Challenges Encountered in Designing the E-Business Website
As a web developer it is more of being a professional problem resolver, thus each day one faces a range of challenges in the strive of developing the best electronic business website. As a result, web development is one of the most challenging problem solving task. Therefore, to develop a well-structured websites demands that the web developer have a user experience at the back of their mind always. That means that the web developer should make the final product (the website) in the easiest way to use, and at the same time it has to remain effective in making sure that it is capable of doing at the requirements needed by the end user. Similarly, this website has to meet all the latest web standards. The web keep on undergoing changes which is a great idea. Nevertheless, that mean that as a web development crew the team has to make sure that it work round the clock to keep up with the constantly changing Web Standards and in most cases the developer has to be past the curve and be conversant with what is likely to come up next. For instance, the web developer has to forecast he latest specifications requirements for web payments.
List and Explanation of Resources of Resources Research for Designing the E-business Website
The development and designing of the websites calls for a range of resources such as web hosting requirements such as Softaculous and Fantastico. If one has to install a Content management System, they have to download the code, unzip this code, then upload it to their server using FTP, come up with a new database so as to be in the position to install the entire items. In the case of Fantastico, which is the gold standard for auto installation; the system has around fifty dissimilar scripts that it can install, and all these calls for one to know the specific script that one need to install. Additionally, another resource needed for an electronic business website is the content management software (CMS). The CMS allow for the setting up of information in the most organized way. CMS enables the creation of new pages as well as classification of the pages in a dissimilar manner, allow for editing and addition of pictures. Furthermore the CMS allows the addition of shopping carts and other e-commerce software. Other resources include identity and logo, as well as theme marketplaces.
The advent of the internet has become pervasive in all walks of life be it social and business activities among individuals across the globe. In accordance to the Australian Bureau of Statistics of 2017, the number of internet users in Australia has grown to approximately, 15 percent with over 97 percent of these being broadband connections (Cavusgil, Knight, Riesenberger, Rammal, and Rose, 2014). At the same time, the number of household subscribers has been gradually increasing at the rate of two percent annually for the last five years. As a result, reports from the Federal Department of Industry which was initially referred to as the Department of Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary of Education (DIISRT); Australian microenterprise, businesses with less than seven employees, presently contribute to approximately 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and have employed at least 50% of the private sector workforce. Accordingly, micro-enterprises represent over 80% of the whole number of Australia businesses, which is a composition that has stood steadily for the last ten years. Indeed, this reveals the significant part that the microenterprise play in the Australian economy.
The number of micro businesses in New South Wales, which is the most populated state in Australia accounts for over 35 percent of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, in general, the Australian micro business is featured with a constraint regarding the number of services or products. Less number of customers as well as lower returns margin. Therefore, being small in size micro businesses stand a better chance as they can react quickly to changes in the market setting, competition as well as administrative policies. Nonetheless, these businesses face constraints regarding finances, poor organizational planning, and lack of technical expertise as well the over-reliance on business trading partners. Since small enterprises are the leading sources of employment in Australia because research has shown that its synergistic knowledge, as well as physical resources, are a powerful tool to the growth of the country’s economy. Therefore, the success and survival of micro and small enterprises are vital to Australia’s economic performance. Accordingly, to make sure that these small businesses keep on growing and increasing the baseline of employment and to keep growing the economy of the country; there is a need for the small businesses to adopt technology (Chong, 2014, p. 43). The only way to see to it that small businesses expand further is by adopting technologies.
Research shows that the best way to improve a business’ customer base, intensification of the business service delivery as well as enhancing profit margins and make sure that the business stands out as viable and competitive in the market the way to go is to adopt different technologies such as electronic business. Indeed, e-business is regarded as an innovative technique used to address subject matters of business survival by expanding the client reach, improving productivity and declining on the expenses incurred by the business operations. In the perspective of this report, the electronic business definition for small businesses has been made possible with the advent of the Internet (Seethamraju, 2015, p. 480). As a result of the advances in the development of the internet, there are some practices that have advanced and used by government agencies, consumers as well as businesses (Falkner, and Hiebl, 2015, p. 122). Therefore, with the internet development becoming a well-known phenomenon, the usage of the internet is skyrocketing as it has shifted from simply being an access point on the email and website, to running different online applications such as listening and downloading music online. Similarly, the internet has made it possible for execution of financial transactions online. Indeed, the internet has become a path for the distribution of data and knowledge across the globe as well as the purchasing of and selling of services and products. Accordingly, all these practices are collectively referred to as an electronic business.
