(Vol.2 No. 1)
From E-Business to Electronic Commerce: Integration of Web Technologies with Business Models

Guest Editor: Mike Shaw, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, IL

1.  Michael J. Shaw, "Building an E-Business from Enterprise Systems."

Building their companies into successful e-businesses has become an important objective for today’s enterprises.  Conceptually, it embodies the enabling of the business with such capabilities as global networking, streamlining business processes, sharing information, agility in responding to the market, and intelligent decision making. But how can these concepts be implemented in actual enterprises? Why do these desirable attributes of business systems suddenly become the definition of competency of companies large and small? This paper describes the framework for building an e-business from the enterprise information systems’ perspective.

Increasingly enterprise systems have extended beyond the traditional business functions and include such new features as supply-chain management, customer relationship management and electronic commerce. The shifting focus is driven by the adoption of the Web as a new channel for product distribution, marketing, and interacting with customers. The integration of the traditional as well as the Web-oriented functions is the cornerstone for a successful e-business. This paper presents a framework for e-businesses that on one hand build on the enterprise systems but on the other hand encompasses the new e-business dimensions.

2. Stefan Klein, Rolf Alexander Teubner, "Web-based Procurement: New Roles for Intermediaries."

The electronic markets vs. electronic hierarchies debate initiated by Malone et al. (1987) has been superseded by the discussion about dis- or reintermediation in the electronic marketplace. Many of the arguments given for either side are equally correct – because the arguments have been applied to different domains in different situations from specific perspectives – and yet the debate falls short of covering the complexity and dynamics of the ongoing market structure change. The goal of this paper is therefore to develop a more differentiated framework that facilitates the understanding of chances and threats resulting from inter- and cybermediation. The framework suggests to distinguish roles, opportunities and threats for cybermediaries in different situations. While the framework is meant to structure the debate in general, we will focus on public sector procurement to show its application.

3. Gek Woo Tan, Michael J. Shaw and William Fulkerson, "Web-based Supply Chain Management."

A key constituent of supply chain management strategies is information sharing.  Software component technology facilitates information sharing by providing a means for integrating heterogeneous information systems into virtual information systems.  Extranet technology facilitates information sharing between an enterprise and its business partners as well as its customers through the Internet.  These two technologies enable new strategies that integrate information systems and improve supply chain networks.  We discuss the application of these strategies to supply chain processes.

4. Daniel G. Conway, "Supplier Affiliated Extended Supply Chain Backbones."

E-commerce has progressed from the preliminary stages of brochure-ware to on-line transaction management, and is entering a phase where great opportunities exist in extended supply-chain over the Internet.  Currently, much of the focus is on business-to-business e-commerce, where middleman hubs perform broker functions of search and comparison.  Their value is derived from providing time and cost savings to participants.  As XML semantics and other information sharing technologies become more standardized, and as behavioral aspects of Internet commerce become better established, we would expect the searching and comparison mechanics to become priced at their marginal costs. Business-to-business hubs, or Interorganizational Systems that do not add value in another way to the chain will find very little margins.  In this paper, we examine issues related to Internet extended supply chain backbones from the supplier’s viewpoint and discuss the information architecture of a third party software backbone and how it can provide value-added services to suppliers and OEMs via internetworking standards.

5. Ashish Arora, Gregory Cooper, Ramayya Krishnan, and Rema Padman, "IBIZA: E-market Infrastructure for Custom-built Information Products."

The merger of electronic commerce, intelligent agent and distributed computing technologies over TCP/IP-based platforms enables the creation of electronic markets in new types of products featuring both human and software agents as actors. One such example is a market in custom-built information products. These are information products that have been constructed to meet specific requirements provided by the consumer. Examples include custom research reports, analysis, and computational objects. How should these markets be designed? What are the market mechanisms that should be used to coordinate the interactions between the actors? What should be the decision strategies employed by the software agents that participate in the market? IBIZA is a computational workbench that enables designers to create and simulate electronic markets in information products. It provides a repository of software agents, bidding strategies, brokering strategies and market mechanisms. Using the repository, designers can instantiate particular designs of electronic markets and conduct experiments to study the impact of design decisions on desired objectives.  In this paper, we focus on the key technical and economic issues encountered in the design of IBIZA. We illustrate using examples from our work on designing a software agent-based electronic market for automated model development.

