The emergence of the internet and other information technology has been hailed by the business world as one of the drivers of growth and profitability. It revolutionized the relationships between businesses and their customers; between and among businesses; and between customers, too. Implementing e-business, however, is not easily implemented. Apart from the monetary costs, there are also integration and transition issues that an organization needs to face. Quan (2008) argues that in spite of the heavy investment in e-business activities and platforms, there is no conclusive proof that demonstrates significant returns from e-business.
When profitability is measured, leaders demonstrated success. In terms of cost measurement, however, they did not. I agree with Quan that too many executives and IT practitioners have joined the bandwagon of e-business because of success stories of some internet businesses. It is easier to join the bandwagon and duplicate what other organizations have done than to take a look at one’s own situation and peculiarities to really determine, which approach would work. If this were followed, the impact of e-business would have been more salient.
In my own experience, the integration of information technology and e-business framework has mixed results. It helped the way that the business connects with its customers and clients. In terms of customer relationship management and the way that the business manages its inventory and its communication needs. The investment on e-business is significant. The business has to employ additional individuals so as to manage the elements of e-business and spend on additional equipment and gadgets that could make the system work.
The returns on this investment, however, cannot be felt right away. There are several areas of business operations rendered more efficiently such as reporting, accessing information, savings on materials such as paper that are no longer used extensively. In the short run, e-business platforms and elements tend to be more on the cost side of the business. For managers, this is a rather alarming situation. Profitability is of course the ultimate goal of any business. Yet, e-business tends to be unprofitable in the short run.
Quan agrees with such an observation. To maximize the impact of e-business profitability, the timeline of the implementation should be clear and there should be clear guidelines as to the implementation of the project. In our case, we managed the expectations of stakeholders by informing them of the process that the organization will go through while e-business platform is being integrated into the system. Managers and organizations, in general, should be able to manage expectations as to the situation of e-business integration.
Yet, management should not be afraid to take risks because of the benefits that e-business could bring to the organization as a whole. Several months might not be enough to see the results of e-business integration. Yet, if the organization will really follow through on its investment, the results will be seen in due time. The challenge, however, is planning and mapping out these results. With deft management and effective communication within and without the organization, e-business will succeed and become integrated into the operations of the business in the long run.
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Topic: Organization’s Cost and Profitability and Performance Indicators
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