The aim of the Report
As the bandwidth of the internet continues to intensify as well as the access to Internet-based applications growing and spreading fast, it is expected that small businesses in Australia will take this advantage. In light of this, this report aims to find out if a small business in Australia will put into practice the use of technology to maintain a competitive edge of their business. Accordingly, the adoption of the latest technologies and particularly the Internet has proved to the way to go amongst small businesses as well as big businesses. Certainly, the report's targets to determine how the internet aids small enterprises in fostering effective and sufficient productivity, customer growth and reduction in the business operational expenses. Furthermore, the reports identify the different technological approaches that should be put in place by small business to see to it that they accumulate more returns and be able to compete favorably with their competitors as well as big firms.
- To determine the technological advancements that should be employed by a small business to leverage higher return and broaden the customer base.
- To identify the type of techniques used by small enterprises in ensuring that they remain competitive
- To find the secret behind the implementation of electronic business among small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Australia
Limitations of E-Business for Small and Medium Businesses
Despite the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play an essential part in the economy of Australia, the business face several challenges. The business face both external as well as external challenges, which hampers most if not all small and medium businesses from moving at the same pace of innovation linked with electronic business. Some of the internal factors that hinder the SMEs include:
- Technological “phobia” among business proprietors
- High costs of implementing as well as lack of the benefit related to the implementation of electronic business
- Lack of information and responsiveness of e-commerce
- Lack of skills and time to research and implement electronic commerce
- Poor business management practices due to lack of strategic directives
The external factors that limit the execution of electronic business technologies amongst SMEs include:
- Lack of suitable software standards
- Issues related to the authentication of electronic devices and equipment
- Lack of easily accessible, cheap and independent advice and support for SMEs (Meath, Linnenluecke, and Griffiths, 2016, p. 3598).
- Bandwidth capabilities as well as infrastructure issues
Background of Electronic Business
Online Business what is commonly referred to as e-business, is a terminology that can be utilized by any business type or commercial transaction which entails the sharing of information across the internet. Therefore, it has to be noted that there is s difference between electronic business and electronic commerce because these terms are commonly used interchangeably. E-business comprises all business activities that are carried out online whereas electronic commerce refers to the purchasing and selling of products or services online (Parker, Bellucci, Zutshi, Torlina, and Fraunholz, 2015). That is to mean that e-commerce is only but a subset of e-business. According to Chong (2014) e-business is the conducting of business practices on the internet while e-commerce entails the doing of commercial transactions over the internet. Therefore, those transactions that consists of basically monetary transactions are referred to as e-commerce while e-business comprise activities such as procurement of products, searching for suppliers, customers and many others. In this sense, e-commerce solely make of the internet as its form of conducting business operations, while e-business entails the usage of Electronic Resource Planning (ERPs) and the Customer Relationship Management (CRMs) software, which are used to link dissimilar business processes (Kurnia, Choudrie, Mahbubur, and Alzougool, 2015, p. 1914). In other words, that means that electronic commerce deals with the external face process that directly touch suppliers, customers as well as other external partners. On the other hand, e-business is different because it covers the internal process like inventory management, production, and risk management, finance and product development only but to mention a few.
