The technology of E-Business and User centered Innovations have been existence since 1960. These two technologies have numerous benefits whenever employed in business processes. The majority of the people have been confusing E-Business and e-commerce. The former is more detailed than the latter. Both E-Business and user centered innovations involve advancement of the traditional business models into modern business structure models. The use of user-centered innovations does not require manufacturers to have patents, copyrights, and all forms of legal protection. This is because in this technology the manufacturer is able to run programs in hidden screens. This has therefore, helped to cub piracy and plagiarism from other manufacturers.
1.1 Background of the study
According to Singh and Waddell (2004), E-Business is the process through which business activities are carried out on the internet. This process not only involves buying and selling of various products on the internet but also collaborating with business partners and serving customers. The use of E-Business came up because of the need to reach as many customers as possible. The use of internet was identified to be a major force that could easily provide a platform for achieving this desire of meeting many customers. Two technology companies that are Intel and Cisco were the first beneficiary of this technology. They used the internet to overhaul their business operations. Web-based automation programs were developed by Intel Company to enable them to liberate their sales clerks. The sales clerks were therefore, left with the task of managing the customers. Just like Intel, Cisco Company has effectively incorporated the use of E-Business. This has enabled them to handle approximately 75% of their business online. Effective use of E-Business requires user centered innovations. User centered innovations according to Eric von Hippel (2008) Democratizing Innovation, is the development of products and services by firms and individual users. These developed products are meant to create utility for the firms and individual users. It is therefore, crucial for many business firms and individual business practitioners to embrace E-business. This would enable them to sell their products faster and at the same time be able to gather business information. Ideas needed to be used in the development of user-centered innovations can also be achieved faster using E-Business. The use of the E-Business would also effectively assist small-scale businesses to rise up to enjoy economies of large scale (Nordisk & Nordisk, 2006).
The use of the E-Business requires creation of web port that acts as the entry point of the firm or the individual. The intended web port must be value added, innovative, and able to provide valuable information. An effective set up of E-Business port requires an individual or firm to have knowledge of disruptive internet, evolution of the internet, accessing internet information, and providing internet information.
Disruptive internet technology is a modern way of doing extraordinary things that do not satisfy the existing needs of the users. This technology helps in opening new markets avenues, while at the same time closing the existing ones. This technology is capable of cutting into the low market place end. By doing so, this technology eventually displaces competitors together with their existing technologies.
The concept of the internet was developed through the quest of the USA military during 1960s cold war to develop the bombproof communication system. This system was meant to provide a perfect connection of all computers in the country. This would enable different sections of the country to obtain message communications. Individuals and firms must therefore, be able to evaluate the internet to be able to effectively sell their products and services. Proper navigation of the internet would enable firms and individuals to create a bigger hub for their products. The success of E-Business depends on how good an individual or firm is in internet navigation.
Proper assessment of the internet is a recipe for an effective E-Business. However, accessing internet information requires an individual or firm to be equipped with knowledge concerning intranet, extranet, portal, and kiosk. An internalized portion of the internet is called intranet. This section is protected from outside users and it allows individuals and firms to provide information access and software applications to its employees. Organizational information cannot be easily provided by intranet network however, this service provides a central location where its employees can obtain valuable information. All the information concerning a particular service or good offered by an individual or firm is hosted here. Besides the provision of information to customers, an individual or firm also needs to provide information to its allies. To achieve this, the businesses are required to avail extranet that is able to avail information to its allies. These allies may include customers, partners, and suppliers. Another vital knowledge is portal technology. This is a website managed by an individual or firm and it provides a broad array of services and resources to the clients. Some of the services and resources provided are e-mail, search engines, online shopping malls, and online discussion groups. Portals can either be specialized, general or niche. Examples of general portals are Yahoo!, Microsoft and Netscape. Garden.com and Fool.com are some of the examples of niche portals. The business therefore, needs to know how to operate these portals to make their online products visible to their clients. An individual or firm must also be able to effectively run a kiosk. A kiosk can be defined as a computer system that can be publicly accessed. This system allows interactive information browsing. The computer operating system in the kiosk is literally hidden. They cannot be easily viewed. However, the program within the system is able to run in full screen mode. This therefore, enhances simple tools for navigation.
