E‐commerce is either a major opportunity or a significant business threat. The cost of entry is low in terms of capital costs but high in terms of effort and opportunity cost. It can significantly lower the cost of trading but using it for this purpose is sub‐optimal; it allows restructuring of the supply chain, of business processes and of the nature of the business itself. Its effective deployment requires an understanding of the way in which the company operates now and of a vision of the way it could operate in the future. E‐commerce offers the technology to make, and can act as a catalyst for, this change.
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