The term electronic business was coined by the marketing and internet team of IBM Company in the late 1990s. It was in the 1990s when IBM together with its agency Ogilvy & Mather, started to make use of their foundation in Information Technology (IT) solutions as well as expertise to make itself a champion of operating business activities over the Internet by use of the term “e-business” (Bi, Davison, and Smyrnios, 2017, p. 561). As a result, the CEO of that time shows a lot of interest in the marketing idea by supporting the business practise which over a short period starts to shine to the present term e-business. Therefore, IBM was forced to carry out an international market research regarding its concept of e-business, subsequently, IBM started with an eight-page piece in the Wall Street Journal which could be used to introduce the idea of “e-business” by advertising the company’s expertise in the novel industry (Marx, 2015, p. 113). Accordingly, during the early stages of the e-business testing IBM felts it was wise not to trademark the ideology of e-business with the hopes that its competitors could make use of the same to create a completely unique field. Nevertheless the process proved to gain a gain success at the speed of lightening such that by the dawn of the millennium the term “e-business” had differentiated itself (Isma'ili, Li, Shen, and He, 2016). In the early 2000s IBM intensified its marketing transactions over the internet by starting a massive campaign of over $300 million regarding its “e-business infrastructure” capacities (Massaro, Dumay, and Bagnoli, 2015, p. 500). Consequently, since that time up to date the term e-business has been loosely applied interchangeably and has become a famous common vernacular.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Australia can only become a success through observing some directives to make e-business a success (Rush, 2014). In this sense, the contributors to the effectiveness running of the electronic business include having a clear mission statement and vision statement for SMEs, a well-conducted market analysis, the business description, sufficient resources, in addition to the laws and guidelines to direct the business operation to ensuring that it operates within the government’s business operation laws.
Executive Summary: It consists of both mission and vision statement of the SMEs. Accordingly, the vision statement of SMEs is to see to it that they empower the idea of entrepreneurship (Jamali, Abbaszadeh, Ebrahimi, and Maleki, 2011, p. 354). On the other hand, the mission statement for SMEs is to better the lives of the Australian people by creating wealth as well as more job opportunities to boost the country’s economy.
Market analysis: There is need for SMEs to carry out a market analysis for their different e-business transactions that they intent to venture by extensively research online corporations that serve in the industry of their desired expertise. Accordingly, this concept allows the individual or a group of small scale entrepreneurs to search over the internet to determine the number of firms that are in supply of a similar product type as well as services (Kurnia, Choudrie, Mahbubur, and Alzougool, 2015, p. 1911). In this sense, it place a business in a better position to get the idea about the extent of the rivalry in the market industry of the business desire as well as whether there is sufficient demand to support an extra business. On learning this, it will enable the small and medium enterprises to write a description in the manner in which they plan to differentiate their e-business from the rest. Indeed, this play a significant role in constructing a compelling story that is likely to fascinate investors.
Company description: The firm’s description part of an electronic business plan defines how the business owners plan to manage and organize its operations. The company description has to articulate the business’s mission, and vision for selling, marketing and dissemination of their website’s services and products as well as a list of the character and benefits to their clients. On the other, the business plan is supposed to give a description of the firm’s present research as well as development activities that it has attained presently and not forgetting its future plan activities.
Resources: This part highlights the SMEs e-business plan set out budget. In case the business would like to request for funding, it has to list the amount of money needed as well as the proposed return on investment for the online business (Anderson, 2008). Also, this process determine the costs related with constructing the e-business website, consisting of mobile devices, laptops, and desktops. Furthermore, it at this point that the business has to decide on how the payment for the products and services will be paid using different payments methods such as the use of PayPal, and credit cards among others.
Laws and regulations: By writing a business proposal it consists of conducting research about the rules and regulations that are connected with online business operations. Accordingly, the Small Business Administration Online Business Law (SBAOB) website offers detailed laws and regulations regarding online business operations. Therefore, the SMEs should make sure that they are well-conversant with the SBAOB to enable them learn about the way to avoid both financial and legal liabilities. Similarly, these laws helps to regulate how online business operations are done in a secure way, how to safeguard the business’ privacy as well as how to abide to the tax and copyright laws (Isma'ili, Li, Shen, and He, 2016). Accordingly, operating as an online business means that the business is able to operate at an international marketplace. Therefore, an effective electronic business plan projects an approach for shipping goods overseas, in addition to handling duties, taxes and global regulations.
SMEs and Strategic Intent
Strategy is an action taken by the company once in the business Massaro, Dumay, and Bagnoli (2015), introduction of new product or services, market positioning as well as technological sophistication are the core drivers. According to Storey, this theorist make a suggestion that it is the relation between the SMEs strategy, and the entrepreneur as well as its context as it is significant for development (Broersma, Van Gils, and De Grip, 2016). Thus, the SMEs strategic intent should be understood using Marx (2015) framework, who identifies several strategies for developing business. These strategies include market penetration which involves the selling of business product to the present market as well as developing products for new markets. Therefore, this strategy call for diversification of selling products into different markets. Consequently, this model is significant to small and medium sized enterprises strategic target because its focus is to enhance development. At the same time, being conversant with the business strategy is a major milestone to the business as it provided the business with direction to be better directed towards attaining growth.
