Role of eBusiness in Business


Asha Mathew
Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurshp

Information technology has revolutionized the way business is conducted. IT plays a major role in the effective running of business. Mobile commerce and Cloud Computing are the buzz words now. Mobile commerce allows business transactions and collaborations on the move and Cloud Computing helps the business to utilize IT resources based on subscription. Here we discuss about the way these technologies have transformed the business.

Does IT bring value to Business?

Information Technology has a great influence in the way we do business. It gives an opportunity to sell to consumers and collaborate with partners without being physically present. eBusiness is much more than „buying and selling online. Every business is looking forward to use Information Communication Technology in their inter and intra business activities. The use of right technology has the potential to revolutionize business processes and organizations, make them more efficient and boost overall competitiveness. Electronic business methods enable companies to link their internal and external data processing systems more efficiently and flexibly, to work more closely with suppliers and partners, and to better satisfy the needs and expectations of their customers.

Out of the new emerging technologies M-Commerce and cloud computing has the capability to modernize the business.

M-Commerce a new revolution in business:

The term m-commerce was coined by Kevin Duffy, the director of Group Telecom of Logica, in February 1997. M-Commerce (Mobile commerce) sometimes is considered as next generation wireless ecommerce. When people talk about M-Commerce there is always a misconception that it is restricted to commerce over cell phones. Mobile Commerce refers to wireless electronic commerce used for conducting commerce or business through a handy device like cellular phone or Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs). In essence, M-Commerce offers personalization and real time transactions while on the move.

Globally, consumers are expected to spend $119 billion by 2015 through their mobile phones, accounting for about 8% of all e-commerce activity, according to ABI Research. From point of sale offerings, to mobile shopping apps and enhanced mobile web experiences, it seems like companies both big and small are trying to capitalize on what mobile commerce promises consumers. Mobile penetration is considerably increasing and this rapid adoption rate means customers are starting to expect that their favorite retailers will have a mobile presence, making mobile commerce both an opportunity and an imperative for merchants. Mobile commerce and mobile browsing are not the same, the latter talks about opening WebPages and browsing through and the former give the customers¥ opportunity to choose, buy and pay for the purchase through Mobile devices. Apart from mobile presence business are trying to move some of the core activities on portable devices and hence the employees can update the sales/business details on the move.

Key features of M-Commerce.

a. Mobility: implies that users can carry cell phones or other mobile devices to transact from anywhere in mobile network area [.

b. Broad reach : The wireless devices makes it possible for people to be contacted anytime and anywhere

c. Ubiquity: easier information access in real-time

d. Convenience: devices that store data and have Internet, intranet, extranet connections

e. Localization of products and services: knowing where the user is located at any given time and match service to them.

f. Fast Processing: One important characteristic of mobile commerce is that it allows the user to process a transaction fast.

g. Little maintenance required : Another characteristic of mobile commerce is that it requires very little maintenance from the seller

Why should Business think about M-Commerce?

Mobile Commerce has an edge over traditional method of Business because of the above mentioned characteristics. M- Commerce has a personal touch compared to e-commerce. M-commerce has entered different sectors and its growing day by day. In many sectors mobile commerce is being accepted widely and is also a popular way of commerce.

Mobile Commerce works vastly in finance sector including all big and major financial institutes, banks, and stock market and share brokers. Now almost all banks provide mobile banking facility, where you can do all transactions over your mobile device. In October 2010 Infosys launched finacle mobile banking solutions which supports multi-host, multi lingual, multi channel multi currency banking. It has many functions like money transfer, new account opening, ATM / branch locating based on GPS (Global Positioning Systems)

User can transact money or transfer money, or pay the bill from its bank account using mobile commerce facilities. Banks also provide round the clock customer care services, which can be used any time through voice calling. Some customer care services are also provides non-voice services on mobile that is known as insta-alert facility.

Contactless payment system is another feature of mobile commerce, which is based on revolutionary Near Field Communication technology. The City bank launched its „Tap & Pay¥ system which is based on NFC (Near Field Communication) technology in Bangalore in 2009 which will allow customers the convenience of using their mobile phone as credit card. Customers can tap their mobile phones on a contactless reader at the point of sale to pay for the purchase.

While in the stock market, the user can access the stock market quotes and get in live touch with current trading status on its mobile in two forms either voice (customer assistance) or non-voice (sms alerts) or both.

