- Slides: 48
COMP 3121 E-Business and E-commerce Technologies Richard Henson University of Worcester September 2011
Week 1: On-line Trading Processes and underpinning Technologies n Objectives: ØClarify concepts of e-business and e-commerce ØExplain the basic processes required for a business transaction to take place ØTranslate a business transaction into its on-line equivalent processes ØIdentify the technologies required to service each business process on-line ØProduce a web page to sell a product online
E-commerce and E-business n n n Much misunderstanding about these terms E-commerce is about using digital technologies to sell products online E-business is about going beyond this, and using digital technologies for: Ø putting business information selectively on the web Ø engaging selectively with information systems of partner organisations Ø e-marketing Ø managing customer relationships online
Focussing on E-commerce… n n n E-business is fascinating, and is the main growth area for existing, successful, on-line businesses However, for many businesses to first stage is to be able to trade online This means developing an e-commerce website… Ø To create an illusion of a face-face equivalent transaction VIA COMPUTER SCREEN!!!
Breaking Down a Business Transaction n In a nutshell: Ø 1. Ø 2. Ø 3. Buyer selects goods or service Buyer and seller agree a price Buyer makes payment
Business Transactions – why use technology? n Historically, the transaction is agreed: Øface to face Øif people were unable to/didn’t want to meet, via third party n Early intervention of Technology: the telephone: ØAdvantage: “face-face” transactions were possible over any distance
Fast Forward… The Digital Revolution n Early 1990 s business information: Ø stored digitally Ø processed by digital computer n n Late 1990 s, www - Objective: need a virtual equivalent of face-face interaction Requirement: business processes of a manual transaction need to have Ø effective behind-the-screens processing Ø effective on-line data input-output through interactive screens – designed to be appropriate for all users Ø rapid-response on-line database support n Challenge for e-commerce technologies…
Pre E-commerce computerized business processes n n B 2 B communications mostly paper-based Electronic Information systems for INTERNAL use only Electronic -> paper and vice versa for communications between businesses OBVIOUSLY wasteful…
Activities involved in B 2 B ecommerce (1) n n The business develops, builds, nurtures a good working relationship with its suppliers. This will initially be face-face, not online Trusted suppliers provide secure access to parts of their information systems/Intranets to all for checking for product availability, etc. Supplier Business
Activities involved in B 2 B e-commerce (2) n n n In return, the business provides secure access to parts of its information systems/Intranet to trusted suppliers business Suppliers can send invoices supplier The business can make payments…
B 2 C E-commerce (www selling direct to the customer) n n Business markets products via website and the Internet Business communicates information relating to ordering and payment electronically directly to the customer via secure Internet line Secure Internet link E-Business - seller Consumer - buyer
Basics of Web-based on-line Transactions (apply to B 2 B and B 2 C) n Need create web-compliant IT processes that emulate the four basic processes of buying: 1. buyer finds goods/service on web pages within vendor’s website; compares with other vendors 2. buyer makes selections with assistance of a shopping cart and support software 3. buyer selects an electronic method of payment 4. once payment has been authorised, the product or service is supplied
The challenge of online trading n n n Degree of challenge will depend on the size of the business and current level of IT use… Large companies will certainly have a sophisticated IT setup “Others” tend to be known as SMEs Ø SME = Small & Medium Sized Enterprise n Level of IT use by an SME will depend on the type of business and “enterprise” of the SMT/board) As compared to: Ø a large company (>250 employees) Ø A microbusiness (<5 employees)
Issues for SMEs wishing to trade on-line n HUGE range of take up of IT Ø many businesses were computerised in the 80 s and early 90 s – but that’s as far as they went… » unless updated, system not compatible with the www » only larger and more enterprising businesses used e-commerce before the web was available… n Ø some may even now still be paper-based! Where to start with an e-commerce system? Ø Of particular interest if creating one for an independent study… Ø First stop…. SYSTEMS ANALYSIS » need to systematically establish and agree what the existing processes are!!!
SMEs and Systems Analysis n By now, larger businesses have effective e-commerce and e-business systems Øotherwise would be out of business… n Existing SMEs or new businesses… Ømay not be familiar with close analysis of their business processes Ømay be initially reluctant to disclose information…
Discussion (in small Groups) n Why are SMEs more likely to keep their business processes to themselves?