6. Shuhua Liu, Abo Akademi, Efraim Turban, and Matthew Lee, "Software Agents for Environmental Scanning in Electronic Commerce."

To properly implement and use electronic commerce systems companies need to evaluate considerable amount of information from their business environment in activities such as environmental scanning.  This information is needed both for strategic management and for operational decisions.  However, the relevant information may be difficult to find and interpret due to information overload and the fact that the information may be in many locations.  Fortunately, most of the information is on the Web (Internet, extranets).

To overcome the search problem, especially in large organizations, one should consider the use of software agents.  This paper presents an overview for the utilization of such agents today and in the future by describing a prototype system designed for information monitoring and collection from Web sources for the pulp and paper industry.  The paper also describes the use of other agents that can supplement the system in specific electronic commerce application areas. Finally, some implementation issues are discussed.

7. Michael H. Dickey and Blake Ives, "The Impact of Intranet Technology On Power in Franchisee/Franchisor Relationships."

In this exploratory study we investigate the impact of an organization-wide intranet on the power relationships between franchisee and franchisor.  This article reports on a study of an intranet implementation at PJ's, a franchise organization consisting of 25 coffee and tea cafes.  Through use of interviews as well as a detailed case study of one franchisee, we examine how the relationship between franchisor and franchisee changes with the implementation of an intranet.  Among the findings was that the intranet appeared to increase power of both franchisee and franchisor, though the franchisor continued to have relatively more power than the franchisee.  The franchisor did not include franchisee to franchisee communications as an intranet feature and, interestingly, the franchisees did not seek to develop such a virtual community outside of the system.  We speculate that the current satisfaction with the franchisor among franchisees might explain disinterest in such a community. We also found evidence that some franchisees who entered the franchise organization early in its evolution might react much differently to the implementation of the intranet than those who invested in the more established organization several years later.

8. Sulin Ba, Andrew B Whinston, and Han Zhang, "The Dynamics of the Electronic Market: An Evolutionary Game Approach."

The capabilities afforded by network technologies have facilitated the growth of electronic commerce.  However, online frauds pose serious challenges to the further adoption of the electronic market.  In order to promote trust and reduce transaction risks, various trusted third parties have emerged and new models have been proposed.  Will people use the trusted third parties while conducting online transactions?  How will the electronic market evolve?  This research attempts to identify the different equilibria of the electronic market using an evolutionary game theoretic approach and to explore the best strategy to do transactions in the electronic market.  Also, the work provides a theoretical justification to the emergence and necessity of trusted third parties for electronic transactions.

9. Ravi Kalakota and Benn Konsynski, "The Rise of Neo-Intermediation: The Transformation of the Brokerage Industry."

Developments in information technology and increased competition both within and outside the industry have led to the unbundling and desegregation of brokerage functions.  Nimble on-line institutions like E*Trade and Microsoft Investor are usurping the roles traditionally played by full-service and discount brokerages, forcing some powerful firms to narrow their focus and others to broaden their product offerings.

These changes raise the question: will full-service and discount brokerages continue to exist as we know them in the twenty-first century?  To answer this question, the authors provide a new market transformation framework called Neo-Intermediation that helps explain how leading on-line firms are desegregating and reagregating functionality in order to create value in innovative ways.

The pattern of change for brokerages is:

? Unbundling of traditional services - market players examine the elements of the buyer and seller relationship;
? Reallocation of authorities as the “customer” determines what they will do and what they will pay for in the market;
? Creation of strategic alliances with complementors - sites/products whose products complement yours. This means that if a customer has their product, they would also want yours; and
? Repackaging and emergence of both commodity and differentiated service providers that serve the needs of the “new” customer.

The authors believe that these patterns are evident in all forms of financial services and form the basis of market interventions in most service industries.  This paper addresses the transformation of the brokerage services marketplace.  With new patterns of intermediation emerging, the winners of the future will be those who most successfully create new context bundles that meet customers' needs.