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Building the E-Business Infrastucture Product Image

Building the E-Business Infrastucture

  • Region: Global
  • 352 Pages
  • Business Intelligence [part of Optima Media Group]

Few in business today are unaware of the power of e-business to transform whole organizations. Yet any organization hoping to exploit its potential must develop an infrastructure that can cope with the demands of e-business. Are you prepared? Many e-Business opportunities fail due to inadequate infrastructure. With Building the e-Business Infrastructure discover how you can successfully exploit e-business opportunities Put simply, e-business is the application of sound business principles via modern, global,technology-based communications media. As such, it reaches far and wide, affecting everyone from staff to management, players to competitors. e-Business must address business models, values, operational dynamics and include both audience and enterprise. Infrastructure determines how easily corporations can respond to the increasingly urgent demands of its executives, how they can respond to the "fast-food" data requirements of modern business, and the competitive nature of a global marketplace. The technical infrastructural elements of e-business consist of internet and server technologies, hardware and software. That is, the internet, intranets, extranets, networks, READ MORE >

Chapter Summaries
Chapter 1:The e-Infrastructure Challenge – Opportunities and Problems
This chapter serves as an introduction to the changes taking place that fall under the broad heading of e-business. It provides models to help the reader e-business maturity. It also describes what we call the ‘infrastructure perspective’ – a way of looking at and translating between infrastructure and organizational needs.
Chapter 2: Information Infrastructure for Business-to-Business
This chapter addresses the currently most important area of e-business activity – B2B. It encompasses e-procurement, supply chain integration, internet exchanges and internet market-places. It explains the principal opportunity areas, identifies the component building blocks that enable companies to exploit these opportunities and addresses the standards and integration issues.
Chapter 3: Information Infrastructure for Business-to-Consumer
This chapter addresses the business-to-consumer space (B2C). Although in less favour than previously, there is still a high level of actual and predicted activity as many retail operations adopt a mixed clicks-and-mortar strategy. We look at the principal components of a B2C applications architecture.
Chapter 4: Information Infrastructure for Intra-firm e-Business
This chapter explores the infrastructural implications of intranets. A core component of e-business is the potential efficiency gains to be achieved through self-service internal business processes. Information and knowledge sharing is the other main area of benefit from intranets. This Chapter explores the infrastructural implications of intranets.
Chapter 5: Global Infrastructure for Global Business
This chapter explores the growing demand for firms to make a common offer to their customers and the role of web technology in enabling companies to meet such demand. It describes some of the trends in global e-business, draws attention to the implications of a company’s approach to global branding and considers the infrastructure issues from two viewpoints: the global corporate IT unit, and the country IT unit.
Chapter 6: Driving e-Business Infrastructure
This chapter confronts the leadership challenge. Most especially, it highlights the organizational rather than technological nature of infrastructure. It addresses the problem of how to organize for e-business and what implications this has for infrastructure management. It also addresses the problem of winning business support for IT infrastructure by: identifying the reasons the problem arises; proposing how to understand and position infrastructure in terms that business executives can understand; and making suggestions for ways to achieve a common understanding throughout your company.
Chapter 7:Technology Platform and Architecture
This chapter looks at the technology platform in terms of both the kinds of technology required and architecture appropriate to a situation. It recognizes that there is no definitive platform for every situation at any time and identifies principles for achieving a flexible platform.
Chapter 8:The Infrastructure Skills Challenge
This chapter addresses the skills management challenge. It discusses how companies are facing recruitment and retention problems and the solutions they are implementing.
Chapter 9: Planning, Foresight and Control
This chapter identifies key processes for managing e-business infrastructure. These include investment, project management and standards control. Companies’ approaches to technology foresight are discussed.
Chapter 10: Complementary Infrastructure
This chapter highlights some unusual components of infrastructure under the broad label of complementary infrastructure. Under this heading, we look at content and intellectual property on the one hand, and at physical complements such as distribution centres on the other.
Chapter 11: Sourcing IT and e-Business Infrastructure – Practices and Risk Management
This chapter summarizes our growing understanding of the reasons for success and disappointment in outsourcing IT. It discusses how best to use the IT/e-business outsourcing market. As outsourcing can be thought of as essentially about risk management, this Chapter indicates what the key risks are and how they can be mitigated.
Chapter 12: Sourcing IT and e-Business Infrastructure – Development Projects and Strategic Relationships
Chapter 12 focuses on when and how organizations can source work from the external market, and how far they need to build core capabilities in-house.
Chapter 13: Application Service Provision and Beyond: the New e-Infrastructure
This Chapter looks at the opportunities and challenges that ASP models and their further development present for building and running e-business infrastructure. In effect, it explores the idea that over time, ASPs could take over the infrastructure problem for their clients but only if they are able to provide all the applications a company needs and its upgrade paths for the future.

Infrastructure is a major issue today, as it is the crucial determinant of how easily corporations can respond to the increasingly urgent demands of their executives. ‘We need it now’ is an e-business mantra. IT directors can only deliver if they have an appropriate infrastructure. This Report illustrates how companies are setting about meeting the challenge of building the e-business infrastructure.
What makes the challenge so taxing is that most companies already have an installed base of technology that represents a major sunk cost. The installed base is highly complex in many cases, consisting of multifarious disparate components. To replace it with a new more unified platform is time-consuming and risky. It will also be subject to the pressures that result in platform fragmentation; everyone has to confront the problem of enormous pressure towards fragmentation.
At the same time, new technology suppliers are emerging in the form of more mature and sophisticated outsourcing vendors and, more radically, application service providers (ASPs) who may enable companies to finesse the infrastructure problem (though they are not yet mature enough to achieve that).
In this Report, we view infrastructure not only in terms of technology but also in the wider context of:
various sources of supply of technology platform services
expertise and skills required to deliver infrastructure technology
processes required to manage them
complementary investments required to enable IT infrastructure to deliver appropriate e-business solutions.
The Report will resonate most with senior IT executives but is in fact highly relevant to senior business executives – technology is merely the context for what is essentially an organizational and management issue.
In conclusion, the Report reflects the process of building e-business infrastructure. It sees infrastructure as a dynamic process to be managed rather than as a state to be achieved. Today, it is fundamentally about preparing organizations for a continually changing business environment. There is no technology blueprint, rather multiple approaches that contribute to an organization’s ability to respond to and deliver e-business.


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