- Web Business Engineering: Web Sites Versus Business Web Sites
- Five Broad Ways of Using the Web to Add Value
- Web Business Engineering: Finding Specific Ways of Adding Value
When most developers think of using the Web in a business, they think of uses between a business and its customers, commonly referred to as "business-to-consumer" (B2C) e-commerce (see Figure 1 ).
But interacting with customers is just one activity that businesses participate in. Consider a business that manufactures a product. The product doesn't magically appear. The business needs to first get supplies from a supplier (see Figure 2 ).
Businesses can use the Web to support the information interactions between the business and its suppliers. This kind of Web use is an example of what is commonly called "business-to-business" (B2B) e-commerce (suppliers are businesses, too!). With supplies in hand, the business makes its product. Once made, it must be delivered to distributors, both wholesalers and retailers (see Figure 3).
This is another opportunity for B2B e-commerce. Plenty of information is exchanged between the business and its distributors, which the Web can help support. Finally, the distributor delivers the product to the customer (see Figure 4 ).
A business can use the Web to help its distributors better sell its products to customers. So, there are at least four broad ways in which a business can use the Weband actually five when you consider that there are many information activities occurring within the business itself (see Figure 5 ).
Each of these five areas is a potential avenue for a business to use the Web to add value in terms ofbut not limited toincreasing the quality, timeliness, or output of the information interactions, leading to increased revenues or reduced costs.