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Lesson 2 Roles of architecture and architect in e-business
ObjectiveDefine architecture and role of the architect in ebusiness.

Architect Roles in e-Business

To understand e-business architecture, we will start by defining the terms e-business and ecommerce.
You may have heard these terms used interchangeably. The Internet itself is continually transforming, and these terms are redefined on an ongoing basis. In this course, we will define eCommerce, or what is sometimes termed iCommerce, to mean business transactions conducted online. This includes, for example, the actual transaction of buying and selling products and services using the Internet.

e-business and eCommerce

How does e-business relate to the Internet? For the purposes of this course, we describe e-business as encompassing much more than the Internet, and more than eCommerce or iCommerce . e-business includes more than computers and the Web; it encompasses phone, fax, and more importantly, other yet-to-be invented electronic devices. We might even say that Internet was not the start of e-business, but that it has simply amplified its influence, particularly on the businesses-to-consumer (B2C) frontier.
The graphic below describes the relationship between e-business and eCommerce or iCommerce.

The relationship between eBusiness and eCommerce

Now that we understand the relationship between e-business and eCommerce, let's discuss e-business architecture and the role of the e-business architect. Within this course, we will define e-business architecture as the structure or design of an e-business.
To fully understand the e-business architects' role, it is important to appreciate the effect of introducing e-business into the traditional business environment.

e-business is still business

The important thing to remember is that e-business is still business.
Although many companies make the assumption that e-business is separate from the existing business; this is often not the case. The digitalization, globalization, and deregulation that is so much a part of e-business, simply provides an alternative or additional route to market, and an automated way of doing more of today's business.
There are many technical and operational differences between e-business and non-e-business activity.
The focus may have shifted, but there are also many components that overlap and interact. We will now examine the e-business of redesign.

The e-business of Redesign

The goal of the e-business architect is to provide a unified view of the e-business and its effects on the existing business.
The successful e-business architect must therefore understand the overlap between business and e-business activities to ensure the success of the enterprise. He/she must focus on and consider new elements of business activity, but also be aware of the effects and interactions of these activities with existing practices and systems.
The role of the e-business architect requires a very broad knowledge base. In a sense, the e-business architect is more accurately defined as a business re-designer, rather than an e-business architect. As you learn more about the scope of the architect's role, you will see why this distinction is important.
Within the bounds of current technologies, it appears that some goods sell well electronically and others do not. Whatever the product, the architect's role in addressing the needs of the business is to look at new ways of addressing the customer. It is to act as an integrator, a translator, and a facilitator of the design process. The SlideShow below describes the role of the e-business architect:

  1. Specialist: The ebusiness architect should have a solid understanding of technologies in general, and internet technologies or ecommerce in particular.
  2. Integrator: The ebusiness architect should gain and maintain a broad understanding of the business and be aware of current business practices and systems.
  3. Translator: The ebusiness architect must gain and maintain a broad understanding of the business, and be aware of current business practices and systems.
  4. Project Manager: Project and plan for the involvement of other business partnerships in the eBusiness activity
  5. Facilitator: The eBusiness architect also plays an integral part in presenting the concepts of site design to the internal stakeholders

ebusiness Architect Role
As we will see later in the course, the architect is in many ways a regulator, a decision-maker, and a designer. In the next lesson, we will look at the scope of the architect's role and responsibilities.

e-business Architect Role - Quiz

Before you move on to the next lesson, click the Quiz link below to assess your understanding of scope of architect's role and responsibilities.
ebusiness Architect Role - Quiz