Architecture Defined  «Prev  Next»
Lesson 8e-business today
ObjectiveHistory Relevance of ebusiness impact on Today

History Relevance of ebusiness impact on Today

Purpose of an e-business Solution

e-business is a natural evolution of business in general.
At all stages of business evolution, the introduction of technological advances has created the potential for change and increased geographical reach for business.
As we discussed in an earlier lesson, eCommerce and Internet technologies have had much to do with the sudden explosion of e-business.
But what is the relevance of the history of e-business and eCommerce to the way e-business is conducted today?

The importance of standards

Prior to the Internet, the other resources for e-business, including phone, telex, and fax, were based on what is called closed or proprietary standards. A closed standard means that the system or standard was defined by a single vendor and was incompatible with solutions from other vendors. This effectively "locked" the customer into that vendor's solution. There are a number of risks associated with closed standards.
The explosion of the Internet and its powerful influence on eCommerce and technology is largely because it is founded on open standards. An open standard allows for an unrestricted exchange between all entities, and provides a fertile ground for development on all levels. This is also one of the reasons for the resounding popularity of freeware or open source .

The origins of e-business

To predict future advancement of e-business, we should examine the past. As we have discussed, e-business has its roots in pre-Internet technologies dating back at least 30 years.
The history of e-business underscores the notion that e-business is more than simply Web sites on the Internet: it is more accurately an evolution of technology, not a revolution. The JavaScript MouseOver below follows the e-business timeline. The events listed below have had consequences for both eCommerce and e-business, and could loosely describe the "pre-history" of e-business.

The world at your door

These and other advances in computing and telecommunications have made communication with customers across geographical boundaries easy and cost-effective. This is largely due to the growing presence of relatively standard customer-access devices in businesses, and most significantly, in homes around the world.

Key problems

Technological advancements may have opened up new horizons, but this revolution is not yet complete. The future of e-business has yet to resolve some key challenges. These challenges are described in the table below.

Key problems Description
Legalities and regulations If a US company sells goods to an Italian consumer, it is not clear whose consumer protection laws relate to the sale. What are the tax implications of the sale? Who should calculate these taxes?
International shipping The logistics and cost of shipping of goods across international borders remains a complex issue. What trading restrictions might be applicable to the transaction?
Limited access to electronic trade or "eTrade" PCs are still too complex and expensive for a large proportion of the world population, even within developed countries. How will the growth of interactive television and the emergence of PC-type devices with limited functionality open up world markets? How will this change in the next two to five years?

The legal and regulatory issues

Designing for flexibility

The key learning here is that no e-business design and solution exists that will not require ongoing maintenance. If the design is to continue to meet its purpose from both a technical and regulatory perspective, upgrading and enhancement should be built into the process.
The standards for the Internet and e-business are part of a hotly debated argument as old as the Internet itself. Should there be additional standards placed on e-business? If so, who should control them? What do you think?
Do standards provide more consumer protection? Do they regulate the provenance, reliability, security, and privacy of digitally transferred information, or do they restrict development and curtail innovation in an area that has developed well on its own with few controls?
In the next lesson, we identify and differentiate between the various primary models of e-business.

ecommerce Empire