E Learning Curve

If you scan the developments in the business world that have taken place in the last fifty years or so, you will find that business Organisations have had to reinvent themselves and write new rules of games. Everything about the business is changing rapidly. Introduction of IT has brought in, undreamt of changes in markets, products, and Organisational structures as well as the approach to business and profits too.

Riding on the E Commerce engine seems to be the trajectory for the growth plans that most Organisations are taking on. When we talk about E Commerce and E Marketing, generally the concept that comes to one’s mind is the online shopping that we generally engage in. Buying airline tickets, paying utility bills and buying books and CDs etc. If a business manager or a student limits himself to understanding about how On line selling works is not enough.

No doubt E Commerce relates to building website with content using search criteria, driving traffic and promoting your products and services. A larger perspective of how the Organisations and businesses work, the networking with multiple applications and integration that makes things work at the background is necessary.

In the beginning, the computer applications when introduced were doing only computing functions. Using computers entailed task oriented operations where Garbage In led to Garbage Out. Data entry and computerization of the manual tasks and documents were the outputs provided by the Computers.

Slowly we began to see function specific software development. This lead to production being managed by Management Resource Planning softwares and accounting was being computerized using accounting software and so on. All other functions too were computerized using specific functional and stand alone systems.

The next stage of development brought with it the cross functional Enterprise Resource Planning Softwares. The developments in the hardware, networking and connectivity helped the evolution of the ERP soft wares.

The important and revolutionary changes that ERP brought with it changed the fundamental approach of the Organisations to the way in which they functioned. ERPs could manage cross functional activities. Soon the systems could be programmed to manage the process which meant the organisations shifted their operations from people to processes. Today using ERP systems to manage operations and all functions has become the basic necessity.

We have also seen emergence of specialized ERP applications too that manage individual functions and can be deployed at global levels. Apart from SAP, Oracle etc Organisations use specific CRM applications like Siebel, HR |Operations Management systems like Ariba as well as Supply chain Management solutions like Red Prairery etc. There are very many software applications that are deployed to integrate the various ERP applications deployed in the Organisation. Besides Organisations use Applications for building business intelligence, Knowledge management and MIS etc.

In the current scenario where the Organisations are operating at multi locations across various markets and geographies and are managing the entire operations using multiple platforms, opening up its business on E Commerce mode brings with it, newer challenges.

Amidst the changing environment where newer technologies and new trends keep affecting the markets and consumer behaviour, the Organisations have got to E enable all of their operations and businesses. It is not enough to just set up a website.

The entire operations from procurement, manufacturing, warehousing to order management, financial transactions and third party logistics support would need to be e enabled and integrated to ensure end to end transactions and efficiency of operations.

It is quite true that in highly competitive markets, the IT systems and its operational service capabilities become the service differentiators between the leader and rest.

Growing the business into E platform mode is inevitable. Businesses have got to re-orient their marketing strategies and other related plans to use E Marketing and E Trade as the engines for growth in the future.

Besides understanding the E realities, being focused on the E Customer and chartering the course for the future is imperative for students, Managers and all professionals to get on to the E learning curve.

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