Individuals or firms are also required to have information concerning the provision of internet information. To effectively carry out provision of information in the internet, an individual business owner, or a firm need to have three forms of service providers. These service providers are an internet service provider (ISP), online service provider (OSP), and application service provider (ASP). The use of E-Business requires a business owner to be connected with an internet service provider. Internet service provider is a company that enables individuals or firms to access internet together with related services such as web site building. Apart from ISP, an effective application of E-Business also requires an individual to have an online service provider commonly known as OSP. OSP is capable of offering an extensive array of services such as a web browser. Web browser assists the clients to effectively reach the destination of the services or product sites. Finally, business owners require application service providers to be able to obtain internet to systems and services that are located on their sites.
1.1.2 User centered Innovations
This means helps in leading innovations developed by users in satisfying their needs and want. Innovation needs are distributed among many players in the center that offers incremental solutions. Different cycles are used in these centers. Some of the cycles are prototyping phase, information diffusion phase, pre-commercial replication phase, and commercial phase. Prototyping phase deals with individual users who on their own develop innovation. Information phase involves users who diffuse the various innovations using networked media. Pre-commercial replication phase involves the innovations of the community. The community is able to form a working prototype. Finally, in commercial phase the manufacturer develops a commercial version of the innovation through the addition of some features to the already existing innovation. The individual business owners and the firms are able to boost their E-business through the developments of unique user innovations.
1.1.3 E-Business and User centered Innovations
One of the key departments in E-Business process is the marketing department. The success of the E-Business depends on the proper management of marketing department. Marketing department also ensures achievements of the various user centered innovations. Integration of E-Marketing with E-Business results in a success in user centered innovations. The attainment of different scales of economies for a business relies on the proper management of E-Marketing. Some of the innovations in some phrases such as prototyping and information phase require a lot of internet and E-Business. This is because a lot of information can be obtained through internet sources and E-Business.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Individual business owners and business firms have on a number of tried to boost the market demands fro their products and services. This has prompted some business owners and firms to incur a lot of losses in terms of the amount of money used to employ marketing staffs. Advertisements through the billboards and the media have also proved to be expensive. Besides, the area of coverage of sales agents is limited. This has caused some business losses in terms of profits. The little profit that they get is used to pay these sales agents. Therefore, to reduce these costs incurred because of employing sales agents many individual business owners and firms have opted to go online. E-Business has had global recognition as a major a step in marketing that can significantly reduce these incurred costs. The use of user-centered innovations has led to the creation of some of the brilliant business innovation ideas. E-Business has significantly simplified the process of advertisement. Many people are found on the internet. This process therefore, provides good catchment areas for business owners and firms.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 General Objectives
• To understand E-Business process and its significance in the promotion of businesses and to understand the various phases of user centered innovations.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
• To formulate how E-Business changes the economies of scale of a business
• To formulate how integration of E-Business and user centered innovations changes the income generation for the business owners
• To identify and evaluate various business areas that would significantly benefit from the inception of E-Business
1.4 Research Questions
• Will the formulation of E-Business affect the economies of scale for a particular business?
• Will the integration of E-Business and user centered innovations change income generation for business owners?
• Will the inception of E-Business influence the business type?
