E-commerce has major potential to modify business strategies and structures, particularly in business-to-business relations. The Electronic Commerce Business Impacts Project (EBIP) uses a common analytical framework to undertake firm-level case studies in different sectors in ten countries to examine these changes.
This work examines where the Internet is being used (for example in advertising and information services) and the extent to which core business transactions (in ordering, billing, payment and delivery) are migrating from proprietary electronic data interchange (EDI) systems to open standards Internet-based systems.
Overall the study suggests that e-commerce strategies enable firms to present a broader range of products, reduce costs of production and distribution of goods and services, manage their supply chains more effectively, and improve communications and relations with customers and suppliers. But little quantitative information on impacts is available.
The expansion of e-commerce is seen by firms to rely on the availability of high capacity network infrastructure, regulatory frameworks to increase trust (transaction security, legal structures, authentication mechanisms, and intellectual property protection), improvements in staff training and the skill base. E-commerce strategies and applications are also likely to strengthen trends towards market consolidation. Government policies are not seen as a major barrier to adoption, but are sometimes seen as not sufficiently facilitating e-commerce.
A Workshop presenting some initial results from EBIP was held in Rome on 29-30 October 2001.
To access the EBIP sector reports, click here.