E- Business can be described as the enablement of transactions using digital applications in a firm. This utilizes information systems within the firm e.g. the internet services. Sial (2010) admits that E business and e- commerce have been used interchangeably to mean the same thing but the aspect of E-business is much broader than e commerce (para. 7). E- Business has been describes by IBM as the use of internet technologies to undertake most of the key business processes. This includes, research and development, marketing, manufacturing, and other involved logistics both internal and external.
E-business is a broad area which encompasses e- commerce. E- Commerce involves online selling of goods and services, marketing, procurement of raw materials, market exploration etc. however, e- business not only involves E-commerce but also aims at methods and means of retaining customers, educating them adequately about the products or services using online utility. In e- business, the investor is required to design websites that are capable of attracting the visitors to a point of winning them to be customers of the firms goods or services. E-business has become popular amidst increase in the number of people wiling to make business commitments over the internet. The World Wide Web has facilitated global e-commerce because companies no longer need to open physical stores across the globe for customers to access the products. On their part, customers do not need to either visit physical stores where goods are sold, or see the company agents. Suppliers have also benefited from e-business because they can deal with their clients as quickly as possible and expand their network with little effort. Companies that have harnessed the power of the internet have benefited through quick and faster sales, customer loyalty, good and cheaper publicity through easier advertising, among other benefits. E-business operations are set to increase with the increase in the usage of the internet across the globe.
Online applications must therefore employ the best technologies in designing and implementing websites that aim at helping the investor capture as the wider part of market as possible in comparison with the other competitors. One way in which a firm starts to implement on e- business is through e- commerce. This is achieved when a firm starts to make online sales and purchases that are equivalent telephoning and mal purchases that was used in the past. For a company to embrace e- business, it must incorporate sales marketing, accounting, manufacturing, and operation channels for all business activities. In E-business, every department in the firm considers the website of the firm as a major tool that is important in order for the departments to accomplish their tasks. E. g. the marketing department uses the web to introduce products and services and provide presentations on various aspects concerned with the product. The purchasing department on the other hand utilizes the web to obtain prices on components and also in placement of orders for hipping and schedule deliveries.
E-business architectures include the conventional client-sever based architectures and thin-client architectures. The latter possess higher capability to leverage the internet potential and its supporting technologies. E-business architectures depict systems used in the implementation of applications that have critical missions in e-business. Thus their success will greatly influence the performance of e-business. Through a strong and reliable network, clients such as browsers in personal computers, network devices phones and others can be utilized by the architectures to access services that are provided by the resource managers. Other than a mere combination of technologies and products, e-business architecture is used to meet diverse needs demanded by the population, and can handle the current and the future needs of this population. In order to develop effective e-business architecture, one will have to ponder about a number of issues touching his or her business. These include the overall business strategy of the organization, business drivers like the customer service among others. Client-server architecture is limited to handling issues within departments of an organization or enterprise. Contrariwise, thin-client architectures will be able to solve issues which are across the border, regions, departments and enterprises. The client hardware is the only utilized to always distribute the application code, while n-tier, 3 or 2-tier systems are utilized in the deployment of the client-server architecture. The capability and extension of the organizational services is important to decide when to develop thin-client architecture. One does not need to deploy any application-specific code on the client hardware for the thin-client systems while the deployment tool is the thin client architecture where the clients are connected to 1-n back-end tiers. The thin-client architecture is more complex and advanced, and the servers wired do not need to be dependent on the client support hardware or software, unlike for the client-server systems where the client and server must be aware of the capabilities ad services provide by the other in addition to being closely coupled. There are other differences between the client-server based applications and the thin-client architectures. While the connection and the connection session details are managed by the server in the thin-client technology, the server is responsible for the managing of the session state and utilizes the event-driven programs. The variability of the number of clients to be served by the system is featured in the thin-client architecture more than in the client-server architectures. While the number of users in the client-server architecture ranges from ten to hundreds for large scale applications, the number of users in thin-client architecture ranges from hundreds to millions depending on the success of the websites. It can be therefore understood that the two perform more or less the same purpose, but thin-client architectures have more capability than the client-server architectures. The former involves technologies such as the websites, dial-up connections, leased lines, LAN WAN, whereas client-server based architectures are either LAN or WAN.
Bagchi and Tulskei (2000) tell that e-business strategy can be demonstrated as a model constructed using defined building blocks (3). In formulating this model, each individual business must be isolated to have an effective e- business strategy of its own depending on its capabilities. On the other hand the e-business strategy to be applied affects the whole firm and not part of the business strategies being applied by the firm.
In their proposed model, the e-business strategy framework which is known as Strategic Capability Network (SCN) the strategy tries to link all the resources in the firm that includes the information systems and computing technologies to the eventual business value such as the satisfaction of the customers as well as revenue generation.
The SCN model is built by a collection of building blocks. The foundation of the model is the e-business resources which incorporates the technologies and skills within the firm. The other foundation block is the capabilities that enable the firm to implement the strategies. The above mentioned two foundation blocks give the main building block of capabilities. The capabilities are appropriately harnessed and applied to enable the business to deliver on its values that include the values to the external recipients like the customers and also the internal value to its constituents who include the employees as well as the other stakeholders.
In a survey done in most companies that have been successful in the application of e- business strategies the building blocks that have been identified include online information exchange, electronic execution and delivery of services, customized services, resource pooling, business intelligent, online collaboration and offering aggregation.
The commonest building block used by many firms is the use of online information exchange. This building block can be effectively used for customer service where customers are able to serve themselves for example b being able to follow the status of their orders.
In electronic execution and delivery services, in addition to using the online information, a firm is able to exchange incorporates value that is possible to add to the activities, accomplished by the firm and done by applying some charges.
The block of customized services is achieved after dealing and observing the operations with particular customer (s). The block of customization is used to enhance customer service which can be implemented by using suppliers, channel partners, etc. this building block as a result of personalized operations helps in better integration between the serving firm and the firm being served and hence foster long term relationship.
