‘E’ factor can help cut costs

AT a time when many processes are made to appear more savvy by way of an ‘e’ prefix, the term e-commerce is undergoing something of a rationalisation.

Quite simply, e-commerce is used to describe the act of doing business electronically. But it refers to more than snappy web sites and making purchases or payments on the web.

Broadly speaking, it incorporates everything from email, networking, security, data storage, knowledge management, CRM, B2B, B2C, and so forth – in short, every electronic or IT tool used to facilitate business.

With the general population more computer literate than ever and the tech boom hype winding down, companies are becoming more discerning in determining where the benefits of e-commerce lie for their particular organisation.

Sources say that business expectations of e-commerce and e-business solutions are more focused on reducing costs.

Cyber Research chief Ivon Gustavino said consumers were more trusting of online systems and were more comfortable making purchases or using services such as banking over the web.

“E-commerce is the natural way of conducting business today. It has become ubiquitous,” he said. “People are much more comfortable using the Internet for commerce.”

AeM consulting spokesman Chris Benthien said most organisations had moved past the idea that e-commerce was a ‘cure-all’ and determined where the value in implementing e-commerce lay.

“Most organisations are starting to move past the ‘brochure-ware’ phase of e-commerce. They’ve also gotten over the hype and understand where the value [of e-commerce] is, which largely involves putting transactions online,” he said.

“With bigger clients it involves introducing cost savings and around customer service – maintaining good customer service through online systems.”

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