Proposed E-Business Solution for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
The adoption of electronic business can be made possible through diffusion process. In this light, diffusion process is described as the procedure through which a business make use of innovation which is communicated in various channels over a certain period amongst individuals of a social system and in this case small and medium-sized enterprises in Australia. The process of embracing as well as execution of innovative products like the Internet technology in addition to electronic commerce is regarded in terms of various diffusions of innovations models described by (Grant, Edgar, Sukumar, and Meyer, 2014, p. 104). According to Seethamraju (2015) the theorist notes that the embracing of novel technology is a decision that move from one step to another through awareness. Therefore, in this report the proposed e-business models include
- Business-to-business (B2B) model. In this model business activities happens between the business objects.
- Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) model. In this case business transaction take place between the consumers.
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) model. At this point business happens directly between business representatives and the end users.
- Government-to-business (G2B) model. In this case business transactions are carried between government organisations and economy (business) premises.
There a number of innovative marketing approaches that should be considered by SMEs managers, thus the most widely used tools in this case in the product marketing include:
WWW as a promotional instrument: The ability for a business to generate its website for advertising its products or services is currently cheap and affordable thus SMEs can make use of this tool to increase their marketing efforts.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Currently the significance of CRM is vastly known for almost all businesses (Mazzarol, 2015, p. 80). Therefore, it is wise for SMEs to invest in CRM since it helps to improve connectedness with clients.
Digital advertising: There is a range of advertising that happens over the internet, which allows both video recording and uploading. Consequently, such options will play a significant part in supporting SMEs to reach market their products to both existing and potential clients without making physical visits to the business.
Mobile applications as a Service tool: It is possible to make use of mobile applications as the service tool. With SMEs making use of mobile applications in marketing its tools it become easier to customers to make purchases at the comfort of their houses which would save them time as it is not necessarily they should travel to the business point physically.
Enhancing the feedback mechanism: Marketing entirely depend upon the information from the customer, thus SMEs should clearly understand their end user, the reasons why they buy their goods or services, the time that they make purchases and how to motivate them to come for return buying (Bocconcelli et al., 2018, p. 230). This can be achieved through the use of social media portals and the internet through the Website where they will be able to receive direct feedback from their clients through salespersons.
A well organised business is one that operates from ICTs, which entails a transparent, competitive and free business framework, with clear and independent regulations. Therefore, SMEs should adopt a well-structured network infrastructure that is affordable. The network infrastructure should allow for broadband connectivity as it is the core aspect in ICT usage and growth. With a good network infrastructure it facilitates innovation, economic growth, constructive externalities, and efficiency.
E-business Payment System(s)
With the dawn of internet-based banking and shopping systems it is possible for SMEs to support electronic payment in various form such as PayPal, use of Credit Cards, Google Wallets, Mobile Money Wallets, Braintree, and Stripe among others. Therefore, the SME should strive to make a number of these electronic payment methods functional from their Websites to make payments possible.
E-business Legal, Security, and Privacy
E-business has been embraced by businesses over time and with the adoption of e-commerce, security challenges have emerged especially those that threaten the continued use of e-commerce platforms. Security threats have been seen as a big impediment to the development of ecommerce (Turban, Outland, King, Lee, Liang, and Turban, 2017). Security threats are constantly emerging, perpetuated by hackers who devise more ways of carrying attacks faster than security controls can be put in place (Canavari et al., 2016, p. 151). Security measures should be devised to counter attacks such as the development of secure shell; authentication to ensure secure sockets layers; firewalls that is use of proxy servers; and use of network translation network address as well as use of intrusion devices that have intrusion detecting devices.
E-business has numerous benefits such as:
- It saves on traditional advertising, communications as well as marketing expenses.
- It offers a competitive business advantage for a business
- It leads to the creation of a flow over a short period of time
- It provides the business the opportunity to operate at global as well as international level thus removing the automatic restriction of sales imposed on the traditional retail outlets.