The block of resource pooling ensures that the firm utilizes its resources maximally as well as collaboration and coordination of different units of the firm. The aspect of decentralization of units in the firm is properly coordinated by the use of e-business communication technologies. This building block is usually utilized for example through centralized procurement and knowledge management.
The block of business intelligence involves the process of data management through collection, synthesis and analysis that aim at looking at the past transactions to identify areas hat require improvement in the future. When business intelligence is appropriately applied to give the information that portrays the complete picture of the business transactions.
The other important block in this model is online collaboration block which makes it possible for transactions to be carried out effectively without the need of being there physically. Individuals can participate in various activities at the same time. Firms that work together can have a better online collaboration to enhance their operations and transactions. Online collaboration also serves an important role in fastening the process of rectification of errors or resolution of technical, financial and other problems.
E-business therefore concerns all the activities that facilitate the transaction, including building a web facility that will attract customers and enhance their retention. In addition, the website facility must ensure that there is adequate security for the money and private data provided by the customer. It is difficult to engage in ecommerce without participating in e-business because customer attraction and handling in the current market scenario requires more than just presentation of the commodities to them. An adequate amount of trust, reliability, security, capability is also required between the buyer and the seller, even before monetary deals are struck. In the area of e-business, companies have built a diverse means of attracting and retaining customers through the capability of the internet tools. Companies are also constantly being engaged in transactions withy other companies and also suppliers. Collaboration with suppliers and partners in business is also essential to facilitate the speed of transactions, reliability of provision of goods to customers and gaining competitive advantages over business rivals. Efficient Supplier-business connection is important in enhancing quick delivery of services to customers because there is reduced ordering and delivery time. In addition, businesses will be able to gain financial advantages because of the discounts that will accrue to the purchases. E-business also includes other internal operations such as finance, development of the product, and inventory management among other things. Therefore, in simple terms, the execution of business transactions between organizations and between organizations and individual is what has been referred to as e-commerce, whereas e-business is the whole lot of operations that enhance the transaction operations. E-business is executed through a number of operations and activities managed by the organization (Sial, 2009).
In the e-business scenario, there are different types of functions for the sites, or that different sites may be organized for different purposes. E-business may therefore not only involve transactional e-commerce sites, but also sites that are relational in nature and that provide information to modify purchasing decisions. These are termed as services oriented relationship building websites. Typically, no products may be purchased through the internet over the service oriented relationship building sites unlike in the transactional based websites. However, customers may be influenced and lured to make purchasing decisions through these sites. The customers are also directed to where the products and services are located. These sites however perform more than one function because they also add value to the customer livelihoods through the social networking. Another type of site which can support e-business is the brand-building site which is basically meant to build the brand and no products may be purchased online. These are suited for the fast moving but low-value commodities. There are operations and activities within the e-business that are largely supported by portal or media sites and which may enhance selling of commodities. These include advertisement, revenue generation, data organization among others, and which are provided through a category of sites termed as portal or media sites (Chaffey, 2008).
E-Business Ethical Issues
Evolution of e-business has led to synthesis of issues relating to ethics in business. Internet marketing ethical issues have been considered important because of the nature of business, both in the B2B and B2C. The continuation of e-business and the possibility of its advancement over several years may also lead to ethical concerns: internet marketing is there to stay. Internet, in addition to being a marketing tool, has been a social tool and therefore has affected the lives of many people, and directly. The importance of ethical issues has arisen because of continued utilization of the internet through mobile phones. The most important ethical issues affecting the e-business today is the usage of internet as a secure and private tool for both social and business tool. With many breaches to privacy and security for the customer information, declining trust facing internet transactions has led to the need for putting in place measures aimed at eliminating these problems. Regulatory concerns have arisen because of infringement of customer privacy and security. Many governments now outline measures that should be put into place to ensure that companies observe privacy and security issues for the transactions.
A host of ethical issues that are not associated with traditional business environment have arisen as a result of internet business transactions. These issues become more evident as the environment turns out to be more volatile. Data mining, privacy and Information security, as well as intellectual property have arisen in the context of e-business. It is important to ensure integration of business ethics into business models so that professionals can appreciate and respond to these ethical issues. There are no rules and models that have been fully developed to define or limit behaviors in e-commerce environment (Wielki, 2001). The idea of virtual behavior is now common owing to the increase in internet marketing and e-business. There is a linkage between ethical issues in e-business and e-government. Mistrust and democratic dialogue may lock the virtual society and make it hard for the execution of commerce in the virtual society (Rogerson, 2002). The existing patterns of moral behaviors and norms have been challenged by the evolving e-commerce sector, and this may also lead to influence of e-government since they are both connected together. Private and the public sectors have been involved in e-commerce and therefore, linkage between e-business and e-government may be understood. There has been an evolution of the virtual culture within the business environment and the network enterprise. Introduction of culture code in the networks in the information sector would lead to the networks becoming obsolesce and hence the networks must be dynamic. This is in view of the fact that the people using the internet have changing cultures.
Ethical issues relating to the manner in which some companies do business with various groups of populations have also been raised. For example, food outlets have been blamed for aggressive and unethical behavior of selling their commodities to school children. This has been attributed to the rise in obesity among the population in the United States. Some of these ethical issues need to be solved through strict laws and regulations that force companies to act ethically or face legal consequences.
