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E-Business and Change

E-business not only helps organizations to conduct business on-line but also helps to connect the organization with all its internal and external value chain components; value chain-suppliers, logistics providers, wholesalers, distributors, service providers, and end customers for many different purposes (Fahey, Srivastava, Sharon, & Smith, 2001). E-business, in spite of its pervasiveness, visibility, and impact, often remains a poorly understood phenomenon. It has been stated that e-business embodies the most pervasive, disruptive, and disconcerting form of change (Fahey et al., 2001). E-business creates integrated networks of relationships with channels, end customers, suppliers, providers, and even rivals that were not possible before. E-business is transforming the solutions available to customers in almost every industry. Customers can shop on a 24/7 time schedule and companies can offer many self-service applications and deliver products and services on the request of customers when they want it and where they want it. These new solutions open up possibilities for customer value creation and delivery that were simply unimaginable a mere three years ago. E-business, due to its ability to target customers 1-to-1, offers the platform for new forms of marketplace that have been changing the competitive rules of the game. E-business is dramatically reshaping every traditional business process: from developing new products and managing customer relationships to acquiring human resources and procuring raw materials and components (Sharma, 2001; 2003). It places an especially heavy premium on new forms of integrated and intensive relationships with external entities, new sets of perceptions held by customers, channels, suppliers, and, of course, significant new knowledge (Ginige, Murugesan, & Kazanis, 2001).

’Change management’ is the process of managing the effective implementation of organizational strategies, ensuring that permanent changes in goals, behaviors, relationships, processes and systems are achieved for business advantage (Bridges, 1991). Successful organizational change requires sophisticated planning, design, communications and implementation management, with continuous stakeholder involvement (Bryson & Anderson, 2000), and it needs proactive planning and implementation. A failed change can create poor morale, lack of credibility, customer irritation, competitors’ advantage, and resistance to further change. Change management requires an understanding of all the points of impact, a system view; meticulous planning and scheduling, and excellent communications and HR management (Buchanan & Badham, 1999; Carnell, 1995). The new e-business technologies necessitate not just the reengineering of existing processes but also mandate design, development, and deployment of fundamentally new ways of conceiving and executing business processes (Fahey et al., 2001). Senior executives in every organization thus confront a central challenge: how to transition from traditional business methodologies into e-business transformation and how to manage the change successfully. According to Gartner Group, 80% of all e-business downtime incidents are caused by problems not due to failure of IT processes but to poorly executed changes (Liebmann, 2001). It is important to understand just how challenging change has become for technology teams. E-business applications now rely on an incredibly complex chain of elements, each of which must be in good working order and well-behaved in relation to every other element in the end-to-end chain for the whole thing to work. These elements include network hardware, servers running various operating systems, highly “componentized” software across multiple tiers, diverse types of web content, security systems, storage devices, processes, people, applications and more (Wargin & Dobiey, 2001).


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