. Sustaining technology is new technology that is introduced that actually helps existing products or existing customers. It might be a more efficient way of making the product, tracking sales or satisfying customer’s needs once the item is purchased.
Technology itself has been improving so much over the past few decades that a quick overview might be helpful. The internet or World Wide Web (WWW) has been changing business as we know it. First there was Web 1.0, basically a huge network of computers that use special software called a ‘browser’ to view the information. The web pages, like book pages, contain text that you can read, they also contain videos you can watch or files you can download. The main difference between a browser page and a book page is that in a browser page when you see underlined words you can click on those words and go to other parts of the same document or a completely new document, this special text that connects you to other places is called hypertext. Hypertext uses an address to tell the browser where to go, you may hear the acronym URL (universal resource locator) this is just a fancy name for the address. The WWW has enabled businesses of all typed to have an electronic presence, we call these types of businesses eBusiness, they might be for travel, purchases, information, financial services or education. You will see special acronyms for eBusinesses based on who the company sells to:

  • B2B – a business sells to a business
  • B2C – a business sells to a consumer
  • C2C – a consumer sells to a consumer
  • C2B – a consumer sells to a business

The WWW has evolved to what is commonly called Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is more collaborative, people share things and leave an electronic foot print. If you have ever shopped on line and read the product reviews written by other consumers, you have been looking at their electronic footprint. The consumers before you have written their comments about the product! Another feature of Web 2.0 is that more and more people are sharing their knowledge, their programs and their ideas – this is called freeware or OPEN source. Open source means people are working together without being paid. A few terms you will see are knowledge management and crowdsourcing, the ideas are coming from the crowd. Reading notes from someone’s digital footprint is done sometime after they wrote the notes, this is an example of asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication would be done if you are interacting with each other in real time. This real time interaction brings us to Web 3.0 (current state). The background software is changing which will change the interactions the consumer has with the internet. The government is become more involved with the internet so they are added to the acronyms you learned earlier in this lesson.

  • Defense is the Best Offense

This lecture you will focus on the building blocks of your strategic plan, ethics. The text reminds us that information does not have ethics, people do. The same can be said about businesses. The business is not ethical, rather the people and they plan that they build contain the foundation and structure of the company built with ethics as the foundation. It is the management team that form the plan that incorporates ethics into the company. Ethics are the principles and standards that govern our interactions with other people. Since we are focusing on the information systems part of strategic planning, the information ethics are the ethical and moral ideas we incorporate into our business plan that will help with the development and use of information technologies such as web pages, emails and even the basic information they contain.
Business issues related to information ethics fall under many categories, IP (intellectual property), copyright and other infringements such as pirated software (using the license more than once) and counterfeit software (look alike clones) cost software companies billions of dollars each year. Just as in human interactions (business or medical) companies have rules about privacy, the right to be left alone and not to be observed without your consent, and confidentiality – the promise that your information is not shared with others.
Business ePolicies typically include things like ethical computer use policy, information privacy policy, acceptable use policy, eMail privacy policy, social media policy and workplace monitoring policy. These policies are an important component of your strategic plan because they govern what is allowed and not allowed as far as using business equipment and time. Your strategic plan should not only elaborate what is and is not allowed by your employees but also consider outsiders impact on your business. Hackers, cyber terrorists, computer software virus, works and Trojan horses can cause enough damage to shut down your business. Be sure to plan ahead and decide as much as possible, what can be done when a threat arises.
A businesses best line of defense is to have a strategic plan. There is nothing worse during a threat episode than to call a meeting and ask “ok, NOW what do we do?”. It is much more productive to have a strategic plan so you can simply pull it off the shelf and reference what was previously decided. This is not to say that the plan will have all the answers, but it will give you a guidebook as to what you or previous management teams have planned. Businesses having a strategic plan is critical when a threat presents itself. As far as information systems area, there are three primary information technology security areas:

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  • People:  Authentication and authorization
  • Data:  Prevention and resistance
  • Attack:  Detection and response

Things like information security policies and the information security plan can be set in place for just such emergencies. From the technology area there is also a barrier that can help with electronic threats, a firewall, this is hardware and/or software that guards a private network by analyzing the information leaving and entering the network. As you have learned having a robust strategic plan will help a business survive an attack by people or electronic threats!

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