E-Business E-Commerce Difference
E-commerce and e-business have emerged to be important catalysts for economic development in the current global economy. The relationships between organizations and individuals, as well as organizations themselves have been revolutionalized by the integration of communication technology and information in the current business environment. Greater customer participation in business, reduction of costs, mass customization and increased productivity, have been the direct results of inclusion of ICT and its evolution in the business sector. The divide between the global electronic marketplace and the traditional markets are being narrowed with the introduction and development of the internet and the web-based technologies. It is becoming important for companies to realize how best to identify the emerging opportunities through strategic positioning, and to use a simple e-business strategy that is simple to best utilize these opportunities. In addition, it is important for organizations to know how to best utilize labor and human capital skills in the best way possible. Small and medium enterprises are able to equally compete in the global market as a level playing ground is provided by e-commerce. The ground leveling occurs through use of appropriate policy approach and e-commerce. Although the aspect of level playing ground has been captured, it is evident that companies in the developing countries have more limited opportunities to accessing the global market place than those in developed nations. There is need to develop the underdeveloped information infrastructure in the developing nations in order to avail equal opportunities for e-commerce in the globe. There are so many policies that have been thought of as important in helping to eliminate the barriers and improve the underdeveloped information infrastructure. These include those touching on the elimination of high costs of the internet connection and service fees, website-hosting charges and communication fees. There is need to address the limited availability of credit cards, and introduce polices that establish national wide credit card systems. The physical barriers such as uncertainty and slow delivery of goods and services also need to be sorted out to enhance commercial activities. Developing countries also need to develop policies that encourage solutions for network security problems and ensure that the trust within these systems is up to a considerable level. There is need to also make sure that IT professionals are adequate in supply as well as laying out guidelines that will allow development of this career. The recognition of certain transactions across the border is also important aspect of an e-business supported policy. Small and medium firms have been indicated as having little or negligible use of the internet in the developing countries, while large firms are realizing large patronage in the use of the e-commerce applications (Zorayda, 2003). There are a number of factors that can be attributed to this; among them good governance, strong political will which have somehow favored the usage of e-commerce and e-business. There has also been noted an effective policy framework that emerges with the private sector in these countries. Therefore, the inclusion of the private sector in the whole set up is very important. The interaction of the customer and the seller or producers is becoming a common thing in the current advancement of electronic and communication technology. The transfer of ownership of commodities and services through computer-mediated network, or the buying and the selling of the commodities across the internet (termed as e-commerce) has become a common feature. E-commerce is defined in the way that the idea of value creation that happens between organizations and individuals is captured considerably.
The creation, transformation and redefinition of the relationships that enhance the value creation are an important aspect of power of technology, and which has been grouped into e-business. International Data Corp, also known as IDC states that $350.38 billion is annually estimated for e-commerce. This is the information touches the year 2000. The corporation also estimated an increase of 5% to 10% in Asias percentage share of e-commerce revenue in 2000 (Zorayda, 2003). While e-commerce refers to usage of ICT to carry out the transactions between business and customer and among firms or organizations; e-business refers to the use of ICT to enhance ones business.
The reason for usage of e-business and e-commerce as interchangeable lies in the almost similar meaning of business and commerce in the English language. However, the two terms are different in their meaning. Although e-business and e-commerce are different, there are many things that they share in common. E-commerce can be described as a component of e-business or a part of it. E-commerce is limited to monetary transactions within e-business while the latter is a very broader term which describes monetary and non-monetary transactions. The other operations included in the electronic business, and which do not involve marketing, are categorized in the e-business because they cannot fit in the e-commerce sector. E-business therefore includes looking for suppliers, customer education, among other things. Selling goods to customers do not only include the presentation of these commodities to the customers, but goes along to maintaining customers such as through customer loyalty. In essence, commerce on the internet or on the electronic systems is very broad and consists of interaction between activities that can be categorized as e-commerce and e-business. For example, customer education and the search for customers and suppliers are components of transactions that enhance buying and selling.
E-business can be considered to comprise of three primary processes, namely the production processes, customer-focused processes and the internal management processes. The services as recruiting and video-conferencing become an integral part of the internal management. And promotional or marketing efforts are regarded as the processes, focused on customers’ demands.
Production processes facilitate the processing of payments, production control processes among other issues. The internet economy has of late interlinked E-commerce and e-business. The internet economy is broader and consists of three major segments; commerce, business infrastructure and the physical (ICT) infrastructure. There is the fourth layer termed as intermediaries. Enabling software, internet and World Wide Web networking tools are provided by the first layer, termed as internet infrastructure. The second layer is important in ensuring the supply of the software that enhances transactions over the internet, in addition to those consulting services and web development design. The buyers and sellers are linked over the internet by a second layer of internet economy, termed as internet intermediaries who offer the web content and provide the market places for the commercial transactions. The direct selling of commodities to the buyers is through a third layer termed as internet commerce.
One feature of e-business is that it entails several types of companies coming together, either to facilitate the direct selling of commodities to the consumer and/or to avail the social networking of the participants of buying. These companies are therefore dealing with different commodities and services but have been brought together by the power of the internet through which they seek to harness the benefits. They could be dealing in software, development of these software, real production of goods and services, or just enhancing the interaction of the customer with the seller through the websites.
Implications for organizations – strategies and organizational innovations in e-business
There are several strategies that have been put in place by companies to ensure that they gain competitive advantages over other firms in e-business. The capability of the company to identify quicker means of providing their services, systems that will enable them to avail quality services for their products and services, extensive customer base and proper product line, among others would important consideration in strategizing for e-business. The whole set of activities should be aimed at providing speedy, quality, reliable, and cheaper services than other firms. There are several major types of e-commerce, business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), among others. Mobile commerce is also a developing component of e-commerce. Other types are the consumer-to-consumer and the business-to-government.
The gap between traditional markets and the global electronic marketplace is being narrowed with developments in web-based and internet technologies (Zorayda, 2003) through the e-markets (Goldman Sachs Investment Research, 1999). Payment management through payment systems have also emerged as important components of global B2B business, in addition to inventory, supplier, distribution and channel management. Internet has also made publishing of internal business information and workgroup communications become more efficient (Lallana, Quimbo, & Andam; in Ravi & Andrew, 1997).
There are three primary processes which are enhanced in e-business, namely internal management processes, customer-focused and production processes (Lallana, Rudy, & Zorayda, 2000). The transactions between and among companies have been referred to as B2B e-commerce. This type forms the greatest part of e-commerce (up to 80%). The architecture of B2B is termed as the e-frastructure (Zorayda, 2003 There are several components of e-frastructure, web-based commerce enablers, software for managing the internet website contents and delivery of the content, software that allows people to operate and maintain real-time auctions in the internet, application service providers and logistics. It was projected that the share of B2B e-commerce would grow from 79.2% in 2000 to 87% in 2004 while the B2C share in e-commerce would decrease from 20.8% to 13% in the same period.