The share broker sends market trends and tips of trading on their clients' mobile. Also broker can suggest the appropriate stock for intra-day trading to their users.

Now many firms are using mobile devices to get employee status. Companies like Onida introduced status updates of sales executives through SMS¥s ,the SMS contains the information of product wise sales for the day and it gets routed to Onida¥s server in Mumbai . The very next morning people concerned with sales will get auto generated emails about the sales updates. Some companies use GPS based mobile devices to tract their employees especially the field executives.

Personal care product firm CavinKare has partnered with Nokia to use mobile phone based supply chain management solution. The solution is called as Nokia Tej. This application is used for recording and transmitting information from the point of interaction with the retailer which is at the shop. This information will be transmitted to the point where the data can be recorded or transaction can happen, which is the distributor point where the billing software resides. This application drastically increased the efficiency and also resulted in reduced time and reduced paperwork, speed and accuracy.

Bill collections from mobile and credit card customers are more secure and nearly fool-proof . Agents enter payment details into their handset, send a confirmation to the supervisor and generate a receipt instantly from a hand help Bluetooth enabled printer. GPS (Global Positioning Systems) can be used to tract the materials and hence can the exact location of the goods can be traced. Application of m-commerce is also there telemetry services, which include the monitoring of space flights, meteorological data transmission, and video-conference.

The much talked technology "3G services" is expected to revolutionize the business in India as it facilitates better internet capabilities; video conferencing facility on the move,(managers can have conferences and meetings on the move ) apart from these lots of applications will be available in navigational services also.

Teething Troubles with Mobile –Commerce:

Most important challenge in the implementation of M-Commerce is lack of standard Security measures and there are no standardized and simple payment systems available. On the Internet, any provider who conforms to the Net¥s standards can put an application online without anyone¥s permission; on mobile networks, providers have to work with private network operators.

Mobile commerce is currently a huge growth channel, providing business with a significant opportunity for growth. In today's economy, companies that optimize their mobile commerce customer experience strategies stand to benefit enormously by minimizing expenses associated with brick and mortar sales.

Cloud computing is another aspect in eBusiness which gives business a lot of advantages. It¥s a metaphor to represent computation done through internet. Cloud computing has the potential to change how organizations manage IT and transform the economics of hardware and software at the same time. A Gartner report says the "Cloud computing represents the fusion of trends such as global class architecture, Web platforms, massively scalable processing and the Internet. Here this technology brings out a new class of entrepreneurs who does not have to build offices, distribution centres, data centres or infrastructure of any kind, as everything could be managed in the cloud. The cost of developing, distributing and supporting application would decrease. Cloud computing can be a single solution for many IT Challenges- "high cost, ongoing support and maintenance". This new concept has the added advantage which allows consumers and business to use applications without installing and access their personal files at any computer with Internet access. A simple example of cloud computing is the way you access your email. You don¥t need a software or a server to use them. All a consumer would need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and email management software is all on the cloud (internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider. The consumer gets to use the software alone and enjoy the benefits.

In simple terms cloud computing allows organizations to utilize computing power and storage services from third party infrastructure, apart from this cloud computing paves the way to increase the

capability and capacity without a huge investment, without training employees, or buying new software.

Characteristics of cloud computing.

(a) On demand: It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour.

(b) Subscription based model: a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any point of time.

(c) Zero Maintenance: Service is fully managed and maintained by the provider.

(d) Saves Cost: On demand computing power will increase the utilization power and will result in cost savings.

(e) Zero Capital Expenditure: Capital expenses can be turned into variable expenses, it a huge advantage for companies that either do not have lot of capital and those do not want to invest for infrastructure.

(f) Shift in skill set required: Cloud computing will see a shift in the skill sets required by IT workers. IT professionals will focus on extracting business value from new technologies and cloud computing helps business shed the burden of technological implementation and concentrate on business processes.

(g) Results in Innovation: It will release huge pool of innovation around the world, since the cost of developing, distributing and supporting application would decrease.

(h) Elastic Load balancing: One of the characteristics that the services over the cloud provide is its ability for "Elastic Load balancing" that is it auto distributes application based on the incoming traffic using multiple instances.

(i) Availability: Most of the application over the cloud promises availability. They provide this by means of Service Level Agreements.

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Source: E-mail December 4, 2010


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