Electronic business

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Electronic business, commonly referred to as "eBusiness" or "e-business", may be defined as the utilization of information and communication technologies (ICT) in support of all the activities of business. Commerce constitutes the exchange of products and services between businesses, groups and individuals and can be seen as one of the essential activities of any business. Electronic commerce focuses on the use of ICT to enable the external activities and relationships of the business with individuals, groups and other businesses [1].

Louis Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM, in his book, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? attributes the term "e-Business" to IBM's marketing and Internet teams in 1996.

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.

In practice, e-business is more than just e-commerce. While e-business refers to more strategic focus with an emphasis on the functions that occur using electronic capabilities, e-commerce is a subset of an overall e-business strategy. E-commerce seeks to add revenue streams using the World Wide Web or the Internet to build and enhance relationships with clients and partners and to improve efficiency using the Empty Vessel strategy. Often, e-commerce involves the application of knowledge management systems.

E-business involves business processes spanning the entire value chain: electronic purchasing and supply chain management, processing orders electronically, handling customer service, and cooperating with business partners. Special technical standards for e-business facilitate the exchange of data between companies. E-business software solutions allow the integration of intra and inter firm business processes. E-business can be conducted using the Web, the Internet, intranets, extranets, or some combination of these.

Basically, electronic commerce (EC) is the process of buying, transferring, or exchanging products, services, and/or information via computer networks, including the internet. EC can also be benifited from many perspective including business process, service, learning, collaborative, community. EC is often confused with e-business.



Applications can be divided into three categories:

  1. Internal business systems:
  2. Enterprise communication and collaboration:
  3. electronic commerce - business-to-business electronic commerce (B2B) or business-to-consumer electronic commerce (B2C):


When organizations go online, they have to decide which e-business models best suit their goals. [2] A business model is defined as the organization of product, service and information flows, and the source of revenues and benefits for suppliers and customers. The concept of e-business model is the same but used in the online presence. The following is a list of the currently most adopted e-business models such as:

Classification by provider and consumer

Roughly dividing the world into providers/producers and consumers/clients one can classify e-businesses into the following categories:

It is notable that there are comparably less connections pointing "upwards" than "downwards" (few employee/consumer/citizen-to-X models).

See also


Who says Elephants can't dance(2002), Louis Gerstner. pg 172
  1. Beynon-Davies P. (2004). E-Business. Palgrave, Basingstoke. ISBN 1-4039-1348-X
  2. Paul Timmers, (2000), Electronic Commerce - strategies & models for business-to-business trading, pp.31, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, ISBN 0-471-72029-1

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