Issues with Existing System? n n Learning from “mistakes” In practice, systems do not always work as expected… Ø makes sense to establish strengths/weaknesses and failures of existing system n Make use of this information when developing the new system…
Issues for Businesses thinking of on-line trading n Considerable issues and initial costs involved Øwhy bother? Will there be a sufficient ROI? ØUseful to conduct a risk analysis – starting by looking at how different parts of the business will be affected when making such a bold change…
Question 1 for SME: How much of existing information system can/will still be used? n Obviously it saves time and effort if existing digital data can be reused Ø If system is paper-based data will have to be inputted but there will still be a system. What is it? Ø If system has an internal computerised system? » which part(s) are/are not www compatible » which part(s) are/are not secure
If existing system paperbased? (still true for some microbusinesses) n n Costs involved in setting up and managing an all singing all dancing system will be huge! May be best just carry on with a paper-based system as before, but can go to the first stage of on-line trading by: Ø receiving orders via email Ø printing out such orders and processing them through the existing paper-based system Ø ask business to think about a digital information system…
If existing system paperbased? (continued) n SME still needs a web site Ø to display products Ø to provide an email address for orders n n n Still need email to receive orders Still need web hosting and website management Still need to advertise web presence
If existing information system is computerised, but not www compatible n Three choices: Ø keep the new web-based operation separate from any existing internal computerised system? Ø integrate internal information system with new webbased operation Ø keep separate initially and integrate later n In each case, website will be much more sophisticated than the simple products list & email address that may be acceptable to a previously paper-based SME!
SME chooses keep www system & Internal system separate… n n n Web based system completely new Existing computerised information system remains as it is, separate from the Internet! But… the systems need to communicate… Ø EITHER print out and re-key » retrograde step? » labour intensive and expensive? Ø OR develop a computerised interface » major software project? » very expensive but ultimately saves on labour costs (ROI)
The FULL WORKS! Integrated Int & Ext Systems n Not a light undertaking! Need to: Ø develop new www-based link to the Internet Ø provide a www-based user interface (Intranet) Ø re-engineer the internal computerised system into www format n Disadvantages: Ø may be expensive/time consuming to implement Ø Could compromise security of internal systems Ø will be disruptive to staff in the short term n Advantages: Ø should be inexpensive to run (ROI) Ø reduces/minimises unit cost per transaction (ROI)
Other Issues for SMEs n n May lack computer expertise (especially if mostly paper-based at the moment) May be concerned about exposing their information to the world On-line payment systems may be perceived as inherently not secure May not think it is worth the expense! Ø would the reduction in transaction costs be enough to justify their technology investment n May be also worried about… ?
Group Exercise on SME Issues One plays the role of SME boss n Others pull out issues that may concern him/her regarding on-line trading n One person makes a note of issues discussed… n
B 2 C: the consumer end of the Internet revolution! n SMEs could now conduct direct businessconsumer transactions (B 2 C e-commerce) Ø impossible before this date because consumers simply didn’t possess the technology Ø technology that makes B 2 C possible had been building for at least 10 years Ø Leapt into the public domain in 1995 -6 (US), two years later (UK) Ø now sometimes the case that consumers have more technology in their homes (including small networks!) than the small business!
Activities EXPECTED by B 2 C consumers n Business produces a website, available worldwide 24/7, via the Internet Ø provides information about products/services Ø gives customers options to buy its products Ø collects information about its customers n Website has a built-in system that includes: Ø On-line ordering Ø On-line payment via credit card/switch, etc. Ø Payment in a range of currencies Ø Automatic handling of taxation issues
Scope of this module n NOT an introductory e-commerce module Ø COMP 2113 looked at the business processes, and wider issues involved n Seeks to integrate relevant business data from an existing system with a web-based ecommerce system Ø a MUCH more complex undertaking!!! n Even so, security issues are not covered in depth Ø if you want to cover this as well, try COMP 3123…
BREAK… (20 minutes)
From now on, it gets Technical!!! n Prior knowledge requirements: Ø relational databases Ø HTML, and VB/Java scripting Ø basics of client-server networks n Covered only as revision and knowledge equivalent to the following will be assumed: Ø Web Design COMP 1141 pref COMP 2121 Ø Database COMP 1112 pref. COMP 2001 n Programming and scripting experience, e. g. COMP 1131 or 1132 will also be very useful…
What makes up the Internet? 900 million Server computers!
