Disciplines > Business Modeling > Concepts > e-business Development


Entering the World of e-business To top of page

Our definition of the term e-business is that it is about building systems, sometimes called business tools, that automate business processes. In a sense, the business tools are the business and are a way of differentiating yourself from your competitors. For example, an e-commerce business tool automates the sales process.

Organizations developing e-business solutions consider business modeling as a central part of their projects. They use model-based technologies to develop both rapidly and in a controlled manner. The business and the business tools that support it are regarded as an integrated whole, and delivering the right solution requires a much tighter integration of business process definition and system development than has been needed in the past. Many more stakeholders are involved in the development of the business tools. Since the business tools run the business, almost everyone is touched by it in some way; changes to business processes require changes to the business tools. As an example, a CEO or marketing director could now be involved in defining the e-business and its business tools, whereas previously you would typically involve some level of "business domain expert" who may know how business is run but who is not empowered to make any decisions about how to change it. 

An e-business development effort is more than just automating existing processes; it forces some reflection on the nature of the business and the way it is run. Business modeling and system definition are not only of interest for people in the Information Technology department, it is of concern for everyone involved in business development. A project to develop a new business tool involves people from all parts of the organization, from executives with the power to make decisions, to grass roots and end users who feel the consequences of those decisions. 

The business tools built under the umbrella of e-business development can be categorized as follows: 

  • Customer to business (C2B)—applications that allow you to order goods over the Internet, such as electronic books stores. 

  • Business to business (B2B)—application that automate a supply chain across two companies. 

  • Business to customer (B2C)—application that provide information to otherwise passive customers, such as distributing news letters. 

  • Customer to customer (C2C)—applications that allow customers to share and exchange information with little information from the service provider, such a auctions. 

Characteristics of e-business Development To top of page

e-business Technologies To top of page

Revolutions in technology lead to new business opportunities and drive changes to business processes. The e-business concept is one of the more illuminating examples of this happening. The primary driving technology in this case is the Internet, but there are also many other technologies needed that are not necessarily specific to e-business but are important components. Such enabling technologies include [CONA99]:

  • Client/server

  • Database management

  • Programming languages, such as HTML, XML, Java

  • Scripted server pages and servlets, such as Microsoft's Active Server Pages, Java Server Pages

  • Object communication protocols, such as OMG's Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), the Java standard Remote Method Invocation (RMI), or Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM)

  • Components, such as Microsoft's ActiveX/COM

  • Web applications frameworks, such as IBM's WebSphere or Microsoft's Windows DNA

Defining how to use these technologies is an architectural concern. See Concepts: Software Architecture.


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