1.5 Justification of the study
The information gathered from this study will recommend the various businesses that would greatly benefit from E-Business and use of user centered innovations. Correctly applications of E-Business would greatly reduce the costs incurred by many businesses in employing sales agents. The business owners would also be able to get more profits from a lot of people are accessible to the internet. Internet servers charge fair rates. The use of this technology would therefore not cost business users and firms. Use of user centered innovations would greatly benefit customers since a lot of ideas would come into existence. Many large-scale businesses would be able to enjoy large scales of economies since their products would be able to reach many customers at a time. E-Business technology provides shopping less than one roof. A variety of goods and services would be availed to the customers. The use of user-centered innovations creates a lot of healthy competition that is beneficial to the customers. High quality products would be manufactured because of the innovations.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study will only be focused on E-Business and user centered innovations so as to understand the various impacts of the two on small and large scale business. The increase in catchment areas for the products would be focused. The study will only concentrate on the benefits of E-Business and user centered innovation. The various risks and demerits of these two processes will not be looked at. Because of limited time, some aspects of E-Business will not be looked at. However, the study will focus on the major focal points of E-Business and user centered innovations. The various methods used to retrieve and provide information on the internet will be looked at in details.
1.7 Limitations of the study
The main limitation to this study is the lack of information on the various businesses that would greatly benefit from these processes. Little research has currently been done on the various businesses that would do well if used for E-Business. This limitation would pose a great challenge on this study. Little information is available on the integration of E-Business and user centered innovations. Therefore, a lot of information concerning the integration would not be possible.
1.8 Conceptual Framework
The dependent variables for this study will be E-Business and User centered Innovations for businesses operated by individuals and firms. Independent variables will be the various factors to be considered when putting in place E-Business and User centered Innovations. Examples of these factors would be efficiency, cost effectiveness, and adoption. These relationships and constructs can be represented in the hypothetical framework as shown below.
E-Business technology dates back to the 1960s when the technology was integrated with electronic data interchange (Zwass, 1996). According to Malaya (2008), this technology could have probably started in 1990s through the internet. E-Business has evolved to be a core feature of a number of organizations. Malaya further suggested that E-Business would revolutionize the interaction techniques of organizations and their customers, suppliers, employees, and partners. E-Business was therefore perceived as a recipe for healthy competition in the Global economy. E-Business has a wide application and at times its definition poses a challenge to the majority of the people. Besides, its relation with User centered Innovations still remains a challenge to many people (Melao, 2008). Clarity has been provided in the definition of E-Business. The recent accepted definition is any organized trials by firms and individuals to manufacture and sell, for profit returns, goods and services which have the ability to satisfy needs and wants of the society on the internet (Brahm, 2009).
Confusions have also come up between the use of the word E-Business and e-commerce. Some people view E-Business as a compliment of e-commerce since e-commerce deals with buying and selling on the internet (Turban et al, 2006). (Kolkata & Robinson, 2000) were able to propose a definition for E-Business that would distinguish it from e-commerce. The alleged definition was able to put stress on the differences that exist between e-commerce and E-Business. According to them E-Business was more than just carrying out selling and buying transaction over the internet. E-Business entirely entailed the overall strategy that was used to define old existing business models through the use of technology. The purpose of E-Business was to maximize value and returns of the services and goods presented for sale. E-Business was meant to incorporate User centered Innovations so as to realize the goal of redefining old existing business models. This is because according to Eric (2008), the technology of User centered Innovations was supposed to enable firms and individual consumers to be able to innovate services and products for themselves. The process was supposed to surpass the traditional models that were initially in place.
2.2 Theoretical Framework
This study would incorporate both society needs and motivation approach. The use of E-Business and User centered Innovation technologies are geared towards boosting the sales of products over the internet, while at the same time reducing costs, which would be incurred in employing sales agents. This study is about putting in place E-Business and User centered Innovations so as to maximize on the returns for individual business owners and firms and to redefine the old existing business models. The study will also shed more light on the benefits that individuals and firms are expected to achieve because of adoption of these two technologies. The research will also look at the various products and services that are currently being traded on the E-business. The knowledge of the existing products and services will provide the basis for drawing recommendations about the types of products that will be able to do well when used with E-Business.