There are many advantages that arise from B2B marketing which has had tremendous impact in e-commerce. There are also several strategies that companies have adopted in ensuring they succeed in e-commerce through B2B commerce. The impact of e-commerce through the B2B transactions has been the reduction of the whole sum of transaction costs. The information of suppliers, products, prices and how to access them, and this has either eliminated the need for customers to search for it through intermediaries, or reduced the need for such intermediaries. The availing of information has also reduced the efforts and time spent on the internet. The internet has provided a single online trading community of buyers and sellers. On the one hand, companies no longer need to incur large amounts of money to search for buyers of their products, presentation of the products to the buyers, and search for payment schemes; while on the other hand, customers also can access easily all the services required to carry the purchases. The power of the internet through e-business has been to eliminate traditional intermediaries and distributors who exist between the buyers and sellers over the internet. The traditional intermediaries are being replaced by new forms of intermediaries who are better, advanced in technology, faster, more reliable and accessible.
Both the customers and the suppliers have benefited from the transparency in lpricing that has been brought about by the e-markets. The transaction processes have been characterized by revelation of the market price to many participants in the single market (Romulo and Shaid, n.d). The interaction in the websites that sell and advertise products provide potential customers with an opportunity to compare prices and to make purchasing decisions. These potential customers can compare prices and qualities of commodities being offered on the internet by many companies, and will not need to travel different places to see agents to do so. There is a lot of time saved for purchases and enquiries. In addition, two-way auctions and price-setting has arisen amidst participation of several buyers in the B2B e-markets. In order to set commodity price such means as automatic matching of bids and offers are also used. Therefore, multiple actions through the single market place have played a role in lowering the prices to competitive ones, way below those of individual action. As a result of B2B operations’ increasing, the increase of supply-side cost-side economies of scales is observed as well. Even more, certain demand-side economies of scales undergo considerable changes as well.
Another trend common in the e-commerce is the transaction between the consumers and companies where consumers purchase such commodities as books, etc over the internet, after gathering the vital necessary information. This has been facilitated by the online retailing companies which avail the commodities for the customer to access them. A key trend has also been the utilization of the online banking tools for management of personal investments and finances. It was estimated that the revenues for B2C e-commerce would increase to US$428.1 billion by 2004. A substantial share has been taken up by online retailing. Just like in the B2B e-commerce, transaction costs have significantly been reduced through B2C e-commerce. This is through the reduction of the costs involved in searching for the information which is important to making the purchasing decisions. In addition, transaction costs are decreased with more access to information to the consumers. Some companies have also benefited in that all they need to have is a website rather than building a physical structure. Therefore, maintenance of such a website would be easier than the installation of a physical structure for a firm. In addition, the office physical structures are not flexible as would the website offices. A physical distribution network would be too costly for a company and this makes the internet distribution channel more admirable.
The strategies devised by companies in the e-business sector are important in giving them a competitive advantage over their rivals. It can be understood that the large companies are favored by e-business systems mostly because of their affordability of more efficient, fast and reliable systems, but there are other strategies that can be used to give smaller companies a competitive edge. These strategies do not necessarily require that the companies afford savvy systems in terms of quality. Online business is turning to be of interest to many customers because of the advantages it presents, but companies must first of all learn to study the interests of consumers. These interests vary because consumers are participating in different activities, ranging from leisure to business activities. The importance of the quality of the websites in attracting customers cannot be ignored because they are the marketing and the selling point. These websites will need to be attractive from appearance. Other qualities customers would be looking for is the ease o-f presentation of information in these websites and databases. For example, websites dealing with tours and travels and the related booking for goods and services need to present adequate, reliable and trusted information since customers may not have time to inquire about it, yet they will be making a decision at that point of interraction. Customers are also looking for more than the content in the databases and the appearances of the websites, to gain interest in the benefits associated with usage of services and commodities from companies. Companies have therefore moved into incorporating reward programs that are meant to retain customers in the usage of internet facilities. Companies must also strategize in offering competitive packages and qualities for various categories or classes of people. For example, students would have a different taste with the working class yet both participate in e-business.
Transaction Cost Analysis
In recent times, firms have found it important to employ method of monitoring the quality of the products and services as well as operations. In analyzing operations, Transaction Cost Analysis (TCA) is used to analyze operations in the business. The application of TCA is used to gauge the impact of trading on portfolio returns by looking at the difference between the net returns indicated on paper and the real portfolios. To explain the difference between the paper portfolios and the real portfolios, paper portfolios omit on some aspects like commissions and settlement costs, and thus differ with the real portfolios. Slippage is a term used to describe the difference between the two aforementioned returns.
TCA is greatly utilized firms to help them determine the effectiveness of portfolio orders completion for the actual and perceived portfolios. TCA is particularly important due to the nature of the markets that has witnessed numerous changes, risks and opportunities. One of the possible meanings of TCA lies somewhere between the difference that takes place at the event processing platform, to be more exact, between the two amounts of this platform. In this platform, the portfolio manager looks at the first amount as the amount incurred if the transaction was carried out instantaneously without extra cost. On the other hand, the second amount is the actual cost that would be incurred. Taking into consideration this fact, it is possible to say that the slippage of the direct costs like commission or taxes and indirect costs like cost of delay or missed opportunities may become that very different of the actual and instantaneous cost. The sizes of this slippage can be identified by means of the power of influence that is inherent to the investor’s returns and business performance. The use of TCA has been embraced in the highly competitive market to analyze the efficiency of the investments.
Common Failures in Transaction
Long duration transactions may be affected in a great way following transaction failures. Transaction failures are unavoidable for most databases. Long transactions have been found to exhibit excessive failure overhead and a possibility of sharp increment in response time with increased rates of failure (Leung & Currie, 1995). Performance deteriorations may be checked out through transaction nesting.
