That one small letter, added to words like commerce and business to indicate electronic activity when the World Wide Web first emerged as a commercial limb of the Internet is still forcing changes everywhere. Companies of all sizes are still struggling with how, when, and where to adapt to the new business demands and realities that little “e" imposes.
Confused? Think words like “force" “struggle" and “demand" are a little extreme when talking about an “e"? It may just be a letter, and a little one at that, but the impact it’s had on the world has been tremendous—and we’ve only seen the beginning.
When “e" was added to commerce, many companies blithely ignored the addition and the Internet. Either they didn’t sell products “suitable" for sale online (how do you download a bulldozer?) or their businesses were wholly local (how do you guarantee hot pizza delivery halfway around the world?). So they thought they were safe. No more. The official online dictionary of Internet terminology, Webopedia, says that services are in fact, one of the most suitable products for e-Commerce.
When “e" was added to business, it did more than redefine the word. Instead of referring strictly to the “purchase or sale of commodities", conducting business online now includes the sale and delivery of services, enhanced customer service, improved communication with clients and vendors and streamlined business operations as a whole. The “e" in e-Business stands for more than electronic, it also means efficiency.
When “e" was added to mail, email quickly proved itself to be the “killer application" that currently brings more than 700 million people online regularly. In less than a year, that number is expected to swell over one billion people worldwide. Clearly more than a fad or frill, email has significantly improved our ability to communicate. It allows businesses to operate more efficiently, reach more customers and respond to them faster than was ever possible before.
When “e" was added to learning, it sparked a revolution. Once online, and after they have managed their share of the 30 billion emails sent each day, more of those 700 million people stay online to dig for information than any other activity. They access traditional training, or educational materials of many kinds to help them do their jobs, but they also conduct primary or secondary market research online.
Businesses the world over have adopted e-Learning to reduce training costs, improve the timeliness and relevancy of their training material and educate geographically dispersed workforces and sales teams.
". . .99.5% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe having a website is very or somewhat important to their overall business success in the coming year. "
When the “e" was granted to consumers, the balance of trade power shifted forever. It empowered buyers with—literally—a world full of choices. Individual and commercial buyers have been “e"-powered with several fast and easy ways to reach them all. Today’s e-powered buyer can order their pepperoni pizza online from the pizza parlor around the corner, then order a customized multi-ton construction vehicle from a manufacturing trade partner’s secure Intranet while they wait for their food to be delivered.
Unfortunately, many of the businesses who stand to gain the most by fully integrating an “e" of their own haven’t done so. It’s not that they still believe they can get by without—at least—having a website, they know they need one. Surveys by Harris Interactive and other research firms show 99.5% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe having a website is very or somewhat important to their overall business success in the coming year.
The real challenge for the business owner who has not yet added the “e" to their business, or for one who has added an “e" that isn’t working well, is finding the right e-Solution provider. Clearly the average SMB owner cannot be expected to select the right technology tools to meet their business needs on their own. Practically speaking, unless you’re in the Internet technology business yourself, there’s no need for you to carry those core skills in-house.
Working with a trained and dedicated Internet Consultant who understands not only the technical jargon, but when and how to use these applications can make all the difference to your success. An Internet Consultant will help you uncover the “e" activities that could have the biggest impact on your business’ bottom line. They’re experts at analyzing a business, implementing the right “e" strategy and maintaining the Internet Solution to achieve measurable results.
That way you can focus on what’s crucial to your business’ ongoing success, like attending to your customers’ needs and growing your new e-Business.
Ricardy Banks is a Certified Internet Consultant with WSI and has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. WSI Internet Consulting & Education