World Wide Web: The World Wide Web (WWW) is a network of online content that is formatted in HTML and accessed via HTTP. The term refers to all the interlinked HTML pages that can be accessed over the Internet. The World Wide Web was originally designed in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee. E-Commerce/E-Business advantages can be broadly classified in three major categories: Advantages to Organizations Advantages to Consumers Advantages to Society Advantages to Organizations: Using E-Commerce, organization can expand their market to national and international markets with minimum capital investment. An organization can easily locate more customers, best suppliers and suitable business partners across the globe. E-Commerce helps organization to reduce the cost to create process, distribute, retrieve and manage the paper based information by digitizing the information. E-commerce improves the brand image of the company. E-commerce helps organization to provide better customer services. E-Commerce helps to simplify the business processes and make them faster and efficient. E-Commerce reduces paper work a lot. E-Commerce increased the productivity of the organization. It supports "pull" type supply management. In "pull" type supply management, a business process starts when a request comes from a customer and it uses just-in-time manufacturing way. Advantages to Customers: 24x7 support. Customer can do transactions for the product or enquiry about any product/services provided by a company any time, any where from any location. Here 24x7 refers to 24 hours of each seven days of a week. E-Commerce application provides user more options and quicker delivery of products. E-Commerce application provides user more options to compare and select the cheaper and better option. A customer can put review comments about a product and can see what others are buying or see the review comments of other customers before making a final buy.
E-Commerce provides option of virtual auctions. Readily available information. A customer can see the relevant detailed information within seconds rather than waiting for days or weeks. E-Commerce increases competition among the organizations and as result organizations provides substantial discounts to customers. Advantages to Society: Customers need not to travel to shop a product thus less traffic on road and low air pollution. E-Commerce helps reducing cost of products so less affluent people can also afford the products. E-Commerce has enabled access to services and products to rural areas as well which are otherwise not available to them. E-Commerce helps government to deliver public services like health care, education, social services at reduced cost and in improved way. E-Commerce disadvantages can be broadly classified in two major categories: Technical disadvantages Non-Technical disadvantages Technical Disadvantages: There can be lack of system security, reliability or standards owing to poor implementation of e-Commerce. Software development industry is still evolving and keeps changing rapidly. In many countries, network bandwidth might cause an issue as there is insufficient telecommunication bandwidth available. Special types of web server or other software might be required by the vendor setting the e-commerce environment apart from network servers. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to integrate E-Commerce software or website with the existing application or databases. There could be software/hardware compatibility issue as some E-Commerce software may be incompatible with some operating system or any other component. Non-Technical Disadvantages: Initial cost: The cost of creating / building E-Commerce application in-house may be very high. There could be delay in launching the E-Commerce application due to mistakes, lack of experience.
User resistance: User may not trust the site being unknown faceless seller. Such mistrust makes it difficult to make user switch from physical stores to online/virtual stores. Security/ Privacy: Difficult to ensure security or privacy on online transactions. Lack of touch or feel of products during online shopping. E-Commerce applications are still evolving and changing rapidly. Internet access is still not cheaper and is inconvenient to use for many potential customers like one living in remote villages. FRAMEWORK OF E-COMMERCE: The software framework necessary for building electronic commerce applications is little understood in existing literature. In general a framework is intended to define and create tools that integrate the information found in today’s closed systems and allow the development of e-commerce applications. It is important to understand that the aim of the architectural frame-work itself is not to build new database management systems, data repository, computer languages, software agent based transaction monitors, or communication protocols Rather, the architecture should focus on synthesizing the diverse resources already in place in corporations to facilitate the integration of data and software for better applications. The electronic commerce application architecture consists of six layers of functionality, or services: (1) Application services. (2) Brokerage services, data or transaction management. (3) Interface, and; support layers”. (4) Secure messaging, security and electronic document Interchange. (5) Middle ware and structured document interchange. (6) Network infrastructure and basic communications. 1. Application Services : Three distinct classes of electronic commerce application can be distinguished: A. Customer to business, B. Business-to-business, C. Intra organization. A. Consumer-to-Business Transactions This category is also known as marketplace transaction. In a marketplace transaction, customers learn about products differently through\ electronic publishing, buy them differently using electronic cash and secure payment systems, and have them delivered differently. Also, how customers allocate their loyalty may also be different. In light of this, the organization itself has to adapt to a world where the traditional concepts of brand differentiation no longer hold-where “quality” has a new meaning, where “content” may not be equated to “product,” Where “distribution” may not automatically mean “physical transport.” In this new environment, brand equity can rapidly evaporate forcing firms to develop new ways of doing business. B. Business-to Business Transactions This category is known as market-link transaction. Here, businesses, governments, and other organizations depend on computer – to- computer communication as a fast, an economical, and a dependable way to conduct business’ transactions. Small
companies are also beginning to see the benefits of adopting the same methods. Business-to-business transactions include the use of EDI and electronic mail for purchasing goods and services, buying information and consulting services, submitting requests for proposals, and receiving proposals. The current accounts payable process occurs through the exchange of paper documents. C. Intra-organizational Transactions This category is known as market-driven transactions. A company becomes market driven by dispersing throughout the firm information about its customers and competitors; by spreading strategic and tactical decision making so that all units can participate; and by continuously monitoring their customer commitment by making improved customer satisfaction an ongoing objective. 2. Information Brokerage and Management: The information brokerage and management layer provides service integration through the notion of information brokerages, the development of which is necessitated by the increasing information resource fragmentation. The notion of information brokerage is used to represent an intermediary who provides service integration between customers and information providers, given some constraint such as a low price, fast service, or profit maximization for a client. Information brokers, for example, are rapidly becoming necessary in dealing with the voluminous amounts of information on the networks. 3. Interface and Support Services : The third layer, interface and support services, will provide interfaces for electronic commerce applications such as interactive catalogues and will sup-port directory services-functions necessary for information search and access. These two concepts are very different. Interactive catalogs are the customized interface to consumer applications such as home shopping. 4. Secure Messaging and Structured Document Interchange Services: Electronic messaging is a critical business issue. Consider a familiar business scenario In Integrated Messaginga group of computer services that through the use of a network send, receive, and combine messages, faxes, and large data files. Some better-known examples are electronic mail, enhanced fax, and electronic data interchange. Broadly defined, messaging is the software that sits between the network infrastructure and the clients or electronic commerce applications, masking the peculiarities of the environment. Others define messaging as a frame-work for the total implementation of portable applications, divorcing you from the architectural primitives of your system. In general, messaging products are not applications that solve problems; they are more enablers of the applications that solve problems. Another advantage of messaging is that it is not associated with any particular communication protocol. No pre-processing is necessary, although there is an increasing need for programs to interpret the message. Messaging is well suited for both client server and peer-to-peer computing models. In distributed systems, the messages are treated as “objects” that pass between systems. Messaging is central to work-group computing that is changing the way businesses operate. The ability to access the right information at the right time across diverse work groups is a challenge. Today, with the messaging tools, people can communicate and work together more effectively-no matter where they are located. he main disadvantages of messaging are the new types of applications it enableswhich appear to be more complex, especially to traditional programmers and the jungle of standards it involves. Because of the lack of standards, there is often no interoperability between different messaging vendors leading to islands of messaging.