Failures in transactions may either be human error or system failure. It is possible to force out a failure in a system once certain circumstances are noted. For example, a distributed transaction failure may be implemented as a result of a need to manually resolve in-doubt distributed transactions and to see the results (Oracle, 2008). Transaction router failures may be caused by three things. The first reason may be behaviors of RDBMS and connectivity, writing and reading. dx files may also come along with errors that may cause Transaction Router failures. Accessing docking directories and cache files may also come along with errors that may cause the aforementioned type of transaction failures. Usually, systems are provided with mechanisms to report that an error has occurred. It may be necessary, while trying to solve a transaction failure, to determine whether there was a persistent or one-time occurrence of a transaction failure. Poor network connectivity problem may be responsible for the failure. This can be tested by restarting the Router, and observing whether the Router would continue to process without errors after the restart. Transaction Router continues to process without further error after it has been restarted. Other responsible problems may be connectivity o-f the database, or any other intermittent issue (Oracle, n.d.).
Distributed Data Base Management System (DDBMS) can be used to implement global ACID properties. The problem with this is that there will be low data availability. Once the connection to the data fails, there is no possibility for the data to be unlocked i.e. data is locked. Client/server technologies do not experience this problem because they utilize local locks. They are used in real life distributed system because of this reason. These systems however lack inherent global ACID properties. In order to ensure that there is high data availability, implementation of global semantic ACID properties may be implemented on top of a client/server technology. Compensatable and retriable subtransactions may be used to implement the global atomicity property. Users can access data located in a multiple autonomous Data Base Management Systems (DBMS) through a multidatabase system (MDBS). Data located in more than one local database may be accessed through systems termed as global transactions. While a Global Transaction Manager is used to manage global transactions, a single DBMS may be required as a control in the execution of a local DB-transaction. The aforementioned manager may be a product of MDBS or a Distributed Data Base Management. Local DMBSs may be combined with GTM in the implementation of global ACID properties. A characteristic of client/server is the lack of GTM which makes local DB-transactions to communicate in an uncoordinated way (Frank & Torben, 1998).
Reliability in E-Business System
There are many problems and inconsistencies that have emanated with the increase of internet infrastructure and internet contents. These inconsistencies include frustration of the website visitors, traffic delays, and other bottlenecks. It is crucial to making sure that there is e-business reliability through easier management of the websites and their contents, as well as making them more efficient. The correct performance of software is critical for the good performance of the websites. It is important to ensure proper design and management of e-business to allow it to manage peak loads and survive other internet problems. An example of a system that has been built in consideration to ensuring high reliability with WPM systems features five steps of the load-test process. The first step to having a successful load test is to ensure that there is a comprehensive test plan for the same. There are various steps that will be involved in ensuring the above step is accomplished (Wen, n.d.).
Differences between Secure System and Reliable System
It is becoming imperative to ensure and manage effective relationship with customers amidst global competition and constrained resources. An enterprise may utilize strategies, tools and methodologies, which together are termed as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in order to effect or enhance relationship with their customers. Post-sale, sales process, pre-sale interactions are means that a company may utilize to enhance relationship with customers. Customer Relationship Management has been applied in ensuring that those companies doing business over the internet gain access to customers and therefore survive in business. The data must be presented in the right format, with accuracy, complete and in the current format for an efficient CRM, in order to give the customer an exclusive view. Data integration and business-to-business application are important for Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Customer relationship is becoming an important competitive advantage for firms to invest in. customer satisfaction and loyalty is being accomplished through ensuring proper customer relationship. The most discouraging scenario is that companies may not immediately benefit from CRM initiatives. Reliability of systems has become an important aspect of customer satisfaction and loyalty. In order to become reliable, there is need for companies to invest in systems. It is important to interact with customer so as to realize. A good customer relationship through the internet may be facilitated through customer touch point such as telephone and website and emails.
Data base security
Computerization of many operations in businesses has come along with the recent developments in the information systems sector. The efficiency of data, the speed of its delivery and the security of it is an important aspect owing to the importance of data in recent business developments. Sharing of data is also n important aspect because different companies not only share it with within their departments, but also with their customers around the world. Combination of data distributed across several sites is also emerging to be a very important aspect in the area of research and company analysis of information. Storage of information is also an important aspect in business because secure storage will enhance the survival of data across many historical periods and this may enhance easier or the possibility of tracking of company performance for example. Safe storage of information has become important owing to dangers associated with data losses such as the September 11 and other dangerous occurrences of disasters. Complexity of data and information such as that stored in the web has called for more advanced as opposed to more conventional tools. For example, the semantic web has been devised and has enabled the interpretation of the web pages and the management of activities for people across the globe. The tool can also give advice, and improve on the lifestyle. Incorporation of quality parameters such as accuracy, precision and speed is required in the development of tools that are able to manage data. All these translate to the reliability of these tools. Industry and academia has gained interest in the attention for the information quality or data quality. Lack of data quality within technological systems can be associated with data losses and substantial losses for revenue in organizations.
Survivability of the technological tools and systems highlight the possibility of them to survive the security threats as well as failures (Bhavani, 2002). Systems failures may be avoidable or non-avoidable in that they may be as a result of human error or not. While technological systems are very prone to security threats such as those by cyber criminals, system failures may also occur owing to a number of problems ranging from power interruptions to other mechanical failures.
Competition has also been a key feature within e-marketing, which has necessitated the need for companies to put into place strategies aimed at gaining competitive advantage over their rivals. Even smaller companies are finding the importance and power of e-marketing in selling their products, and therefore technology has provided a somewhat level playing ground for all organizations through e-marketing opportunities. However, competitive advantage range from investing in very savvy technological systems that are quicker than others, those that avail better and quicker interface between the buyer and the seller, those that are more secure than others, those that are quicker and easier to understand and manage, and those that are able to avail more buying and selling options to the buyers. Monopolistic competition has been a common feature in e-marketing where there is large number of producers trying to satisfy the unlimited customer base through product differentiation.
