The Internet and other emerging technologies have been a source of help to organisations in the modern time. It could be argued that having a form of modern technology is inevitable in the bid to remain competitive. Information Technology industry and media commentators claim that businesses stand to gain many benefits from use of the Internet. There is no doubt that the internet has transformed the way organizations operate at present, not only do these improve processes, financial benefits are also increased. While successful examples of companies using the net have been widely reported, few studies have seriously examined the issues involved.
However, there is always a flip side of the coin in everything, as the internet and the other emerging technologies have their benefits to organizations. There are also the disadvantages. This paper will seek to analyze both sides in detail and put forward possible solutions backed up by research which will reduce the risk of digital business.
George (1988) defined Emerging Technology as science based innovations that have the potential to create a new industry or transform an existing one. They include discontinuous technologies derived from radical innovations. Examples are bio therapeutics, high-temperature super conductors, MRI imaging, Touch screen kiosk and the Internet. The Touch Screen Kiosk is a new java-enabled technology. Touch-screen kiosks go beyond the capabilities of a traditional time clock in that they are true information appliances. They provide a bridge between the organization and the workforce, both capturing workforce information and extending organizational information back to the employee. A kiosk-based solution for time, attendance, and labour tracking also offers organizations a tool for empowering employees with self-service. With the touch of a finger, employees can view Internet-enabled applications that display their schedules, vacation balances, and corporate messages or allow time and labour data entry. Workforce management can now be a two way street. (Rizzo, 2001)
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The Internet started in the 80’s and since then it has had a drastic impact on culture, commerce and business and due to the speed, litheness, and effectiveness that it offers, it has become the means for accomplishing a growing amount of business between suppliers and large international companies. With this, the Internet has created new business to developing countries and has hastened the distribution of knowledge throughout the world of business. It thus creates unprecedented opportunities for developing countries because it can remove barriers thereby fostering full participation in the new global economy. Some organisations use the internet for almost every part of their organization such as buying and delivery of goods, stock control, manufacture arrangement, communications plans, sales programs, service departments and support programs. “The change from traditional communication channels such as salespeople, telephone and snail mail to the internet and e-mail happened quickly in some companies. However, this transition took place slowly in others”. (McKenna and Bargh, 2000)
Emerging Technologies have instigated a new transaction method that decrease costs, hastens the pace at which transactions are carried out, and supply acces to new markets, new customers, and new business relationships of all kinds. Even with all these benefits that the internet has brought to the business world, there are still a lot of risks involved such as fraudulent transactions, scams and more. This research would explain all these risks and benefits in detail.
The Internet has enabled business to go far beyond previously set or imagined boundaries. Today, change is constant, its speed is accelerating, and its global impact is felt everywhere.
While the Internet offers many potential benefits, there are a number of unresolved issues in conducting business on it. Despite recent advances, security remains the most fundamental concern and the main reason why companies hold back from full use of the net (van Kirk, 1994; Baron, 1995).
Iver (2003) explains that online business is an infinite term about the different business procedures that plan to assimilate the merchants with the consumers and suppliers using the Internet. The whole procedure of putting up a website, helping the potential customer steer through the site, showing them the accessible products, offering cut rate and coupons and doing everything possible to persuade the potential customers and changing them into customers, comes under the process of e-business. He further went to discuss about Electonic commerce which is a compartment of e-business and is defined as online business that can be accounted for in financial terms. For instance, paying for goods and products with credit card by the consumers or shopping and paying online are examples of electronic-commerce. E-commerce could be explained as the last phase of e-business which involves the payments of the products sold by the organisation.
The use of the internet has several disadvantages when conducting business transactions. According to Iver (2003), the main disadvantage of online business is the poor growth rate in certain segment on account of goods. For example, the food sector has not profited in terms of expansion of sales and resulting profits generation due to some certain reasons like food products being an unpreserved item. Customers hardly search for food products and items on the Internet because they rather go to the stores to purchase the required product when it is needed.
It is also very easy to go into the online business as almost everyone has a laptop and is connected to the internet. This gives room for fraudulent activities since there isn’t proper security in place to monitor the number of people that develop shopping websites.