In conclusion, the idea of the adoption of e-business by SMEs in Australia is indeed a great idea and should be given the maximum support it needs since it will help in growing the country’s economy. Similarly, e-business helps to reduce the instance of wasting a lot of time travelling physically to the selling point.
The SMEs have to make sure that before venturing in the e-business they have a well laid ICT infrastructure in place so as to reduce the rise in the case of online fraud.
Anderson, L.S., 2008. Systems engineering: An investigation of managing development project requirements. Capella University.
Bi, R., Davison, R.M. and Smyrnios, K.X., 2017. E-business and fast growth SMEs. Small Business Economics, 48(3), pp.559-576.
Bocconcelli, R., Cioppi, M., Fortezza, F., Francioni, B., Pagano, A., Savelli, E. and Splendiani, S., 2018. SMEs and marketing: a systematic literature review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(2), pp.227-254.
Broersma, R., Van Gils, A. and De Grip, A., 2016. Ambidexterity in SMEs: Role of Absorptive Capacity and CEO's strategic engagement. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2016, No. 1, p. 13948). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.
Canavari, M., Deiters, J., Fritz, M., Hofstede, G.J., Sprundel, G.V., Pignatti, E., Matopoulos, A., Vlachopoulou, M., Briz, J. and Fernández, M.C., 2016. A typology of trust when we introduce information technology. Food supply networks: trust and e-business, pp.142-159.
Cavusgil, S.T., Knight, G., Riesenberger, J.R., Rammal, H.G. and Rose, E.L., 2014. International business. Pearson Australia.
Chong, S., 2014. Business process management for SMEs: an exploratory study of implementation factors for the Australian wine industry. Journal of Information Systems and Small Business, 1(1-2), pp.41-58.
Falkner, E.M., and Hiebl, M.R., 2015. Risk management in SMEs: a systematic review of available evidence. The Journal of Risk Finance, 16(2), pp.122-144.
Grant, K., Edgar, D., Sukumar, A. and Meyer, M., 2014. ‘Risky business’: Perceptions of e-business risk by UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). International Journal of Information Management, 34(2), pp.99-122.
Isma'ili, A., Li, M., Shen, J. and He, Q., 2016. Cloud computing adoption determinants: an analysis of Australian SMEs.
Jamali, G., Abbaszadeh, M.A., Ebrahimi, M. and Maleki, T., 2011. Business process reengineering implementation: developing a causal model of critical success factors. International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning, 1(5), p.354.
Kurnia, S., Choudrie, J., Mahbubur, R.M. and Alzougool, B., 2015. E-commerce technology adoption: A Malaysian grocery SME retail sector study. Journal of Business Research, 68(9), pp.1906-1918.
Marx, T.G., 2015. The impact of business strategy on leadership. Journal of Strategy and Management, 8(2), pp.110-126.
Massaro, M., Dumay, J. and Bagnoli, C., 2015. Where there is a will there is a way: IC, strategic intent, diversification and firm performance. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 16(3), pp.490-517.
Mazzarol, T., 2015. SMEs engagement with e-commerce, e-business and e-marketing. Small enterprise research, 22(1), pp.79-90.
Meath, C., Linnenluecke, M. and Griffiths, A., 2016. Barriers and motivators to the adoption of energy savings measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): the case of the ClimateSmart Business Cluster program. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, pp.3597-3604.
Parker, C.M., Bellucci, E., Zutshi, A., Torlina, L. and Fraunholz, B., 2015. SME stakeholder relationship descriptions in website CSR communications. Social Responsibility Journal, 11(2), pp.364-386.
Rush, A.J., 2014. Anticipating an organization's long-term success with implementing a virtual proposal tool (Doctoral dissertation, Capella University).
Seethamraju, R., 2015. Adoption of software as a service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Information systems frontiers, 17(3), pp.475-492.
Seethamraju, R., 2015. Adoption of software as a service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Information systems frontiers, 17(3), pp.475-492.
Turban, E., Outland, J., King, D., Lee, J.K., Liang, T.P. and Turban, D.C., 2017. Electronic Commerce 2018: A Managerial and Social Networks Perspective. Springer.