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Project Plan Inception
TechLand is an e-commerce start-up company arising from a new facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Our new facility is sure to make a mark on our competitors, as it is a standalone two-story building. The goal of this new facility is to grow our business and to incorporate various innovations from our partners to help improve our team and our revenue.
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TechLand is making advancements in the electronic commerce sector by introducing new technologies such as E-readers on credit cards and fingerprint accessibility/voice activation for payments on online websites. We want to incorporate our vision during the twenty-first century. The days of online payments via credit card numbers and security codes, while still growing, are numbered. In an era of innovations such as Apple Pay where materials such as physical cards and PINs are becoming obsolete, the goal of our business is to grow in a fashion that keeps up with innovations rather than investing time and money in technology that has already become old. The key for any company such as ours that is at the early stages of growth is to keep up with innovations so that we do not proceed down the wrong path while growing and expanding the breadth of our business.
Our gamble in the electronic commerce industry has already paid off; however, within the few months, we have started our business. We are, of course, appreciative of our investors in their efforts to aid in this growth. Our current staff of ten employees has created 10 million dollars in revenue. We look forward to our new facility to not only help continue our mission but also bolster our goals and business prospects.
Electronic commerce has become a part of our everyday life. The field of electronics is growing rapidly and within the last two decades research articles published regarding the topic has blossomed in countries such as the United States, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Germany (Yang, 2017). New approaches are emerging every day, which contribute to the influx of work and interest in the field of electronic commerce. Electronic commerce is also growing not only in theoretical capacities but also in the way that it can aid in the business models that companies redirect their revenues for greater customer convenience. Innovations such as electronic commerce are the result of an ever-increasing reliance on electronic commerce around the globe. Considering that some of the largest companies in the world today, such as Amazon, are rooted in electronic commerce, there should be no surprise that the time for growth and further innovation of electronic commerce is now.
Electronic commerce has also introduced a new era of globalization of the world economy (Shahjee, 2016). A customer in the United States can purchase a watch from the United Kingdom in seconds with the help of electronic commerce products. The result is a more connected world used getting what is needed, whenever they need it. Because of these innovations, the need for companies in electronic commerce to stay ahead of the current information and technological curve is expedient.
Not only do electronic commerce companies today need to maintain their innovations quality but also create new and faster algorithms and methods of developed software to support their competition against the world’s leading providers of electronic commerce concerning both convenience and efficiency.
Since revenue allows innovating our information systems there are some changes we need to incorporate to bring our company to the forefront of the electronic commerce business. First, regarding databases that we will use under the NoSQL (Amazons proprietary database storage system) sector of information services, DynamoDB and Oracle are the most efficient we would like to incorporate into our business. In addition, consideration of MySQL will also be dependent on the results we will notice from the aforementioned databases. If we would like to incorporate as part of our systems analysis techniques software such as Sisence, Looker, and QlikView there will be an advantage to such systems. Further, we will also start to survey various companies for our network monitoring software. Currently, some network monitoring software that stands out that we would like to research more into are (1) ConnectWise Automate Review, (2) ManageEngine OpManager Review, and (3) Datadog Review.
Our computer infrastructure will incorporate cloud computing. More and more companies are turning to their cloud computing software to aid in the responsibilities of networking, storage, server, and virtualization.
Five of the twenty-five employees we are planning to hire as part of our expansion strategy into the stand-alone facility will monitor and manage the human-computer interaction and web design aspect of the business. The new employees will have the critical role of creating and implementing the design and user-friendly access to our websites that will allow our business to continue to keep up with our competition and, more importantly, grow.
All the suggested software and techniques mentioned here are of course just suggestions that can be altered if new ideas emerge. However, it is necessary that we implement parts of each of the categories mentioned to continue the growth of our business in a forthcoming manner. Our investors rely on our growth, as do our employees, so the need for innovative change is one that should not be ignored in a sector such as electronic commerce that is rapidly evolving.