Trust is also a major issue in online business because any problems with your business website will be immediately be obvious to the world and the customers typically have little loyalty. Due to competition, once your website is unavailable, customers will simply move on to one of your competitors. In addition, technical failure can also have a significant impact on a company’s key trading partners. Sid (2007) also discussed about the disadvantages of online business based on internet services and trust issues.
According to Sid (2007), he discussed about the disadvantages of practising online business. The first point is that the website of the business must keep functioning at all times; this is the equivalent to a physical store staying open. If an Internet business goes offline due to technical issues, it can cost them profit; therefore, it’s essential to either have the technical skills or have someone in the company that possesses the technical skills to keep the company functional at all times.
Sid (2007) also explained about the behaviour of people shopping online. In many people’s minds, purchasing products over the Internet is still not as safe as purchasing products in stores. Since people cannot see the person on the other end of the computer, they might have issues purchasing products. This is also dependent upon the products and the sector. Lacking consumer’s trust can significantly impact sales and overall success.
According to Lewis (2002), internal network protection will be a big issue for the organizations that wish to offer their services to Internet-using customers around the world. Hackers and other internet criminals can infiltrate company files and infect them with a virus, which is then sent to other computers to infect them. If the networks are not secured such people could also find important information about the company. Newly publicized weaknesses in the basic structure of the Internet indicate that the worldwide computer network may need a time-consuming redesign before it can be safely used as a commercial medium. Lewis (2002) further went to explain about how hackers can easily get access to different companies and can cover their traces without any major concerns. They like to trade data illegally and sell data to the hacker community. Calling-card numbers from long distance telephone service providers, cellular service activation codes, stolen credit-card numbers, security-penetrating algorithms and pirated software codes are among the data most frequently traded on the Internet. Hackers might also bombard a company with thousands of mail messages using automatic remailer tools. The posting of messages can knock out communications at a critical time in a competitive situation and even firewalls cannot protect a company well against these attacks.
Jerkins (1995) explained about Information security which is based on three foundations:
A company must be sure that its data have not been changed.
Confidentiality of data
Companies have to be able to keep to themselves what they do not want others to know, such as their customer database, credit card numbers, etc.
Companies need to be sure that messages they receive from the Net are from the people they claim to be.
If any of these factors can be infiltrated by hackers, the company is no longer secure.Another risk is the increasing number of information brokers who use online communications to match buyers and sellers. Criminals always seem to always have an edge over law enforcement agencies.An online Internet organization also faces other challenging risks. Cafasso (1996) explains the case of staff members that always download adult material from the internet and go further to show them around in the work environment. This can create a hostile working environment and employees that view the adult material might feel sexually harassed within the company and could press charges. The company will have to ensure that employees cannot download such media files or other offensive materials from the Internet. It will have to develop strict guidelines to protect its own interests and the uncontrolled surfing habits of its employees.To do business on the Internet successfully, companies will have to ensure that the customer is indeed the person he or she claims to be. Verification and confirmation, written with an e-mail system, will work well enough for the time being. The advantages of using the internet or emerging technologies were explained by Iver in 2003.
According to Iver, 2003, this is the major benefit of transacting dealings online. An organization using e-business can have a countrywide or a global presence. For example, IBM was one of the first firms to start practicing e-business to service customers and work in partnership with business associates all over the globe. Dell Inc. also had a prosperous business selling computers all over the US, through the telephone and the Internet till 2007. Amazon.com is also an accomplishment story that assists customers buy globally from third parties. Hence, global presence is guaranteed if organizations reorganize their business by using the Internet.
Cost Effective Marketing and Promotions
The use of the web to advertise products ensures global reach at a small price. Advertising techniques like pay per click advertising guarantees that the promoter only pays for the advertisements that are really watched. “Affiliate marketing, where customers are directed to a business portal because of the efforts of the affiliate who in turn receive compensation for their efforts meeting with success, have emerged on account of e-business”. Associated marketing has assisted both the business and the associates. Organizations making use of e-business have handled to use cost effective online advertising strategies to their advantage.
