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Dave Caffey Chapter 1 Self Assesment

In: Business and Management

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Chapter 1 Introduction to e-business and e-commerce
Self-assessment questions

1. Distinguish between e-commerce and e-business.
Can best be explained by referring to different elements shown in Figure 1.1, i.e.
• sell-side e-commerce
• buy-side e-commerce
• internal use of electronic communications to support business processes.

E-business is generally understood to include all three elements. E-commerce is commonly used to refer to either the first one or first two of these elements, but less commonly the third. E-business is broader in scope than e-commerce.

2. Explain what is meant by buy-side and sell-side e-commerce.
Again refer to Figure 1.1. Buy-side e-commerce is using communications technology to support the upstream supply chain from procurement to inbound logistics. Sell-side refers to selling and distributing products and services from an organization to its customers.

3. Describe the different services that can be offered to customers via a web presence.
This is covered in more detail in Chapter 5 where levels of adoption are referred to (p. 172):
• outline information services on company and products
• detailed information services on products, e.g. technical inforsheets
• transactional e-commerce – purchases can be made online
• transactional customer service – questions can be asked and answers supplied online.

4. Summarize the consumer and business adoption levels in your country. What seem to be the main barriers to adoption?
Cyberatlas ( is a good source of country information. For business, the main barriers are highlighted by the DTI (2000) survey:
• lack of imperative;
• security risks.

For consumers, the Which report highlights fears about security and privacy as well as the lack of a perceived need.

5. Outline the reasons why a business may wish to adopt e-commerce.
The 6Cs are a good framework here:
• Cost reduction – less use of physical resources and staff.
• New capability – e.g. to sell into an overseas market.
• Improved communication – internal and external.
• Control – better visibility/information for managers of trading relationships
• Customer service – more detailed information, faster response can be provided 24 hours, 7 days a week.
• Competitive advantage – any of the above factors may provide this, but it is likely to be short-lived.

6. What are the main differences between business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce?
Refer also to the section in Chapter 2 (p. 34). In terms of volume of transactions B2B dwarfs B2C. B2C transactions will typically be smaller and less frequent for a trading relationship, but this is a generalization.

7. Summarize the impact of the introduction of e-business on different aspects of an organization.
The McKinsey 7S model is a useful framework for looking at the different aspects of a business that may be affected by the move to e-business:
• Strategy – new strategic responses are required
• Structure – new structures and responsibilities may be required
• Systems – new information systems and new processes will be required
• Style – less likely to change, but some organizational styles are more responsive to change
• Staff – new responsibilities
• Skills – new skills
• Superordinate goals – higher level aims may be updated depending on the business.

8. What is the relevance of intermediary sites such as Mondus ( to the B2B company?
Companies must think about whether they are represented on such intermediaries. If they are not, they may lose potential business. They also need to consider the positioning of their products relative to competitors who also use the intermediary.

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