The Scope of the Project Plan
The business seeks to capitalize on the potential opportunities in the field of e-commerce to gain revenues and to expand its market share. The scope of e-commerce is vast and is important for a business to narrow its scope to ensure that it remains competitive (Schneider, 2014). TechLand’s scope of business will mainly focus on introducing new technologies such as E-readers on credit cards and fingerprint accessibility/voice activation for payments on online websites. The focus in this area of e-commerce stems from the increasing need to make e-commerce more secure and reliable in terms of security and privacy (Patel & Lakhtaria, 2017). Biometric features like iris, voice pattern, and fingerprint are more secure than other identification formats like PINs (Zhu, 2015). These biometric features cannot be forgotten or stolen, and at the same time, they are unique and remain similar throughout a person’s life. As such, it remains the most promising and highly sophisticated authentication technology (Patel & Lakhtaria, 2017). The use of fingerprints as a password for online transactions will make e-commerce more dependable and increase revenues from it as more and more people will be comfortable engaging in this kind of transactions (Vargas-Hernández, 2015).
TechLand’s focus on new technologies that aim at making e-commerce transactions more secure and reliable will see the company grow its revenues and improve its performance in the long-term rapidly. Technologies such as fingerprint recognition are the most matured techniques in this sector (Segovia, 2014). Even identical twins cannot have the same biometric features including the fingerprints. E-commerce providers and customers are increasingly receptive to these methods, which signal the essential role they will play in our growth model (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). This trend is attributed to the growing awareness by the users of the risks and threats associated with this kind of transactions, especially those relating to cyber-crimes (Patel & Lakhtaria, 2017). Using the old techniques like PINs increases the risks; for example, it is possible for a third party to hack into someone’s bank account and withdraw all the money from it (Schneider, 2014). In addition, if a smartphone is stolen or lost, one can easily access sensitive information, including gaining accesses to a person’s financial assets (Zhu, 2015). The introduction of new technologies such as those involving biometrics offers a solution to this kind of challenges. For example, if a user is using biometric characteristics to facilitate e-commerce transactions, it means that such a transaction will not occur unless he is physically present and he or she is aware (Patel and Lakhtaria, 2017). As e-commerce transactions become more extensive, the deployment of the new technologies that TechLand is introducing to secure it will have greater demand thereby making the company more profitable.
Risks, Constraints, and Assumptions
As TechLand seeks to become a major player in the e-commerce sector by providing new technologies critical in enabling providers and users to engage in transactions in a more secure and reliable manner, there are risks that it is likely to face. The first risk relates to fraud. The new technologies introduced by the firm aim at boosting the security of online transactions (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). However, it does not mean that the company will not be prone to fraudulent activities. Studies have established that e-commerce transactions are more likely to lead to fraud compared to face-to-face business engagements (Patel & Lakhtaria, 2017). This situation relates to the very nature of e-commerce transactions; when users are in doubt about the legitimacy of a given transaction, they cannot physically verify the validity of the cardholder or the card (Segovia, 2014). For example, a merchant may not be aware if the person performing a transaction is doing so under duress where he has to use biometric features against his wishes to complete a transaction.
The second major risk that TechLand is likely to face relates to a data breach. Those seeking to gain from fraudulent acts illegally in the e-commerce industry are always trying ways of circumventing the data protection mechanisms that have been put in place to guard against such acts (Zhu, 2015). To achieve their goal, they may look for ways to steal data that is not only stored online but also at the physical location. Although TechLand will strive to ensure that all the clients’ information at its disposal is secured properly, there is still a likelihood of a data breach. Hackers may still manage to steal sensitive account information of the firm’s clients and partners through methods like interception of transaction data during transmission from or to merchant services providers (Schneider, 2014). They might also steal data by accessing the inadequately protected payment processor’s system. Apart from the online data breach, there is a possibility of a physical site data breach. This can happen in several ways, including having an employee or a group of employees within the firm stealing data (Patel & Lakhtaria, 2017).
