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1 Online business activity
Range: auctions, banking, chatrooms, gambling, jobsearches, ‘lastminute’ services,
procurement and sourcing, product supply, research, supply of games and music, virtual
property tours; suitability of digital information eg games, music, video, photographs, text

Sector: public sector eg www.nhsdirect.com ; private sector eg www.amazon.com;
voluntary/not-for-profit sector eg www.wdm.org.uk

Levels/types of online presence: passive brochureware, complementing offline services eg
mail order, inviting online transactions, offering interactive customisation, main channel of
business activity

2 Benefits
Benefits: global ‘round the clock’ visibility, particular opportunities for expansion of
European market presence, equality of presence between small, medium and large businesses,
rapidity of response to customer interest, opportunities to analyse online competition,
opportunity to keep up with competitors

More responsive integrated supply chain: offering punctual delivery as a sales feature, access
from a wide range of devices, opportunities for e-procurement/sourcing, online order
tracking, reduced overheads and labour costs

Reduced stockholding: improved cash flow through fewer bad debts, freedom of low-cost
location, affiliations with ISPs and portals, accessibility to disabled/housebound/remote
location users, increasing popularity of internet salons/cybercafes and availability of public
web access points

Developments in broadband: government support via www.ukonline.gov.uk; increasingly
secure credit card payment arrangements, widespread low-cost availability of webauthoring
tools

3 Potential disadvantages
Exposure: to hostile chatrooms and negative publicity, customer fears over payment security
and fear of unfamiliar trading conditions, potential problems of defamation, potential inability
to cope with massively increased market interest

Vulnerability to hostile attack: eg denial of service, exposure to shocks such as internet
service provider (ISP) collapse eg Worldcom in 2002

Potential unpopularity with staff: due to potential outsourcing of key functions, eg call centers

Financial uncertainties: potentially large but uncertain initial investment costs of hardware,
software and program adaptation; set-up expenses offset against uncertain future revenue
streams
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4 Business feasibility
Implementation issues: potential difficulties of e-business implementation: potential
requirement for customisation, desired extent of online operations (ie passive, partially and
fully interactive), changing user specifications for desired service levels

Desired speed of change: pace set by competitors, adaptability of key staff to operational
change, eg in job descriptions; potential for redundancies and industrial relations problems,
anticipated timescale for effective online operation, potential for difficulties in transition from
offline activities, anticipated benefits in terms of increased sales or service supply, anticipated
timescale of such benefits, anticipated competitive disadvantage of not going online

				
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posted:9/14/2011
language:English
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