e-Commerce and e-Business Models

Electronic commerce, which is abbreviated popularly as e-commerce or eCommerce, is defined as the buying and selling of products or services over electronic media like the Internet or other Information Technology dependent networks. Sometimes e-commerce is also interchangeably used with the terminology e-business.

Continue reading “e-Commerce and e-Business Models”

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Information Technology and Information Systems

People often use the terms Information Technology and Information Systems interchangeably, although both the terminologies have established identities of their own. However it is crucial for every professional and individual to understand the subtle differences that defines the individuality of these disciplines.

Information Systems (IS) is a discipline bridging the business field and the well-defined computer science field (popularly called information technology) that has been evolving since it was coined in the early 1970s.An information systems discipline therefore is supported by the theoretical foundations of management social science, information theories and information technology such that students of the discipline have unique opportunity to explore the academics of various business models as well as related algorithmic processes within a computer science discipline. Typically, information systems include people, business procedures or processes, data, software, and hardware that are used to gather and analyze digital information. Specifically Information Systems are the intersection that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, & distribute data (computing) through its business processes, and implemented by its human capital.

While Information Technology (IT) typically is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of digitized information, often represented technically as “Data” through electronics-based media built upon the disciplines of computing and telecommunications. The terminology was first coined in a 1958 by Leavitt and Whisler who defined it as “the new technology that does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology.” Essentially, in its raw form, it comprises of Hardware, Software, the platforms to support both, communication networks and protocols.

It is crucial to understand that while “Information Technology” is a huge discipline with an identity of its own, it essentially is a subset of the discipline “Information Systems”, although the latter evolved much later. The discipline of Information Systems specifically studies the intersection of Business Processes (which may or may not be technology enabled), People (who will be part of the business processes and will use information technology) and Information Technology.

Hope this clarifies your thoughts. Do let me know what you think or would like to discuss further,

Using Gmail for Business

Many small businesses are now contemplating using G-Mail for business. But is it worth it?

Google’s webmail and complimenting applications (YES, THESE ARE OFTEN FREE ALSO)  require no hardware or software and need minimal administration, creating tremendous time and cost savings for businesses. While these can be entirely browser based, the mails can also be pushed and thus accessed offline too.

Some of the features that Gmail offers ts privileged users are as follows:

  • Each user gets 25 GB of email and IM storage, which is 50 times the industry average. Gmail Business Mail for SMEs/MSEs are designed so employees can spend less time managing their inboxes, and thus increase productivity in the office. Time-saving features like message threading, message labels, fast message search and powerful spam filtering help employees work efficiently with high volumes of email.
  • Gmail is securely powered by the web, so you can be productive from your desk, on the road or at home, even when you’re offline, using your laptop, or even your I-Phone or smartphone.
  • You can Sync your emails with Outlook & BlackBerry. At no extra charge, Google Apps supports over-the-air mobile access on BlackBerry devices, the iPhone, Smart phones, Windows Mobile, Android and many less powerful phones.
  • Gmail provides excellent spam protection. Powerful Gmail spam filtering helps you stay focused on what’s important. Postini filtering lets you customize your spam protection.
  • When you trust your company’s information to Google, you can be confident that your critical information is safe and secure. Google’s information security team, including some of the world’s foremost experts in information, application and network security, are focused on keeping your information safe. Google and many other customers trust this system with highly sensitive corporate data.

So what are you waiting for? Go GET GMAIL for your BUSINESS..

Its much more than what our normal Gmail users get for a minimal price.

Pointers for Successful and Sustainable e-Business models

While there has been so many e-business ventures, very few actually even live to see the light of profit. A major reason for this is that business never think properly in depth before going online. There are so many aspects that the CEO needs to give time to think before going online, and not do it just because its the way others are going. Few such questions are as follows:

  • First and foremost, the top management needs to deliberate on the nature of the business and the industry. What are the core competencies of the business. Will that be enhanced by going online?
  • What about the navigational structure and the way the organization functions? Will the culture embrace such a change effectively? What are the chances of talent loss to competing firms due to the cultural changes and process changes?
  • How would the existing customers react to the change? Is there a customer retention plan in place? Will the move help to reach out to new potential customers?
  • Is the business geared with the proper technological architecture? Have the processes been remodeled to fulfill service demand?

