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Since the Biblical days, most of the machines and equipment that were used by early man were made using some form of technology. It is wise to state that most of these tools were mostly made by black smiths and gold smiths who can be credited to be the pioneers of ancient technology. With time however there has been great improvement in the use of technology. From the onset of the 17th century there was a drastic change in technology and this affected all government and private sectors this contributed to the economic growth and prosperity of many nations around the world as well as economic growth of individuals. This was by the discovery and commencement of the usage of the internet as a communication tool as well as a mode of conducting business. The purpose of this paper will be to focus on how technology works in relation to business. Under this, the paper will focus on one aspect of technology, the internet. It will explain how internet has been incorporated in business; this will be by discussing Electronic Commerce / business (E - commerce / business). The paper will discuss how E - commerce works, its advantages and limitations. In addition to that, it will discuss as to whether the incorporation of internet in business has created or solved the existing problems that have faced most business. In conclusion, the paper will give a personal assessment of the technology's prospects for success in the marketplace and what the future looks like for businesses in relation to technology.
E - Commerce and E - Business
Since the discovery of the internet and online trading, there has been heated arguments among entrepreneurs and business professions on the major differences between E - business and E - commerce and whether they perform the same functions in an organization or not.
According to Li, E - business is the process of changing the existing key business processes by the use of internet technologies (Li, 2007, p8). In addition to that, Li has observed that E - business is mainly applied to the company's strategy and operations. In reference to E - commerce, Bushry has explained that E - commerce is a online (electronic) process of business transaction (buying and selling) of goods and services, however there is a 3rd party involved in the process whose responsibility is to ensure transparency of the process and that all the parties adhere to the stipulated rules and regulations (Bushry, 2005, p3). There are two main branches of the E - commerce; the sell side and buy side E - commerce.
Buy - Side: According to Goel, in E - commerce, the buy side refers to the raw materials and resources that the company needs from its suppliers (Goel, 2007). In modern business world, most companies have come up with relevant strategies that will help them reduce the cost they spend on suppliers but at the same time maximize profits. This has been achieved by settling for one reliable supplier for each of the raw materials that it requires. One criterion used to settle for the supplier is the quality of goods / services offered.
Sell - Side: The sell side is the process of the selling of the company's goods and services to the consumers (Bushry, 2005, p 8). This is the side that greatly determines whether the organizations / company will record profits or losses. It is also important to note that there are different categories of E - commerce and this are based on the nature of transaction carried out by the parties. These types of transactions according to Bushry are, Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B) and finally the intra business (Bushry 2005, p7). As indicated in the introductory part of this paper, one of its mandates will be to discuss the advantages and limitations of E - commerce and how it has affected the modern day business transactions.
Advantages of E - Commerce
Availability: According to Botha et al irrespective on the type of E - commerce business transaction, the services are always available 24/7 for the whole year and any person can transact no matter their physical location (Botha et al 2008). The second advantage of E - commerce is the price. In the business world, the consumer always looks out for products of high quality but affordable prices. To be able to compete equally with other companies that offer the same products, most companies have ensured that their pricing are not so high for most consumers. In addition to that, they have come up with incentives that will help them attract more customers on their online store, this is something that could not be done during the ancient days when most organizations hadn't implemented E - commerce as a main business strategy (Botha et al 2008).
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Last but not least, another advantage that the internet technology has brought to most businesses is that it has acted as a cost cutting measure: unlike in the ancient days when most companies and organization were forced to print price catalogues and other material, the internet as changed this since consumers can easily access the company's products online and be able to compare prices. This in the end save most companies the extra costs the incurred on materials such as papers, printers and printer cartridges. Other costs that E - commerce has helped reduce are those related with marketing, information storage and inventory management. Even though it might appear that the internet technology has been a perfect solution to most businesses, it has its limitations that have hindered the rapid growth and prosperity of most business empires.
Limitations of E - Commerce
Technology: It is assumed that most people around the world have access to the internet or they are computer literate. This is a wrong. In most nations around the world especially in Africa there is a high rate of illiteracy and few people are afraid of trying out new business concepts. Because of this technological challenge, people prefer to stick to the old approach of doing trade. Apart from technology, another limitation to E - commerce is the shopping culture. According to Barnes, in most regions, shoppers prefer to feel and touch the products that they intend to purchase (Barnes, 2007). It will therefore be hard to convince some consumers that the product that they are viewing online is the same or of better quality like the one that will be delivered to them. The payment process also "scares" away most consumers. This especially has to do with those consumers in developing nations most of whom do not hold a bank account.
This research paper has looked at how technology is applied in the modern day business process and the impact that it caused. The paper has given the definition of E - business and E - commerce and the different business transactions that take place. The advantages and limitation of E - commerce have been critically discussed in the paper. On a personal opinion, it is wise to say that the introduction of the internet communication technology as a tool of conducting business has had more advantages that limitations. As indicated in the advantages of E - commerce, the easy availability of internet has transformed the world into a digital village or a digital market place. For instance, a buyer from Africa can purchase goods from a supplier in South America at a click of a button. This process can take less than one hour which is in sharp contrast to the ancient ways of doing business where letters were to written, sent and wait for response. In conclusion, the future of technology in the market place looks bright, it however the responsibility of the world super powers to step in a help the developing nations to embrace the concept of information technology, E - commerce specifically and by so doing the most nations will experience the same economic growth and development.
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