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Defining the Virtual Business and its Benefits

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Virtual business (VB) and virtual business processes (VBP) are terms that are seeing increasingly more press. Before the media and sensational journalists take control of the terms sending them through the usual over-hype, heightened expectations versus reality, then practical implementation cycle, Martha Young and Michael Jude suggest we short circuit the cycle and jump right into the definitions, benefits, and practical implementation examples. Net out the business benefits, so to speak.
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The definition of virtual business/business processes

A virtual business or business process is not the equivalent of outsourcing. Outsourcing is outsourcing, the act of turning a specific function over to a third party provider to implement and support, for a fee. The virtual business/business process is the act of decentralizing an operation for the greater good of the company. This is better known as directly impacting either top line revenues or the bottom line; either way, the implication of VB and VBP is highly correlated to a firm's financial measures.

A virtual business/business process, then, can be implemented and managed either utilizing internal resources or outsourced. The determining factors for the decision of retain or outsourcing a process are rooted in the overall business objectives of the firm, as well as its ability to provide the defined service most efficiently and effectively relative to an outsourcer.

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