Communication has evolved to be a key feature in e-marketing, where companies reach out to customers across the globe through technological power. The optimal use of communication resources by a firm in marketing is referred to as integrated marketing communication. Companies are able, through the available technological tools, to organize their sales promotion, public relations and advertisement, to come up with a strategy to meet a certain communication strategy that will be geared towards assisting the company in e-marketing. Internet has played a key role in e-marketing by making products available to many customers at ago. Customers are able to have access to different varieties of products, carry out product selection, and even make purchasing decisions while at any part across the globe. In the increase of internet access to many people across the globe, personal selling, which involves the direct oral presentation of products by the seller to persuade the buyer to make a purchase, are becoming unpopular means to reach out to customers on a global scale. This has been witnessed even in the sectors such as air travels which required travel agents to sell commodities.
The opportunity presented by e-marketing has emerged to be a popular option because of advantages that accrue to its usage. Companies are able to cut on the cost of marketing their pro-ducts because the intermediaries involved are eliminated. Elimination of the intermediaries ensures that the companies have a direct contact with the customer and therefore there is no need to incur the costs of maintaining and paying for the intermediary. Reduced time of transaction has also been an attractive feature of e-marketing where companies may realize quick time for selling of the commodities. Customers are not required to take time to travel either to the product store or to see the agent, but can access the commodities over the internet. Reduced time of transaction has also been an attractive feature amongst the buyers and this has facilitated advancement of e-marketing. For example, in the air travel sector, customers are able to arrange and manage their travels at home without having to see the travel agents. A reduced inconvenience has also been an attractive feature within e-marketing. There are so many inconveniences involved in the dealing with intermediaries to make purchases or making a buying decision. An example is the limited knowledge of new intermediaries in the market which may limit the buying decision of the customer, thus making the company to fail to realize the full potential of the employee. In addition, physical contact between the buyer and the seller is subject to many problems such as the delays and communication problems as well as physical and other barriers.
Security has emerged to be a very important aspect of e-marketing transactions in the modern world. Increase in cyber crime has necessitated the importance of checking, tracking and ensuring the safety of network communications. Cyber attacks are aimed at victims to rob them either of vital data that will be used maliciously, or cash access through electronic money transfer systems. There are so many considerations that have been put forward in ensuring the security of internet data. Breach of security for internet communications has been counteracted through many ways, that ensure hiding of data contents, physical limitation of the attacker, or the legal provisions that in the place to help organizations and countries, in that respect, avoid cyber crimes.
Publication of security breaches has in one way or the other popularized the security threat for communications over the internet. Incidents of hacking have made companies to realize the importance of ensuring website security amidst losses incurred by the affected companies. There are many ways through which the internet security may be ensured in the database. A common way is confirming the identity of the user or the computer being used. Many systems request that the user prove his or her identity by providing a password in addition to the username. From there, users can now access their accounts.
The most common reason for attacking a website is to have an access to data and information from the victims computer. This data is then utilized for malicious reasons. There is need for companies to clearly understand the vulnerabilities before looking at alternatives to deal with them. In addition, attackers may create doors through which they will return to the said sites for further exploitation. Patching of client-side vulnerabilities usually take twice as much as patching operating system vulnerabilities whereas the latter is of lesser risk. Opening documents, music and software that exploit client-side vulnerabilities, from trusted sites may also be utilized by the attackers. In addition, only opening the infected websites without opening the documents may also allow attackers to strike. There are many opportunities to breach the security of the internet and computers in general, and every firm must be conscious of these opportunities so as to know when they are victimized, and when they need to upgrade their systems. An unpatched client-side software may be a component of attack where spear phishing is common (email attacks). These attacks have mainly been targeting computers connected to the internet. However, the method of attack has been described as just a primary infection vector of attack. The attackers focus on the client vulnerabilities in certain programs such as the Adobe Flash among others. Visiting infected websites may also lead to vulnerable attacks by the attackers, through the same programs. Attackers have a way in which they compromise these websites. More than 60% of the website attacks constitute what has been referred to as attacks on website applications (Sans, 2009). Further exploitation of these vulnerabilities aim at making trusted websites become malicious. Custom-built applications and open-source have been subjects of Cross-Site Scripting and SQL among other vulnerabilities against websites, which comprise 80% of all vulnerabilities. It is therefore necessary for companies to scan their websites to check against these vulnerabilities. Application programs are receiving far greater records of vulnerability and attacks than the operating systems. The prevalence or the inabilities to patch are the dependable rationale for attacking a particular application.
The major avenues utilized in the attack of web servers are the web application attacks and brutal force attacks. Password guessing attacks are commonly utilized in SSH, Microsoft SQL, and FTP servers because they allow access after a password pairs with the username. Thus a common practice could be to limit the maximum number of trials the customer or any person will have to enter the password so as to avoid several trials leading to malicious access. Companies must be aware of the danger involved in the website attacks especially because automated tools can be utilized to discover and infect many vulnerable websites.
In addition to internet communication securities, data loss in companies has also been a substantial problem where companies have lost huge amounts of money. Increase in change of technology beyond the knowledge of existing workforce may have partly contributed to the problem. Complexity of technological systems has rendered data loss not so easy to avoid and escape. Data loss has largely influenced the total impact of e-marketing in that it has made companies to either loose money through such scenarios, or made them to invest a lot of money to put checks and balances.