2.3 E-Business in firms
The development of E-Business according to Yen-Yi (2006) has enabled an increase in the number of jobs. The increase has shifted from traditional business models to modern models and quality products and services that effectively meet the needs and wants of the society. E-Business has enabled different firms to link their external and internal data processing systems. This has created flexibility and simplicity for the management of their products and services. The firms are more able to work with suppliers and partners so as so to satisfy and meet the needs and the expectations of their clients over the internet. E-business has also provided strategic focus for the firms on the functions and capabilities of their products using electronic systems. A publication by Windrum and De Berranger in 2002 shed more light on the integration of firms and the internet’s together with related ICTs on business organizations. The business organization was meant to form E-Business. The organization had two facets. The first facet was the integration of the supply chain that was meant to enable the process of delivery and production to be easier. The firms were required to develop stronger User centered Innovations that would enable them to favorites to compete with their rivals. The second fact was the creation of business models to replace the existing traditional business models. The business models were to be based on open systems of communication. The systems were to enable smooth communication between customers, suppliers, and partners. The integration of the supply chain was also meant to increase the efficiency and reduce the significant costs. This was supposed to be achieved through waste minimization, use of User centered Innovations to create new products and services, and using business models. This would in turn facilitate ways of conducting businesses on the internet.
According to Taylor and Murphy (2004), stages theories have been used to focus on the adoption and the progression of the aspects of E-Business in firms. However, stages theories have been faced with one major assumption. The assumption of stages theories is that many firms have progressed towards E-Business via a number of defined and successive phases. Each phase has been characterized by the availability of distinctive applications, problems, and benefits. Early stages of E-Business adoption within the stages adoption models are characterized by gain of access to the internet. The gain of access to the internet is followed by simple applications such as the use of e-mails. The use of e-mails enables the firms to gather and dispense information. Thereafter, the business would be able to publish a wide variety of information. The wide variety of information published by the business is to enable it to market its services and products to the clients. The business would also be able to provide after sales services. Once the business has started operations, deployment of e-commerce and User centered Innovations comes next. The use of User centered Innovations allows firms to develop services and products that are able to meet the requirements of the society and the clients at large. Once the E – business has been properly put into place, integration of corporate sites then follows. These sites enable customers and clients to order and pay for goods and services. The integration is also done with back office systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), integrated supply chain management (SCM), and customer relationship management (CRM) (Mendo & Fitzgerald, 2005). The approaches given to E-Business can be done in several ways. The chosen approach depends on the specific business process that can be accessed through the internet. A firm must decide on the profile or combinations of profiles that suits the chosen business context and strategy.
2.4 Benefits of User centered Innovations and E-Business
According to Windrum and Berranger (2002), the benefits of E-Business to a firm and an individual lie in five main areas. The first benefit that a firm or an individual derive from E-Business is the ability to expand their geographical reach. The internet connects the world. Therefore, so many people can see any product or service posted on the internet at a time. A firm or an individual can get clients and customers for its various goods and services from part of the world. The second benefit is the improved efficiency in procurement, logistics processes, and production of products. An individual or firm can easily obtain stock of products from partners through the internet. The logistic and procurement procedures are equally reduced. This in turn reduces the costs that would be incurred when carrying manual procurement from suppliers. The third benefit is the huge gain that firms and individuals obtain through improved management and customer communications. The management procedures through the internet are easier and the firms and individuals are able to get feedback from the customers. This in turn enables the firms to make correction on areas of limitations of their products. The fourth benefit is that the internet has the capability of reducing barriers to entry of new market entrants. The internet has no restriction on entry of new market entrants. Any firm or an individual with any form of product or service to sell can easily enter and leave the market. The internet also provides an opportunity for relatively small firms and businesses to reorient their supply of products and services. The firms are also able to reorient their supply chain relationships that are needed in planning for strategic partnership’s plans. The five benefits of E-Business is that this technology speeds up the developments of new products and business models. The new products and business models enable the firms and individuals to generate revenues in a number of ways. The hypothesis given by Windrum and Berranger (2002) is that the barriers to successful adoption of E-Business are generic in nature. The successful adoption of this technology depends on the collaboration strategies with other technologies. Apart from integration with other technologies, the successful adoption also relies on the proper management practices put in place by either the firms or the individuals.