The third major risk that TechLand may face in this business is about customer disputes. Customer disputes and chargebacks are among the top risk issues in the e-commerce sector. While it is true that data breaches and fraud can cause more damages to businesses in e-commerce, customer disputes, including chargebacks can also result in terminating or suspension of merchant accounts among other adverse effects to players in this sector (Zhu, 2015). Some of the major causes of this kind of risk include fraudulent transactions and incorrect transaction amount among others (Segovia, 2014). Therefore, TechLand will have to contend with the possibility of having to provide support to its clients and partners in dealing with customer disputes that may arise.
Apart from the highlighted three major risks that TechLand will likely face, other risks may occur. A risk associated with e-commerce intellectual property is one of them where the new technologies that it seeks to introduce might be copyrighted (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). The other one is in respect to e-commerce taxation where the company may face difficulty computing it due to the complex nature of this business. The other risk relates to website marketing and SEO where the algorithm updates risk inadequate traffic online thereby undermining the firm’s business viability (Patel & Lakhtaria, 2017).
Risks that TechLand is likely to face in its operations relate to the potential constraints. In addition to the above risks that can also pass as constraints, other factors can directly be termed as constraints. The first one is fear; whereas there is a growing uptake of e-commerce globally, a significant number of people still fear to operate in the faceless and paperless online world, thus constraining the growth of e-commerce business (Zhu, 2015). A large number of people still opt to do their purchases in physical stores. This constraint is linked to that of product suitability where some people find it difficult to rely on images posted online to make purchasing decisions (Schneider, 2014). Some of them still despise the absence of “feel and touch” with online shopping. The other constraint relates to cultural obstacles. Since e-commerce depends on customers from across the world, culture and habits of people from different countries sometimes undermine the use of this platform (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). For example, some people may face linguistic barriers while trying to engage in a transaction.
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Additionally, high labor cost is another constraint to e-commerce and which may affect the performance of TechLand. Successful running of this type of company often require highly trained, technical, and talented staff. The company may have to incur huge labor expenses to attract and retain such kind of employees. This situation may eat into the company’s revenues and affect its ability to realize long-term goals and objectives (Segovia, 2014). Moreover, the company may face the constraint regarding technical limitations, especially in cases where certain protocol are not standardized. Lack of standardized software and inadequate telecommunication bandwidth may pose technical challenges to the company (Patel and Lakhtaria, 2017). Furthermore, huge technological costs may be a constraint to the company. Running such a business requires putting up technological infrastructure that may be expensive, in addition to requiring making modifications to keep up with the continuously changing technology (Vargas-Hernández, 2015).
Businesses involved in the e-commerce sector tend to make assumptions that may prove to be costly. These assumptions include assuming that they know what the customers are searching for, assuming that traffic is the main goal, assuming that customers will automatically return, and assuming it is easy to acquire customers (Schneider, 2014). It would be important for TechLand to avoid such assumptions in order to achieve success. Instead, it will find ways of optimizing strategies to have a better understanding of the customers, market trends, and future projections.
Integration with other Systems and Infrastructure
TechLand’s business of introducing new technologies such as E-readers on credit cards and fingerprint accessibility/voice activation for payments on online websites would require integration with other systems and infrastructure. The aim of the integration would be to attract, retain, and satisfy the customers and partners of the company (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). It would also aim at streamlining procurement, manufacturing, and supply chain systems to enhance the efficiency of operations. More importantly, it will seek to capture, share, and analyze business intelligence regarding company operations, customers, and partners (Segovia, 2014). The need for integration emanates from the understanding that there is no “one size fits all” approach to achieving success in e-commerce. Instead, a great and effective e-commerce ecosystem is premised on the integration of multiple systems and processes to make it easy for providers and customers (Schneider, 2014).