Do keep in mind that the technological architecture has to be designed keeping the service planned, in mind. The architecture preferably needs to be custom fit with your business process. If you are doing the reverse, i.e. fitting your processes to the architecture, do try to weigh out the pros and cons of the switch of the business model to the new business model. Then the above questions become relevant even more to ensure that the company stays healthy and safe.

Top searches in the Internet in this year

For all those who follow Google trends, this would barely come as a surprise. From a research done by a group in the United States, it has been disclosed that the following articles have been the source for the hottest search globally in 2010 and is also expected to reign till mid 2011 to a large extent. The group analyzed the searches done in Google, Yahoo, Bing, ASK and AOL Search. These collectively account for 99% of the total search engine usage and are ranked as the top search engines in order, as per usage.

What was actually less anticipated was the lower rankings of the FIFA world cup, as compared to few other unexpected rank holders.

And finally, without any more ado, we present you the top 10 searched topics in the internet in 2010.

1. Haiti
2. Malema Julius
3. Earthquake
4. Bafana
5. Nelson Mandela
6. World Cup
7. Cape Town
8. Soccer
9. Zuma
10. Kaizer Chiefs

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This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst cum Manager at NG-Online News.

Social Schooling

Today we are much more connected as a society and more and more schools are using online networks to manage classes at schools and educational institutions.  It is the time to capitalize on the popularity of social networking rather than fighting the inevitable?

A recent research (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project) found that 73 % of online teenagers use social-networking sites. They are regularly updating their Facebook / Twitter / MySpace accounts and use social networking to keep up with the latest news from their peers.  Currently most social networking activity takes place off work schedule officially (or behind the back) and not in the classroom but a change to harness the power of social media is welcome and institutions are hoping to incorporate social networking into lesson plans. B-Schools like Harvard and Carneggie Mellon are already doing it. Its up to the rest to follow.

Today, thus it makes sense to have specialized social networking tools within the classroom, enabling educationally relevant academic matter for all students.  This is not for students to communicate with classmates but to communicate with other students from within the school, or state or country or even internationally throughout the world.  In essence, creating a broader network where students can learn from each other.

“The Web 2.0 evolution has enabled educational institutions to connect in transparent and impactful ways, achieving a greater competitive edge. However not all institutions have taken the full advantage of this movement. While over half of students report using social networking tools for educational purposes, faculty are not exploiting these tools to connect with students, instead preferring traditional methods of communication.” Next Generation Education Committee.

e-Business solution providers are now in the process of developing social networking aademics tools for usage in the schools.  The trend towards a more collaborative and open learning / open source environment has been fueled by the explosive adoption of mobile devices among both students and faculty.  This has made colleges and universities some of the most intensive adopters of wireless technologies and hence is well positioned to adopt social networking technologies for e-learning.  The aim of providing seamless and secure access to data to students is so they are able to share knowledge, manage and build content while build their social network is the goal of the future netizens. This surely looks geared to position them to make better informed decisions while they are on campus or at school.

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This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst cum Manager at NG-Online News.

Applications of Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy Logic

Fuzzy set theory provides a major newer paradigm in modeling and reasoning with uncertainty. Though there were several forerunners in science and philosophy, in particular in the areas of multivalued logic and vague concepts. Continue reading “Applications of Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy Logic”

Google Priority Inbox-Revolutionizing emails

Check out what Google has to offer now along with its core offerings in email. Google is planning a launch of its priority inbox, where, each user will mark mails as being more important and less important. Based on the priorities of individual users, obtained from feedback and text analysis of the mails more viewed by the same, incoming emails will be prioritized.

And intelligence ensures that users don’t need to set up rules to make the sorting happen. The feature takes its cues from things like who users e-mail the most and what messages are open and replied to rather than being skipped over.

Priority Inbox is scheduled to be rolled out to all Gmail users over the next week or so. Users just have to look for the “New! Priority Inbox” link in the top right corner of their Gmail account.

E-governance – The way ahead

A new way to the new economy is on the cards.

E-government, in short, allows the private sector to operate in areas that used to fall strictly within the public domain. The challenge for policy makers is to recognize that what is good for business is consistent with good government.