According to Eric (2008), some of the benefits that firms and individuals derive from the use of the User centered Innovations are four. The first benefit is that the manufacturers are to identify and fill the needs and wants of the clients through designing and production of new products. Unlike in the traditional models of production where the manufacturers were required to use patents, other protection, and copyrights so as to put away imitators, the use of User centered Innovations can enable the manufacturers to run their new programs on hidden windows. These windows are visible to imitators but they cannot grasp their contents. The second benefit is that the manufacturers are able to develop many industrial and consumer products that do not need to fit with some field conditions. The innovations are meant to benefit the manufacturers and therefore, there is no restriction on the interchangeability. The third benefit is that the contributions of the users can also greatly increase. This is because of the advancements in the use of computers and communications capabilities. Through the use of user-centric and democratized works, the contributions of the different users can be greatly increased. The last benefit is the attractive qualities that the ongoing shifts have on the innovation users. Many users are able to obtain their needs through individual designs and manufacture of the various ideas. The social welfare of the users has been increased due to the use of the various innovations. Distributed innovations have in the recent past affected the structure of the social division of labor among the different users (Arthur, 1996).
2.5 Challenges of E-Business and User centered Innovations
Some of the challenges of E-Business are high speed skyrocketing boom, dramatic recession and decline, roller coaster-ups and downs, and slow and retarded diffusion. High-speed skyrocketing booms associate with the internet. Their internet providers charge the business owners and firms each time they are commercializing items through E-Business. The rates charged are based on the server’s billing systems. Some servers charge relatively high fees (Gitman & McDaniel, 2009). This in turn affects small-scale businesses that do not have a strong foundation. These businesses are forced to incur many fees in terms of internet payment for their E-Business portals. Large scale businesses also incur a lot of fees payment because these businesses do have a lot of products and services to market. The second challenge is dramatic recession and the decline of the internet signal strengths. Some geographical areas lack internet boosters and therefore, their constant face low signal strengths. The rate of the business is affected by the signal strength of the internet. Low signal strengths have also affected some customers thereby, forcing them to lack access to some sites on the internet’s. This in turn reduces the volume of sale for the firms and individual business owners. The third challenge is a roller coaster-ups and downs. Roller coaster-ups and downs are similar to subscription fees that are being levied by the portal owners. The subscription fee changes depending on the international billing rates. Inflation and high costs of manufactured items have contributed to the rise in the billing rates. This rise has prompted small-scale business to pull out of the market. Lastly, the fourth challenge to E-Business is the slow and retarded diffusions of the products on their located sites. At times, the rate at which the ordering of the products is done is very slow because of the invisibility case. Customers are not frequenting some sites and therefore, the products diffuse slowly. This in turn earns the firms and individual business owners’ low returns. The similarity of the products in the internet also contributes to the slow diffusion rates of some products (Cunningham & Froschl, 1999).
User centered Innovations have many shortcomings. Some of the shortcomings are user participation, project management and work, communication, and organization. The required user participation in User centered Innovations depends on the type of project and the product. User centered Innovations require many approaches. However, these approaches might not be the same for all the categories of ideas. The second limitation of User centered Innovations is in project management and work. Project management and work involves several roles. Successful completion of these rules does not require Uses centered innovations. They require participation of all the users collectively. The third limitation is organization. User centered Innovations view organization in terms of individual level. However, this is not beneficial since organization should be viewed in terms of group level. The last limitation is communication. There is no effective communication under User centered Innovations because of the lack of specialization and division of labor. Individualism is the center of User centered Innovations.
3.1 Introduction to the chapter
This chapter gives a brief description of the various methods that was used in this study. The areas covered include research design, area of study, sampling techniques, data collection methods and the various procedures, analysis of data, presentation of data, and research ethical considerations.
3.2 Research Design
Qualitative research design was used. This design searched for valuable information that was able to explain the various E-Business processes together with User centered Innovations. Qualitative research design focused on the recommendations of the best-suited businesses to be used by both E-Business and User centered Innovations.
