Given the current globalization rate, most businesses are being converted to be electronic businesses due to the many advantages that come in hand with e-business. Electronic business is a form of business that applies the modern technologies of information and communication in its operations. In this, business enterprises can link their data (internal and external), making them work closely with other stakeholders such as the suppliers, partners, and customers among others. It is referred to as doing business over the internet. As such, e-business ensures that the entrepreneur reaches a wider market compared to that he would reach through traditional business (Amor, 1999). This paper is, therefore, an exploration of the strategies involved in the transformation of traditional businesses to e-business. The mechanisms to be implemented to develop and maintain long-term relationships with the customers and suppliers will also be discussed in the paper.
Strategies for transforming traditional businesses to e-business
The process of transforming a traditional business into an e-business is not as easy as many people may think. It involves a lot of technicalities as the two are much diversified. As such, certain strategies are required in the transformation, some of which include:
- IT Application: Electronic business is fully dependent on the application of information technology. This, therefore, calls for the business wishing to transform to ensure that they have installed the required information systems in the business premises. This is to enable linking of the business enterprise with other companies, partners, suppliers as well as customers. Without the application of information technology into the business enterprise, it will not be able to transform into e-business. It can thus, be concluded that this is the first strategy required in the transformation of traditional business to electronic business.
- Competence of IT. The installed information technology systems have to be competent enough to enable the success of the transformation and even future operations of the electronic business. Competency is required since the e-business is fully dependent on information technology. A failure in the information technology systems means no business transactions for electronic businesses.
- Corporation strategy. A business that wants to succeed as an electronic business should ensure that they incorporate corporation strategy into their operations (Amor, 1999). Corporation strategy entails focusing on sales, customer relationships, revenues, and procurement among other important support functions of a business enterprise.
Combinations and substitution of strategies for transforming the traditional business to e-business
It is true to say that during the transformation of traditional businesses to electronic businesses, there are certain business functions and strategies that will be substituted for others, while others will be combined into one. Those that will be substituted are those whose use will be of no importance to the electronic business for instance the business inventory could be substituted with information. This is to means that unlike a traditional business that stocks inventory at the business premises, an electronic business substitutes this with information by just listing the products and services they offer, on the internet. In this case, there is no physical stocking of commodities but are only retrieved when the customer orders them from the list provided on the internet.
On the other hand, strategies to be combined are those that will be of essentiality even after the transformation of the business. For instance, the existing marketing strategies could be combined with the new ones to be created after the transformation. As such, the business will have new customers obtained through the internet, while still retaining the old ones it had when it was a traditional business.
Mechanisms to be implemented to develop and maintain long-term relationships with the customers and suppliers
Once the business enterprise has been transformed into an electronic business, proper mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that it maintains long-term relationships with both its suppliers and customers. First, the company should ensure the application of user-centered methods and principles of marketing (Anderson and Braiterman, 2001, p.1). This will make it easy for the customers and suppliers to communicate with the business enterprise especially being able to give their views on the products and services. Secondly, the company should make sure that the information systems are always up to date such that cases of slow-downs are not evidenced as this could significantly affect the relationship of the business with customers and suppliers. This could be achieved by putting in place a team of information architects, business strategists, graphic designers, functional analysts, and product managers just to mention a few (Anderson and Braiterman, 2001, p.1). Lastly, the business enterprise should make sure that they meet the needs of the customers by responding to their orders in time while at the same time making timely payments to their suppliers. All the aforementioned mechanisms combined will ensure that the business enterprise develops a long-term relationship with its customers and suppliers.
From the discussion above, it is clear that the transformation of traditional businesses to electronic businesses is a process that entails various specifications. Key strategies must be put in place to ensure the success as well as a long-term relationship between the business enterprise and its major stakeholders who include the suppliers, customers, and partners of the company (Amor, 1999).
Amor, D. (1999). The e-business (r) evolution. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Anderson, R., and Braiterman, J. (2001). Strategies to make e-business more customer-centered.