Databases that TechLand will use under the NoSQL (Amazons proprietary database storage system) sector of information services, DynamoDB, MySQL, and Oracle will be integrated with other systems and infrastructure to make e-commerce platforms scalable and flexible to meet market needs. The integration of databases will serve to allow for a technology architecture that is effective and strong with various in-house and third-party software programs (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). There are key systems and networking that should be considered in the e-commerce systems integration. The first one is ERP integration that involves integrating online sales channel with the ERP software to enable providers to have an up-to-date information regarding the state of their cash flow and finances (Segovia, 2014). The second one is Payment Service providers (PSP’s); reliable integration with this system is fundamental in making sure that the customers’ transactions are processed in a smooth and prompt manner. Lack of reliable PSP connection would result in missed revenues and sales opportunities (Schneider, 2014). Therefore, TechLand will seek integration with major PSPs like PayPal and CyberSource among others.
The third systems and infrastructure integration would be in respect to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that is critical in helping providers to keep up-to-date with what customers are doing. It thus helps to combine sales force with commerce operations (Segovia, 2014). The final systems and infrastructure that TechLand will seek to undertake integration for are Order Management and Fulfilment systems. There are several sections under this system. They include call centers, which should access the e-commerce operation systems to place or update orders; stock control, which communicates with in-house stock systems to ensure an accurate reflection of stocking levels, warehousing, and dispatch that makes sure that customers remain up-to-date and informed (Vargas-Hernández, 2015).
TechLand will strive to ensure that e-commerce integration supported through its technologies lead to the best commerce portfolios in the world. To achieve this objective, it will work to provide customers with options in optimization and analytics platforms. It will use data gathering and aggregation capabilities to generate a single view of the customers from various platforms and business intelligence applications (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). Additionally, since e-commerce thrives on the exactness of locating customers from online space to their actual geographical locations, TechLand will seek to develop and integrate geolocation capabilities to allow enterprises to personalize their digital consumer experiences based on location. By doing so, the company’s clients will also have the ability to meet global trade compliance regulations (Schneider, 2014). Consequently, TechLand will be able to attract and retain more customers thus boosting its revenues.
Another area of focus for TechLand in its bid to realize proper integration critical in solidifying its place in the e-commerce sector is in respect to shipping and address validation. The company will work to minimize fraud and to offer accurate shipping data and information (Vargas-Hernández, 2015). The essence of this process would be to make sure that majority of the company’s customers who handle physical merchandise have an integrated platform with major logistics and validation services such as FedEx, UPS, and United States Postal Service among others.
Furthermore, considering that businesses in the e-commerce sector, including TechLand, face a challenge in tax calculation, the company will seek to help its clients and partners to address it. These enterprises must comply with ever-changing and complex tax regulations and laws, as well as other global trade compliance rules. Additionally, e-commerce business thrives on reviews and feedbacks on social platforms (Schneider, 2014). TechLand will provide its clients and partners with user-generated content such as social sharing, reviews, and ratings are a crucial part of modern online marketing ecosystem. Besides, the company will seek to bolster search merchandizing in e-commerce. It will help providers and users in the e-commerce sector to augment the advanced merchandising and search capabilities with complementary solutions with each other (Segovia, 2014). In addition, it will facilitate affiliate management by aiding enterprises to leverage affiliates to expand their drive and presence. Since marketing is essential in e-commerce, TechLand will help its customers in their integrated marketing management. Its customers will be able to leverage leading cross-channel marketing solutions, in addition to tailoring their digital customer experiences to meet the needs of every marketing campaign (Vargas-Hernández, 2015).
Relevant Terms in the Project
Affiliate- a site owner or publisher forwarding qualified web traffic to online merchant based on pay-for-performance.
E-commerce- purchasing and selling goods and/or services over electronic networks such as mobile applications.
Fraud- deliberate deception for the purpose of monetary or any other form of gain.
Logistics- the management of resources such as sale items as they travel from point of origin to a destination.
Marketing- Engaging with potential or existing customers with products and services through various methods such as email and television.
Traffic- the level of visitors coming to a site from various sources; more traffic often leads to more business.
Transaction- buying an order online from a seller.
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