The biggest impact of the Internet is likely to be in the way companies do business. Writes Frances Cairncross in The Economist:
- [The Internet] is not simply a new distribution channel, or a new way to communicate. It is many things: a market place, a information system, a tool for manufacturing goods and services. It makes a difference to a whole range of things that managers do every day, from locating a new supplier to co-ordination a project to collecting and managing customer data.The changes that the Internet brings are simply more pervasive and varied than anything that has gone beforeAt the root of the changes is a dramatic fall in the cost of handling and transmitting information.
Management and analysis of this information is where the next set of opportunities will lie. The next generation enterprise applications will be an intelligent extension of the transactional systems in place in large corporations. ERP and CRM applications have been implemented across several enterprises. These ERP, CRM and SCP systems generate huge amount of data, which are stored over multiple databases in the organisation and its trading partners. The Internet now makes it possible to easily possible web-enable these disparate sets of transactional systems and databases – there lies the first real power of the web.
We now also find the second power of web being unleashed. This entails not just linking these transactional systems, but closing the loop between transactional and analytic systems. In today’s fiercely competitive businesses age, most decisions need to be proactive. Hence, we find an increasing need for business intelligent software, coupled with content management tools. These applications help businesses take informed decisions in real time, and help get the right piece of information distributed to the right people in the vast organisational intranets and extranets. These analytical applications generate informed answers to current day complex business problems.
According to Scott Phillips of Merrill Lynch, “[e-business analytics] tell companies what to do and why…They are the foundation layer for unlocking the value of transactional and unstructured data stores to realise the twin goals of e-commerce – namely, efficiency gains and revenue growth.”
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