Internet Servers Very powerful n Managed 24 hours a day n Secure operating system, MUST BE properly configured … n Øbreed of UNIX (e. g. LINUX) ØWindows Server (2000? /2003/2008) n Should therefore be impossible for such persons to access private data
Security of Internet Servers 900 million Internet server n Security depends on management and configuration… n Øare there enough trustworthy UNIX and Windows Server experts Øto manage all access to the 900 million computers properly (? ) Øto protect the servers (and their data) against hackers/cyberterrorists, etc. (? )
Essential Technologies underpinning B 2 C E-commerce n n Internet and www infrastructure (governed by International bodies) Web Server software Ø Web Site hosting systems that will support static and dynamic web pages Ø Interaction with managed data storage n Web Browser software Ø Environment for HTML, CSS, programming scripts that give the user their browsing experience
Essential Technologies underpinning B 2 C E-commerce n n n Database – Web Server connectivity software Database Management System & system for recording and retrieving customer information System for recording customer behaviour whilst browsing website Ø controversial – cookies outlawed by French government as an infringement of privacy!
Internet Protocols n Networks are very complex, and so is the software (protocols) used to manage them! n A simplified model of network protocols regards communication as taking place through 4 software layers (actually 7): Ø Application layer - FTP, HTTP, SMTP, POP 3 Ø Transport or Host-Host - TCP protocol Ø Internet layer - IP protocol Ø Physical Network access layer
Application Layer Internet Protocols and the WWW n n n The application layer give the Internet its functionality The www makes use of HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) Other important application layer protocols: Ø FTP (file transfer protocol) » to upload/download files between user computer and a remote computer via the Internet Ø SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) » Used for sending email messages through the Internet
More about the World Wide Web n More than 8 billion interlinked web pages Øeach created using the HTML language standard ØHTTP protocol used for linking and transferring web pages n Uniform Resource Locator (URL) system used for uniquely identifying individual web pages
Web Server Software n Runs on a Unix or Windows server n Østores web pages Ømakes web pages available to remote computers using either HTTP or other application layer protocols Øexercises control over who accesses those web pages, and who can edit/delete them Øruns scripts and provides database interaction
Web Browser n Software Øtranslates HTML code into a visual screen output Øexecutes programs written in given programming languages e. g. » Java. Script » VBScript » “run-time” code (Active. X) Øinteracts with web server using the HTTP (and FTP) protocol
How a Static Web Page gets displayed n First of all, the relevant HTML document must be retrieved: Ø user types the URL into a one-line text window in browser Ø Browser passes the text to the remote web server (via default Internet gateway)
How a Static Web Page gets displayed (2) n Web server locates the file for that web page in its own storage folders n File containing HTML etc code copied back to default gateway and routed to the IP address of the local computer
How a Static Web Page gets displayed (3) n File suffix checked by browser… n If. htm or. html suffix: Ø HTML etc. code is read & processed by local CPU using a program called an interpreter Ø Results of processing passed to graphics card CPU
How a Static Web Page gets displayed (4) n results of conversion converted into binary display signals by the CPU and graphics card n Signals transmitted to screen and the converted HTML data is displayed
Client-side scripting & dynamic Web Pages n Berners-Lee’s original intention for the HTML model was to use text, links, and graphics Ø soon became even more sophisticated: » embedded Java. Script, VBScript, or code from other languages » HTML forms allowed interaction with databases » templates and Cascading Style Sheets provide scope for a huge range of formatting options n Now possible to display virtually anything Ø very wide range of multimedia and special effects available… Ø Relational databases allow query and retrieval of complex data structures
Server-side Scripts & dynamic Web pages n This time, the programming code is sent to and runs at the web server end… Ø creates a web page for the client end with a table to display the data n If the data picked up from the server has been changed (e. g. by use of SQL query)… Ø the client display is changed Ø web pages become “dynamic” » i. e. readily changeable without changing the web page code n Effect: Ø by triggering SQL commands on the server, local web page appears to interact with a database
All of these skills will be explored in this module over the coming weeks n n n Practical for this week: static web pages in the Visual Studio environment… Then (fun bit!) creating something dynamic with embedded scripting See you next week, and we’ll take this a little further…?