In many countries, particularly in emerging markets, e-government efforts can benefit private start-ups. E-government, for instance, involves investments in the public Internet infrastructure that would be too costly for individual companies. These investments finance gateways for electronic payments (in coordination with financial institutions) as well as encryption-and-decryption technology that ensures the security of electronic transactions.

Furthermore, e-government forces policy makers to establish a regulatory and legal framework to protect privacy and intellectual property insofar as they are involved in e-commerce. Examples of such frameworks include the Electronics Transactions Ordinance, in Hong Kong; the Electronics Transactions Act, in Singapore; and the Digital Signatures Act, in Malaysia.E-government also gets global information technology companies involved in everything from the design of systems to the development of applications. In the course of building the necessary infrastructure, those companies make significant investments in the local economy. Their local presence makes it easier for nearby companies to utilize their services or to partner with them.

Finally, e-government benefits private Internet ventures by increasing the number of World Wide Web–savvy locals. For this electronic new regime to succeed, government workers must have sufficient IT skills to maintain the system, and the general public must have the knowledge to take advantage of it. To ensure the diffusion of the required expertise, Malaysia has joined forces with world-class IT companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Electronic Data Systems, to employ and train local people. Hong Kong offered computer training in community centers and blitzed the territory with television advertisements promoting Internet usage and with home videos on how e-government efforts work. Most governments in emerging markets also encourage Internet use by offering access through kiosks and computers in libraries and other public places.

FBI vs Wikipedia – Is it another conspiracy theory?

First a one line introduction to both the FBI and the Wikipedia, just in case a reader is not able to link it. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency. Wikipedia is a multiple language supported web-based, free-content knowledge management portal based on an openly-editable user supported platform. Over the years, Wikipedia has become a reliable source of information on almost any available topic.

In recent times, there has been a clash between the FBI and the Wikipedia management, on the usage of the logo/seal of the former, in its knowledge distribution page on the same. In a letter sent to Wikipedia’s San Francisco office, the FBI said that “unauthorized reproduction of the FBI Seal was prohibited by US law”, as reported by BBC.

What intrigues me is what could FBI possibly have to gain or prove by stopping the usage of the FBI seal in the site where the latter can only be condemned of trying to spread knowledge about the former organization in a much controlled and structured way. I could have still understood had FBI raised a case of misrepresentation of its duties/activities but no such case has been registered publicly. Interestingly, the same FBI logo has been used in multiple other websites without the consent of FBI, but till date, no website has been sued for the same, unless the logo was used with an harmful intent or misrepresented the intelligence organization.

This very aspect incites me to think that there is probably some bigger agenda that is not surfacing. Has Wikipedia, inadvertently started sharing information which could compromise national security or peace? Or has Wikipedia knowingly not agreed to remove information which may cause the same, citing information protection laws for the same.

In such a case, while bringing the subject to lime-light would be certainly dangerous, this may be a strategy to attack the knowledge dissemination website, diverting public focus on some other agenda, and at the same time, make the organization accede to the requests of the FBI. While it is also possible that FBI is actually doing what it is claiming in their letter, but my mind is at unrest to accept that.

We may never know what may be the reason for such an action. What do you think?

Disclaimer: By the way, this is entirely a personal view, and no way am I making any claims on the topic, which may be sensitive to certain people.
Nor do I have any intentions to propagate a conspiracy theory.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency.

The evolution of Gmail

Gmail, the number one web based email platform, used by billions of users, globally, has evolved in leaps and bounds over the years, from the html mail it used to be, to the advanced functions which it has incorporated in recent times. Today Gmail is a free, advertising-supported webmail, POP3, and IMAP service provided by Google that billions of users use every minute on this planet, making Google the most used website with the Number 1 Alexa ranking. Continue reading “The evolution of Gmail”

Why Technology Reuse fails

Today, a lot of stress is on code reuse, in the IT industry. In fact, the industry is thriving on the same. The problem is every business requirements have its very own set of specific needs which often are not met with by using standardized software packages and code modules, besides other barriers to success.  Ideally software should be designed to complement and automate business processes. But since this becomes costly, modules and packages are standardized and IT business analysts try to fit the standard things to all problem domains. The net result is mayhem and chaos. Continue reading “Why Technology Reuse fails”