ACID property and usability
Database management system must ensure that there is compliance to the properties of ACID transactions. In fact, reliability of database is gauged on the attainment of these four properties. Four properties of transactions are represented in the acronym ACID. Transactions posses atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability and all will be discussed in this section. Atomicity refers to a character which defines the nature of transactions to be acted upon as a single operation. An example of atomized activities in a transaction is a successful withdrawal of money from one account and the subsequent crediting of that money in another account. Therefore, an instant where one part of transaction fails and another continues is just impossible. The property of atomicity must exist with all types of failures, operating systems and in spite any DBMS. Consistency is that state of data, from the start to the end of a transaction. Consistency refers to the similarity of things or states-for example total value of two accounts where one is receiving money from another account-at the end of a transaction. There is serialization of transactions that are running concurrently, such that other transactions cannot access the intermediate state of a transaction. Consistency is important to ensuring all data written in databases is valid. It is possible to restore an entire transaction back to a state which is consistent with rules of consistency in case of violation of such a rule. This is achieved through rolling back the entire transaction. A transaction must successfully take a database from a state of consistency to another state of consistency. Another transaction in an application where there are funds being transferred from one account to the other will have to view money from either first or the second account and not both, because of the isolation characteristic. The characteristic of durability ensures that data changes persist and are undone even at the event of system failures. It is for example impossible to reverse changes made to the first and the second account, in an event of transferring funds from one account to the other (IBM, 2009). Isolation is advantageous in that one transaction cannot affect another transaction occurring at the same time. Therefore, sometimes a database may have to prioritize to completely execute a transaction before carrying out another one. This is in situations such as when a transaction has been issued against a database by one person, at the same time. Interruption of one transaction may be as simple as reading intermediate data of one transaction by the other transaction. Isolation however does not specify which transaction must be executed first but that it emphasizes on isolation. Durability may be an important characteristic in database back ups and transaction logs (Chapple, 2010).
There are several terms that have been presented in the transaction terminology. A problem occurring at the time of the transaction may be aborted. An example is when a system is overloaded. Commission of a parent transaction will also ensure that all unresolved children of the parent transaction are also being committed if the transaction is of the nested type. The locks of the child transactions in nested transactions are held by parent transaction and cannot be released. The actual resolution of the child transaction is not carried out until the commission ort abortion of the parent transaction, although child transaction will succeed. Abortion or commission of a child transaction will occur if the respective operation of the parent takes place. A transaction may remain non-aborted and still in commission but the freeing of the per-process resources associated with the specified Transaction instance, occurs. This is referred to as discarding.
There are very many types of transaction methods termed as public methods. These are the Clone where a transaction has a clone created on it, among others. A DependentClone may be created for a transaction if the public method termed as DependentClone is utilized in the system. A durable resource manager is enlisted by the public method termed as EnlistDurable, to participate in a transaction. A string representing the current Object will be returned by a public transaction method termed as ToString whereas a transaction may be rolled back (after an overload) by the Rollback public transaction method. In the category for transaction methods is the protected method which includes Finalize and MemberwiseClone. Creation of a shallow copy of the current object may be ensured or performed by the MemberwiseClone protected transaction method (Microsoft Corporation, 2010).
Long running transactions
Utilization of the Classic ACID (atomic, consistent, isolated and durable) transactions cannot be utilized in the in the undertaking of Long-run transactions. Long-running transactions are characteristics of high-level (business-oriented) transactions semantics. ACID transactions are sometimes not useful because a significant amount of time is required to complete the unit of work to be done, although this is not always true. An amount of time equivalent to months or even years may be required to complete the said tasks in long-running transactions. Long-term data locks and serialization that is required to be done concurrently in the long-running transactions make it hard to utilize the ACID model in the long-running transactions. The operations which are executed through long-running transactions require human interventions. These long-running transactions turn out to be rather helpful if certain interactions are able to span certain organizations limits. Business processes being faced with external uncontrollable or unexpected factors may influence the use of long-running transactions. In its turn, indeterminacy is characterized by these traditional ACID models and makes a rigid approach be used in certain transactional semantics. Long-running transactions have been described as lacking atomicity and isolation. However, they are durable and consistent. These characteristics are featured in a definition offered by Microsoft for Long-running transactions. Long-running transactions have also been presented as being species of defective ACID transactions but this view has been rejected. While there is a more general-purpose applicability for Long-running transactions because of absence of presupposition of existence and the utilization of resource managers, the presupposition is present in the ACID transactions. It is necessary to remember that there are two ways of how information is stored and managed: it is oriented to ACID transactions by means of relational database, and it may be managed as an orchestration in case it is represented by means of business process itself. Long-running transactions do not co-form to the ACID model although they are used in the modeling real-world business transactions. Although Long-running transactions share some characteristics with the ACID transactions, they are not constrained in the same way normal transactions are. There has been a presentation of the idea that sagas were the former long-running transactions. There exists evidence of the linkage of the two. Long-lived transactions within relational databases were handles through the sagas mechanism. It is possible to interleave long-lived ACID transactions with inner transactions from other sagas, once the former have been decomposed into smaller and more discrete transactions. The incorporation of each inner transaction into an enclosing saga as a member does not imply that it will loose its ACID properties. Intermediate state is a state of a saga which comprise of complete and incomplete work resulting from a failure in transaction. A compensation handler is provided for each inner transaction, so as to enhance the scenario aforementioned. A failure of any of the inner transaction will cause a roll back of the entire transaction. The execution of the inner transaction will occur in reverse order of commitment (Young, n.d.). In this essence, it is imperative that the effect of each transaction associated with a compensation handler, will have to be cancelled by the same handler. The applicability for sagas is limited and there is no possibility for commutativity for these sagas, because they are neither atomic nor can they be separated at this level. In addition, there usage may be in areas where transaction isolation is not desired operation and where a constrained set of data is being operated by an inner transaction in a given saga.
Use and Types of Data Base in Long Running Transaction
XML databases have been applied in long-running transactions among others. XML databases have been utilized in the management of the long-running transactions. In addition, XML has found a better use in the integration of data in the business world. XML databases are different from hierarchical and relational databases. Documents of the XML type could be stored in a native XML database so as to achieve advantages such as security, transactional safety, concurrent access, and easier management. XML databases have themselves a wide number of applications from technology, insurance, to healthcare and genetics. In addition, they have found usage in websites, messaging and integration. Storing and querying semi-structured info and document-centric XML as well as integrated info become the most popular categories of this sphere. This kind of data may easily fit the XML model but cannot fit at all the relational data model due to the possibility to use the former. In order to store XML documents in a database, data is transferred to the database schema. However, there is need to first carry out mapping for the documents schema to a database schema. There is information that is lost, with the storage of data into the XML-enabled database. Native XML databases may therefore be regarded as better alternative because they can store any document regardless of the schema. A document is the unit of storage for the native XML database, but this document may represent a set of related data.