3.3 Area of Study
This research focused on E-Business and extend to User centered Innovations. It took into consideration the various attempts by individuals and firms to maximize profits using these two technologies. E-Business technology was chosen because it is one of the emerging trends in modern businesses.
3.4 Sampling Techniques
The sampling technique employed in this study was closed and open-ended questionnaires.
3.5 Data Collection Methods and Procedures
Data to be used in this study was obtained from the internet. However, primary data was obtained from the field. A questionnaire was used to collect the primary data. Internet sources acted as the secondary data source.
3.6 Data Analysis and Presentation
Three sets of activities were used in the analysis and presentation of data. The three sets were data reduction, conclusion drawing and verification, and data display. Data reduction included focusing, sorting, and organization of data for easy deductions of conclusions. Displaying of data followed data reduction. Displaying was done with an aim of drawing conclusions. Finally, the data was presented in pie charts and graphs.
3.7 Ethical Considerations
Validity was used to determine the accuracy and precision of the measuring instrument. Specialists did critical evaluation of the measuring instrument. This ensured that the conclusions drawn are accurate and precise. Validity assessment focused on extending to which the specific objectives and the scope of the study get covered. The necessary adjustments were done accordingly before the items are used in the research. The reliability of the measuring instrument was done through pilot-test.
3.8 Expected Results
The results of the study are expected to be in accordance with the research questions and specific objectives.
Out of the 20 respondents 11 were male, while the rest were female. The number of the male was more than the female. This showed that many clients of the E-business are male.
15 respondents out of the 20 respondents were in the range of 20-30 years. 4 of the respondents were in the range of 30-40. Only one respondent was in the range of 40-50 years. 50+ age bracket had no respondent.
The level of education of 12 respondents out of 20 was secondary. The remaining 8 respondents were of diploma level. There was no respondent in either bachelor or post bachelor level.
5 respondents out of the 20 respondents have training in marketing, while the remaining 15 respondents had no training in marketing field.
Awareness of E-business
Out of the 20 respondents, 17 respondents are aware of E-Business. The remaining 3 respondents do not know of the existence of E-Business.
Heard of User centered Innovation
Unlike in the case of E-Business, 11 respondents have heard User centered Innovations. The remaining 9 respondents have not heard about User centered Innovation.
From the results it is evidence that most of the internet users are male. However, their number is almost the same. Since the maintenance of E-Business depends on the number of internet users, the internet usage results therefore favors this business. Majority of these users are youths. That is evidenced in the user age bracket. Many of them fall between 20-30 age brackets. Many of the adults are not users of the internet. This can be deduced from the 0 users from the age bracket of 50+ years. Most of the people in higher level of education are not frequent internet users. Out of the 20 respondents none was of education level beyond bachelor. Similarly, majority of the respondents had no training in marketing. Only 5 respondents out of 20 respondents had training in marketing. The remaining 15 respondents had no training in the same field. However, the numbers of respondents who are aware of E-Business are overwhelming. This therefore, boosts the marketability of the products traded through E-Business. Out of the 20 respondents 17 of them were aware of E-Business. Only three were unaware. Similarly, most of the respondents have heard User centered technology. Only 9 respondents have not heard about this technology. This therefore, means that firms or individuals who have invested in E-Business will be able to get more returns because they will have many clients. The results from the internet usage showed that quite a good of the respondents visit the internet frequently. 18 of the respondents are frequent visitors to the internet, and only two do visit the internet rarely. This will also provide a good platform for the business in E-Business technology. Likewise, 16 respondents out of 20 respondents had active internet connection. 19 respondents are fans of internet shopping and at one time have purchased some items on the internet. This is a clear indicator that this technology is currently under good receivership. Therefore, the returns would also be equally good. Most of the respondents frequently visit face book. The number of respondents visiting other sites such as Google and you tube stands at 5 respondents. This therefore, means that most of the items should be marketed via face book. Most of the E-Business investors should therefore, redirect their items via face book.
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