E-commerce refers to any buying, selling, or business communication that takes place via the Internet. This can occur between individuals, between companies, or between individuals and companies. A lot of hype - and a lot of money - has been thrown at e-commerce and its seemingly endless possibilities. Technologists talk of a day when all computers will be interconnected, further expanding e-commerce opportunities for buyers and sellers. Theoretically, for example, a supplier's computer will someday know how much inventory a given manufacturer would need to have on hand, and would activate delivery of new stock as needed. Productivity increases, costs decrease, waste is reduced, and profits improve; it's a great vision. But while much of this hype really will come to pass, there are still a lot of hurdles to leap before this level of technology comes to fruition. The reality is that it will be an iterative process with many pitfalls along the way. Take security, for example: to fully protect themselves, companies must be able to verify the identity of the person or system placing an order to make sure pranksters, competitors, or even terrorists can't compromise their operation. These issues are steadily being resolved, but it will not happen overnight. The trick is to know what works and what doesn't - and to be leading edge, but not bleeding edge.
Some of the greatest errors of the 1990s were in thinking the Web was magic and would solve all our problems. "Get on the Internet and you'll make more money than you ever thought possible!" the headlines screamed. But no technology can offer that across the board. Companies that have been successful in using of the Internet, and in reducing costs and increasing sales, have done so because they proceeded cautiously - and only after doing careful analysis and securing the systems and processes involved. No doubt about it: the Internet is here to stay, and it's dramatically changed the way we do business. But, as with all new technology, we have to figure out what works and what doesn't as we go along.
Practical Business Systems is on the leading edge of web technology and we have the experience to know what happens when you get in too big a hurry. We're on top of the latest developments, but we'll make sure you can balance the risks against the benefits before climbing aboard the e-commerce bus. Because once you're set, we want you to enjoy the ride.