Developing a Competitive Strategy
Organizations need to have a competitive strategy over their rivals because without an effective strategy, it will be difficult to sustain the advantage and make proceeds. The strategy, that the organization can chase, can be a price strategy or a differentiation strategy. For instance, till the year 2007, Dell Inc. was selling PC’s only through the Internet and the phone. It took up a differentiation strategy by selling its PC’s through the internet and personalizing its laptops to meet up with the requirements of the customers and it really helped their profits. Thus, engaging business online resulted in Dell Inc. being able to acquire a large sector of the market by making use of the differentiation strategy.
Better Customer Service
Iver (2002) explained that doing business online has produced an improvement in customer service. Occasionally, when going through a website, the customer is always met by a pop-up chat window. Readily available customer service may assist in encouraging the customer to know more about the product or service. Furthermore, the products can be paid for online and can be shipped to the customer’s home. Internet services allow for asynchronous interaction and provide convenience for the client. The Web also makes access to people in remote areas feasible. This assistance, says Snow (2001), is able to “bridge distances and help overcome a wide assortment of isolation – economic, physical, emotional, geographical.”
Doing business on the Internet will become even more essential in the future. More organizations will have the right to use to the Internet and, with the price of communication reducing; more customers will come to the Internet as well. The Internet offers remarkable possibilities and could, in the long run, surpass conventional distribution channels. It is very simple to get connected to the Internet and people can browse and shop on the Internet 24 hours a day, if they want to. The Internet offers an exceptional way to get in touch with the customers on a one-to-one basis. Better emerging technologies will help organizations to represent themselves better and sell more products. So for people to keep enjoying the benefits on the Internet, it is important that the security issues must be addressed.
Security on the Internet is a very vital issue, and some good solutions are beginning to form. Organizations that use the internet often need to protect themselves in three major areas: data integrity, confidentiality of data and authenticity. It becomes more and more key to avoid hackers from stealing or tampering with data stored in organisation’s systems. This can be done by installing firewalls or routers. When data travels on the Net, it is normally intended to be read only by sender and recipient, which can be ensured with encryption systems. Finally, an organization wants to be sure that the parties it is communicating with are really who they claim to be. Authenticity can be obtained with digital signatures. Doing business online involves some risks, like any other business transaction. But if attention is devoted to installing secure procedures, it is no more risky than other business practices.
Since security is essential in online business because of all the risk involved, one of the major organizations that provide such security for banks and other large organizations that deal with online business is Panda Security. It is one of the major leading IT security providers and an antifraud service for doing business online to guard against identity theft through malware attacks targeting banks that operate online, platforms for payment and electronic-commerce. This procedure advises companies when there is a targeted attack and provides the gears to spot and obstruct affected users which reduce any possibility of online fraud. This solution allows banks and organizations providing online services to ensure that customers initiating businesses on their websites are not contaminated by any malevolent code that affects the service. They can see the security status of their customers and efficiently supervise the danger involved in online business. This radically reduces the possibility of fraudulent actions.
The benefits that this service offers organizations include:
Reduction of online fraud
Panda Security for Internet Transactions provides tools and information to stop fraudulent activity. Organizations are instantly notified whenever there is a new malware attack targeting their customers, and delivered the information needed to respond in time. Organizations will see how the malware operates and how they can protect themselves. They can prevent infected customers from accessing their website, reducing the effects of online fraud.
Control and management of threats to online transactions
This is the only service on the market offering information about the security status of clients. This can be used by an organization to create risk profiles, meaning the service can be configured to restrict the permission to carry out transactions to those clients that meet pre-determined security requirements.
Expanding business thanks to improved security
Users’ lack of confidence in online security is one of the prime reasons for their reticence to use Web services. This tool reduces online fraud and allows companies to offer clients a secure environment for online transactions
For the business community, the Internet is a new limit, offering matchless prospects for development and growth. Organizations can provide their services throughout the world, with the variety of services multiplying daily. It is also obvious that the advantages of using the internet and other emerging technologies for business is by far more than the disadvantages so organizations would continue to use them and keep trying to find ways to reduce online fraud and scams. Practising online business involves some threats just like any other business deal. But if concentration is dedicated to installing secure measures, it is no more dangerous than other business practices. As a matter of fact, it is not safe for your organization not to be represented on the Web if you are related to the technology industry in any way: the Web will be the first place prospective customers will look for you, expecting to find you there. There are unique opportunities on the Web for marketing a company’s services, selling products and gathering information.
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