C-commerce (collaborative commerce) is the process whereby organisations in a shared market or value chain collaborate to improve the development and delivery of goods or services.
Rebounding from the effects of the dot-com downturn has been easier for some enterprises than others. Following a year of uncertainty in the IT industry, the leaders emerging unscathed are those companies that continued to invest steadily in e-commerce solutions that meet real business needs.
The resounding message coming from corporate leaders is that e-business works. It is focused on streamlining costs, making full use of customer relationships, improving sales and channel management and achieving transaction and process efficiency in supply-chain management (SCM).
E-procurement, the hot topic for SCM, has been the first highly publicised business function offering substantial e-business opportunities. The successes and efficiency that e-procurement has demonstrated, through automating processes and reducing time and costs, has led to growing interest in what more corporations can gain from internet-based business processes.
As the results of e-procurement are being experienced, companies are turning more and more to e-business to help them solve business issues that require process or alignment efficiency. E-commerce is breaking down the barriers that have kept trading partners at arm’s length. Corporations have begun to realise the benefits of collaborating with their trading community.
To describe this new focus, the “e” world has coined a phrase: “collaborative commerce” (c-commerce).
C-commerce is the process whereby organisations in a shared market channel or value chain collaboratively develop and deliver goods or services.
C-commerce provides greater efficiency through real-time updates, faster and more reliable processing of internal and external information, and far better automated communication flow with value-chain members.
Often the most difficult step for senior executives in understanding c-commerce is cutting through the multitude of solution providers, offering what seem to be extremely technical and highly differentiated options.
To ensure that the c-commerce solution you choose meets your company’s requirements, make certain that you have completed an assessment.
1. Remember, it is about business, not technology.
- Define exactly the business problem that you are trying to solve.
- Outline where the process efficiency is required and what you expect to get out of new technology.
- Be prepared to change underlying business processes to take advantage of collaboration.
2. Research what is available.
Many solution providers are offering highly specialised solutions able to be tailored to your industry’s needs.
- Research who in IT is doing what.
- Find out which solution providers cover your industry.
- Ask for customer references, and check the type of solution provided for similar types of companies.
3. Involve your trading partners.
As your aim for implementing c-commerce is to interact more effectively with your trading partners, make them aware of what your company is planning and understand their capabilities. In most cases, trading partners will have different business requirements (and thus different software requirements), as they will be performing different roles in the collaborative business process.
4. Integration is the key.
Many options are available to businesses to transact over the internet: e-marketplaces, e-hubs, private exchanges, direct trading with a supplier.
- Work out what is best for your business and the way your company wants to trade.
- Check with your suppliers to ensure that streamlined integration can occur.
- Make sure that the solution your company buys can be integrated with your back-office systems so that you minimise the need to re-invest in technology you already own.
5. Decide on a partner. Make sure the solution you choose is provided by a reputable IT Company that has strong customer relations. When things go wrong, you will be glad you have a partner, not a sales company, helping you out.
- Look for a company that will grow with you and has a solid customer base so that its support is guaranteed in the future.
- Find out whether the solution offers some form of “future proofing” to insulate your company against any risks of big changes or redundant technology.
This article was supplied by the e-business division of Mincom, a leading global IT solutions provider for capital intensive industries.
How not to
How not to understand the human factor
First prize for never letting humans get in the way of technological advances goes to the designers of voice-recognition programs that translate the spoken word into text.
Results from tests by the Australian Consumers
Association showed the limits of technological progress when researchers read out the first stanza of the national anthem.
First, multiculturalism: “And France Australia fear!” and
“Thailand abounds with nature’s gifts”. Then environmental concerns (“A land of dams in nature’s gift, of beauty which and rear, in his trees page, dead every stage”); signs of business savvy (“Of BT rich and rare”); and cultural awareness (“Our home is Goethe by sea”).
And Australia itself was hip and mobile: “four-wheel a young and free”. The key line, “Advance
Australia Fair”, was open to other interpretations: “An fence or straighter fear”; “advance bus journey affair”; “advance a stand of their”; “and ends Australia there”.
How not to look after mobile phones
Forget claims that mobiles are hazardous to people’s health, it is the people that are hazardous to phones. More than 10,000 mobiles are destroyed in Britain every week, according to an insurance claims report by Link Coverplan. Insurance claimants admit to burying phones in concrete and flushing them down the toilet. “We have a lot of embarrassed men saying they have dropped the phone down the toilet,” said a Link Coverplan spokesman. “People are also leaving their phone on the car dashboard and, when they turn a corner, it flies out of a window and just keeps going.” Other claims are for phones being run over by vehicles, dropped from scaffolding, dropped down a gutter, run over by a train and incinerated accidentally with household rubbish. But first prize goes to the toddler who flame-grilled the family mobile on the barbecue next to the sausages.
How not to be discreet
Steve Lamb, a councillor with the Altadena Town Council in Los Angeles, gets the gong for political ineptitude. Former Los Angeles City councillor Art Snyder has filed a $US2-million libel suit against Lamb for allegedly calling him a child-molesting, Satanic priest who aided the Hillside Strangler in an e-mail. Snyder, an attorney, filed the lawsuit in Pasadena Superior Court, accusing the Lamb of sending the e-mail “with malice and reckless disregard for the truth”. Lamb sent the e-mail to three people, including an aide to county supervisor Mike Antonovich, after a meeting about controversial plans to develop parts of Altadena. Snyder said Antonovich gave him the e-mail.
The slithershanks file Often, it is hard to figure out what’s what. For example, it is a well-known fact that the areas of the United States with the highest number of mobile phones also have the most tornadoes. It is not clear which is causing which, but there is no doubt that the correlation is eerie. Not that it ends there. Apparently, “companies trade, countries don’t” which must be a huge shock to those working in bureaus of statistics. How refreshing, then, to have a book that makes a problem issue crystal clear: Companies don’t succeed, People Do! by Graham Roberts-Phelps.
His insights include:
- Encourage your customers to be unreasonable.
- Own one word in the customer’s mind.
- Have instant ideas.
- If you can’t be best, be first.
- Make every encounter count.
- Asked any stupid questions lately?