Unit 29 The Internet and E-Business

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Introduction


Aim

The aim of this unit is to give learners an understanding of the internet and how e-business can be used in organisations.

Unit abstract

This unit introduces learners to the scope of e-business and the benefits it offers to an organisation through the different business models. It enables sufficient understanding of internet technology for learners to appreciate the potential, and the limitations, of using the internet for business. The features of good website design are also covered. Learners new to studying e-business may already be familiar with e-business through having dealt with them as buyers and/or sellers. One of the aims of this unit is to help learners build on these experiences and look at them more objectively as viable and productive business organisations. Learners will examine the scope of e-business and the inherent models it can follow. The unit will give learners the ontology of the internet and business requirements for usable website design. They will have an in-depth knowledge of the technology behind the HCI of e-business. By studying online business environments learners will gain insight into how business is evolving within the virtual marketplace in order to remain competitive; how the development of a global marketplace impacts on all businesses; and how businesses can take advantage of these opportunities whilst meeting customer expectations.

Learning outcomes


1 Understand the scope of e-business

Definitions: the internet; the worldwide web (www); intranets; extranets; the distinction between e-business and e-commerce; stakeholder transaction types e.g. business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), customer-tocustomer (C2C), customer-to-business (C2B) Benefits to businesses of e-business: why a company should have a web presence e.g. 24/7 trading, global marketplace; overt and covert information collection; how the use of internet technology can reduce transaction costs Barriers to businesses caused by e-business: set-up costs; impact of staff; difficulty of changing processes; ongoing maintenance e.g. lack of skill, security and protection concerns; managing a 24/7 global marketplace response e.g. language, demand, logistics; the importance of trust for e-business transactions
Security and legislation: methods and role of physical security in e-business e.g. passwords, access; methods and role of electronic security in e-business e.g. firewalls, digital signatures, digital certificates, anti-virus software; impacts of national and international legislation e.g. staff training, taxation
Mode of communication: devices to communicate online, fixed and portable; business communications e.g. shopping cart, FAQs, customer follow-up

2 Understand how the internet works

Internet technology: the importance of agreed non-proprietary standards; how messages are transferred across the global communications network using packet switching e.g. TCP/IP; internet protocols e.g. FTP, HTTP, SHTTP, IMAP; and the role of URLs; bandwidth as a measure of capacity; why this is an important consideration
Introduction to HTML: the main features of HTML as the language of the www, defines format of the information and how it is presented, but not its content as in EDI; (elements (<Tags>) – head, body, title, break, headings, forms, paragraphs, lists, tables, links and images); highlight the number of software packages available to users who can now build pages without learning HTML; brief overview of XML and XTML Clients, servers and browsers: the functions of servers and clients and use of two-tier and three-tier architectures; the nature and role of search engines; the role of the browser in interpreting the HTML and presenting the data to fit the user’s device screen
Intranets and extranets: the differences between the use of the internet; an intranet and an extranet; explain how they can improve security and efficiency within business communication

3 Be able to use different e-business models

Business models: the different ways in which the internet may be used to generate revenue by supporting the sale of a product e.g. CDs; by charging per transaction for the provision of a service e.g. airline booking; by supplying electronic media information or services e.g. music downloads; by subscription based information services eg consumer advice; advertising revenue e.g. from linked websites, suppliers; by the growing provision of individualised  customer centric products and services requiring customer interaction e.g. auction sites, photographic services

4 Be able to use good website design

Structure of web-pages: the elements of a web page that may be used by search engines comprising head/title; description; keywords; metatags; body; navigation; download considerations e.g. images
Effective web pages: the design features to engage the visitor i.e. site stickiness; consistent page layout; corporate colour scheme; consistent with image of the business (brand) and customer expectation; pictures and links; clear; intuitive; informative; builds trust; encourages visitor to return; repeat business
Website usability: stakeholder accessibility by meeting the needs of different audiences e.g. parents, children; multi-sensory access e.g. visually impaired, colour blind; legal responsibilities e.g. discrimination legislation.

Resources


Essential requirements

Texts must be supported by the use of websites and case studies, for example www.bized.ac.uk which provides business case studies. For part-time learners working in business, their work experience must be used in comparing the approaches that are adopted.

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