The availability of many tools for converting data from other formats to XML makes it a further viable option. Data integration applications are utilized in the solving of problems related to change management, security and data access. Data is stored in remote sources in distributed query architecture. Lack of remote calls makes local queries to be faster.
Survivability in Long Running Transaction
Survivability of long running transactions depicts their ability to be able to go beyond system failures and interruptions in transactions. Set consistency has been proposed as an appropriate option for consistency of long-running transactions. It is important to ensure that long running transactions are consistent. A process may make permanent changes and collect them together, and this is what is considered by set consistency. Because long running transactions may fail, they are required to have a self cancellation. Compensation is used in long running transactions where the previously committed actions may be undone by some other actions. When a failure occurs, compensation is automatically run by compensation operators. These compensation operators associate compensation actions with completed actions. It is important to verify interactions between processes or to formalize the semantics of compensation according to research (Butler & Ferreira, 2000; Fu, Bultan & Su, 2004; Foster, Uchitel, Magee & Kramer, 2003). Cancellation semantics is a looser notion of correctness that for a long-running transaction which views that a long running transaction must undo all its observable results or complete successfully (Butler, Hoare & Ferreira, 2004). Many real world scenarios do not work well with cancellation semantics. This is firstly because a process, as a result of lack of non-compensatable action, may have to go on with the execution even after certain actions of it fail. Thus, it is necessary to account for partial completion of processes through a certain notion of correctness. The second reason is that many application specific requirements may not be represented by cancellation semantics. An example requirement is the mutual exclusion of two actions. Desired properties for a certain process can be specified using expressive temporal logics although it is undecidable to check temporal properties of compensating processes (Emmi & Majumdar, 2007). Moreover, it is expensive to check finite systems (Sistla & Clarke, 1985). Business processes are familiar with parallelism, nondeterminism and compensation which may cause the explosion of the number of states. Set consistency may be used to address these limitations. At the end of an execution, the sets of services, which made observable changes, will be captured by a set of consistency. The set of actions which were not undone through compensation but were successfully completed, can be tracked in order to verify specification. Propositional logic may be used to represent the aforementioned specification. Cancellation semantics and weaker and stronger restrictions on processes may be represented by set consistency specifications.
Bhavani, T. 2002). Building Secure Survivable Semantic Webs. IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI02)
Butler, M., Hoare, C. A. R., and Ferreira. C. 2004. A trace semantics for long-running transactions. In Communicating Sequential Processes: The First 25 Years. LNCS, 3525/2005: pp. 133150, Springer
Butler, M., and Ferreira, C. 2000. A process compensation language. In IFM 00: Integrated Formal Methods, pp. 6176
Chaffey, D. 2008. Define E-business and E-commerce (what is difference between E-business and Ecommerce? Web.
Chapple, M. 2010. The ACID model. Web.
Emmi, M., and Majumdar. R., 2007. Verifying compensating transactions. In VMCAI 07. Springer
Foster, H., Uchitel, S., Magee, J., and Kramer, J. 2003. Model-based verification of web service compositions. In ASE 03. IEEE
Frank, L. & Zahle, T. 1998. Semantic ACID Properties in Multidatabases Using Remote Procedure Calls and Update Propagations. SoftwarePractice and Experience, 28(1), 7798
Fu, X., Bultan, T., and Su, J. Analysis of interacting bpel web services. In WWW 04, pp. 621630
Goldman Sachs Investment Research. 1999. E-commerce/Internet: B2B: 2B or 2B? 1.1 (16):pp.68-71
IBM. 2009. ACID properties of transactions. Web.
Lallana, E., Rudy., Zorayda, R. 2000. e-primer: An introduction to eCommerce. Philippines: DAI-AGILE, pp.2
Leun, C.H.C., and Currie, E. The Effect of Failures on the Performance of Long-Duration Database Transactions. The Computer Journal, 38(6):pp.471-478
Microsoft Corporation. 2010. Transaction Methods. Microsoft Corporation. Web.
Mullen, H., and Horner, S. Ethical Problems for e-Government: An Evaluative Framework. EJEG. 5 (3). 2010. Web.
Oracle. 2008. Simulating Distributed Transaction Failure. Oracle. Web.
Oracle. ca. 2009. Transaction Router Failures. Oracle. Web.
Ravi, K & Andrew, W. 1997. Electronic Commerce: A managers Guide. USA: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.pp. 19-20
Rogerson, S. 2002. Computers and society. In: R.S. Spier, Science and technology ethics. London: Routledge, pp. 159 179.
Sans. 2009. The Top Cyber Security Risks. Sans. Web.
Sial, S. 2009. Differences between e-commerce and e-business. Web.
Sistla, A., and Clarke, E. 1985. The complexity of propositional linear temporal logics. J. ACM, 32(3), pp. 733749
Wen, R. E-business reliability with web performance management. 2009. Web.
Wielki, J. Consumers in the market place in e-commerce. In: Bynum, T.W., et al eds. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Social and Ethical Impacts of Information and Communication Technologies: Ethicomp 2001 Gdansk, Gdansk: Technical University of Gdansk, 2. pp259 268.
Ye, C., Cheung, S.C. and Chan. W.K. 2006. Publishing and composition of atomicity-equivalent services for B2B collaboration. In ICSE 06, pp. 351360
Young, C. BizTalk Server 2006: The Compensation Model. Web.
Zorayda, R. 2003. E-commerce and e-businesses. E-ASEAN Task Force, UNDP-APDIP.